Sunday, September 10, 2006

MNPS Discipline Charts 2005-06

I'm linking to the discipline charts included in the 9/12/06 Agenda packet provided to the Metropolitan Nashville Public School Board of Education. There is no good reason that this information isn't already uploaded to the MNPS website for citizens to access. The complete BOE agenda should always be published as soon as it's made available to the BOE members so that citizens can start participating in the process and start communicating with their BOE representatives about these issues.

There are a good number of citizens that believe, rightly or wrongly, that many many MNPS schools are unsafe. So here we have, at least, some information with which to continue the conversation. I'm sure there are mitigating factors, explanations, provisos and other 'good reasons' these charts are going to be misunderstood. I welcome clarification. I'd love to see how these statistics are viewed by the Metropolitan Police Department and how they jibe with their statistics.

Obviously missing from these charts is specific school identification. Parents and the community want and need to know which schools are safe and which are not. It's not really helpful to the conversation to not provide that specific school by school breakdown.

Here's the actual Monitoring Report by Dr. Garcia and his staff regarding EE 15 - Student Learning Environment/Discipline. He asserts that the district is in compliance with the BOE's expectations regarding truancy, safety and conduct. You'll find the expectations the BOE has enumerated at the beginning of this document.

2005-06 Discipline Charts
by Cluster:
.pdf documents

Hunters Lane
Magnet Schools
Whites Creek

Chart "Comparison of Total Discipline Events" 2004-05 and 2005-06


Tom said...

Good info (well good to have access).

I really wish these data were also aggregated by gender. Many more of these infractions are committed by boys. We as a society (with the school system as a huge part) have to discuss this- if we are going to declare (as we should) that these numbers and acts are unacceptable, we have to acknowledge that something is missing in our rearing of our boys.

My second point on how to deal with this: currently the dominant dialogue about these problems at a system level is a tug of war over suspensions. Central office says to principals: lower your suspension rate. Teachers send repeatedly unruly students to the office (so they can continue with class), students are marginally punished, depending on the seriousness of it, and are often sent back to class with a message to the teacher: deal with it. Principals and teachers sometimes see themselves as adversaries on the discipline front- in which cases little will ever improve. And again, Central Office's solution is essentially to manipulate the numbers rather than raise young men and women.

A few things need to be asserted, and there's enough to ruffle everybody's feathers:

1. Principals need to spend more of their time helping teachers become better classroom managers to reduce poor student discipline. Quality teaching will keep students more engaged and less likely to get into trouble. Teachers with too many discipline problems need to suck it up and be a part of the solution. If principals can help teachers become better classroom managers, both discipline AND instruction will improve. And principals might be able to get out of the office every once and a while.

2. Central Office needs to realize that sometimes, behavior is so serious that the punishment must be severe, and the students removed- numbers and graduation rates be "darned." Sometimes we can go too far to save those who really have no interest in being saved, and we sacrifice the time of those students who are really making efforts to learn.

Yikes! This got long.

Kay Brooks said...

But well worth the time to read. You could have gone on--ruffle away. :-)

There is a good bit of discussion going on about the behavior of our boys. In the current system people who are compliant, willing to sit still and use their indoor voices do 'better' than many boys who are merely being--well, boys. There are, I believe, some general gender differences that we need to work with. There are efforts to segregate the genders and there has been some success.

Certainly I agree that classroom management is a huge issue.

And I'd take a lower graduation rate if it meant that the rest of the children were much safer and able to focus on the task of learning without the distractions of the unruly.

Is some of this the result of free school and compulsory attendance? It's free so they don't appreciate it--don't own it. And it's forced and so they resent it?