Confessions of a black school reformer

Mar 19, 2013 by

By Natalie Hopkinson –

The principal wanted the boy expelled.

“We can’t teach every child because Clarence is a terror,” he pleaded to the discipline committee. “He disrupts the environment.”

But the CEO of the charter school network balked. “Terror? He’s a 9th-grader who got into a fight. What about the bottom line? We don’t get rid of kids for childish behavior. We teach them.”

The CEO, who like the principal, was a black man with a Ph.D added: “You know what happens to boys who are expelled. They’re out of school with nothing constructive to do. Eventually they see judges…This is about giving kids a chance.”

This exchange, described in “The Garden Path: The Miseducation of a City,” written by Andre M. Perry, was fictional. But as revelations about mass expulsions at D.C. charter schools revealed, how to discipline is one of the realest, toughest calls reforming schools have to make.

Confessions of a black school reformer.

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