MA Charter Suspension Rates Highest in State
As a high school disciplinarian suspended a student for misbehavior seemed absurd. Let’s see, a student misses school or cuts class and his penalty is… they are told to stay home from school? A student is struggling in class and manifests his frustration by acting out and they are told to stay home from school? The only time suspension made sense to me was when there was a violent fight between two students and time was needed to sort out the facts that led up to the fight and to provide a cooling off period before reinstatement. During the time when I worked as a disciplinarian (1974 through 1980) NOT suspending students was considered somewhat heretical. But over the past several years alternative programs, in school suspensions, and ideas like Saturday School (whereby a student who is put out of school for an extended period is mandated to attend on the weekend or after school hours) have become commonplace as more and more parents, teachers, and administrators see the preposterousness of “penalizing” a student by telling him or her to stay home. Indeed, one of the metrics used to determine the effectiveness of a school is its suspension rate, with the understanding that the higher the rate., the lower performing the school.
Now comes an analysis of school suspensions by a Massachusetts blogger indicating that Charter Schools lead the state in one category: suspension rates! The sixteen schools with the highest suspension rates, which range from 19.4% to an eye-popping 56.1% are charters. The 17th district, Fall River, was sued this summer because its suspension rate of 18.4% was deemed a civil rights violation.
As the blogger points out, this should come as no surprise because many of these schools shed lo performing students over the years, inflating their college attendance percentages and test scores. Despite these tactics, charters in MA are doing no better than public schools… but they ARE earning profits for shareholders!