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The blog Deepreads posted an interesting piece yesterday about a longitudinal study done in Texas of all students who were in seventh grade at the start of the study until they finished their schooling.

One of the study’s most interesting findings was that just over half of the students experienced in-school suspension (for at least one period) between seventh grade and the end of their schooling.

In Glasser’s Control Theory in the Classroom, he makes the point that although our school system is working well enough for about half the students, it’s failing the other half. The successful half is the half of the population that will go on to do some college. The unsuccessful half includes the 13–14% who don’t graduate from high school — and, I would guess, the half of students who get suspended.

Glasser makes a good point in saying that the people who consider education reform (including those who read his book) are all from the successful half, and as a result, most reforms fail to help the unsuccessful half.

Now I believe social class is a natural and good division of people within society and that we shouldn’t try to eliminate classes. I even believe that excessive fraternization with people outside one’s own class can be unhealthy. But I also believe in the importance of ordering society for the benefit of all, regardless of class.

Statistics like these and points like Glasser’s about the bias of those who would reform our educational system make me think that we need to consider some radically different approaches to how we get education done in this country.

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