How do we ensure that schools are warm, welcoming, fair, and effective in the treatment of all students?
That was the focus of an Albert Shanker Institute Teaching & Learning Conference on March 14, 2015, Fairness & Equity in School Discipline. Tala Manassah, Morningside Center's deputy executive director, joined speakers from the Open Society Foundations, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and the UFT to help address the question.
Tala explained Morningside Center's approach to introducing restorative practices into NYC public schools. She made the case that changing our approach discipline in our schools is a huge challenge, and that both students and adults need to develop new skills to help build a stronger school community.
Schools are a reflection of the society in which they exist, said Tala. And we live in a racist society where equity is not the norm. So taking on this work in schools is a herculean task. We have to lift it up. We have to name it. Because it is brave. In our schools we are going to try to do something different than everything else around us.