California Educator

November 2013

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CTA &You State Council members discuss alternatives to suspension BY LEN FELDMAN With instances of student suspension and expulsion for "willful defiance" on the rise for all students and rising even faster for students of color, State Council members heard from experts about other options for addressing behavior problems. More than 100 State Council representatives drawn primarily from three committees — Civil Rights in Education (CRE), School Safety and School Management (SSM), and Student Support Services (SPS) — took part in a forum that spelled out the scope of the problem and steps that educators are taking to reduce the number of students suspended or expelled from school. Council delegate George Sheridan, Black Oak Mine Teachers Association, appears as CTA founder John Swett during the 150th anniversary celebration. Shown with President Dean Vogel, "Swett" draws laughter when he notes: "During my first teaching job, I was taken aback by how little respect there was for teachers, and how much power the local school boards had. I'm sure it's not the same now." In other actions, State Council: • oted unanimously to sponsor legislation makV ing kindergarten mandatory for all students. • pposed the agreement between the U.S. O Department of Education and the so-called California Office to Reform Education (CORE) allowing eight California school districts to waive NCLB rules, which was made without consulting local CTA chapters. • sked CTA members to fill out a Teacher A Preparation and Support Survey on the best preparation for the next generation of California's teachers, beginning career support, and the credential process. Find the survey at CTA Secretary-Treasurer Mikki CichockiSemo noted that the implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula and the requirement to design and apply Local Control Accountability Plans will hold schools accountable for such things as student suspension and expulsion rates. For more on this topic, see the article "Rethinking suspension" in the May 2013 Educator, archived at • H eld a forum to discuss alternatives to sus pension and expulsion (see sidebar). • upported current legal action challenging S efforts by the controversial Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges to remove the accreditation of City College of San Francisco. PHOTOGRAPHY BY SCOTT BUSCHMAN AND MIKE MYSLINSKI Educator 11 Nov 2013 v2.1 int.indd 53 A panel of CTA experts, including committee chairs, counselors and classroom teachers, discussed alternative means of providing classroom discipline, including using "restorative justice." This method holds students accountable for their behavior, teaches them to repair harm they have done, and helps instill empathy, a practice that can support good behavior and minimize destructive acts. Go Online See the "behind the scenes" photos at NOVEMBER 201 3 53 11/13/13 6:32 PM

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