‘Discipline Reform’ Is in Obama Program to Help Young Men. What’s That Mean?

Stacy Teicher Khadaroo, Christian Science Monitor, February 28, 2014

When President Obama announced “My Brother’s Keeper” Thursday, he identified school discipline reform as one key to supporting the success of young men of color.


“My administration has been working with schools on alternatives to the so-called zero-tolerance guidelines—not because teachers or administrators or fellow students should have to put up with bad behavior, but because there are ways to modify bad behavior that lead to good behavior,” Mr. Obama said in announcing My Brother’s Keeper.

By building on the work already started—with some of the $200 million pledged by philanthropies for My Brother’s Keeper—“we can keep more of our young men where they belong—in the classroom, learning, growing, gaining the skills they need to succeed,” the president said.

The Atlantic Philanthropies, for one, has spent $40 million already on reducing discipline disparities and has pledged another $70 million for that work as part of My Brother’s Keeper. {snip}


{snip} But increasingly, urban school leaders and state legislatures are turning to a range of strategies to make school discipline more positive and equitable.

Here are some examples:

 Making fewer offenses punishable by suspension or expulsion. Up to 95 percent of out-of-school suspensions are for nonviolent behavior, US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a recent speech highlighting new discipline guidance disseminated to schools. “Being disruptive, acting disrespectfully, tardiness . . . are all issues that must be dealt with,” he said.  But “is putting children out of school the best remedy?” 

Nearly a decade ago, Baltimore public schools changed the code of conduct, added more mental health professionals, and offered more mediation for behavior problems. They lowered suspensions from 26,000 in 2004 to 8,600 last year.


 Creating a positive school climate. Schools are increasingly fostering a culture of positive behavior and addressing underlying causes of misbehavior—everything from mental health issues to substance abuse. The US Department of Education recently announced School Climate Transformation Grants that will help more than 1,000 schools offer training in research-based strategies.


 Using restorative justice. This approach—which helps prevent conflict and requires students to make reparations if they’ve harmed people—has been a key strategy in a number of cities. As part of an effort in Oakland, Calif., it is integrated into more than a dozen schools so far to make discipline more positive and fair. At one alternative high school there, suspension rates were cut in half within the first year of shifting to restorative justice. 

 Practicing culturally responsive education. Some school districts are training teachers to be more aware of possible hidden biases that may lead them to discipline students of color more severely. {snip}



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  • smedley

    Culturally responsive education means changing testing to reflect the reality that is “black” America. For example no more two plus two instead math tests will go something like this J’dontavious baby mama also gits wits five other brothers before she gits with J’dontavious. What’s the chance little Re’jo’detoiletus is J’dontavious’ sprog? Or how about – Shitavious on the down low, he wants to git with five bros and four hoes in five hours, how much time he gots for each ho and bro?

  • Puggg

    What’s That Mean?

    Is she really that clueless?

    What it means is that black students in public schools will be exempt from receiving discipline. They’ll be able to do whatever they want.

    • 1stworlder

      and white & east Asians will get suspended for chewing gum.

  • libertarian1234

    It’s all just nonsensical rabid leftist double-speak that will make blacks worse not better.

    The black leadership are such fools they think having a black stay in high school for 4 years obtaining certification he can’t read as success.

    Of course they know they can do what they do best which is lie and say the AA awardee is qualified, but that only goes so far.

    Too they think that if they can get their black thugs to stay in school until they’re 18, then a magic metamorphosis will take place and they’ll be transformed into brain surgeons in training and other professional types.

    But of course they won’t. They’ll still be drug dealers, pimps, armed robbers and killers.

    Nothing will change that but sending them to prison for life.

  • So CAL Snowman

    Just look at all the programs, money, and excuses required to keep men of color from reverting to complete tribal savagery and jungle anarchy. These “men of color” are our equals even though it takes tens of billions of dollars, thousands of local and federal help programs, and the will of major corporations to keep them from running around in loin cloths and hunting with spears. Absolutely insane.

  • Spartacus

    “Practicing culturally responsive education. Some school districts
    are training teachers to be more aware of possible hidden biases that
    may lead them to discipline students of color more severely. ”



  • Spartacus

    “Up to 95 percent of out-of-school suspensions are for nonviolent behavior…”


    You mean like theft, selling drugs, possessing guns, and other stuff like that ?

    • 1stworlder

      When the crybaby article complaining that blacks & Hispanics make up the overwhelming majority of the 5 arrests per day in NYC schools, I looked up the felonies committed in NYC public schools and it worked out to a little over 4 a school day.

