Achievement First prides itself on its high test scores, but recent stories report that these charters are also distinguished for startlingly high suspension rates. Half the 5-year-olds were suspended last year.

Dacia Toll, the Ivy League-educated leader of the charter chain, promised to cut the suspension rate in half. Instead of suspending the kids, apparently they will get even tougher on them in school.

I have always wondered how privileged white college graduates learned to be so hard on impoverished black children. It is highly unlikely that what they do in these boot camps reflects their own home life or schooling.

Here is the drill in the AF charters that gets higher test scores:

“There is an urgency in the tenor of the classrooms at Achievement First schools; a sense that every second must be used for learning. Even on the last day of school at the Hartford middle school, a history teacher has a tightly structured lesson that students are clearly enjoying. She uses a timer to ensure that small tasks — like moving the desks into a U-shape for discussion — don’t take longer then necessary.

“The schools also have a language of their own that expedites communication and students, for the most part, respond like a precision team. A teacher at Bridgeport elementary schools tells her students to: “SLANT, fold your hands and make a bubble.” Translation: Sit up straight, listen, ask and answer questions, nod to signal engagement and track the teacher with your eyes. And the bubble? Purse your lips and fill your cheeks with air — a move that ensures quiet.

“For years, the Achievement First students in Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport, have outperformed their peers on state tests in almost all grades and subjects. On a recent visit to Achievement First’s middle school in Hartford, a strict disciplinary code was evident.

“In a large lecture hall with stadium seating — the “reflection room” — two or three students who had been removed from class for behavioral reasons sit quietly under the supervision of a staff member.

“At the front of the room, the consequences of breaking the rules and the rewards of not doing so are spelled out on large posters that proclaim, “You’re not a born winner, you’re not a born loser. You’re a born chooser. Make the Right Choice!”

“And in most classrooms, two or three students wear a white shirt over their blue school uniform, signaling that they are in “re-orientation” — a disciplinary measure that permits them to stay in academic classes but forbids interaction with peers and removes them from special classes like music or physical education.”

There is something Orwellian about that “Reflection Room.” I wouldn’t let my children or grandchildren go to such a school. Would you?

A comment posted on the article by Carol Burris, the principal of South Side High School in New York:

“As a public school principal, if I engaged in such practices, I would be fired. No middle class suburban parent would put up with the systematic humiliation of their children. The “culture” is more aligned with a communist nation than our nation.

“As for the “reflection room”–that is in-school suspension and for state accounting purposes, it should be counted as such. These practices may develop compliant children controlled by fear, but they will not develop leaders who have learned self-control.”