Latest News and Comment from Education

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

California’s Charter School Led CBE Invasion | tultican

California’s Charter School Led CBE Invasion | tultican:

California’s Charter School Led CBE Invasion

This January (2016), Fortune Magazine announced that Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, has launched a new $100-million-dollar fund to support education initiatives and other groups. The notice goes on to state:
“Hastings is the fund’s sole trustee while Neerav Kingsland, the former CEO of charter school supporter New Schools for New Orleans, is serving as CEO. The fund’s website explains its philanthropic mission: “Currently, too many children do not have access to amazing schools. Our aim is to partner with communities to significantly increase the number of students who have access to rich and holistic educational experiences.”
The “rich and holistic educational experience” is to be delivered by charter schools employing competency based education (CBE).
Competency Based Education
The United States Department of Education promotes and describes CBE:
 “Transitioning away from seat time, in favor of a structure that creates flexibility, allows students to progress as they demonstrate mastery of academic content, regardless of time, place, or pace of learning. Competency-based strategies provide flexibility in the way that credit can be earned or awarded, and provide students with personalized learning opportunities. These strategies include online and blended learning, dual enrollment and early college high schools, project-based and community-based learning, and credit recovery, among others.”
 Instead of a structured course with a teacher, students will log into a computer and earn badges for demonstrating competencies in an online environment. “Personalized learning opportunities” is a euphemism for a computer based course delivered in isolation.
It is a terrible idea! The last thing a 21st Century student needs is to be shoved in front of another inert digital device. Students need to interact with “highly qualified” certificated teachers, adults who they can trust. Students need to; measure, calculate, weight, work in small groups, discuss ideas, write, and get professional feedback. Students need structure, stability and direction. None of this is provided online.
Technology in education is more of an expensive mirage than a useful tool and competency based education (CBE) is fool’s gold.
In 2003, I took the state of California’s 52-hour life insurance course. That meant 52 hours of seat time with an insurance industry veteran who made the subject California’s Charter School Led CBE Invasion | tultican:

There’s a disturbing side to Kaya Henderson’s legacy of progress in D.C. Public Schools - The Washington Post

There’s a disturbing side to Kaya Henderson’s legacy of progress in D.C. Public Schools - The Washington Post:

There’s a disturbing side to Kaya Henderson’s legacy of progress in D.C. Public Schools

For nearly a decade, Kaya Henderson has been a commanding presence in the D.C. Public Schools system. In 2007, she became an influential deputy chancellor under the famous (some would say infamous) Michelle Rhee, and in 2010 Henderson succeeded Rhee as chancellor. She was praised by Arne Duncan when he was U.S. education secretary, and the school system became seen as a national example for corporate-modeled school reform, which emphasized high-stakes tests and private philanthropy. First Rhee, and then Henderson, had more power than any D.C. schools chief ever, and on Oct. 1, when Henderson steps down, she will be leaving behind a powerful legacy.
But what is that legacy? She certainly made some progress in improving the system, but was it enough for the time and money spent? What was her impact on academic improvement, student and educator assessment, teacher and principal recruitment and retention, and the overall teaching and learning culture? What does the system that she leaves look like — and is that what the city’s residents want?
When Rhee quit in a huff after her patron, then Mayor Adrian Fenty (D), was defeated in the 2010 Democratic primary, Henderson took the reins amid a sigh of relief among many in the city who saw her as a less-divisive school reformer who said she wanted to collaborate with educators and the community. Nobody expected Henderson to be as vitriolic or as public a personality as Rhee — who famously appeared on the cover of Time magazine wielding a broom — and Henderson never did, proving far more likable and thoughtful.
Today Henderson’s biography on the district website says that the D.C. system became the “the fastest-improving urban school district in the country” under her leadership. That depends on the metrics one chooses to consider.
It’s true that student test scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress — sometimes called “the nation’s report card” —  are higher than when she became chancellor and made the biggest jump of any participating urban school district; scores published in 2015 found that fourth-grade scores had moved from the bottom of large urban districts in 2007 to the middle (though eighth-grade scores were still near the bottom.)
High school graduation rates have moved up during her tenure, from 53 percent in 2001 to 64 There’s a disturbing side to Kaya Henderson’s legacy of progress in D.C. Public Schools - The Washington Post:

Jersey Jazzman: Christie Visits ANOTHER Gulen-Linked Charter School

Jersey Jazzman: Christie Visits ANOTHER Gulen-Linked Charter School:

Christie Visits ANOTHER Gulen-Linked Charter School

 There are times when I am astonished that the press doesn't pick up on a particular story. For example: according to activists on Facebook, Chris Christie is having a private meeting tomorrow, June 30, 2016, at Paterson Charter School for Science and Technology.

