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Disciplinary Challenges How do Principals Address This Dilemma?. Gathogo Mukuria An Analysis and Critique. Disciplinary Problems. Discipline – degree of order and structure within school Lack of Discipline Students cannot learn Instructors cannot teach. Disciplinary Problems. Leads to

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Disciplinary ChallengesHow do Principals Address This Dilemma?

Gathogo Mukuria

An Analysis and Critique


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Disciplinary Problems

  • Discipline – degree of order and structure within school

  • Lack of Discipline

    • Students cannot learn

    • Instructors cannot teach


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Disciplinary Problems

  • Leads to

    • High student dropout rates

    • Student absenteeism

      • Also for teachers

      • High turnover rate for teachers

    • Suspensions – temporary

    • Expulsions – permanent

  • Extreme form – school shootings


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Public, Urban Schools

  • Disciplinary Problems

    • Disruptive behavior

    • Violence (includes fighting)

    • Misbehaving students

    • Drugs

    • Vandalism

  • Many students with persistent discipline problems eventually drop out of school


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Public, Urban Schools

  • Students are:

    • African Americans

    • Hispanic Americans

    • Poor European Americans

  • Larger schools tend to have more problems than smaller schools


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Public, Urban Schools

  • African-American urban schools

    • Overcrowded

    • Schools are in poor condition

    • No human resources

    • No technological resources

    • Drop out rates exceed 50%

    • African-American males are more likely to drop out than females


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Purpose of Study

  • Different leadership styles

    • Difference among principals

    • Principal controls school

      • High suspension rates

      • Low suspension rates

    • Superintendent controls whole school district


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Purpose of Study

  • Schools were ranked by suspension rates

    • Include schools where principal was there for at least 3 years

    • Restrict to urban schools

  • Study Louisiana

    • Tends to be one of the poorest states in the U.S.

    • Identified 65 schools with African-Americans composing 55% or higher the student populaton


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Study Background

  • Statistical techniques

    • Used Spradley’s (1980) developmental research sequence

    • Domain analysis

  • Never heard of it

    • If it discriminatory analysis, this is the most subjective in statistics

    • Sensitive to method and starting values


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Hatarini Middle School

  • 800 students

  • School had:

    • Broken windows

    • Faded paint

    • Surrounded by old, neglected, and rundown houses

  • “Judgment call”


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Lafayette Middle School

  • Large school (no enrollment data)

  • Built in 1926

    • “Still in good physical condition”

  • Many residents worked in factories in the city

  • “Judgment Call”


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Molo Middle School

  • School playground

    • Unkempt

    • Play equipment was either broken or missing.

  • School was not attractive

  • Racial and obscene graffiti

  • “Tough looking students”

  • High crime area

  • 85% of students eligible for free school lunches


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Pwani Junior High School

  • School has 1,020 students

  • Built in 1926

    • Clean

    • Well-planned

    • Attractive to eye

  • 99% of students on free lunch program

  • Students wear uniforms

    • All students are equal

    • No difference between rich and poor students


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Principal Leadership Style

  • Low-suspension rate schools

  • High-suspension rate schools


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Low-Suspension Rate Schools

  • School wide disciplinary programs

  • A joint effort to formulate programs

    • Students

    • Parents

    • Administration

    • Teachers

    • I never seen this before.


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Low-Suspension Rate Schools

  • Discipline is a joint effort

    • Principal supports teachers

      • Respects and values teachers’ opinions

      • Teachers have high morale

      • Don’t want frustrated teachers

    • Teachers and principal are consistent enforcing rules and discipline

      • If students can find inconsistencies, then they will

      • Students always give weak teachers problems


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Low-Suspension Rate Schools

  • Suspension policy is a flexible guideline

    • Not a rigid document.

  • Flexible guidelines

    • Counseling

    • Reality therapy ????

    • Behavior clinics ????

    • In-school suspension

    • Group mediation ????


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Low-Suspension Rate Schools

  • Discipline problem

    • A judgment call by administration

    • A small fight may not result in suspension

      • Depends on circumstances

    • Does this violate following consistent rules???


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Low-Suspension Rate Schools

  • Principal has high vision for school

    • High expectations

    • Create a school environment that is safe for students and teachers

    • Set high academic standards


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Low-Suspension Rate Schools

  • Structured school environment

    • Students play basketball during recess

      • Keep students occupied

      • “Keep students busy”

      • Keeps students out of trouble


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Low-Suspension Rate Schools

  • Discipline is a community problem

    • School with uniforms

    • Easy to identify which school student attends, if causing problems in a community

  • Schools have corporate sponsors


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High-Suspension Rate Schools

  • Principals do not value or respect teacher’s suggestions

    • Teachers distant themselves from administration

  • Schools did not have well-established routines in school

  • Could not articulate a clear vision for school


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High-Suspension Rate Schools

  • Low expectations

  • Students lack support from parents (home)

  • Difficult to motivate students to work

    • “substandard students”

  • Lack of parental involvement

  • Reduces motivation of staff, principal, and teachers


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High-Suspension Rate Schools

  • Administration said

  • School reflects neighborhood

    • Drug problems

    • Crime

    • Unemployed parents, etc.


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High-Suspension Rate Schools

  • Followed discipline policy rigidly

    • Policy is a blueprint

    • Whether to suspend or not

    • No flexibility

    • Must suspend students


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High-Suspension Rate Schools

  • To some students, a suspension is a reward

    • Time off from school

  • Does not address the problem

  • “Detrimental to students”


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Criticism

  • Does this pattern generalize to all 65 schools?

    • Statistics can handle this

  • Looking at 4 schools out of 65 is a biased sample!

  • Many observations are judgment calls

    • Was the research consistent?


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Criticism

  • Wished author defined

    • Group mediation

    • Reality therapy

    • Was not consistent on schools’ descriptions


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Criticism

  • A good paper

  • Paper cited McCarthy (1991)

    • Schools with behavior problems “there often is a mismatch between the curriculum and students’ interests and values.”

    • Consequently students act out because curriculum is imposed on them

  • Really?????


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References

  • Mukuria, Gathogo. May 2002. “Disciplinary Challenges, How do Principals Address This Dilemma?” Urban Education 37(3): 432-52.


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