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ERIC Number: EJ988063
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Mar
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 1
ISSN: ISSN-0090-4392
The Universe of Alternatives: Intervening with Schools and Teachers
Gregory, Anne
Journal of Community Psychology, v40 n2 p206-208 Mar 2012
School suspension is the most widely used disciplinary practice in U.S. schools. It is a programmatic regularity, as Seymour would say. He would also say "programmatic regularities have implicit or explicit outcomes." Like Seymour, the author is concerned about what he describes as the "frequent discrepancy between regularities and intended outcomes" (Sarason, 1982, p. 100). The assumption about suspension is that it serves as a deterrent to future infractions or as a punishment. But for some students, being sent home is negative reinforcement, especially if they escape from the boredom of school and into the stimulating world of videogames. So, the discrepancy between the programmatic regularity of suspension and intended outcomes can be quite large. Perhaps even more pernicious are the implicit outcomes associated with the programmatic regularity of suspension. As more Black students are suspended, teachers might perceive Black students differently than other groups--some have called this the "criminalization of youth of color." Seymour (1982) reminds everyone that "practices are not rationally selected from the universe of alternatives. That we justify them as if they have been selected so says far more about our capacity to delude ourselves and to resist the consequences of change than it does about the effectiveness of the present practice." Keeping Seymour's (1982) metaphor of "the universe of alternatives" in mind, the author intervenes with schools and teachers to challenge the over-reliance on suspension, especially its disproportionate application to Black students. She seeks to identify practices that offer new alternatives for students who have been pushed out from instruction because of their perceived rule-breaking behavior. In sum, she strives to reflect the next generation of scholars and interventionists who carry forward Seymour's shift from a tendency to accept practices (normalize and naturalize them) and to a focus on the transformation of social settings.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States