If this is the case, it will be the third time since this spring that Chris Christie has visited a charter school linked to the controversial Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish expatriate living in seclusion in the United States.

On May 16, Christie visited Thomas Edison EnergySmart Charter School in Franklin. Two days later, he trekked to Bergen Arts & Sciences Charter School in Hackensack. Thomas EdisonBergen A&S, and Paterson Science & Tech have all been linked by the Gulen Charter Schools website to the Gulenist movement in the US.

As I've written previously, the proliferation of Gulenist charter schools is not some wild-eyed conspiracy theory: it's been reported on by CBS NewsThe AtlanticThe New York Times, and The Wall St. Journal. These schools, all linked to Gulen's movement, have been popping up all over the country and are the subject of concerns expressed by the federal State Department due to their use of H1B visas to admit Turkish nationals into the US.

Given how closely tied Christie is to Donald Trump -- who wants a ban on Muslims entering the country (although even he doesn't seem to understand his own plan) -- I can't understand why no one in the state press has pursued this story. Why is Christie praising so many Gulen-linked charters? Why is he visiting so many of them?

Back in 2011, Leslie Brody, when she was writing for The Recordbroached the subject with the CEO of Bergen A&S:
In some states, such as Texas, charter schools led by Turkish immigrants have caused controversy, with critics claiming the schools were used to bring in teachers from Turkey and give contracts to Turkish businesses without fair bidding. In June, The New York Times ran a lengthy examination of these schools, citing some researchers' findings that many were inspired by the views of Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim preacher. Gulen, who lives in the Pocono Mountains, has promoted peaceful dialogue and tolerance but had critics who feared his influence in Turkish government. 
Guvercin said he admires Gulen — just as he admires Gandhi — but his 
Jersey Jazzman: Christie Visits ANOTHER Gulen-Linked Charter School:


Big Education Ape: KILLING ED: 120 American Charter Schools and One Secretive Turkish Cleric -

New York Times Columnist Charles Blow to Discuss Child Poverty at 2016 Children’s Budget Summit | First Focus

New York Times Columnist Charles Blow to Discuss Child Poverty at 2016 Children’s Budget Summit | First Focus:

New York Times Columnist Charles Blow to Discuss Child Poverty at 2016 Children’s Budget Summit

Washington – New York Times columnist and CNN contributor Charles Blow will talk about the intersection of child poverty and race at the 2016 Children’s Budget Summit, an annual event hosted by First Focus, at noon Thursday, July 7, at the National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, Washington, D.C.
Held annually to discuss the effect that current federal expenditures have on the impact of programs and policies that benefit the wellbeing of children, the theme of this year’s Children’s Budget Summit is“Place, Race and Economy: Closing the Gap for Kids.”
“We’re very excited to welcome Charles Blow to talk about his perspective of the challenges that children in America face today,” said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus. “For many years, Mr. Blow has contributed insightful and poignant commentary on the state of children, the politics of investing in children, and the intersection of the wellbeing of youth, race, and social justice.”
According to the 2016 Children’s Budget Book – to be released at the Children’s Budget Summit – Congress has disproportionately cut funding to children’s programs to just 7.83 percent of the federal budget in fiscal year 2016, a continuing downward trend in investment for children that could be exacerbated by the nation’s growing racial generation gap. Already, states with the highest racial generation gaps have fared poorly in investing in children’s programs, such as education.
“When you take into account a state’s wealth, it is clear that states with a high racial generation gap provide far less effort in funding and support for their state’s public schools than the rest of the country,” Lesley writes in the 2016 Children’s Budget Book. “We must examine a range of public policy choices to redress the generational compact between generations, along with policy decisions in areas such as housing and education that have the negative consequence of creating a greater generational divide.”
The Children’s Budget Summit will feature a diverse panel of speakers who will discuss the state of children in the context of today’s politics, the current economy, and racial equity, including:
  • William Frey, Demographer, The Brookings Institution
  • Kristen Grimm, President, Spitfire Communications
  • Bruce Lesley, President, First Focus
Several members of Congress – 2015 First Focus Campaign for Children “Champions and Defenders of Children” – have also been invited to attend. Past Children’s Budget Summit speakers have included U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan-Grisham, D-N.M.
The Children’s Budget Summit is open to the press and public, but seats are limited. A networking session with complimentary beverages will follow the summit from 4 to 5:30 p.m., at the Press Club. RSVP today.
What: 2016 Children’s Budget Summit, “Place, Race, and Economy: Closing the Gap for Kids.”
Who: New York Times Columnist and CNN Contributor Charles Blow, Spitfire Communications President Kristen Grimm, First Focus President Bruce Lesley
When: Noon to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, July 7
Where: National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, Washington, D.C.
RSVPClick here or e-mail
First Focus is a bipartisan advocacy organization dedicated to making children and families a priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visit
New York Times Columnist Charles Blow to Discuss Child Poverty at 2016 Children’s Budget Summit | First Focus:


