Putting Education Reform To The Test

Could Florida Benefit From Federal School Discipline Study?

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Education Secretary Arne Duncan

Federal officials are concerned too many disruptive students are winding up in the juvenile justice system — and therefore not completing their education, according to Education Week‘s Politics K-12 blog. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan describes what he saw leading Chicago schools:

“A small group of principals were calling the police too often to deal with minor disciplinary issues, he said, while schools with similar demographics handled the same behavior problems in other ways. ‘People wanted to do the right thing. They just didn’t know better,’ he said. ‘So many of these children need assistance. What they don’t need is to be pushed out the door.'”

Florida has had a zero tolerance policy since 2001 that requires student expulsion for bringing a weapon to school or making a threat towards school events, property or officials. The federal initiative could provide guidance for districts drafting additional discipline policies.

Where should the line be drawn? How should schools balance student safety against trying to graduate as many students as possible?


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