  • JohnEngelman

    Guidelines like this do not help decent black teenagers, of whom there are many. They make it more difficult for decent black teenagers to get decent educations.

    Inner city schools are full of teenagers who cannot be educated, and who violently interfere with the education of students who can be. The troublemakers need to be permanently expelled so that teachers can teach and students can learn.

    • PvtCharlieSlate

      When the troublemakers are permanently expelled (or voluntarily drop out), they should also lose their eligibility for any future unemployment compensation.

  • Truth Teller

    Translation, Obama and schools will spend several hundred million facilitating the robbing, beating, raping and occasionally murdering of White students and teachers by young savages all approved by black and brown administrators and politicians.

  • Einsatzgrenadier

    If southern segregationists discriminated against black students, it was not because of the color of their skins, but because they would be a disruptive influence in the classroom. The presence of blacks in the school system makes it significantly harder for deserving white people to get a decent education. The segregationists of the past were simply following hundreds of years of received wisdom when it came to dealing with blacks.

  • Bring back public spanking. The “board” of education worked for generations until Cultural Marxists called it cruel and harmful. I say it built character. Different number of strokes for different offenses, done at assembly in front of the other kids.

    Also use public shaming. Make the little crooks stand on the street corner on Saturday from 8 am to noon wearing a sign that says, “I misbehaved and this is my punishment.” All the mocking and horn blowing from passing cars should make the miscreants think twice.

    These two policies alone should deter much bad behavior.

  • bubo

    Allowing blacks to disrupt class to the point of total anarchy has run many teachers black, white and other out of the profession.

    Eventually these feel good policies of excusing bad behavior will run up against the teacher’s unions and we will see some real infighting.

    • Bon, From the Land of Babble

      It’s already happened. I read about one school district whose teachers were subjected to the “new” no-suspension discipline policy which gives blacks carte blanche to threaten, scream at and use foul, vicious, racist and sexist language against teachers at will without repercussion.

      What other profession or company would allow customers or just anyone to treat its employees in such a manner? But in the schools, it has become common, kids are getting the message that they are untouchable and the behavior is getting worse. Really prepares them for the work place, doesn’t it?

      The union took the worst cases to court and got 1,000 foot restraining orders against the the juvenile offenders which meant they couldn’t set foot on the school campus if the teacher they were assaulting was present.

      Sometimes you have to go outside of the system to get “social justice.”

      • I loved teaching college undergraduate chemistry lab classes. I once put out a fire for another class by turning an empty beaker over the fire to smother it. Their teacher had come to ask me where a fire-extinguisher was. He was an Iraqi, and the Iranian was laughing hysterically. I’d never seen a Muslim laugh that way and then stop laughing so abruptly. I am not afraid of fire.

        Nobody ever threatened me or said anything nasty to me; they called me “Sir”, to which I never became accustomed. I preferred “Michael” or at worst “Mr. Scott”. The problem, however is a selection bias; they were all university science majors. I did my best to teach them what I knew about laboratory work. I wasn’t there to be their friend; I was there to teach them, but friendship did evolve. I liked the Chinese students the best, because they LISTENED, and the Australian whites second-best.

        I liked some of my students more than some of the others. The best were bound to be the best, but I leveled-up some of the rest, just because they were willing to work and because I cared.

        • Bon, From the Land of Babble

          I don’t know of a single K-12 teacher (including me) who went into the profession to be cursed at, assaulted, screamed at, etc. and then told at the end of the day by administrators it is all YOUR FAULT.

          I once taught AP classes and there just isn’t anything better than having a high functioning, highly intelligent class full of students who wanted to be there and cherished learning and knowledge the way I do.

          Any dedicated teacher will turn himself inside and out to help kids like that succeed, the very reason we went into teaching in the first place.

          • I ran an unofficial study group in federal prison for guys working on their GEDs. It was voluntary on their part and a lot of fun; I taught them some useful mathematical shortcuts involving conic sections.

            Judge Miller said at my sentencing that he hoped I would help people. There’s no parole in the feds, so that wasn’t my aim. I simply enjoyed it. The time was gone anyway, so I figured I had best put it to some use. Everyone called me “Professor”, even most of the Corrections Officers.

  • Rhialto

    I hope this is just a political move, and that your president knows that these “alternatives” will be useless at best. Perhaps he just wants his “brudas” to have more fun while being in schools.