CURMUDGUCATION: Relatively Pregnant

CURMUDGUCATION: Relatively Pregnant:
Relatively Pregnant

I totally owe this post to Pondiscio's tweet.

First, I share his pet peeve (even though I'm not prepared to bet anything valuable that I've never violated it). You are unique or you're not. You are pregnant or you're not. There is no relatively unique, relatively pregnant.

Put another way, when you got to the doctor to see if you're pregnant or not, the doctor does not say, "Well, let me draw some blood. As soon as I've collected samples from a few hundred other women, I'll be able to decide whether you're relatively pregnant or not."  No, there is no "relatively pregnant." 

You take the test. You find out whether or not you're pregnant. You are just as pregnant when you take the test alone as you are when you take it at the same time as thousand so of other women. 

Yes, this is yet another way to look at the difference between standards-referenced and norm-referenced testing.

If the Big Standardized Test (PARCC, SBA, PSSA, MOUSE, ETC) were truly a standards-referenced test, a student could take the test and know if she were proficient or not. And that is the implied promise of the BS Tests-- that they will measure proficiency against a standard.

But if that were true, we would not need thousands of students to take the test. One student, alone, 
CURMUDGUCATION: Relatively Pregnant:

Safeguarding Student Data in a Digital World

Safeguarding Student Data in a Digital World:

Safeguarding Student Data in a Digital World

When it comes to student data, striking the right balance between collection, analysis, privacy, and security can be complicated. A new policy brief released by the National Education Association (NEA) offers recommendations on how data can be used for good with policies and systems that prevent it from being used for ill.
Collecting student data isn’t new, and the goals are often lofty – data helps identify potential problems early and can allow educators to personalize learning and create more targeted instruction. But unfortunately the data can be used for less noble goals.
Some private companies collecting the data have shared, sold and mined it for profit. For example, in Arizona and Tennessee, health care provider chains inappropriately gained access to student information and used the information to market services to parents.
The main problem with the practice of collecting student data for monitoring and improving student performance, according to the report, is that statutory protection hasn’t kept pace with the technology.
Flaws in Federal Laws
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) limits the circumstances under which a school, district, or state education agency (SEA) may disclose personally identifiable information (PII), and requires schools to inform parents of their right to review and correct their children’s records. It also empowers parents to opt out of disclosure of information for purposes not specifically authorized by the law.
But FERPA does not require parental notification or consent for disclosure of educational records to contractors, consultants, and others over whom the educational institution exercises control.
Those conducting research, developing or evaluating assessments, or administering student aid programs may also be granted access, the report finds, provided PII is not disclosed to anyone beyond representatives of the organization, and such information is destroyed when no longer needed.
The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) requires school districts to work with parents to develop policies regarding the collection, use, and disclosure of Safeguarding Student Data in a Digital World:

NY Times Publishes Major Expose of Detroit’s Charter School Catastrophe | janresseger

NY Times Publishes Major Expose of Detroit’s Charter School Catastrophe | janresseger:

