Discipline Policies, Successful Schools, and Racial Justice
Building off his September 2010 report on out-of-school suspensions in middle schools, this policy brief from UCLA Civil Rights Project analyst Daniel Losen asserts that minority students are being over-punished when compared with their white peers. The data that he reports are jarring: According to the federal Office of Civil Rights, the rate of suspensions has been increasing since the 1970s, dramatically so for minority students. During the 1972-73 school year, 3 percent of white students and 6 percent of black students were assigned an out-of-school suspension. In 2006-07, the percentage of suspended white students ticked up two points while that of suspended blacks more than doubled (to 15 percent). What’s impossible to know from these data, however, is whether the punishments are warranted. Is racism at play here, or are minority students more likely to break the rules? (Is it a little bit of both?) One can readily agree with Losen’s implicit conclusion: More data are needed to understand what’s really going on.
Daniel J. Losen, “Discipline Policies, Successful Schools, and Racial Justice,” (Boulder, CO: National Education Policy Center), October 2011.
blog comments powered by Disqus