To the Editor:
Chutzpah is a Yiddish word that a lot of people use but is really hard to define. Thanks should go to U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. for helping to do so.
King has the chutzpah to swoon in his despair over the school-to-prison pipeline (“U.S. Secretary of Education: Let’s Educate, Not Incarcerate,”) while also having supported the very charter movement that has endorsed the harsh disciplining of students.
Indeed, the very charter school he founded—Roxbury Preparatory Academy—has one of the highest rates of suspension of any school in Massachusetts. Nearly 60 percent of its students were suspended during the 2012-13 school year. And research shows a direct line between suspension, dropping out, and eventual incarceration.
Having created the monster that is charter-school-discipline mania, King would now like to put it back in a cage—along with the rest of the kids who have been hurt by destructive discipline.
The letter writer is a board member of the Massachusetts Teachers Association. The views in this letter are his own.
A version of this article appeared in the September 07, 2016 edition of Education Week as ‘Chutzpah’ in King’s School-to-Prison Stance