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Sunday, September 5, 2021

DCPS disproportionately punishes minority staff

At least once a year, you see a piece of how school districts, by and large, suspend and expel minority students at a disproportionate rate. I look at these pieces with a grain of salt because, quite frankly, I think students who break the rules need a consequence. If they don't get one or an appropriate one, all they have learned is they can break the rules again. Typically this escalates until it doesn't, and other students have their learning interrupted, and teachers have lost their ability to teach. 

I also think this is socio-economically based. Instead of doing these studies by race, I have thought if they did these studies by family income, the results would be the same.  There are many reasons, but one f the biggest is the sad fact that we often send our newest and most inexperienced teachers to schools wracked in poverty where they are overwhelmed and haven't had the time to develop class management techniques which often leads to poor behavior. Many of these teachers don't stand much of a chance, and that's both tragic and trickles down to their students. 

I am almost off my soapbox. All that being said, the one major change I would make is once a student got in trouble or even better before, they received services to help them avoid the trouble. Tutoring, after-school programs, smaller classrooms, counseling, etc. We have to give these kids the tools to be able to deal with their problems. A small but meaningful consequence at the onset of a problem, followed by support, may stop a lot of future problems.     

But what about teachers? We have a system that often doesn't care about teachers; see new teachers at poorer schools as example number one. Example number 2 is how the district disproportionality punished minority staff, and nobody seems to give a damn. 

After a tip that most of the people in Bulls Bay, teacher jail were African American, I asked the district, and quite frankly, the results were admittedly not definitive; they were shocking. 

22 of the 37 teachers sent to teacher jail were minorities. That is nearly sixty percent. Compare that to the amount of minority staff in the district. 

 From NEWS for Jax,

The report, released by JPEF Tuesday, shows two-thirds of DCPS teachers are white, while white students make up only one-third of the district’s enrollment. It also shows 29% of teachers identify as Black -- compared to 45% of students in the district identifying as such. Less than 6% of DCPS teachers are Black men.

Now the percentages may change when district staff is factored in, but I couldn't see them changing dramatically.   

If a teacher needs to go to Bull's Bay, they have to go to Bull's Bay. I am all for punishing teachers that are reckless, inappropriate, or criminal. That being said, I am not sure how many of the teachers there fall into those categories and not into their principal or the district didn't like them, which is where I imagine most of them fall. 

I also wonder what kind of meaningful support and training these teachers have gotten. My guess is not much. 

I have asked the district for the last five years worth of numbers for people staffed to Bull's Bay and just investigations in general, but it's my bet the numbers won't change much at all.  

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