In a PBS NewsHour Special, John Merrow discusses suspensions within the Success Charter School Network in New York City, which started in 2006 and now consists of 34 schools, most of which are elementary schools. The network employs the “no excuses” model of educating, which means that teachers are held responsible for students doing well in school. The network refuses to accept excuses why a student does not do well—not hunger, sickness, or even violence within the home.
At Success Academy Prospect Heights, students have a list of 65 infractions that they must not commit. These infractions range from serious offenses like bullying and down to something as simple as “failing to be in a ready-for-success position,” whatever that means. Students are also not allowed to get out of their seats unless they have permission, nor can they call out an answer without raising their hand. All of these offenses can quickly lead to suspension.