How Educators Can Eradicate Disparities in School Discipline

Posted by on March 31, 2014

Discipline disparities

A report from the Discipline Disparities Research to Practice Collaborative describes the ways in which schools and communities across the country are reducing disparities in discipline for particular subgroups of students. The report urges schools to see discipline through an “equity lens,” with reducing disparities as an explicit goal that undergirds design, implementation, and outcomes of reform. Discipline reform connects with the rest of schooling: All students must have access to quality teaching, a rigorous and meaningful curriculum, funding, and other factors related to positive student outcomes. Effective schools move away from blaming individual educators and consider the conditions for learning and school climate more broadly. Schools can prevent or reduce disparities in discipline through climates that establish supportive relationships, promote academic rigor and support for all students, provide high-level learning opportunities, connect teaching to students’ lives, and create inclusive and fair classrooms. Finally, when conflict among students or between students and staff occurs, schools must move beyond merely applying consequences. Effective schools seek to identify the root cause of conflicts and disruption; engage in collective problem-solving; intentionally engage students, communities, and their families in identifying causes and solutions; and implement effective re-integration efforts for students.

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