Opinion: Gutting of LAUSD’s suspension policy threatens teachers and education

By Paul White, 4-3-17

 

Los Angeles,

“F – k You, you stupid b_ – ch! You can’t make me do sh_ _; we both know it, and if you don’t get out of my face, you’ll wish you had.”

Don’t be alarmed or offended. Students talking to teachers in this vulgar, threatening way will soon occur with more frequency in Los Angeles public school classrooms than it already does. The reason? The LAUSD board voted this week to overrule the State Education Code and prevent defiant/disruptive students from being suspended.

What do you do for an encore, when you rule a school district who can barely get half its students to graduate, and 80% of the ones who do get a diploma are too illiterate to take college level classes? A district where teachers are holding on by their fingertips on campuses that are imploding from racial unrest, gang activity, weapons, drug use, and a growing number of student assaults on teachers?

If you’re the Los Angeles Unified school board, you gut the suspension policy of the last failsafe measure teachers had for trying to maintain a classroom learning environment: the ability to suspend students who totally defy and verbally abuse you.

The rationale for the board’s vote is easy to explain.

1) They value the small (and short term) increase in revenue they’ll realize far more than the students’ characters that will be ruined – the countless good teachers who will pack up and leave “” and the school learning environments that will be obliterated.

2) None of the people who voted in favor of this change have any current, first-hand teaching experience in the crisis state that exists in our classrooms, and no idea of how impossibly disrespectful our children’s behavior has become.

There’s an alarming pattern to the board’s behavior.

The Center for Disease Control says that up to 50% of our children have sexually transmitted diseases, while the district stands by and refuses to talk to students about their immoral sexual behavior,

The Josephson Institute on Ethics says that 80% of our students cheat on a regular basis, with AP students cheating the most, while the district crows about improved test scores that this cheating renders meaningless.

Regarding the unreported issue most endangering America’s future, one-in-three students now comes to class under the influence of drugs, while the district stands by and refuses to constructively use the legislative powers they just exhibited and make drug-testing mandatory at all schools.

The board’s decision will hurt our children and our city even more in the long run than it does now. Any high-quality educator would be foolish to try and build their career in the L.A. public school system. No major corporation in their right mind would bring their business to Los Angeles. Who would want to build their future with a labor pool that, in addition to being one of the worst educated in America, will now also be one that expects limitless “do-overs “, instead of termination for disrespectful, defiant behavior toward reasonable authority.

One of the LAUSD students who was duped into celebrating the board’s no-suspension decision was quoted as saying, “Now we’ll have a better chance to stay in school and become something.” Unfortunately, neither the board nor their supporters told the child that the “something” he’ll become, with this new no-responsibility policy – is an adult who’s totally unprepared to hold a job, support a family, or contribute to his community.

~~~

Ventura, 4-3-17
I wrote the above op/ed almost 4 years ago.  It shared what I felt would happen in schools who followed ex-president Obama’s directive to reduce suspensions, and deal with these “minor” behavior problems  on campus.  The Citizens Journal folks asked me for my perspective now, four years after I wrote the above. I sent them this:
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How has the policy worked in Ventura schools?  I know 2 substitute teachers. Both have been assaulted at our high schools.  How about the rest of California? Consider a few recent headlines.
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 2017 – Fresno  “High School Student Arrested After Punching Teacher
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2016 – Pleasant Hill  “2 Teachers Assaulted During Students Anti-Trump Protest” 
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 2016 – Concord  “2 Students Arrested After Assault on Teacher” 
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“Federal school crime and violence statistics understate and fail to count all school crimes”  (National School Safety and Security Services) http://www.schoolsecurity.org/trends/school-crime-reporting-and-underreporting/ 
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Invest 5 minutes in this USA-Focus.org  non-partisan, strictly factual brief on the real situation with our schools.  It will calm your fears of Ms. DeVos being able to do any more damage than has already been done.  
https://www.usa-focus.org/2016/12/public-schools/
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Paul D. White is director of the Stronghold Institute and a Co-Director www.USA-Focus.org, a nonpartisan, non-profit foundation dedicated to providing facts and insightful solutions about key issues. is an educator of at-risk kids and the author of “White’s Rules: Saving Our Youth, One Kid At A Time.” You can email him at [email protected].


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2 Responses to Opinion: Gutting of LAUSD’s suspension policy threatens teachers and education

  1. Paul D. White April 4, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    The public education system is 100% unsuited for adequately educating and preparing future generations to run our nation. Therefore, the top three measures that should be implemented are:

    1) Give every family a voucher so education becomes a totally free market. This saves the time and expense of dismantling the entire system, because with vouchers and a good alternative to go TO, most parents would leave the existing system.

    2) Develop a model replacement education program that: has strong moral/spiritual values, campuses that are free of drugs/violence and respectful, requires part-time employment, career-quality internships, and weekly community service projects for ALL students, teaches students how to be independent, contributing members of our communities and nation, and an instructional curriculum that has students ready to go full-time to college/tech schools by 16, thus eliminating 11th and 12th grades.

    3) But wait…there already IS such a proven model: The Stronghold Institute School System. Please check us out and get in touch. http://www.strongholdinstitute.com

    Reply
  2. Hopeful in Hacienda April 3, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    As a former teacher in LAUSD schools, I have to agree with this perspective. High school students are wildly out of control and fee, if any teachers, feel they have authority to do anything about it.

    But what measures should the School Board be implementing to turn our systems around? What are the top three measures that could help? And are there model school districts anywhere in this nation that provide a clue on the direction we should take?

    Reply

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