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Daily Dish: Study Finds African American Students Suspended at Higher Rates in Charter Schools

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March 17, 2016 04:26 pm

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New analysis shows African American students are four times as likely to be suspended from charter schools as their white peers. The New York Times reports on the findings of this new research, which also shows that in charter schools students with disabilities are suspended at two to three times the rate of nondisabled students. The research, conducted by the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the UCLA Civil Rights Project, is a first-ever analysis of school discipline records from the more than 5,250 charter schools in the United States.

According to the report, Charter Schools, Civil Rights and School Discipline: A Comprehensive Review, there are 374 charter schools that suspended 25 percent of their student population during School Year 2011–12. The findings also show that more than 500 charter schools suspended African American students at a rate 10 percentage points higher than that of white charter students, and 235 charter schools suspended more than half of students with disabilities.

A press release accompanying the report notes the timeliness of the research with the recent passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Under ESSA, states have more flexibility to design their accountability systems. The report provides backing for the argument that all schools, including charters, should be held accountable to policies that limit the excessive use of suspensions, and the importance of ensuring that charter schools with high suspension rates are not overlooked because they are considered “high performing.”

Under ESSA, states are held accountable for focusing on low-performing schools and traditionally underserved students who consistently demonstrate low academic performance. Learn more about accountability provisions within the new education law at www.all4ed.org/ESSA.

The Times article also points out that a major concern of education researchers and policymakers is that out-of-school suspensions “raise the risk that students will drop out of high school or lead to higher rates of crime and imprisonment.” Juvenile incarceration can lead to lower high school completion rates for students and higher adult incarceration rates, according to a study released in 2015. “Once incarcerated, a juvenile is unlikely to ever return to school, suggesting that even relatively short periods of incarceration can be very disruptive and have severe long-term consequences for this population,” the study notes. Learn more at https://all4ed.org/articles/juvenile-incarceration-human-capital-and-future-crime-juvenile-incarceration-results-in-substantially-lower-high-school-completion-rates-according-to-study/.

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One Comment

  1. photo
    Salvador Avila
    Posted 1 year ago

    I would like to know if anyone has investigated why more African-American students are suspended at a higher rate than others. I have not seen any educational research that has addressed this question. The problem will continue as long as no one wants the real reason to be published. I will be amazed if I receive an answer. Thanks.

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