    On the other hand, suppose he actually thinks that this Obamacare for schools will actually improve Black and Hispanic education. Could your president be that stupid?

  • soul hunter

    Irresponsible parents & Rap music created the thug culture . . . .
    I’m not sure anything less than incarceration AND OR termination can help these monsters . . . .

  • Viv J

    When I first started teaching, I did not think about race in my classroom. I treated all of my students with an even hand, giving out rewards and consequences based solely upon behavior. After all, I was a professional, and it was my job to help each kid reach his/her full potential, etc., etc., etc. My students, on average, experienced large improvements on their test scores, so I must have been doing okay. I have always been a racial realist, but in my classroom I was just a teacher, and these kids — all of them — were important to me.
    But the administrators at my school forced me to really, really notice how different blacks kids were from everyone else. They wasted our time with workshops, meetings, in-services designed to help us “close the achievement gap.” They dissected our test scores, breaking it down by race, and forced us to create action plans designed to hold back our best students while our worst could catch up. (Although not in those words) We were forced to hand academic excellence awards to the undeserving, while our kids who did actual work got nothing.
    When they started in on the way we deal with behavior problems, I was out of there. If I won’t be allowed to control my classroom, I won’t be a teacher. But I do have them to thank for solidifying my racial views.

    • help each kid reach his/her full potential

      Drinking game.

      Knock one back.

      • Viv J

        Imagine how much more enjoyable faculty meetings would be …

  • IstvanIN

    When I was a child (1960s) we had one teacher per classroom in grammar school, and the principal was also a teacher. There was an office secretary and a janitor. That was it.

    Now every classroom needs a teacher’s aid, a full-time principal, vice-principal, cirriculum coordinator, study-team members, security, and gosh knows who else. All because we went from being a white country where kids were taught (and could be taught) to respect teachers and were expected to behave. Now we try to educate the uneducable, the uncivilized and those who can not be civilized. “People” who do not have parents in our sense of the word.

    • MBlanc46

      I was in school in the 1950s and 1960s and that’s the way it was. There were minor discipline problems, but by and large the students respected the authority of the teachers, did what they were told, successfully progressed from grade to grade, graduated after grade 12, and the majority went on to higher education. Of course, they were all white.

      • De’Ontavious Jizzaiah Jones

        I was watching an episode of Leave it to Beaver a couple of weeks ago. There were scenes of Beaver’s elementary school. All white, well dressed and behaved with nice white female teacher. Those are days I remember, having entered kindergarten in 1967. A wave of sadness swept over me watching that episode. We were all good at school except for minor infractions, such as talking too much or once I wrote my name in crayon on cement flag pole base. I had to go out to schoolyard with a scouring pad and Ajax cleanser to remove it. There was no need for a police officer to be stationed at the school. There were no single mothers, unless a kids father died. We knew the teacher or Principal could call our parents about any trouble we got into. Our parents would not dispute the teacher. They would trust the teacher as their stand in while we were
        Being educated and deal out their own discipline when we got home from school. Alas, it was civilization of course that we were experiencing then.

        • Brian

          It was like that in my 98% white schools even in the 80’s. My sister is a teacher, and she’s noticed MASSIVE change.

        • “All white” describes the whole series of LITB. There was only once when a black person had a speaking part, and that was toward the end of the series run when America was getting more civil rightsey.

          That gives me the opportunity to remind everyone of my Disqus avatar. “But Ward, weren’t you a little hard on the Beaver?” Really, I chose this as an avatar to make fun of Jena, Louisiana noose paranoia, which has surfaced again at Ole Miss.

      • dd121

        Back in the ’50s they started to integrate my school. I didn’t know why but I didn’t like it.

        • MBlanc46

          Fortunately for me, there was only one Negro family in my town of about 12,000. Those were the days.

          • In my Fairview 1984 high school graduating class of about 600, there were exactly two blacks. Even the kids with Spanish family names looked white and spoke unaccented English. There was one Japanese and a handful of Chinese, as well as one subcontinental Indian. There were almost never any fights or theft. It was a great school.

            Derek Fulmar used to play on the football team, and later at CU Boulder. When last we talked, he was coaching the Fairview HS football team and teaching business classes there. That seems like a good life to me.

  • willbest

    Perhaps the solution would be to put some solitary confinement boxes in the auxiliary gym. Then they could serve their suspensions in school and it would look better on the stat sheet.

  • MBlanc46

    Come the second term and it’s all Negroes all the time with the HNIC.

