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Post 3: "The Trouble with Black Boys"

schools11's picture

"Throughout the United States, schools most frequently punish the students who have the greatest academic, social, and emotional needs." (112)

As Noguera, points out, the system of control in schools is incredibly senseless. If the goal is to have students be more academically and socially engaged, then suspending them (and causing them to miss work) or focusing on punishments rather than creating conducive learning environments is just pointless. Even if some students, the "bad apples", are taken out, others take their place. It is also worth noting that those in the schools know that removing "disruptive" students is not the most effective way of responding to their behavior. Why is it, then, that so many schools have such detrimental procedures in place for responding to such students? If the reason is that it is more difficult to not resort to punishment and suspension, and instead focus on fostering classroom engagement, then what can schools do to make it less difficult? Do their teachers need to get trained differently? What kinds of programs do they need to put in place? The solution seems so simple, but for some reason(s), schools are stuck in the same cycle. What is complicating the picture?


jccohen's picture


You ask some key questions here.  And it is a puzzling situation in which the challenges seem both complex and tangled on the one hand and then rather straightforward ("so simple") on the other.  Thus your final question about what's "complicating the picture" is important.  Given what we've been learning in our class to date, what do you think?  My analysis points in two directions:  first, the larger economic and political questions, and secondly, how these play out in the daily attitudes and decisions of dominant or mainstream folks.  We'll continue to probe these questions, of course...