I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Bossy Pre-K? Why are PreK Suspensions So High?

Why the Heck are we kicking 3 and 4 year olds out of pre-school? The articles don't tell us what the kids are doing to be suspended, so I made my top ten (see below) list of what these offesnses must be--- based upon my own foggy pre-k memories...[Humor Intended]

 As I read today’s news out of Washington DC about the suspensions of preschoolers, the thing that shocks me most is that preschoolers even get suspended in the first place. What ever happened to sitting in the corner, or a call to parents, or even the dreaded time out? What can a three or four year old do to even warrant being kicked out of pre-school? I find it interesting that none of the articles even mention any of the “offenses” that are causing children of any and all races to be suspended from pre-school. Nope. Instead, the articles all revert to the default position that it must be some sort of a conspiracy to kick more black kids out of pre-school than white kids, or Asian kids, or Hispanic kids. So instead of focusing on the really important question –what are preschoolers doing to get kicked out of school—the media rubes are carrying the water of the special interests that see nefarious motivations based simply upon a study of outcome percentages. Again, people are determined to find an evil “monster under the bed” that is institutional practices of discrimination, apparently now in preschools nationwide, because more numbers of one group are being suspended. Here is a simple question to ask: Could it be that more kids of certain races are being kicked out not because of institutional racism, but because they are committing more offenses that other kids of any other ethnicity? Could it be that? Could the first,  simplest explanation be the right explanation? Or, must it always be, overt, purposeful racism? Really?

I don’t buy that.

I again re-state what should be the obvious concern this article brings to my mind-What are preschoolers doing that the adults can’t deal with that is causing any of them to be suspended?

 Because none of the articles are expounding upon what horrible things preschoolers are doing to be suspended, I have created my own “top 10” list of offenses, based upon my foggy memory of kindergarten

10. Not Playing Nicely With Their Neighbors
9. Not Sharing
8. Potty-Accident #2
7. Potty Accident, #1
6. Picking nose obsessively
5. Squeezing classroom Animals too tightly
4. Cutting in Line
3. hitting, kicking, scratching, biting
2. Saying “mean” things to teacher
1. Being “Bossy”


Lorraine O. said...

You're going to be suspended for picking your nose? Dear Lord.

"Or, must it always be, overt, purposeful racism? Really?"

Nope, it's not overt nor purposeful, my friend! Please do read my comment on PNJ!

I am passionate about this! :-)

Jeff Bergosh said...

Lorraine, I read your comment and I also watched the john Quinones "What would you do" piece. There are other experiments they could set up to show other behaviors, but they want to spin things a certain way so these shows are highly staged. I hope you realize this. I hear what you are saying but in my experience I have seen district staff and administrators here and elsewhere bend over backwards like circus contortionists to keep kids in school-kids of all races. We have PBS for behavior, and that works in many instances. Often times I have seen minority students receive many, many, multiple chances to improve behavior before serious consequences are meted out. Conversely, I know of instances where non-minority students, on their very first minor offenses get OUT-OF-SCHOOL suspensions. There are plenty of these scenarios I just mentioned, call me and I'll go over them with you one by one if you need--of course without giving any identifying, classified student information. But, to bring it back to the issue at hand, if a student is acting up to a point that he/she is disrupting the learning environment significantly, that student should be removed, regardless of his race. To not remove him, or look the other way, robs every other student in the class of the opportunity to learn. Do you understand this? It is not racism as you seem to be saying with your responses. It goes much deeper than that and has to do with a whole host of societal issues that nobody feels comfortable discussing, so people simply point to symptoms and try to fix symptoms without looking at root causes. Let me put it a different way for you: If I have an "Uncle Jack" that loves to drink a case of beer every night, and does, and subsequently misses work, oversleeps, is socially dysfunctional, and not successful should I only talk about symptoms of his problem. Imagine nobody in my family will talk about the root problem, the drinking; Imagine if people run around scurrying trying to find more effective pain medicine to cure his hangovers, a better, louder alarm clock to wake Jack, a cooler, more comfortable bed for him to sleep in, and perhaps even better sports drinks with more electrolytes to make him feel better. Imagine if we do all these things and even line Jack up with job training and work assignments. And when Jack gets fired for not showing up at his work, what if everyone blames Jack's boss and calls this boss insensitive for firing poor "Jack" imagine that Lorraine. Would this really be everybody's fault but Jacks? Or should his family do an intervention and confront him on his destructive behavior, namely drinking? Think about this, read some statistics, and look beyond the propaganda that some people espouse that relieves people (and entire communities) of any personal responsibility. The cornerstone of solving any big problem is first identifying the cause, acknowledging it is there and working on solutions to attack the root causes, not symptoms. In this instant it will take decades. Do you understand this, Lorraine? Or do you think it is impolite to discuss "Jack's" drinking-and do you feel his family should just continue to blame and coddle. Think.

Lorraine O. said...

Sometimes you mention how we don't want to talk about the real problems in society. Maybe nobody wants to talk about their implicit racism, and how that's part of the problem.

I agree societal problems are other factors, like at Warrington. These problems all so complicated, but we must not ignore the factors we may not like!

Uncle Jack is different. He is a grown adult. Children are still learning and their brains are not fully developed.

I agree that self-responsibility is important though!!! In fact, it reminds me of an article from my social psychology course that really stuck with me. It basically found that children from more affluent homes have high self-efficacy, meaning they believed they had control over their circumstances! But children from low-income homes had lower self-efficacy! I think self-responsibility entails believing one can really make changes in his or her life and circumstances!!

What I truly think is that there is a lot of muddled understanding about this stuff. For instance, consider liberals like me. I understand how much circumstances can affect people's behavior. But, at the same time, I agree it's good to teach accountability, self-responsibility, and determination to children. Even if one's circumstances are pretty bad, there comes a time when you take charge of your life and say, "you know what? I will not allow my circumstances to control me! I will make a way out no matter how long it takes!!" I think most liberals agree too with that too, but conservatives think we don't!

Sorry if I seem to be pestering you! Man, I can sure write a book too!!

And by golly, I think I am going to work in educational policy one of these days!


Lorraine O. said...

Aw, crud! I forgot to share with another spin off of implicit racism in my post. See the comments black and mixed Harvard students face.

Sir, you don't understand because you're a white man that's never had to face these experiences....

If you can look the depths of your heart and say that you yourself have never held an implicit racist belief, you are extremely rare. Say you know an Uncle Jack and he is white and is surrounded around white people. Say he is violent. Would you ever consider race as a factor? Probably not. But suppose Uncle Jack is Uncle Tyrone. He is black and lives in a black neighborhood (that is safe and decent). Suppose he is violent. You would probably think of his race? Probably would.

And this is a factor of why black kids are suspended more. I argue we interpret their behavior qualitatively different because of implicit racism. It's more or less extreme depending on the person.

K, for real, I'm really done this time!

Lori Wallace said...

I found the perfect response to you, and your attitude, toward what is a damnation of failed policy regarding children. You should be ashamed of yourself, but you aren't, so I will instead point out your hypocrisy.