Monday, October 17, 2016

We spend more to jail our kids than to educate them. It's time we stop - Lily's Blackboard

We spend more to jail our kids than to educate them. It's time we stop - Lily's Blackboard:

We spend more to jail our kids than to educate them. It’s time we stop

In 2015 we voted unanimously at the NEA Representative Assembly to confront institutional racism in our schools.That means looking at the structures and processes that advantage some students and disadvantage others, especially students of color.
Those structures and processes include the harsh disciplinary practices that directly or indirectly push students out of school and into the criminal justice system. We call this the school to prison pipeline.
We’re standing together to shut down the pipeline and bring an end to the unfair imposition of discipline that alienates far too many students from their own schools. The NEA is building awareness, educating members and the community and taking action with NEA affiliates, members and allies.dsc2016_avatar
In that spirit, we’re participating in the Dignity in School Campaign’s 7th Annual National Week of Action Against School Pushout, October 15-23.
I’ve crisscrossed the nation meeting our members, and I know we care about this. I constantly marvel at how invested we are in making sure all students feel a sense of belonging and understanding in their schools. But we are not perfect. We must be brave enough to constantly ask ourselves, “What role do I play in making sure that my students see this school as their doorway to an equal opportunity to learn and be respected?”
This question drove us at this year’s Representative Assembly to pass a policy statement to end the school-to-prison pipeline. As educators who share a passion for building up, nurturing and inspiring students, we know that the pipeline diminishes their educational opportunities and life trajectories.
“The school-to-prison pipeline deprives students of color of their futures by pushing them out of school and its pathway to college and careers, and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems,” our policy statement attests. There’s plenty of evidence of the racial disparities in how harsh punishments are meted out to students. But there is also a disproportionate impact on students who identify as LGBTQ, students with disabilities and students who are English Language Learners. 
Some of the actions that feed into the school to prison pipeline include:
  • harsh school discipline policies that overuse suspension and expulsion.
  • subjective and/or biased discipline policies.
  • increased policing and surveillance, and the use of physical elements of prisons, such as windows with bars, that create prison-like environments in schools.
  • over-reliance on referrals to law enforcement and juvenile justice systems.
  • an alienating and punitive high-stakes, test-driven academic environment.
We’ve been working to shut down the pipeline for several years.  And just last fall, over 500 activists from across the nation joined an NEA phone call to talk about alternatives to the disciplinary practices that turn some of our most We spend more to jail our kids than to educate them. It's time we stop - Lily's Blackboard:

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