The History of "Zero Tolerance" in American Public Schooling by J. Kafka

By J. Kafka

Through a case learn of the l. a. urban university district from the Fifties during the Nineteen Seventies, Judith Kafka explores the intersection of race, politics, and the bureaucratic association of schooling. Kafka argues that regulate over self-discipline grew to become more and more centralized within the moment 1/2 the 20th century in accordance with pressures exerted by means of academics, mom and dad, scholars, principals, and native politicians – usually at assorted ancient moments, and for various reasons. Kafka demonstrates that the racial inequities produced by way of today’s institution self-discipline regulations weren't inevitable, nor are they immutable.

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Extra resources for The History of "Zero Tolerance" in American Public Schooling

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42 Industrialization brought more and more young people out of their homes, away from their small towns, and into the country’s large, bustling cities. 43 These demographic changes were accompanied by a host of new laws and social reforms aimed at a wide swath of this new America: Child labor, poor housing, corporate monopolies, government corruption, the disenfranchisement of women, and even the consumption of alcohol were all subjects of Progressive Era reform movements and legislation. In the context of public education much was changing as well.

Indd 22 10/12/2011 2:29:53 PM discipline before zero tolerance, 1800–1950 / 23 merely to create the necessary conditions for academic instruction, but also because learning to submit to authority was essential for students’ own moral development. ”17 Like many of his contemporaries, Orcutt believed that good teachers did not rely solely on the imposition of punishment to produce well-disciplined students, but he urged teachers not to shy away from their “power to punish” when necessary. ”18 Even well-known nineteenth century school reformers who advocated for alternatives to harsh punishment often agreed that learned obedience was a core principle of education.

Students in monitorial schools did not act out when the teacher’s back was turned, the argument went, because someone was always watching. In this sense, Lancaster schools represented an early effort to remove at least some disciplinary responsibility from the classroom instructor. Rules rather than individuals would govern student behavior, and those rules could be enforced without any action— or even knowledge— on the part of the main teacher. Yet despite their supposed strengths, Lancaster schools did not last long in the United States.

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