Chronically Misbehaving Kids Suffer Mental and Social Disease

Published by — Sometimes these students get a chance to  shake off the ‘bad kid’ self-image.  Too often not. Naturally, Faina Davis, a lawyer and head of Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY), would have a happy-ish story about what happens when troubled kids connect with adults who practice Restorative Justice.  Far more often, kidsContinue reading “Chronically Misbehaving Kids Suffer Mental and Social Disease”

Only America Refuses to Sign the Children’s Rights Treaty

Published by — Seriously?  Are we so divided that we can’t even agree on taking care of the kids? I can’t imagine a clearer set of ideals for the modern world than those set forth in the United Nations’ 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child.  The document’s 41 Articles are the conditions ofContinue reading “Only America Refuses to Sign the Children’s Rights Treaty”

School Suspensions Model the Wrong Behavior for Students

Published by — By our actions, we teach intolerance. Last week we looked at reasons why kids misbehave — how sometimes they can’t or they won’t act in community-appropriate ways.  Whether it’s a choice for them or not, it’s always a big pain for the people around them. So this week we’ll look at theContinue reading “School Suspensions Model the Wrong Behavior for Students”

Instead of School Suspensions, Let’s Listen to Kids

Published by — 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. InContinue reading “Instead of School Suspensions, Let’s Listen to Kids”

Restorative Justice Concludes Ugly Dalhousie Facebook Scandal

Published by — Lessons learned, when Dalhousie University gave victims the opportunity to face their offenders and decide the consequences. The nasty social-media scandal caused by male 4th year students at the Dalhousie University Dental School has resolved.  Victims, offenders and relevant faculty participated in a restorative-justice (RJ) process for five painful months.  In conclusion, theyContinue reading “Restorative Justice Concludes Ugly Dalhousie Facebook Scandal”

Recidivism is Expensive, Let’s Try Something Else

Published by — Trying to punish people into compliance costs a lot, and more importantly, doesn’t work. This is our third look at how Judge Pamela Williams, in her mental health court in Nova Scotia, successfully kept offenders from further contact with police, courts, and jail.  Using the CoSA model — see last week’s column — sheContinue reading “Recidivism is Expensive, Let’s Try Something Else”

#Cut50 Aims to Halve Prison Population in 10 Years

Published by — Is record-breaking mass incarceration, mainly of men of color, really okay with most Americans? Photo: — Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, Van Jones and Newt Gingrich. Van Jones is the President and co-founder of Dream Corps, a Civil Rights advocacy group.  Jones got his law degree from Yale, writes best-selling books, has servedContinue reading “#Cut50 Aims to Halve Prison Population in 10 Years”

What Does Mass Incarceration Say About American Democracy?

Published by — How we chose to build up the largest prison population in the world. America’s torrid love affair with jails and prisons is hardly breaking news.  Since the late 1990s, academics called for the end of mass incarceration because their data revealed shameful racial disparities.  Fat lot of good it’s done.  Now we’re upContinue reading “What Does Mass Incarceration Say About American Democracy?”

Punishment is Not Discipline

Published by — The end result of bad discipline strategy is prisons stuffed with high school drop-outs. Recently Eva Moskowitz took to the Wall Street Journal to blast New York Mayor Bill de Blasio for promoting what she calls “lax discipline” in City schools.  Her op-ed outright sneers at his efforts to expand disciplinary strategiesContinue reading “Punishment is Not Discipline”

A Punitive Mindset Ruins Good Testing Data

Published by — Standardized tests are fantastically useful.  But schools can’t be harangued, threatened or sanctioned into improvement. The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our standardized achievement testing, but in what we do with said testing.  Achievement data are fantastically useful.  These days virtually every industry collects and analyses the best information available to make smartContinue reading “A Punitive Mindset Ruins Good Testing Data”