This is how the writer explains the issue:
Why can't Johnny read? Or, assuming he can, why isn't Johnny closing the achievement gap?
In Louisiana our State Department of Education has for several years recommended a program called Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports known as PBIS. Many Louisiana school systems require schools to implement PBIS as a way of reducing suspensions. But the problem is that many teachers complain that PBIS greatly reduces the teacher's ability to take immediate action to stop disruptive, dangerous or disrespectful behavior by removing a student from the classroom. Such behavior often interferes with orderly and effective instruction of the great majority of students whose instruction is put on hold while the teacher fills out paperwork and then attempts to accommodate disruptive or disrespectful students using this alternative strategy.
Right now state law in Louisiana gives each teacher the right to remove extremely disruptive or disrespectful or dangerous students from the classroom by simply filling out a discipline referral form and sending the student to the appropriate disciplinary administrator. That is currently the law and the teacher should have the right to use the law to insure that she/he can effectively conduct class without interruption. But some school systems and some administrators have instructed teachers that they may not remove a student unless the teacher has implemented various steps of the PBIS procedure such as documenting several disruptive incidents and sometimes even telephoning or conferencing with the parent. But such alternatives for the one disruptive student can take away from time the teacher could be instructing the class. Is is right to deny or delay instruction of cooperative students to deal with one student who refuses to comply with the teacher's directives? I believe that school systems that deny a teacher the right to implement immediate removal of extremely disruptive or disrespectful students are in violation of state law. But there are current attempts to change state law to take away the teacher's right to remove such students.
During the 2016 legislative session, the legislature debated a bill (HB 833) by Representative Leger that in its original form would have forced schools with 150% of the average number of student suspensions to implement a plan to curtail suspensions by the use of alternatives to suspensions such as Restorative Justice or PBIS. Many administrators and teachers contacted their legislators and explained that such mandatory restrictions would tie the hands of principals and teachers in schools that faced greater than average challenges to maintain a productive classroom environment. Does it surprise you to learn that some schools face greater challenges to maintain discipline than others because of the communities they serve? It turns out those are the same communities with high crime rates and a high incidence of juvenile delinquency. Fortunately this bill was defeated, but another bill by Senator Claitor which passed and became Act 522 mandates the establishment of an Advisory Council on Student Behavior and Discipline which will study various discipline statistics and make recommendations to BESE and the Legislature.
The Discipline advisory committee set up by Act 522 is heavily stacked with advocates for alternative disciplinary methods and very lean on actual practitioners who deal with discipline problems on a daily basis. Their recommendations to BESE could end up being the same harebrained schemes rejected by the legislature. Only this time they will be presented as "evidence based" programs. We have already seen what happens when public school policies are dictated by persons who are not education professionals but whose policy mandates are derived more from ideological assumptions than by practical considerations. That's why we have been saddled with test-based merit pay and TFA corps members instead of real teachers.
The author of the article in Education week who has 27 years of teaching experience, goes on to explain the following:
For years now, our legislature and our LDOE have been mischaracterizing "failing schools" as schools where test scores are lower than average. Those who really understand schooling know that a failing school is not determined by student test scores. That's because low scores are much more influenced by the poverty of the student body than by ineffective teaching. Educators know that the real problems are with schools that are failing to deal decisively with classroom disruption and disrespect of teachers and other students. The parents who are appropriately dissatisfied with their schools are those responsible parents whose children attend a school where their children are subjected to disruption of classroom instruction and who fear physical harm to their children by individuals who often cannot be effectively disciplined because of the restrictions placed on school professionals. Those are the real "failing schools".