Priti Sanghani 0

HGSE: Let's Lead the Discussion about Issues of Race, Class, Punishment and Justice

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Something just isn’t right:

Recent data released by the DOE show a startling trend of African-American boys facing much harsher school disciplinary consequences than other groups of students.  Although African-American students make up only 18% of the enrolled students in the sample, they account for 35 percent of kids suspended once, 46 percent of kids suspended more than once and an astonishing 39 percent of all expulsions.  What is worse, students who are suspended are three times more likely to drop out of school, and those students are three times more likely to be incarcerated in their lifetime.

What needs to change:
For us, this urgently demonstrates the need for all graduates of the Harvard Graduate School of Education– whether they will be working in K-12 settings, higher education, not-for-profit or policy – to deeply understand the nuances of this trend that disproportionately sends our most underserved youth to prison.  Ultimately, we must graduate with the mindsets, competencies and skills to play our part in dismantling this pipeline, and provide our students opportunities for success.  Currently, however, we have found a lack of academic conversation and dialogue around these issues at HGSE - a void which will impact our abilities to make lasting change for the students we will serve.

How HGSE can help: 
As one of the top education schools in the country, the Harvard Graduate School of Education must lead the way in promoting authentic, meaningful academic dialogue through coursework and research around the school-to-prison pipeline and viable ways to challenge it, including changing school discipline policies and implementing restorative practices.  In doing so, it will prepare all of its students to have the appropriate knowledge base and tools to navigate issues of race, class, punishment and justice as they pertain to education, and as its mission indicates: “to generate knowledge to improve student opportunity, achievement and success.”

Join our effort by signing this petition advocating for an academic course at HGSE in 2012-2013 to ensure that future graduates of HGSE have the opportunity to engage in academic dialogue around these very relevant issues, and can be best prepared to lead their students to success.

Thanks for being a change-maker!

The Harvard Coalition for Restorative Justice Leadership Team
Colleen, Dave, Hannah, Katie, Natalie, Priti, Radhika, Vanya


For more information on the school-to-prison pipeline, click here.  For more information on restorative justice practices in schools, click here.  To watch a short video of the transformative impact of restorative justice in an Oakland middle school, click here.
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