NY Times Publishes Major Expose of Detroit’s Charter School Catastrophe

Kate Zernike’s extraordinary expose in yesterday’s NY Times about K-12 education in Detroit, Michigan is a must-read.  The headline describes the reality today in Detroit: For Detroit’s Children, More School Choice but Not Better Schools.  This post will summarize Zernike’s critique, but you’ll need to read her piece to learn how Detroit’s school-choice realities are being felt by the city’s poorest parents—who must spend hours delivering their children to schools spread across the 140 square mile school district where public transportation is inadequate and many charters do not provide any busing.  You’ll also learn how unregulated, awful schools are truncating the futures of the children Zernike profiles.
Zernike narrates the history of Detroit’s school marketplace.  In 1993, John Engler, Michigan’s “free-market-inclined governor,” “embraced the idea of creating schools that were publicly financed but independently run….” “Michigan leapt at the promise of charter schools 23 years ago, betting big that choice and competition would improve public schools.  It got competition, and chaos. Detroit schools have long been in decline academically and financially. But over the past five years, divisive politics and educational ideology and a scramble for money have combined to produce a public education fiasco that is perhaps unparalleled in the United States. While the idea was to foster academic competition, the unchecked growth of charters has created a glut of schools competing for some of the nation’s poorest students, enticing them to enroll with cash bonuses, laptops, raffle tickets for iPads and bicycles. Leaders of charter and traditional schools alike say they are being cannibalized, fighting so hard over students and the limited public dollars that follow them that no one thrives.”
Lack of regulation was a cornerstone of school choice in Detroit from the very beginning. School districts, community colleges and public universities can authorize and supposedly oversee charter schools, and they get an incentive of 3 percent of the state dollars paid to each charter school they sponsor.  “And only they—not the governor, not the state commissioner or board of education—could shut down failing schools.”  Eighty percent of Michigan’s charter schools are operated by for-profit management companies: “The companies and those who grant the charters became major lobbying forces for unfettered growth of the schools, as did some of the state’s biggest Republican donors. Sometimes they were one and the same, as with J.C. Huizenga, a Grand Rapids entrepreneur who founded Michigan’s largest charter school operator, the for-profit National Heritage Academies.  Two of the biggest players in Michigan politics, Betsy and Dick DeVos—she the former head of the state Republican Party, he the heir to the Amway fortune and a 2006 candidate for governor—established the Great Lakes Educational Project, which became the state’s most pugnacious protector of the charter school NY Times Publishes Major Expose of Detroit’s Charter School Catastrophe | janresseger:

Cost of SBAC testing in Connecticut is unconscionable, unnecessary (by John Bestor) - Wait What?

Cost of SBAC testing in Connecticut is unconscionable, unnecessary (by John Bestor) - Wait What?:

Cost of SBAC testing in Connecticut is unconscionable, unnecessary (by John Bestor)

Connecticut educator and education advocate, John Bestor, has written another powerful commentary piece, this time dealing with the utter waste of scarce taxpayer funds on the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium SBAC testing scheme that is designed to fail a vast number of our state’s children.
With Governor Malloy implementing unprecedented cuts to vital state services, including public education, Malloy and the legislature should have started out by eliminating the funding for the SBAC testing scheme…long before the attacked the programs that are really helping Connecticut’s children, parents, teachers and public schools.
Published in the CTMirror and entitled, Cost of SBAC testing in Connecticut is unconscionable, unnecessaryBestor writes;
Education activists have been speaking out and pushing back against the misguided Common Core State Standards and the flawed Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) statewide test protocol for several years now, as they have become more aware of the billionaire-driven, media-complicit, and politically-entrenched “corporate education reform” agenda.
Although the computer-adaptive Smarter Balanced Assessment remains unproven and developmentally-inappropriate, proponents of the controversial test have been unable to demonstrate that SBAC is a 
Cost of SBAC testing in Connecticut is unconscionable, unnecessary (by John Bestor) - Wait What?:

US Supreme Court Overturns Former VA Gov. Bob McDonnell’s Conviction– and the Decision Has Implications for NY’s Silver and Skelos Convictions | deutsch29

US Supreme Court Overturns Former VA Gov. Bob McDonnell’s Conviction– and the Decision Has Implications for NY’s Silver and Skelos Convictions | deutsch29:

US Supreme Court Overturns Former VA Gov. Bob McDonnell’s Conviction– and the Decision Has Implications for NY’s Silver and Skelos Convictions

