An interesting quote from Judith Browne-Dianis came to my attention today, in connection with the suicides of Phoebe Prince and Carl Walker-Hoover after suffering relentless bullying. Judith Browne-Dianis is currently co-director of the Advancement Project, a national civil rights organization in Washington D.C. Her work on discipline policies in public schools has received national recognition.
She said: "Misguided use of 'zero tolerance' school discipline and high-stakes testing poses a serious threat to the educational opportunities of America's youth. While they are usually considered separately, these two policies are actually closely related. Together, zero tolerance and high-stakes testing have turned schools into hostile and alienating environments for many of our youth. The devastating end result has been a "school-to-prison pipeline," in which huge numbers of students throughout the country are being pushed out of school and toward the juvenile and criminal justice systems."
I'm sharing this with you because, again, it was a moment of reinforcement for me that at SK we have chosen a strong, positive path for our children. Supporting, nurturing and encouraging on an individual basis, avoiding punitive policies in favor of mediation and respect for all, and in academics avoiding comparative testing as much as possible, have powerful effects on our children's character development as well as their intellectual growth.