School Discipline Reform: Hard Lessons from the Front Lines

School Discipline Reform: Hard Lessons from the Front Lines

January 25, 2018 - 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Thomas B. Fordham Institute
1016 16th St. NW Floor 7
Washington, DC 20036
United States

In recent years, the school discipline pendulum has swung wildly, as policymakers, opinion-shapers, and interest groups have struggled over an inherently difficult problem. Today, the “zero tolerance” policies that were popular at the end of the last century are widely viewed as unfair, heavy-handed, even discriminatory. Yet as the tide of opinion has turned against the heavy use of school suspensions, many policies have tended once again to tie the hands of teachers and principals, this time with the explicit goal of reducing the use of “exclusionary discipline,” especially for disadvantaged groups.

To what extent are such policies actually altering school practice—and are those alterations doing good or harm? Are new approaches such as “restorative justice” having the intended effect? What are the pros and cons of limiting—even banning—suspensions for certain forms of misconduct? Are schools following the new mandates? Are racial disparities in discipline decreasing? Is it possible to reduce suspensions without causing more school and classroom disruption? 

Join us for a two-panel event on January 25 that will examine how to handle student misbehavior. The first panel will feature Matthew P. Steinberg, author of The Academic and Behavioral Consequences of Discipline Policy Reform, and Abigail Gray, author of Discipline in Context: Suspension, Climate, and PBIS in the School District of Philadelphiamoderated by Fordham's SVP for Research, Amber Northern. A debate will follow, between Cami Anderson, former superintendent in Newark and founder of the Discipline Revolution Project; Kristen Harper, director for policy development at Child Trends; Laura Jimenez, director of standards and accountability at the Center for American Progress; and Michael J. Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. The panel will be moderated by Alia Wong, education editor and writer at The Atlantic. At the end, audience members will weigh in on the question, "Should districts ban out-of-school suspensions for low-level offenses?"

Follow along on Twitter using our handle, @educationgadfly and #DisciplineReform.

Moderator:

 

  Amber M. Northern
  Senior Vice President for Research
  Thomas B. Fordham Institute

 

Discussants:

 

  Abigail Gray
  Senior Research Investigator
  Consortium for Policy Research in Education at the University of Pennsylvania
  Stoneleigh Fellow 
  @amgrayy
  Matthew P. Steinberg
  Assistant Professor of Education Policy
  University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education


Moderator:

 

  Alia Wong
  Education Editor and Writer
  The Atlantic
   @aliaemily

Discussants:

 

  Cami Anderson
  Founder and Managing Partner
  ThirdWay Solutions, The Discipline Revolution Project 
   @camianderson12
  Kristen Harper
  Director for Policy Development
  Child Trends
   @kharper_edulove
 
  Laura Jimenez
  Director of Standards and Accountability
  Center for American Progress
   @lolatonga
  Michael J. Petrilli
  President
  Thomas B. Fordham Institute 
   @MichaelPetrilli