Press

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EXCLUSIVE: City Council members want Mayor de Blasio to fix school discipline code, which they say is biased

July 7th, 2014

Erin Durkin, Daily News

Five council members want to end suspensions for what they call vague and poorly defined infractions that unfairly target black and Latino males. They want Mayor de Blasio to overhaul the discipline code for city schools.

City Council members are pushing Mayor de Blasio to overhaul the discipline code for city public schools and cut down on suspensions.

In a letter to de Blasio and city Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, five pols are seeking to end suspensions for what they call vague and poorly defined infractions that unfairly target black and Latino males.

“Stop-and-frisk has disproportionately criminalized young men of color on the streets of our city, and harsh disciplinary practices are doing the same thing in our public schools,” they wrote. “It’s unfair and it’s wrong.”

The authors — City Councilmen Ritchie Torres, Rafael Espinal, Antonio Reynoso, Donovan Richards and Carlos Menchaca — say they “have experienced these biases firsthand.”

A city Education Department spokeswoman said the administration has been meeting with advocacy groups and educators to address the issue.

Principal to Chancellor: Take the Lead on School Discipline

June 9th, 2014

Brady Smith, Gotham Gazette 

“Our schools are learning places. They’re not suspension places,” said Chancellor Fariña to a room full of principals this past Saturday. Could this mean real change in the way we view students in the classroom?

In Los Angeles schools, they call it “willful defiance”; elsewhere, “insubordination.” InNew York City, “B21″ or “defying or disobeying lawful authority” is the second most common reason students are suspended in school each day (based on the data we have available).

Last year in New York City schools, black students, who comprise less than a third of the student population, served more than half of the suspensions citywide. Students with disabilities, making up twelve percent of the student body, served a whopping thirty percent of principal and superintendent suspensions. Are our black students or students with special needs more disruptive, or more dangerous, than their white peers? No.

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Segregation: Six Decades Dead In Court, But Still Alive In Many Schools

June 9th, 2014

Claudio Sanchez, NPR

Sixty years after Brown v. Board of Educationblack and white children still attend segregated schools in many parts of the country. Majority black schools are less likely to have good teachers, and kids there are more likely to be poor. That, experts say, is the single biggest obstacle to their academic success.

Cientos protestan por la igualdad educativa en EEUU

June 9th, 2014

María Peña, La Opinion

Washington – Con megáfono en mano y el apoyo de centenares de manifestantes, la estudiante dominicana Jessica Morillo de El Bronx denunció frente a la Corte Suprema de Justicia de EEUU las malas condiciones de las escuelas públicas y la falta de igualdad de oportunidades para las minorías.

A cuatro días del 60 aniversario del histórico fallo del Tribunal Supremo en el caso“Brown v. Board of Education, que prohibió la segregación de las escuelas públicas, Morillo y más de un centenar de padres, maestros y estudiantes exigieron la protección del dictamen y el cumplimiento de su promesa de igualdad para todos.

Para Morillo, activista del grupo Urban Youth Collaborative, poco ha cambiado desde 1954 porque estudiantes negros y latinos asisten a escuelas privadas de recursos y oportunidades.

“Quiero ser enfermera pero en mi escuela en Nueva York no hay consejeros que nos ayuden para ir a la universidad… la falta de recursos hace que muchos estudiantes se desanimen y terminen en la cárcel, en vez de una universidad”, dijo Morrillo, que cursa el penúltimo año de secundaria en El Bronx International School.

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Can We Fix the Race Problem in America’s School Discipline?

February 20th, 2014

Molly Knefel, Rolling Stones Magazine

When Marlyn Tillman’s family moved from Maryland to Georgia, her oldest son was in middle school. Throughout his eighth grade year, he was told by his school’s administration that his clothing was inappropriate. Even a simple North Carolina t-shirt was targeted – because it was blue, they said, it was flagged as “gang-related.”

Things got worse when Tillman’s son got to high school, where he was in a small minority of black students. While he was in all honors and AP classes, he received frequent disciplinary referrals for his  style of dress throughout ninth grade and tenth grade. Frustrated, his mother asked for a list of clothing that was considered gang-related. “They told me they didn’t have a list, they just know it when they see it,” Tillman tellsRolling Stone. “I said, I know it when I see it, too. It’s called racism.”

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