Friday Reading List: Arming Educators is not a Good Idea

Vann Newkirk of The Atlantic explains the absurdity of armed educators:

But the movement for hardening isn’t just impractical or lacking in evidentiary support; it’s also a dystopian stroke of authoritarianism that runs deeply counter to the ideas embodied in the Constitution. Increasingly militarized school resource officers don’t just passively wait for mass shootings; they have daily encounters with students that appear to be increasing in frequency. Brutality is endemic. Mother Jones chronicled 28 serious student injuries and one death from 2010 to 2015 in such encounters. The brunt of those brutal incidents and arrests falls on black students, and high-profile incidents of officers kicking students, choking them, handcuffing third-graders, and slamming students to the ground are all too common.

Research on gun violence is hard to find, in part because the NRA has lobbied extensively to ensure that the federal government cannot collect data on guns. That said, the evidence we have suggests that increasing the number of guns in any context drives up the incidences of violence.

Ashley Nicolas, who has experience in both combat and the classroom, is in The New York Times making an argument similar to Newkirk's:

... our school was built to cultivate learning, not withstand an attack; our teachers were trained to instruct, not shield students from bullets. Fortunately, I never had to confront the horror of a gunman roaming the hallways of my school. Still, Parkland could have been my classroom. Those kids — some of whom had only algebra textbooks as a defense against bullets — could have been my students. I felt more prepared than many of my colleagues because I knew how to stop bleeding, spot vulnerabilities and control a chaotic situation. Yet teachers shouldn’t need to have military or law enforcement experience.

I'll have more to say about the idea of arming teachers, so stay tuned ...

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In other news, The Houston Chronicle is reporting that the KIPP network has fired on of its founders:

KIPP leaders said an independent investigation found "credible evidence" that [Mike] Feinberg sexually abused an underage female student in the late 1990s and offered two former employees money in exchange for a sexual relationship. Feinberg denied the allegations, and investigators hired by KIPP couldn't definitively substantiate them. Nevertheless, KIPP's local and national governing boards decided to remove Feinberg, 24 years after the charter network started in Houston. Prior to his firing, Feinberg supported KIPP schools across the country, helped grow the network nationally and maintained a seat on the KIPP Houston governing board.
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There aren't many people in the charter school world who are more prominent than Feinberg, so this news will send national reverberations through the education reform community. In particular, there are thousands of students and educators affiliated with KIPP, most of whom have done nothing wrong, who are totally justified in feeling hurt, betrayed, and angry this morning. It's worth reaching out to them to hear their perspectives today.

Have a good weekend ...