The State Board of Education recently published proposed regulations on student suspension and expulsion that would handcuff local education agencies (LEA’s) by removing local control and flexibility regarding expulsions and suspensions. Moreover, the mandates would bring yet more workload to LEA’s with no commensurate funding to provide the staff to comply.
Any expulsion or suspension of a student in excess of 10 days who is not placed in an alternative education setting, would require the LEA to continue minimum education services. Those services would include daily lessons to be provided by each teacher and weekly review and corrections of those assignments. In short term suspensions, students would need to complete any missed assignments without penalty and principals would be required to give each parent or guardian the name and contact information of a staff member whose responsibility will be to endure that the missed work is completed.
In addition, disproportionality is addressed with a demand to produce a plan to reduce it in one year, and eliminate it in three. It is a demand that may be reasonable or unreasonable depending upon the willingness of parents/guardians/caregivers to cooperate and students to conform. The ultimatum seems to disregard the fact that educators constitute only one of the factors in the equation.
The proposed regulations are posted in their entirety here for you to review. You can use this link to quickly email your comments to the members of the State Board to request that they do not encroach upon the control local education agencies need to have over their schools.
Needs and resources in terms of both funding and staff to meet those needs vary too widely for such programs to be dictated from Baltimore Street.
The Maryland State Board will take action on the proposed regulations on December 10th, so please comment as soon as you can. You may note that a November 4th deadline for public comment was announced. It has been extended, so please don’t be dissuaded from commenting. Even if you choose not to draft your own statement, there is one pre-prepared that you may use. Simply replace it to use your own. Either way, the appointed members of the State Board need to hear from you. Improving student discipline issues should be a top priority, but educators’ voices need to be heard to make sure that any changes truly help students and are feasible for school systems.
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