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NEPC School Discipline Losen 1 PB FINAL

NEPC School Discipline Losen 1 PB FINAL

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Published by: National Education Policy Center on Oct 05, 2011
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D
ISCIPLINE
P
OLICIES
,
 
S
UCCESSFUL
S
CHOOLS
,
 AND
 ACIAL
J
USTICE
 
 Daniel J. Losen
The Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLAOctober 2011
National Education Policy Center
School of Education, University of Colorado BoulderBoulder, CO 80309-0249Telephone: 303-735-5290Fax: 303-492-7090Email: NEPC@colorado.eduhttp://nepc.colorado.edu
This is one of a series of briefs made possible in part by funding fromThe Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice and the Ford Foundation.http://www.greatlakescenter.orgGreatLakesCenter@greatlakescenter.org
 
 
 
http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/safe-at-school 
 2 
of 49
 
 
Kevin Welner
 Editor 
Patricia H. Hinchey
 Academic Editor 
William Mathis
 Managing Director 
Erik Gunn
 Managing Editor 
Briefs published by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) are blind peer-reviewed by members of the Editorial Review Board. Visit http://nepc.colorado.edu to find all of these briefs. For information onthe editorial board and its members, visit: http://nepc.colorado.edu/editorial-board.Publishing Director:
 Alex Molnar
 
Suggested Citation:
Losen, D.J. (2011).
 Discipline Policies, Successful Schools, and Racial Justice
. Boulder, CO: NationalEducation Policy Center. Retrieved [date] from http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/discipline-policies.
 
 
D
ISCIPLINE
P
OLICIES
,
 
S
UCCESSFUL
S
CHOOLS
,
 AND
 ACIAL
J
USTICE
 
 Daniel J. Losen, The Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA
Executive Summary
In March of 2010, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan delivered a speech that highlightedracial disparities in school suspension and expulsion and that called for more rigorous civilrights enforcement in education.
1
He suggested that students with disabilities and Black students, especially males, were suspended far more often than their White counterparts. Thesestudents, he also noted, were often punished more severely for similar misdeeds. Just monthslater, in September of 2010, a report analyzing 2006 data collected by the U.S. Department of 
Education’s Office for Civil Rights found that
more than 28% of Black male middle schoolstudents had been suspended at least once.
2
This is nearly three times the 10% rate for whitemales. Further, 18% of Black females in middle school were suspended, more than four times asoften as white females (4%).
3
Later that same month, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder andSecretary Duncan each addressed a conference of civil rights lawyers in Washington, D.C., and
affirmed their departments’ commitment to ending such disparities.
 This policy brief reviews what researchers have learned about racial disparities in schooldiscipline, including trends over time and how these disparities further break down along linesof gender and disability status. Further, the brief explores the impact that school suspension hason children and their families, including the possibility that frequent out-of-school suspensionmay have a harmful and racially disparate impact. As part of the disparate impact analysis, the brief examines whether frequent disciplinary exclusion from school is educationally justifiableand whether other discipline policies and practices might better promote a safe and orderly learning environment while generating significantly less racial disparity.Findings of this brief strongly suggest a need for reform. A review of the evidence suggests thatsubgroups experiencing disproportionate suspension miss important instructional time and areat greater risk of disengagement and diminished educational opportunities. Moreover, despite
the fact that suspension is a predictor of students’ risk for dropping out, school personnel are
not required to report or evaluate the impact of disciplinary decisions. Overall, the evidenceshows the following: there is no research base to support frequent suspension or expulsion inresponse 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; frequentsuspension and expulsion are associated with negative outcomes; and better alternatives areavailable.

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