Teaching Case - Zero-Tolerance in Memphis (B)

Zero-Tolerance in Memphis (B)


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  • Product Description

    School superintendent Gerry House arrives in Memphis in 1992 with an aggressive, reform agenda. Convinced that the predominantly African-American system had focused too heavily on discipline at the expense of learning, House conceives a "school improvement" plan based in high expectations for all students, improved instruction, and decentralized school governance. Students, in the House vision, would be intellectually engaged and freer to question authority. This new school agenda confronts, however, a rising tide of violence in the city's schools--and, significantly, a national movement embraced formally by the Memphis board of education, to signal "zero tolerance" for assaults on teachers. Memphis teachers, and their union, interpret zero tolerance to mean that violent and even abusive students (e.g. students who curse teachers in anger) should be removed forthwith from classes. House, however, not only fears the atmosphere such an iron hand might generate but knows that so-called alternative school facilities for students removed from standard classes are extremely limited, and that Memphis residents and business leaders do not want potentially violent adolescents simply on the streets.

    Learning Objective:
    This leadership case provides a window into the efforts of Superintendent House to assert and implement her agenda within this complex labor relations context.

  • Other Details

    Publication Date: July 1, 1998
    Teaching Plan: Available with Educator Access
    HKS Case Number: 1439.0
    Case Author: David Ferrero
    Faculty Lead: Susan Moore Johnson
    Pages (incl. exhibits): 4
    Setting: United States
    Language: English
    Funding Source: Danforth Foundation
    _year: Older than 2000
    _pages: 1-15
    _geography: US & Canada
  • Warranty Information

    /review/1439.0.EducatorCopy.pdf, /teachingplan/1438_2.pdf

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