The Power of Learning Show for February aimed the critical thinking "lens" at the so-called discipline gap facing the Rochester School District and many other public school systems throughout the U.S.

As Jim Walters explained, the discipline gap refers to instances where the number of disciplinary actions faced by minority students is disproportional to the percentage of minority students enrolled in a school system. The Rochester Public Schools are currently working to find ways to reduce the disparity as part of a settlement negotiated with the federal Office of Civil Rights.

While the amount of research on the issue is not large, Walters found an abundance of work has done on a parallel issue, the achievement gap. He found a myriad of reasons for the problems, but noted the common theme in nearly all of the research was a culture that does not place a high value on education, discourages intellectualism, and promotes inappropriate role models for children.

In his view, Walters says any remedy that would actually work would require a transformational change involving the entire community to counteract those negative cultural currents that have kept many minority children from reaching their full potential.

Jim Walters (Facebook)

Jim Walters is a critical thinker and motivational speaker who appears on Rochester Today with Andy Brownell the fourth Monday of every month from 10 to 11 a.m. for The Power of Learning Show on KROC-AM.