Last week, the Discipline Disparities Research to Practice Collaborative, a national panel of researchers, educators, advocates and policy analysts, released important new research on the discriminatory impacts of harsh, zero-tolerance approaches to school discipline, and on the positive alternatives that schools can use to better ensure students’ human rights to education and dignity.
The Research-to-Practice Collaborative found clear evidence in their research that students of color, particularly African-Americans, and students with disabilities are suspended from school at hugely disproportionate rates compared to white students, perpetuating racial and educational inequality across the country. LGBTQ students also are over-represented in suspension.
The negative consequences of excessive use of exclusionary discipline – including lower academic achievement, higher likelihood of dropout and greater chances of contact with the juvenile justice system – mean that students will be discouraged from remaining on track to complete their education.
NESRI and other members of the Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) across the country have been bringing attention to this issue and proposing solutions to end the racial and other disparities that exist in too many of our nation’s schools. The Discipline Disparities Collaborative has engaged DSC members as key partners in efforts to address disciplinary disparities, and the DSC will use their research findings and recommendations to help move forward local and national campaigns to promote positive approaches to school climate and discipline.
In addition to the briefing papers, the Disparities Collaborative website also contains supplementary papers on implicit bias, research showing that African American disproportionality cannot be accounted for by differences in student behavior, and a myths and facts sheet on disciplinary disproportionality. Finally, there are a host of resources including links to other reports, and a Resource Directory listing organizations across the nation currently working on these issues.