Under Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City has made it much harder for principals to suspend students for defiance and disobedience, writes Stephen Eide in a look at the progressive mayor’s education policies.
Believers in the “school-to-prison pipeline,” progressives nationwide are trying to limit suspensions, he writes in Education Next.
“While below-proficient students are believed to benefit the most from a lower suspension rate, those who have the most to lose are the above-proficient, low-income strivers,” writes Eide.
The De Blasio administration claims school crime has fallen by 29 percent over four years. However, Families for Excellent Schools cites state data showing rising levels of violent incidents.
There are only four “persistently dangerous” schools in the city, down by 85 percent, the administration claimed last month. The school-safety agents union head pointed out that not a single high school had made the list, notes Eide.
In May 2016, the New York Post reported that school-safety agents and police officers had confiscated 26 percent more weapons from students during this past school year than over the same span in 2014–15.
In a recent teachers’ union survey, “more than 80 percent of the respondents said students in their schools lost learning time as a result of other disruptive students.”
De Blasio is trying to close the achievement gap through “turnarounds instead of closures, heavy emphasis on addressing the ‘root causes’ of K–12 underperformance through pre-kindergarten education and social services, less antagonistic relations with the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), and more-relaxed school-discipline policies,” writes Eide. “The results have been something less than revolutionary. “