• Donna Shannon

It’s Called “Education Malpractice”

Updated: Dec 4, 2021

The article “How a School District Proved Gifted Programs Can Be Racially Diverse” by Danielle Dreilinger, The Hechinger Report, is dated March 16th of this year (2021). This is the first time I can remember seeing the term “education malpractice” in print, though I had been calling what public schools were doing to my son “education malpractice” beginning with his K/1 combination class in elementary school.

What is malpractice? A quick Google search reveals Merriam-Webster’s definition as (1) “a dereliction of professional duty or a failure to exercise an ordinary degree of professional skill or learning by one ... rendering professional services which results in injury, loss, or damage” and (2) “an injurious, negligent, or improper practice...”

Says Dreilinger, “Defined that way, ‘education malpractice’ describes almost every gifted classroom across the United States.” Now there's some honesty for you! It's 2021, and pecious little has changed for the better.

Based on the above definition, it seems appropriate to consider it #education_malpractice when trained teachers and administrators tasked with the responsibility of rendering fair professional education services to children instead perpetrate injurious, negligent, or improper practices on them.

When they neglect, punish excessively, and/or unjustifiably place in #Special_Ed classes a certain segment of the student population due to #implicit_bias (or more honestly explicit bias), I can testify that it looks and feels like education malpractice. There is nothing worse than watching your child being set up to fail and you're powerless to stop it if you keep him/her in #public_school.

Many Black parents would have no trouble experiencing an “Aha!” moment when realizing that their children have been victimized by the education malpractice of public school teachers who commit the offenses, counselors who reinforce them, and principals and other administrators who condone them.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines condone as “to accept or allow behavior that is wrong.” Trouble is, what constitutes “wrong” is a subjective concept. Apparently, public schools see nothing wrong with condoning the prevailing intellectually neglectful and emotionally abusive practices of public schools toward Black, Brown, and Gifted children.

This Dreilinger article spotlights one particular school district (undoubtedly one of very few) that recently began making significant strides toward #education_equity in gifted education – but this should be happening for all aspects of public education.

No certain segments of the student population should:

· be given grades lower than they deserve,

· suffer #excessive_punishment for minor infringements that are practically overlooked in White students,

· be suspended or expelled in far greater numbers than White students, or

· have a much higher percentage of them placed into Special Education than White students

I am particularly concerned for Black children and highly or profoundly gifted children, the students most underserved by public schools. As is documented in my book, my son was both, and he suffered doubly hard because of it. They wanted him out of the way in Special Ed.

They couldn't have cared less if he ended up so consumed with pain, anger, and frustration that he dropped out of public school and eventually became just another prison statistic. Instead, because I freed his mind with homeschool, he eventually graduated college with honors and a degree in Computer Science.

We need, and do not have, education equity in America's public schools. So, Black parents, the callous treatment of so many of our children can be seen as the perpetration of education malpractice – while our tax dollars are paying for it! We owe it to our children to visit their schools, meet the teachers, #advocate if things aren’t right, and consider different education options when public school is crushing our children’s self-esteem and desire to excel.

My son was intellectually neglected and emotionally abused in public school even though I was right there visiting, volunteering, and advocating! So think about it – how much easier is it for teachers to stultify your children according to their biased whims if they think you don’t care?

When we get in the trenches and do everything politely and correctly with our advocacy, things can still remain neglectful and abusive for our children. If (commonly when) that happens, our only option may be to withdraw our children from public school and give them a different education experience. That could be #homeschool, “un-school”, private school, Montessori…whatever it takes to allow our children to thrive, have dreams, and pursue them.

Education Malpractice - don’t let it inflict endless trauma on your children in public schools. Don’t let it push them into Special Ed and the school-to-prison #pipeline. Know the statistics (see my October 22nd blog, and do your own research), and do whatever you can to keep your children from being among those numbers!

If you don't know what you can do to stop the public mis-education of your child, there's my book - Beyond Mis-Education - where you can read about the dismal real-life public school experience of a gifted Black child, my (his mother) advocacy, the homeschooling that freed him to excel, and the early college achieved in spite of public school trying to hold him back. For professional guidance, I always refer people to Dr. #Umar_Johnson, the eminently qualified school psychologist and IMHO the strongest education advocate Black Americans have - look him up!

For the children

Donna Shannon

Author, "Beyond Mis-Education"


26 views0 comments