  • Jesse James

    “Making fewer offenses punishable by suspension or expulsion.”

    This is the same type of CYA administrative thinking that leads urban police departments across the nation to refuse to record certain types of complaints or to downgrade them in a completely bogus attempt to make crime statistics look better. Blacks can’t maintain even the most basic levels of civilized orderly behavior so you change the standards. This is why each year America seems less and less like a civilized first world nation, the whole country is being dragged down to the civilizational level of the blacks.

  • Cid Campeador

    • Creating a positive school climate. Schools are increasingly fostering a culture of positive behavior and addressing underlying causes of misbehavior—everything from mental health issues to substance abuse. The US Department of Education recently announced School Climate Transformation Grants that will help more than 1,000 schools offer training in research-based strategies.

    I’ll keepa right on dreamin’, I’ll keep 0n dreamin’, dreamin, ’til my dreamin comes true uuuu, uuuu, uUu,u uuuu, uuuu uUu.

  • Snakes on a Car

    I sort of agree with this. The United States and its educational institutions are run like a police state. Minor infractions will get you kicked out of school or charged with a crime and stuck with a record. A lot of young men get screwed by the system. I would support some sort of penalty reform both in the school systems and in the criminal justice system.

    My fear though is this is going to end up being more anarcho-tyranny. The truly violent and dysfunctional offenders will just be let off easy in the name of social justice.

    • IstvanIN

      It is only White kids who bite a slice of pizza and get arrested for it. The blacks kids actually have to rape AND shoot someone to get sent to the principals office.

    • It’s already anarcho-tyrannical. Those zero tolerance horror stories are mostly against white students.

      However, until recently, my pet theory was that zero tolerance was set up explicitly to suspend or expel white students for flimsy non-offenses to even out the race stats ins suspensions and expulsions. I still think that’s a factor, but I think there’s a better fit, a better explanation:

      Ever since I started in on my current job as a half PR-half lobbyist hack late last year, and especially now that I mostly live in my state’s capital for the first one-third of the year, I’ve seen first hand the way a certain industry arrogantly throws its weight around, especially relating to Republican elected officials, but Democrats aren’t completely exempt:

      The insurance industry.

      There have been things that have been written in article about zero tolerance horror stories in the last year or so, combined with what I’ve seen first hand, that leads me to think that insurance is the root cause of both zero tolerance existing and its being fanatically enforced. I think it has to do with school districts’ rates on their insurance policies.

      If I’m right, then it will be Republican politicians with a lot of insurance money on their campaign finance quarterlies who will quietly kill any zero tolerance reform.

      This would also explain why zero tolerance horror stories happen more in red states than blue states, even though plenty do happen in blue states. And in this case, I mean red or blue by the composition of the state legislatures, not the Presidential electoral college.

      • Snakes on a Car

        If our society had real reporters this should be something they would look into.

  • dd121

    The words sound nice but in practice it means Open Season on whites.

  • ViktorNN

    That’s the thing – most blacks will never stop acting black which means they will never be able to succeed in Western white educational institutions.

    Another way to put it is that most blacks will never “act white.” They simply can’t become white, nor do they want to. In fact, they hate us and resent their dependancy on us.

    The amount of money spent trying to educate ineducable blacks who hate white intellectualism has to be one of the greatest wastes of money ever.

  • Frank_DeScushin

    “Practicing culturally responsive education. Some school districts are training teachers to be more aware of possible hidden biases that may lead them to discipline students of color more severely.”

    More excuse making. In the Leftist mind it’s always the bias of the teacher toward the black student, and almost never the black student acting out.

  • WR_the_realist

    “It’s safer for me to walk to a KKK rally, wearing a rope necklace, than it is for me to walk to a convenience store after dark.”

    Actually, if the Ku Klux Klaners have seen that video, I think they’d offer the man a beer if he showed up at one of their rallies.

    • It is safer for me to admit here from my own home office to being 3/16 American Indian and married to a Japanese lady than it is for me to drive to downtown Denver and then walk half a mile in any direction.

  • Actually you’re thinking of WVON in Chicago.

    Where I once heard a black caller say that the crime of murder should be reduced to a misdemeanor because black people convicted of murder have a hard time getting jobs because they’re felons. The host reminded the caller that if you don’t have a felony, you can still buy guns, and the caller’s response was that black misdemeanor murderers should be allowed to be unarmed cops in Chicago.

  • So the system has to adjust to black and hispanic misbehavior instead of them following the rules.