Classroom Management: The Need for Balanced Discipline

Decisions about school discipline can challenge the best educators.  Among the growing number of studies looking at ways to balance classroom management and students’ individual needs, one just released in Texas found that 60 percent of middle and high school students received school suspensions or in-house discipline, with one out of every seven students facing such discipline at least eleven times.  According to the New York Times, Russ Skiba, professor of school psychology at Indiana University who reviewed the study, as did other prominent researchers, says the findings are “very much representative of the nation as a whole.”

Such kinds of discipline, which go into students’ records, are related to lower graduation rates and higher rates of later criminal activity.  With minority students found to be more likely to receive harsher punishments, Mr. Skiba goes on to say that “’What we really need to do is go in to those districts and see if these really are choices being made . . . We don’t really know enough about the reasons for African-American and Latino over-representation in school discipline. We have enough data to show that it’s more than just poverty and any greater misbehavior. My guess is it’s very subtle interactional effects between some teachers and students.’”

To learn more about the study’s findings, you can read the Times article and even leave a comment.

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