Monday, October 26, 2015

Alan Singer on Moskowitz's "Suspension" Academy's Code of Misconduct

John Merrow posted the Success Academy Network's disciplinary code which is distributed to all parents. Surprisingly I was unable to find it on any of the Network's numerous websites. 

I find the infractions petty and the penalties at Success Academy Charter Schools highly punitive, especially for younger children, but readers can judge for themselves. 

Success Academy rules are a manifesto for zero-tolerance policing policies brought into an elementary school. Research on the impact of zero-tolerance policies continually demonstrates that they are detrimental to both a student's emotional and academic growth, reinforce student behaviors they are supposed to eliminate leading to further suspensions, and increasingly exposed suspended to influences that virtually ensured further problems in schools and with the police. 

Some of the rules at Success Academy read like they could have been copied from a Department of Corrections guide for disciplining incarcerated prisoners. Others seem like a return to Maoist China "struggle sessions" during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s when people accused of misconduct made public confessions of their misdeeds and mis-thoughts. Students can be suspended from school or expelled for behavior that occurred outside of school time and off of school grounds. 

Alan Singer,
Here is a link to the full Discipline code.

We know there are some teachers in public schools with major discipline problems who would love these policies -- but those schools either suffer from incompetent admins, many new and inexperienced teachers or an overload of kids with problems.

Charter schools do not have the latter but do have many inexperienced teachers who have not learned how to deal with kids with discipline issues. Thus the rigid code -- just dump the kid into suspension because the teachers can't handle them.

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