Discipline Policies, Successful Schools, and Racial Justice

Posted by on October 17, 2011

The suspension gap

A new policy brief published by the National Education Policy Center examines current research about racial disparities in school discipline, including trends over time and how these disparities further disaggregate along lines of gender and disability status. The brief also explores the impact of suspensions on children and their families, including the possibility that frequent out-of-school suspension has a harmful and racially disparate impact. As part of the impact analysis, the brief also examines whether frequent disciplinary exclusion from school is educationally justifiable, and whether other discipline policies and practices might better promote a safe and orderly learning environment while generating significantly less racial disparity. Brief author Daniel Losen writes that overall, the evidence shows no research base to support frequent suspension or expulsion in response to non-violent and mundane forms of adolescent misbehavior. Large disparities by race, gender, and disability status are evident in the use of these punishments, and frequent suspension and expulsion are associated with negative outcomes. Subgroups experiencing disproportionate suspension miss important instructional time and are at greater risk of disengagement and diminished educational opportunities.

See the report: http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/discipline-policies

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