Monday, October 31, 2011

School discipline's Catch-22

There have recently been a few disturbing, highly publicized incidents of teachers physically attacking students.

While no one condones it when a teacher loses control like that, Louisiana Federation of Teachers President Steve Monaghan explained to WAFB-TV that a changing culture in our classrooms has led to increased frustration in the teacher corps.

"If that teacher is dealing excessively with discipline, discipline, discipline all day long - we're all human beings," Monaghan told reporter Kelsey Davis. "At some point there is a breaking point."

Louisiana has tough laws on the books that ought to guarantee an environment that is conducive to teaching and learning. But all too often, those laws are not enforced.

One reason for that is a "Catch-22" built into our state's school accountability laws. Disciplinary actions such as expulsions and suspensions must be reported, and can help lower the letter grade reported to the public. Doing the right thing can lead to bad results for the school.

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