On Monday, June 27, 2016, the US Supreme Court vacated the lower-court conviction of former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell over the issue of how the term “official act” was (in the Court’s view) too broadly interpreted.
As CNN recaps, McDonnell was convicted in 2014 for “receiving gifts, money, and loans from Jonnie R. Williams, the CEO of a Virginia-based company, in exchange for official acts seen as favorable to Williams and his business.”
Williams, who was CEO of Star Scientific, Inc., later resigned as a result of the controversy raised in connection with McDonnell and another elected official.
Below are excerpts from the Supreme Court’s opinion in McDonnell vs. United States:
In 2014, the Federal Government indicted former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife, Maureen McDonnell, on bribery charges. The charges related to the acceptance by the McDonnells of $175,000 in loans, gifts, and other benefits from Virginia businessman Jonnie Williams, while Governor McDonnell was in office. Williams was the chief executive officer of Star Scientific, a Virginia-based company that had developed a nutritional supplement made from anatabine, a compound found in tobacco. Star Scientific hoped that Virginia’s public universities would perform research studies on anatabine, and Williams wanted Governor McDonnell’s assistance in obtaining those studies. To convict the McDonnells of bribery, the Government was required to show that Governor McDonnell committed (or agreed to commit) an “official act” in exchange for the loans and gifts. The parties did not agree, however, on what counts as an “official act.” The Government alleged in the indictment, and maintains on appeal, that Governor McDonnell committed at least five “official acts.” Those acts included “arranging meetings” for Williams with other Virginia officials to discuss Star Scientific’s product, “hosting” events for Star Scientific at the Governor’s Mansion, and “contacting other government officials” concerning studies of anatabine. … The Government also argued more broadly that these 
US Supreme Court Overturns Former VA Gov. Bob McDonnell’s Conviction– and the Decision Has Implications for NY’s Silver and Skelos Convictions | deutsch29:

Cartoons: A Mix This Month | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Cartoons: A Mix This Month | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice:

Cartoons: A Mix This Month

Over the past seven years, I have published monthly cartoons on various aspects of policy and practice, school reform, etc. This month, the cartoons are a mix of ones that tickled me over the year. Yeah, I know, these choices tilt toward life in a digital world. So be it. Enjoy!

parents-kids Groupon











“The reforms are introduced with blood”–A Oaxaca teacher on the life and death struggle against the testocracy | I AM AN EDUCATOR

“The reforms are introduced with blood”–A Oaxaca teacher on the life and death struggle against the testocracy | I AM AN EDUCATOR:

“The reforms are introduced with blood”–A Oaxaca teacher on the life and death struggle against the testocracy

"The reforms are introduced with blood," mural in Oaxaca, Mexico in 2016. A. S. Dillingham
“The reforms are introduced with blood,” mural in Oaxaca, Mexico in 2016. A. S. Dillingham

 The teachers in Oaxaca, Mexico have been setting the international standard for social movement unionism and the defense of public education for many years.

In her 2005 release of Granito de Arena, my friend, award-winning Seattle filmmaker Jill Freidberg, captured the story of hundreds of thousands of public schoolteachers in Oaxaca who have built a powerful grassroots movement, endured brutal repression over some 25-years of struggle for social and economic justice in Mexico’s public schools.
In 2013, when teachers at my school refused to administer the MAP test as an act of defiance to the corporate education reform test-and-punish agenda, I was worried about the consequences that such an action could have. I also remember talking with other teachers about the fact that if the teachers in Oaxaca could build barricades in the streets to defend their schools from corporate takeover, we could manage to organize the MAP boycott. And, in fact, teachers from Oaxaca came to our aid, writing the Seattle boycotting teachers a letter of solidarity.
Today, the struggle to stop the abuses of standardized testing of teachers and other corporate reforms in Oaxaca has literally become a life and death struggle with police officers brutallygunning downing at least eight protesters, including community members and teachers (for information about sending letters of protest, please visit the NPE site).
My good friend Shane Dillingham recently moved to Oaxaca, Mexico where he is working on a book about the history of indigenous struggle in the region.   Shane conducted this remarkable interview for Jacobin magazine with René González Pizarro, a Oaxacan teacher and union member, to discuss the impact of corporate education reform, union democracy and this history of his local 22 in the struggle for social justice.


The connection between Brexit, education and the race for U.S. president - The Washington Post

The connection between Brexit, education and the race for U.S. president - The Washington Post:

The connection between Brexit, education and the race for U.S. president

Here’s a piece on the connection between Brexit, education and the race for U.S. president, written by Marc Tucker, president and chief executive officer of the National Center on Education and the Economy, a non-profit policy analysis and development organization based in Washington D.C. He researches and writes about the policies and practices of countries with the best education systems in the world. In 2014, the Education Commission of the States awarded him the James Bryant Conant award for his contribution to American education. His most recent book is “Surpassing Shanghai: An Agenda for American Education Built on the World’s Leading Systems.

