Colorado

Wednesday Churn: Discipline data

Daily Churn logoWhat’s churning:

There’s been virtually no disagreement over the policy goals – ending most zero-tolerance requirements – of a school discipline bill moving through the legislature.

But there’s been lots of negotiation over data-reporting portions of Senate Bill 12-046, which supporters say are necessary to track which students are disciplined and why.

Some new material for the discussion has been provided by a University of Colorado study released Monday. The report, from the National Education Policy Center at CU-Boulder’s School of Education, examined discipline practices in state schools from 2008 to 2010.

The study found:

  • Schools are more likely to issue out-of-school suspensions that any other type of discipline. In-school suspensions are the next most common action.
  • Higher percentages of black, Latino and Native American students are disciplined than are white and Asian American students.
  • “Discretionary: behavior such as disobedience account for just over 85 percent of school discipline incidents.

Get more information about the study here.

What’s on tap today:

Colorado Seniors4Kids launches with a 10 a.m. press conference on the west steps of the Capitol building. The new group aims to be “a new ally for the policies and investments that will help Colorado’s children thrive and succeed,” according to a media release. Various state lawmakers will be on hand and speakers are scheduled to include Rocky Mountain PBS president Doug Price, Colorado Children’s Campaign CEO Chris Watney and Generations United executive director Donna Butts.

The Adams 12-Five Star board is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. at the Educational Support Center, 1500 E. 128th Ave. in Thornton. The agenda includes proposals to revise school board member districts to meet the state legal requirement that board members’ districts “shall be contiguous, compact, and as nearly equal in population as possible.” The board also has scheduled a closed session to discuss employee contract negotiations.

Good reads from elsewhere:

Sharpen those pencils: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is proposing a new high school assessment system that would require students to pass up to a dozen tests to graduate. The plan would replace existing tests and be phased in over several years. Students would take the new tests in the 9th, 10th and 11 grades. Get the details from the The Star-Ledger.

States try to tamp down tuition: After years of relentless tuition increases, some states are trying to get a handle on the problem. Arizona, for instance, is freezing tuition at its two largest institutions for the first time in 20 years. Stateline has a full report.

The EdNews’ Churn is a daily roundup of briefs, notes and meetings in the world of Colorado education. To submit an item for consideration in this listing, please email us at EdNews@EdNewsColorado.org.

What's Your Education Story?

As the 2018 school year begins, join us for storytelling from Indianapolis educators

PHOTO: Dylan Peers McCoy/Chalkbeat
Sarah TeKolste, right, and Lori Jenkins at a Teacher Story Slam, in April.

In partnership with Teachers Lounge Indy, Chalkbeat is hosting another teacher story slam this fall featuring educators from across the city.

Over the past couple of years, Chalkbeat has brought readers personal stories from teachers and students through the events. Some of our favorites touched on how a teacher won the trust of her most skeptical student, why another teacher decided to come out to his students, and one educator’s call to ramp up the number of students pursuing a college education.

The event, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, is free and open to the public — please RSVP here.

Event details:

5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018
Tube Factory artspace
1125 Cruft St., Indianapolis, IN 46203
Get tickets here and find more on Facebook

More in What's Your Education Story?

School safety

Hiring more security officers in Memphis after school shootings could have unintended consequences

PHOTO: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Tennessee’s largest district, Shelby County Schools, is slated to add more school resource officers under the proposed budget for next school year.

Superintendent Dorsey Hopson earmarked $2 million to hire 30 school resource officers in addition to the 98 already in some of its 150-plus schools. The school board is scheduled to vote on the budget Tuesday.

But an increase in law enforcement officers could have unintended consequences.

A new state law that bans local governments from refusing to cooperate with federal immigration officials could put school resource officers in an awkward position.

Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen recently reminded school personnel they are not obligated to release student information regarding immigration status. School resource officers employed by police or sheriff’s departments, however, do not answer to school districts. Shelby County Schools is still reviewing the law, but school board members have previously gone on the record emphasizing their commitment to protecting undocumented students.

“Right now we are just trying to get a better understanding of the law and the impact that it may have,” said Natalia Powers, a district spokeswoman.

Also, incidents of excessive force and racial bias toward black students have cropped up in recent years. Two white Memphis officers were fired in 2013 after hitting a black student and wrestling her to the ground because she was “yelling and cussing” on school grounds. And mothers of four elementary school students recently filed a lawsuit against a Murfreesboro officer who arrested them at school in 2016 for failing to break up a fight that occurred off-campus.

Just how common those incidents are in Memphis is unclear. In response to Chalkbeat’s query for the number and type of complaints in the last two school years, Shelby County Schools said it “does not have any documents responsive to this request.”

Currently, 38 school resource officers are sheriff’s deputies, and the rest are security officers hired by Shelby County Schools. The officers respond and work to prevent criminal activity in all high schools and middle schools, Hopson said. The 30 additional officers would augment staffing at some schools and for the first time, branch out to some elementary schools. Hopson said those decisions will be based on crime rates in surrounding neighborhoods and school incidents.

Hopson’s initial recommendation for more school resource officers was in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people and sparked a wave of student activism on school safety, including in Memphis.

Gov. Bill Haslam’s recent $30 million budget boost would allow school districts across Tennessee to hire more law enforcement officers or improve building security. Measures to arm some teachers with guns or outlaw certain types of guns have fallen flat.


For more on the role and history of school resource officers in Tennessee, read our five things to know.


Sheriff’s deputies and district security officers meet weekly, said Capt. Dallas Lavergne of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. When the Memphis Police Department pulled their officers out of school buildings following the merger of city and county school systems, the county Sheriff’s Office replaced them with deputies.

All deputy recruits go through school resource officer training, and those who are assigned to schools get additional annual training. In a 2013 review of police academies across the nation, Tennessee was cited as the only state that had specific training for officers deployed to schools.