African Americans and students with disabilities are suspended at “hugely disproportionate rates,” according to a report by a group called the Discipline Disparities Research-to-Practice Collaborative.
Higher rates of misbehavior don’t explain higher suspension rates, said Russell J. Skiba, a professor at Indiana University and director of the collaborative. He pointed to other factors such as classroom management, diversity of teaching staff, administrative processes, characteristics of student enrollment and school climate.
Suspending disruptive students doesn’t help their classmates, the report argues.
One oft-repeated justification for frequent suspensions is that schools must be able to remove the “bad” students so that “good” students can learn. . . . when schools serving similar populations were compared across the state of Indiana, and poverty was controlled for, those schools with relatively low suspension rates had higher, not lower test scores
Troubled kids hurt the whole class responds Education Next, citing two recent studies.
Domino Effect found children from “troubled families, as measured by family domestic violence,” are much more likely misbehave and be suspended.
We find also that an increase in the number of children from troubled families reduces peer student math and reading test scores and increases peer disciplinary infractions and suspensions… in many cases, a single disruptive student can indeed influence the academic progress made by an entire classroom of students.
A Philadelphia study by Penn researchers found that “in schools with a high concentration of children with ‘risk factors,’ the academic performance of all children – not just those with disadvantages – was negatively affected.”
The collaborative would respond that suspension isn’t the only way to prevent troubled kids from disrupting their classes. Researchers recommend “some restorative justice programs and prevention programs that call for more student-teacher engagement.”
Fordham’s Mike Petrilli is “very nervous” about making it harder to discipline students. “This push to make it harder to suspend students is going to have a chilling effect on teaching and learning.”