By Marc S. Tucker
We are told that the narrow majority of voters in the British referendum on staying in the European Union were mainly working people with less education than those who voted for staying in the Union.  We are also told that almost every economic expert who weighed in on the controversy, irrespective of their politics, said that the British economy would suffer if Britain left the E.U. and that the very people most likely to vote for exit were those likely to be hurt the most.  But, evidently, the winning side did not care what the experts had to say and voted for exit anyway.
What are we to make of this?  I think a majority of Brits have lost confidence in both their political leadership and the experts, from both parties—the leaders of both the Labor Party and the Conservatives came down hard on the side of staying in the EU.  For years, these ordinary, working class Brits have heard their leaders talk about the benefits of trade and of being in the E.U. (which amounts to the same thing, since being in the European Union was sold mainly on the benefits of free trade inside the Union).
While they saw their country benefiting, the benefits did not flow down to them.  They saw the City—Britain’s hugely powerful financial establishment—getting fabulously rich, they saw the price of real estate in London going so high they could no longer afford to live there, and they saw many in the south of England getting ever more wealthy, too.  But not them, not the working stiffs from the midlands and the north who made things and fixed things and sold things in small retail shops.  They saw Polish plumbers taking their jobs and British car companies getting sold off to global companies without a British nameplate and their jobs in that industry disappearing.  Somebody was getting rich for sure, but it was not them.
The experts had long argued that free trade with the world and access to the European market on insider terms would be good for Britain and the politicians had agreed.  Were the experts wrong?  No, they were right.  In the aggregate, trade has worked for Britain.  But who cares about the aggregate if you are among those in the aggregate who are getting hurt, who are working harder and harder every year and getting less and less as others are becoming fabulously wealthy.
Years ago, the Labor Party could be counted on to represent the interests of the coal miners and the truck drivers and retail clerks and plumbers.  After all, most of them, or at least their The connection between Brexit, education and the race for U.S. president - The Washington Post:

Is School Violence on the Rise—and Is Restorative Justice Actually Working? - The Atlantic

Is School Violence on the Rise—and Is Restorative Justice Actually Working? - The Atlantic:

​​​​​​​Is Discipline Reform Really Helping Decrease School Violence? 

A lack of concrete information about student misconduct—and how to address it—may be hindering efforts to make campuses safer.

The allegations sound like a parent’s nightmare. Roughly two dozen children at New York City schools were hit, kicked, and bullied by fellow students while administrators stood by, according to a recent class-action lawsuit.
“The data we have seen shows a clear and undeniable escalation of violence in New York City schools,” said Jim Walden, an attorney for the plaintiffs in the suit, which is being backed by the charter-school advocacy group Families for Excellent Schools. The suit claims that the New York City Education Department isn’t doing enough to stop the violence.
The complaint details a litany of violent behavior. In one case, a 9-year-old boy in an East Harlem school was repeatedly bullied even when the teacher was in the classroom. The bully, according to the lawsuit, “repeatedly kicked him on his body, and verbally harassed him.” The boy’s mother tried to get the principal to intervene but was allegedly met with indifference.
The suit is among the signs of rising concern about violence in schools, partly driven by mass shootings like the one in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012. In response to such fears, school administrators are instituting a wide range of tactics to boost safety, including by installing metal detectors and hiring security guards. Schools are also turning to social-reform programs such as those that embrace the restorative-justice model, an approach that emphasizes bringing together the perpetrators and victims of misconduct through meetings and discussions.
But a lack of hard data and conflicting views on safety measures make it difficult to assess whether school violence is in fact increasing—and whether those measures are actually effective. Some observers worry that the absence of concrete information and confusion over the amount of violence in schools are hindering efforts to reduce violence and bullying.
Despite the concerns expressed by parents like those in the lawsuit, many experts say that the incidence of school violence is dropping. New York City school officials contend that violence on campus is on the decline, a trend that experts say is mirrored across the country.  
At the local level, statistics on school violence can vary depending on the source. Walden pointed to state statistics showing that the number of violent episodes in New York City schools rose 23 percent from the 2013-14 school year to the one that ended in June 2015. But the New York City school administration uses police data showing that crime in the city’s schools declined 29 percent from the 2011–12 school year to the 2014–15 year. Some observers have said that the state data does not make a distinction between minor disciplinary problems in schools and more Is School Violence on the Rise—and Is Restorative Justice Actually Working? - The Atlantic: