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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

DCPS open mouth insert foot

I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Was that actually Deputy Superintendent Patricia Willis claiming the school district through it’s out of school suspension centers is responsible for the crime rate in our city going down? Such chutzpah, such hubris, such a disconnect from reality. Also is that juvenile arrests in general she mentions are down or just arrests at schools because if it is the later, it might be because the district assumed control of the police officers at them. Finally is she not watching the same news or reading the same papers as the rest of us because barely a few days go by before reports of some child committing some horrific crime are broadcast or published.

She wants the district to take credit for those things but at the same time she joins the others at 1701 Prudential drive in raising their hands in the air saying, who us, when Florida Community college reports that 70% of our recent graduates have to take remedial classes and members of the city council declare businesses do not want to relocate to Jacksonville because of it’s school system.

The truth is suspensions if they included students, who attended the suspension centers, would not be down fifty percent because inexplicably kids sent to them do not count as being suspended. The truth is discipline has not improved at many of our schools, instead teachers have learned to endure and ignore bad behavior, if they want to get high evaluations or keep their jobs that is.

Suspension centers is a great idea for academics, bureaucrats and administers sitting around drinking coffee brainstorming, however the second it was announced the teachers I was sitting with new it was a bad and wasteful idea. If we were flush with money we could throw away then sure why not but in lean times it’s a luxury we can’t afford. If we really wanted to make a difference we should have used the 2 million dollars to hire forty social workers and given them caseloads of 25 each. That’s a thousand kids whose parents are absentee, who live in violent neighborhoods without basic necessities that we could have helped. There in the children’s homes is where we could have made a real difference.

Why kids get suspended from school often has nothing to do with school but instead of addressing the root of their problems we chose to ignore them and throw money away instead. That Mrs. Willis not the crime rate going down is what the school district should take credit for.

Chris Guerrieri
School Teacher

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