For Merced Union, School Discipline is an Evolving Artform

A lot has changed in the Merced Union High School District since the days of corporal punishment. Although the nature of discipline is still changing, schools are moving towards more progressive policies. “Teachers and staff are now encouraged to look at a student’s complete behavioral pattern before determining an appropriate course of action.” Read more […]

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Students and teachers rally for restorative justice and funding transparency

Members of the coalition Building Healthy Communities Eastern Coachella Valley waited more than two hours to give public comment at the final Local Control Funding Formula public hearing. Their Restorative Justice Resolution plan asks Coachella Valley’s school board to adopt a comprehensive school climate policy which includes Restorative Justice, discipline practices that emphasize behavioral philosophies geared toward mending relationships, rather than punitive strategies […]

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School board meeting draws crowds of concerned parents

At a recent West Contra Costa School Board Meeting, parents showed up in record numbers to voice concern about a rushed timeline and lack of community engagement over the appointment of a new superintendent. They also expressed doubts about the equitable use of bond funds at schools in different cities, and disciplinary policies in some schools. “Public commenters also said the […]

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Can schools really close the discipline gap?

California’s public schools have come under scrutiny for an increase in the so called “discipline gap.” Rates of suspension and other disciplinary practices have been shown to be higher for students of color and those with a disability compared to Caucasian students, leading to disparities in achievement. Can schools adopting restorative justice change all that? “The justice codes at public schools […]

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Parents push for restorative justice in Coachella

At Bobby Duke Middle School, in Coachella, the suspension rate last year was more than double the state average. The situation prompted a group of parents and community organizers to launch a restorative justice pilot program in the eastern Coachella Valley, hoping they can reverse the trend. They say that suspending students for minor infractions affects the entire school environment, not […]

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How African drumming is helping young petty offenders in Long Beach

Like other diversion programs, Yayah’s African drumming class aims to redirect young people who have run into trouble. Programs such as these provide an opportunity for first time offenders with minor offenses—such as petty theft, fighting at school, or being in possession of drugs or alcohol—to accumulate community service hours and avoid detention or other penalties in the juvenile court system. “It’s not about being […]

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Fewer suspensions, higher academic achievement

A study from UCLA showed that schools in California sharply decreased the number of suspensions given to students from 2011 to 2014, and at the same time in many areas improved in academic achievement. Advocates have been fighting to reform school discipline guidelines in recent years, arguing that suspensions are disproportionately meted out to minority students. “Last year, students within the district were suspended […]

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Progress in quest to change expulsion policies

The Kern Education Justice Collaborative combines the strengths of different local organizations to address grievous racial disparities in the county’s school discipline practices. Students of color were being suspended and expelled at much higher rates than white students, and the group undertook the task of educating the public about what they describe as an education crisis. Read more on South Kern Sol.

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Anna Deavere Smith takes on the school-to-prison pipeline

Systems set up for the public good create victims of the very people they are supposed to help — this phenomenon is a driving force for Anna Deavere Smith, the playwright and actress who translates interviews with Americans into stage performances to personify large themes.  With “Notes from the field: Doing time in education,” Smith is taking up what has been […]

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