I'm piggybacking off of the Daily Grind again, so I hope Mr. McNamar doesn't mind. Some of his stuff is just too good to pass up.
Last week Mr. McNamar did a post on the Connecticut state legislature, which is in the process of passing a law that would make it illegal for schools to give out-of-school suspension to students in most situations. As those guys in the Guinness Beer commercials say, "Brilliant!"
This is a classic example of the ignorance and arrogance of politicians in dealing with public schools. Does anyone really believe that we need any of the few discipline tools we have left taken away from us? But the Connecticut House of Representatives voted for it unanimously despite the opposition of "a broad cross section of school officials." Great job, Mr. and Ms. Representative! Don't listen to the people who actually have to deal with the problem. After all you know best.
Before I go on, I should say that I recognize the problems with out-of-school suspensions. The most important one is that it's a poor deterrent because many of the kids who get suspended simply view it as a vacation. But you know what? Sometimes it's nice for the rest of the class--and, yes, the teacher--to have a vacation from students like that. A couple of my prize students were suspended from school a couple of weeks ago for trouble they had gotten into in another class, and my classes went smoother than they had in weeks. And because they went smoother, the other students in that class learned more.
I will admit that the numbers being suspended in some of those Connecticut schools looked awfully high to me. And if the Connecticut state legislature wanted to look into the reasons for so many suspensions, that would be reasonable. But I am certainly not going to jump to the conclusion that those schools are doing something wrong, because I'm not working in those schools. And neither are those idiot politicians.
To top off their work of genius, the Connecticut House of Representatives couched their bill in vague language:
The pending legislation would allow schools to issue out-of-school suspensions only to students who pose a significant danger to people or property or a "disruption of the educational process."
As one superintendent said, "It will be interpreted 166 different ways, and there'll be 14 lawsuits. Students will be placed at risk, and attorneys will make a lot of money."
Who knows? Maybe that's exactly what some of them want.