Research Highlights School Suspension Racial Disparities


Students of color, in particular African-Americans and students with disabilities, are suspended at significantly higher rates than white students and those without disabilities, according to a report by the Discipline Disparities Research-to-Practice Collaborative.

The Collaborative is a non-profit-funded group of more than two-dozen education researchers, advocates, funders and practitioners tasked with assessing discipline disparities in the nation's schools.

This month, the group released a series of briefing papers that highlight new research on the issue, proposals for how educators can reduce disparities and policy recommendations.

The researchers found that more than 3 million students were suspended during the 2009-2010 school year.

About 25 percent of black students with disabilities were suspended from school at least once that year. During the same time period, about 9 percent of white students with disabilities experienced suspensions.

The findings are attributed to the widespread application of “zero tolerance” policies that call for the removal of “bad” students, for the benefit of “good” students.

“Zero tolerance” has fed a steady rise in suspension since the 1970s, according to the report. However, researchers found no correlation between high suspension rates and overall academic success.

Read the police briefs HERE.

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