Circle Time

The Story

Summer vacation will end soon for New York City’s 1.1 million school kids, and Mayor de Blasio says that they will be heading into the safest classrooms in history. De Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña claim that new approaches to problem-solving–including restorative-justice circles and therapy dogs–are substantially reducing school violence. But are violent incidents really declining, or are they just being counted differently?   

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Fudged: Mayor de Blasio’s allies on the Board of Regents significantly cut down the number of “incident categories” for the state’s school-violence reporting system, making it impossible to compare year-over-year numbers. Read more.

  2. Compromised: The New York City School Climate Survey was similarly compromised to eliminate the possibility of assessing year-to-year change. Read more.

  3. Touchy-Feely: Only “limited and mixed evidence” exists on the impact of restorative-justice programs on performance and achievement measures. Read more.

“The mayor is saying crime is down in the schools. Crime is not disappearing. It’s just that we’re ignoring it.”

Gregory Floyd, president, Teamsters Local 237

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

Who Killed School Discipline? By Kay S. Hymowitz (Spring 2000)

Ask Americans what worries them most about the public schools, and the answer might surprise you: discipline.”

And in other news...

“Critics of the city’s plan to build a school, offices and 1,000 apartments on the Long Island City waterfront called it ‘irresponsible’ to develop the site because it’s located in a hurricane evacuation zone that’s prone to flooding during storms.”