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More Dallas info.

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From: Donald Peters (softsnow_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue Apr 09 2002 - 12:20:53 PDT


(this + the Religious Right is trying to take over the State School
board--backing candidates whose children are--guess where--private religious
schools. Can anybody else here vouchers in the future?)

Education agency to monitor districts' disciplinary
actions

Monday, April 8, 2002

DALLAS -- School districts statewide will come under
scrutiny when the Texas Education Agency starts a new
system to reduce irregularities in how schools report
discipline action.

School districts are required to report to the agency
any disciplinary action that results in a student
being removed from the classroom and sent to a
disciplinary alternative education program.

Billy Jacobs, senior director of the safe schools
division at the agency, said reporting mistakes are
sometimes to blame for data irregularities, but he's
concerned that some schools may be too quick to push
problem students aside by placing them in alternative
programs.

"Some districts will remove a student . . . for three
tardies," he said in Sunday's editions of The Dallas
Morning News. "We see a trend where more students are
going for minor things."

Jacobs said the new system will monitor alternative
placement and look at whether special-education
students and those belonging to minority groups are
disproportionately placed in disciplinary alternative
programs.

The system, set to start in about a month, will
include letters sent to districts to confirm data and
to note any inaccuracies.

Agency officials then will follow up and visit some
schools to ensure compliance.

Under state law, a student must be placed in a
disciplinary alter- native education program for
engaging in conduct punishable as a felony, committing
an assault, or illegal drug and alcohol offenses.

But they also may be placed there for code of conduct
violations, such as repeatedly disrupting class or
using tobacco. The referrals often come at the
discretion of school principals.

The new system will target reporting problems, such as
those at the Dallas Independent School District.

The district reported that it sent 1,960 students to
alternative schools for disciplinary reasons during
the 1998-99 school year. In 1999-2000, the figure
reported by the district was 8,389, compared to 960
reported by Houston schools that year.

School officials said the discrepancy resulted from a
coding error, and the figure should have been about
2,700.

Dallas district officials said they think they have
corrected their reporting problems.

Jacobs said about 20 to 25 districts are expected to
receive site visits from the agency.

Large districts, such as Dallas and Houston, can count
on visits, along with any districts with noticeable
discrepancies, he said.

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