Surprise, Surprise! Contrary to Popular Belief, Under the Leadership of FUSE, Suspensions are Down at Dunbar

Contrary to what was recently “reported” by “education blogger” Jon Pelto, Jumoke disciplinary policy does not rely heavily on the overuse of suspensions.

A few weeks ago, Pelto wrote a blog post which warned parents about the disciplinary practices of Jumoke Academy, Inc., which recently took over the management of Dunbar School when it was put on the commissioner’s network.

In Pelto’s article, he claims that Jumoke Academy, Inc. uses a “no excuse” model that he says is abusive. He charges Jumoke Academy, Inc., with using “reorientation rooms” and other questionable disciplinary practices:

“As parents and children at Bridgeport’s “new” Dunbar School will come to find out, the discipline policies at the schools run by FUSE/Jumoke are similar in scope to those used by Achievement First, Inc. Jumoke also relies on the suspensions and a “reorientation” room, although at Jumoke it apparently goes by a different name.

Even the most casual observer will recognize that the “No Excuses” education model drifts into the realm of what reasonable people would call child abuse.”

[Jonathan Pelto, 10/4/2013]

However, at the last board meeting, Jumoke Academy’s CEO Michael Sharpe gave a report of Dunbar’s recent improvements. Among the improvements: a lowered suspension rate. I suppose parents DID NOT find that Dunbar used radical displinary practices.

In fact, Dunbar is doing pretty well, according to soft-data indicators: Teacher attendance is currently at 99 percent, and student attendance is somewhere near 93 percent.

This information shouldn’t come as any surprise. If Pelto would have done even a lick of research on Jumoke Academy, he would have known that the charter schools Jumoke Academy manages have fairly low suspension rates. In four years (2007-2010), there have only been 36 suspensions (in-school and out-of-school) across all Jumoke Academy charter schools. That number went up to about 53 during the 2011-2012 school year, which is still well below the state average (160 in 2011). [Connecticut State Department of Education, Sanctions Viewer]

I understand that Pelto is concerned with taking down “corporate reform,” but perhaps he is too concerned to be worried about things like facts and reality. Instead of assuming incorrectly that all charter schools have the same policies and practices, he should have looked into the Jumoke Academy before accusing them of abuse.

I called Jumoke Academy, Inc., and questioned them about “reorientation rooms.” They responded with complete confusion. Even after I explained what a “reorientation room” was, no one knew what I was talking about. One staff member even asked, “Do you mean in-school suspension?”

Was Pelto referring to in-school suspension when he said Jumoke uses “reorientation rooms,” but they call them something else? By that standard almost every school in the state is abusing children.

Unlike Pelto, I am glad to hear that Dunbar is doing well and I look forward to seeing the “new” Dunbar succeed. Although, as Sharpe said in his report a week ago, “This is a long road.” However, perpetuating inaccurate claims really does no one a service—except, perhaps, move traffic to your blog.



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