suspension study

I blog about how families are disempowered by compulsory attendance laws that have made schools see their mission as credential manufacture instead of service to kids and families.  Schools are now engaging in massive privatization whereby they throw out everyone they can and allow vouchers for private schools (called "choice") as well as prosecute so-called theft of education crimes.

Schools should be voluntary community resources focused on providing services desired by the families they should be serving. Every family should have the ability to ask for more classes or take time off as they see fit and as they need to support their children.  Suspensions would be unnecessary if families could alter their schedules, select their classes and create the services they need and want.  Real school choice isn't moving to another school with the same old format or high test scores:  real school choice is empowering families to make choices and drive services in every single school.

Pedro Noguera: Texas-Style Discipline Puts Suspension First:
"The mere fact that many schools are repeatedly suspending the same students should make it clear that suspension is not working, particularly if the goal is to change student behavior. The study makes it clear that such practices are exacerbating the challenges schools face in raising achievement and increasing graduation rates."
The report is linked here:

Breaking Schools’ Rules: A Statewide Study of How School Discipline Relates to Students’ Success and Juvenile Justice Involvement features these other key findings:
  • Of the nearly 1 million public secondary school students studied, about 15 percent were suspended or expelled 11 times or more; nearly half of these students with 11 or more disciplinary actions were involved in the juvenile justice system.
  • Only three percent of the disciplinary actions were for conduct in which state law mandated suspensions and expulsions; the rest were made at the discretion of school officials primarily in response to violations of local schools’ conduct codes.
  • African-American students and those with particular educational disabilities were disproportionately disciplined for discretionary actions.
  • Repeated suspensions and expulsions predicted poor academic outcomes. Only 40 percent of students disciplined 11 times or more graduated from high school during the study period, and 31 percent of students disciplined one or more times repeated their grade at least once.
  • Schools that had similar characteristics, including the racial composition and economic status of the student body, varied greatly in how frequently they suspended or expelled students.
Marian Wright Edelman: Zero Tolerance Discipline Policies: A Failing Idea:
"New research analyzing the data from the 2009 – 2010 school year in Massachusetts found nearly 60,000 school expulsions and suspensions. Just over half of them were for “unassigned offenses” – nonviolent, noncriminal offenses, which can include behavioral issues such as swearing, talking back to a teacher, and truancy. (I’ve never understood why you suspend or expel children for not coming to school rather than finding out why!) Of the approximately 30,000 “unassigned offenses,” two-thirds received out of school suspension, resulting in 57,000 lost days of school. What’s more, because Massachusetts schools aren’t currently required to report “unassigned offenses” resulting in exclusions of 10 days or less for regular education students, the estimated actual number of disciplinary exclusions is likely at least two to three times the 60,000 reported."
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