Friday, October 30, 2015

Civil rights groups: Cops in schools don't make students safer

As many of you have heard, Officer Ben Fields was fired for dragging, slamming, and throwing a 16-year-old black girl from her desk at Spring Valley High School near Columbia, SC. The video footage shocked the world, with reactions ranging from disturbing to disgraceful. The actions of the officer were excessive, unforgivable, and reprehensible. From USA Today:

A viral video of a South Carolina school resource officer slamming a student to the floor of a classroom is focusing attention on the increasing presence of police officers in schools. But cops in classrooms have long been a source of tension.

Richland County, S.C., Sheriff Leon Lott said that an internal investigation found that the force Senior Deputy Ben Fields used to arrest a student who was disrupting a class Monday at Spring Valley High School on Monday was "not based on training or acceptable."

Unfortunately, brutal violence against black girls by officers in secondary schools is not uncommon. From ABC News:

Girls of color, especially black girls, "face much harsher school discipline than their white peers but are excluded from current efforts to address the school-to-prison pipeline," according to "Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected," a recent study from Columbia Law School and the African American Policy Forum. The study, which cites the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), found that, on average, black girls enrolled in New York City and Boston schools are disciplined 10.5 times more than their white counterparts. The rate is even greater than that of black boys, who are disciplined an average of seven times more than white boys, according to the study.

Brutal violence against black girls (and boys) by officers is a civil rights issue. Policymakers and the U.S. Department of Education must address the disproportionate disparities in discipline against students of color. Students should have a right to learn in a safe educational environment.

Related content:

Friday, October 23, 2015

Books about Diversity and Social Justice in Higher Education

In graduate school, my specialization was access, equity, and diversity in higher education. I focused on access to higher education policy as well as civic engagement and service-learning. In honor of Careers in Student Affairs Month, I have listed my favorite seminal and updated books about this subjects below. 

This list will be continuously updated annually.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

ACOSA: Why Macro Practice Matters

ACOSA released a highly anticipated essay (full and condensed versions) that every prospective and current social worker should read about the history and future of macro social work practice.

Why Macro Practice Matters By Michael Reisch, University of Maryland

This 2015 essay was commissioned by the Special Commission to Advance Macro Practice in Social Work initiated by the Association of Community Organization and Social Administration (ACOSA) in 2013. It is an outgrowth of the Special Commission's outreach to macro social work educators and practitioners who were asked to answer the question: "Why Macro Matters" in 2014.

In addition, ACOSA's Special Commission to Advance Macro Practice in Social Work published a report about five frameworks for macro practice in social work. An abstract can be read here. The five frameworks include (a) Case to Cause, (b) Organizational Management and Leadership, (c) Community Organizing, (d) Policy Practice, and (e) Human Rights.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

October is Careers in Student Affairs Month

October is Careers in Student Affairs Month. Are you considering a career in students affairs in higher education? Don't know what a student affairs professional entails? There are many pathways within student affairs, ranging from Greek life to multicultural affairs to student housing.

There are endless possibilities within the student affairs field. Furthermore, attend a conference (ACPA, NASPA, NACA), participate in an internship (NODA, ACUI, ACUHO-I, NUFP) or seek out mentors who work in this inspiring career. The links below provide a snapshot:
Don't forget to view my 2012 post that provides information on careers in student affairs.

Professional Competency Areas for Student Affairs Professionals

Saturday, October 3, 2015

 Has Child Protective Services Gone Too Far?

Child welfare agencies need major reform when parents are being criminalized for their parenting skills. From The Nation:

A debate sparked by the free-range parenting movement has drawn attention to the threats and intrusions poor, minority families have long endured welfare system hope that the national debate sparked by the free-range parenting movement will draw attention to the threats and intrusions that poor and minority parents endure all the time. Child-neglect statutes, says Martin Guggenheim, a New York University law professor and codirector of the school’s Family Defense Clinic, tend to be extremely vague, giving enormous discretion to social workers. “The reason we’ve tolerated the level of impreciseness in these laws for decades,” he notes, “is that they tend to be employed almost exclusively in poor communities—communities that are already highly regulated and overseen by low-level bureaucrats like the police. For somebody like me, the ‘free-range’ cases that are hitting the paper today are a dream come true, because finally people who otherwise don’t care about this problem are now calling out and saying, ‘Aren’t we going too far here?’”