- Created on Thursday, 27 September 2012 19:37
- Written by IVN
Sacramento, California - Daniel Zingale, Senior Vice President of The California Endowment, released the following statement regarding Governor Jerry Brown and the California legislature’s action on issues related to the establishment of common-sense school discipline policies.
“On behalf of The California Endowment, I commend Governor Brown and the legislature for taking important steps toward ensuring that common-sense school discipline reform is a priority in California.
“With the signing of AB 1729 (Ammiano), AB 2537 (V. M. Pérez), AB 2616 (Carter) and SB 1088 (Price), California moves toward discipline approaches that keep students in school, while holding them accountable for their conduct. These bills recognize that California cannot suspend its way to orderly classrooms. Rather, teachers, administrators, parents and students must work together to prevent problems before they start and keep our children on-track for graduation.
“While we are pleased that these bills are now law, and that school discipline reform has emerged as a priority among education leaders and advocates throughout the state, there is still much work to be done. Some schools in California suspend more than 25 percent of their student body. This is not the path to success, and teachers and school administrators recognize this.
“A recent survey of school districts by EdSource reveals that more than half of California schools say they need more training for school staff on positive alternatives to harsh discipline. Importantly, four out of five school officials ranked student discipline and behavior management as a concern relative to other issues, and 85 percent of survey respondents expressed a desire for clarity on what constitutes the behavior category “willful defiance/disruption of school activities”—terms that remains largely undefined and open to substantial interpretation by school officials. In the last school year, 42 percent of all suspensions in California were attributed to such behavior.
“The California Endowment has made common-sense school discipline a top priority since youth leaders in our Building Healthy Communities network identified excessive suspensions as a barrier to success in school, and in life. Research shows that suspensions increase risk for drop-out, which in turn reduces lifelong economic opportunity and increases risk for health problems. The fact is that health happens in schools, and keeping kids in school is critical to the health of our state.”