In his blog post, “Keeping students out of the school-to-prison pipeline,” David Sheridan of Education Votes quotes Jeffrey Farr as saying, “. . . restorative practice is not a disciplinary model but a leadership model. . .
Restorative practices allow students and teachers to build a healthy community in the classroom and offer every student the opportunity to be a part of it. Students learn how to resolve issues in the classroom and avoid being moved into the juvenile justice system. Restorative practices effectively break the school to prison pipeline.
By contrast, exclusionary school discipline policies—referrals, suspensions and expulsions—are pushing kids, especially minority students, out of the classroom and into the criminal justice system at unprecedented rates. What’s more, research shows exclusionary policies do little or nothing to improve overall school climate. You lose the student and things don’t get better in your classroom or school.”
While restorative practices in the classroom is a step in the right direction, it does not “effectively break the school to prison pipeline.”
The overwhelming majority of schools in America employ punishment as their means of discipline and are ensconced in the attitude that poor and minority students are not able to learn in the same way that their white suburban contemporaries learn and are therefore “learning disabled”.
Before we can change the results of a flawed and failing system of education, we must change the intent and level of expectation that society and most importantly educators have toward the children they educate.
A person’s ability to learn does not depend on wealth or color, sex or age.
It is human nature to learn about what captivates your interest. Determine what a child loves and you cannot stop them from learning everything about it. And, since everything in the world is connected, you can use what a child loves to teach them about anything else.
Providing a developmentally appropriate, Arts based, experiential education that concentrates on discovering, developing, and directing the gifts and talents of all of our children is the only way to break the school to prison pipeline.
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