Wednesday | November 4, 2015

Recent research and news reports show that even very young children--and particularly young children of color--can be subject to harsh and overly punitive school disciplinary practices. At the same time, the need for schools and preschools to be safe and orderly places to play, teach and learn remains a top priority in poll after poll of parents and the public. Given that punitive disciplinary policies have been shown to be both highly ineffective and tone-deaf to the natural variability in young children’s developmental progress, how do we ensure that schools have more appropriate, nurturing and responsive policies in place? How do we incorporate social-emotional development into the practice of schools, preschools and other educational settings? How do we ensure that suspension and expulsion--the cheapest disciplinary response available to schools--are seen as a last resort and not a first response, especially for young children? And how do we ensure that all schools and preschools are warm and welcoming places that are fair and effective in the treatment of all students from all backgrounds?


Lise Fox, Professor and Co-Director, Florida Center for Inclusive Communities, Department of Child and Family Studies, College of Behavioral and Community Sciences

Tala Manassah, Deputy Executive Director, Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility

Ralph Smith, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, Annie E. Casey Foundation

Ken Zarifis, President, Education Austin

Moderator: Tish Olshefski, Senior Assistant to the Secretary-Treasurer, American Federation of Teachers


Sponsored by the Albert Shanker Institute and the American Federation of Teachers, this conversation series is designed to engender lively and informative discussions on important educational issues. We deliberately invite speakers with diverse perspectives, including views other than those of the Albert Shanker Institute and the AFT. What is important is that these participants are committed to genuine engagement with each other.