On Sept. 5, The Pat Brown Institute held a forum in at the Fresno convention center. The topic: School Discipline and the Future. Many important names of the Central Valley attended as a audience to the event, Ceila Maldonado Arroyo [Trustee of Tulare board of education], Barbara Thomas [Fresno trustee, board of education] and Cal State Bakersfield. The audience was able to express their opinions with live polling.
The panel had four speakers expressing their knowledge from the 2011-12 records, in particular “zero-tolerance” discipline laws. The panel said willful defiance accounts for 42% of all suspensions in California, leading to more suspension, expulsion and higher dropout rates. Studies show more men of color [18-25] are more likely to graduate in prison than graduating in public schools, and African-American students are three times more likely to be suspended than white students. Fresno’s school district faces one of the highest rates of this crisis in California. Panelists in the PBI forum believe without active support in the school system, there will be no change. Now give yourself time to think, are you active?
Gregorio Montes de Oca, a fellow of The California Endowment with a focus on the Boys and Men of Color initiative, thought the forum was informative. “I think it’s important for the institute to create a public forum where the community can come and be educated on a issue and then make up their own minds.”
The goal of the Pat Brown Institute is to bring the right set of people in the room to promote dialog, debates and discuss good public policy. Every year the Pat Brown Institute conducts a California agenda series which sets out four or more meetings on critical public topics. During this series, PBI brings together some of the brightest thinkers who represent all sides of this critical issues.
- Zoua Vang, First 5 Fresno County (Moderator)
- Barrie Becker, Fight Crime:Invest in Kids
- Deborah Escobedo, Youth Law Center
- Erin Gabel, Office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson
- Jim Thrasher, California Teachers Association