Instead of School Suspensions, Let’s Listen to Kids

Published by EducationNews.org — Kicking out the disruptive kids is convenient.  But what do we, or they, learn from it? Allow me to say right off the top that I believe each out-of-school suspension is a symptom of a mental or social issue.  I’d call them symptoms of disease, but some are more like sniffles. In […]

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Mental Health Does Not Mean Mental Illness

Published by EducationNews.org — Why the paucity of information about maintaining good mental health? I’m sure the ex-Congressman Patrick Kennedy had little to do with the copywriting for his new website, One Mind.  But I wish he’d read it more closely.  Kennedy has done great service lending his celebrity to advocating for the mentally ill in […]

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What If South Carolina’s Body-Slammed Teen Had Been Treated Restoratively?

Published by EducationNews.org — There may be no good excuse for disrupting class, but a punitive response can just exacerbate the problem. Restorative practices are simple tools for handling conflict in ways that maximize the possibility of a happy ending.  The practices are habits of the mind and heart.  So let’s revisit last October’s nasty incident at […]

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New Year’s Resolution: Take the Time to Restore Kids’ Lives

Published by EducationNews.org — Do we leave problems to fester, or do we put in the effort, unpack the problem and come up with answers? A few years ago a kid we’ll call Leon transferred from a big urban district to the small, even poorer district where I consult on restorative practices.  As a 7th grader, Leon was small […]

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Christmas Is About Belonging to the ‘We of Me’

Published by EducationNews.org — Sadly, in our fragmented society, adults often find families optional.  Not the kids. In one of my favorite plays, Carson McCullers’ Member of the Wedding, 12-year-old Frankie is frantic with loneliness.  She calls herself “unjoined.”  Her mother died in her childbirth; her father has little attention for her.  She craves membership […]

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Why the Every Student Succeeds Act Will Never Work

Published by EducationNews.org — Can we really expect education to improve while the mental health of the students continues to deteriorate? Given the battlefield that is our current Congress, congratulations to them are in order for agreeing on anything.  Together, miraculously, they revamped the old 2001 No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).  NCLB was loathed from the get-go.  […]

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Restore Kindergarten to Boost Social Skills

Published by EducationNews.org — What’s most fun for young kids is also what best prepares them for success.  So why are schools eliminating playtime? Picture wriggly, shrieky, busy 5-year-olds exploring the kindergarten play yard’s treasures.  The sandbox brims with budding builders, diggers, landscape designers.  Some kids need mostly to run and scream.  Others settle into […]

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Thanks to My Sons, Who Got Me Involved in Schools

Published by EducationNews.org — Thanksgiving, another basic Restorative Practice. Per tradition, this year at Thanksgiving dinner we’ll go around the table and say what we’re grateful for this year.  Likely many families do this, driven by the mom or whoever is feeling under-appreciated, or wanting to call out the brats for being spoiled. Giving thanks is […]

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A Small Gesture Toward Spreading Higher Ed Wealth

Published by EducationNews.org — As the richest universities get richer, taxpayers subsidize the inequity Consider for a moment that almost 90 colleges and universities have endowments of a billion – that’s with a “B” — dollars or more. At 5% interest, a billion earns $50 million a year. Harvard, of course, is the big winner at nearly $37 […]

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Dominic Barter: Respect Means to Look Again

Published by EducationNews.org — We live in a super-aggressive world.  Those who want peace must be able to walk towards the conflict. I have hated the word “respect.”  What does it mean?  It grates constantly as it’s overused in political discourse, the media, discipline conversations and among co-workers.  Especially annoying are those posters in school hallways demanding […]

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