Skip to main content

Group of children standing in classroom
African-American, Latino, and disabled students are suspended from school at disproportionate rates compared to white students, a new report finds. In fact, except for the fact that high suspension rates emphatically should not be the norm, we might just say that straight white students without disabilities are suspended at disproportionately low rates:
Latino students, girls of color, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students also were disproportionately suspended—a punishment the report said increases dropout risks and helps push troubled students out of classrooms and into the justice system. [...]

The researchers found that black students were 1.78 times as likely to be suspended out of school as white students. Latino students' suspension odds were 2.23 times greater than those of white students. Students with disabilities were suspended at twice the rate of their non-disabled peers, and for longer durations. Worse, 25 percent of black students with disabilities received at least one out-of-school suspension in the 2009-2010 school year.

Research shows that removing so-called "bad kids" from the classroom doesn't help non-disruptive kids learn, according to the collaborative. The group found that some restorative justice programs and prevention programs that call for more student-teacher engagement can help lower suspension rates and minimize disruptions. The researchers also found that school police often make arrests for “what might otherwise be considered adolescent misbehaviors.”

That's how you get a school-to-prison pipeline: When behaviors that, coming from a white, middle-class student, would look like kids being kids, something to educate them not to do but not anything to freak out over, are instead treated as Major Problems. Even in cases that don't involve police, it's not exactly conducive to learning if kids are learning that school is a punitive place where everything they do will be viewed with suspicion and anger because of who they are. And when you look at the list of groups targeted for punishment, it's clear that it is because of who they are. These are the wrong lessons for schools to be teaching, even if they are lessons these kids will eventually be taught by our criminal justice system and our economy.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 09:32 AM PDT.

Also republished by Prison Watch, Support the Dream Defenders, and Daily Kos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

    •  I was suspended 4 times in high school (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Food fight, fighting, stealing, dress code violation (Catholic school). And I'm a white male. What I'd like to know is whether this was a controlled study? Are students of color more likely to be suspended than whites OR are students who go to poor schools, who happen to be disproportionately of color, more likely to be suspended?

      •  Good points. We have a tendency around here (0+ / 0-)

        to jump at any incendiary point, whether or not the study was credible. Not that I condemn our position against injustice, it is absolutely the correct position, but sometimes I feel like someone yelled "squirrel" and we are dogs  ready to pounce before we clearly know what credibility has been given to the data.

      •  There is way more than one study (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pelagicray, chigh

        People have been studying this for more than a decade.

        Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

        by moviemeister76 on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 10:46:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Nowhere does the report say (0+ / 0-)

        that white students are NOT suspended or disciplined.  The behaviors you listed would get a student of any race or gender disciplined.
        Did you happen to notice the word "disproportionate" in several places?
        How would you do a "controlled" study of discipline in schools?
        This the point at which non-whites start being disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system.
        I have read studies where schools in specific states or school districts where non-whites were even more disproportionately disciplined, including suspension, and starts earlier.
        The reasons students get disciplined have also changed.  When I went to public school in the 50s and 60s, no girl ever got disciplined for carrying Midol in their purse (I don't ever remember seeing a backpack at school in those days).  
        The so-called zero tolerance has led to many abuses.

        •  You missed my point… (0+ / 0-)

          Are minorities more likely than whites to be suspended in schools where whites are a majority or plurality (thus implying racism) OR do suspensions disproportionately occur in poor schools which tend to be overwhelmingly minority populated, suggesting that a change of approach is necessary? The macro data suggests the problem, but it's the micro data that will provide the solution.

  •  It's called school to prison pipeline & we are the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ericlewis0, Calamity Jean

    Targets.  Gotta keep the for profit prisons full.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 09:41:34 AM PDT

    •  well this article is not exactly post racial... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HonestJohnson, pensi

      This is so important that we should dedicate at least a little thought to this issue. The article divides kids into groups. It doesn't provide evidence that principals are racist or treating children unequally. We should want to see the data matched up by the childrens' behaviors. Do the same types of behaviors result in different responses by the same principals depending on the color of child's skin? Are there more extreme behaviors in certain economic zones? Are those differences confounded by demographic categories that are being assigned? Are there more serious behaviors committed by children coming from certain sub-cultures? (culture does not arise from genetics).

      It is easy to see this article as being part of a greater injustice which has an unfortunate societal inertia. Maybe to address the deep issues we need to first carefully describe what the issues are and be specific about objectives are that we wish to achieve.

      •  Actually (8+ / 0-)

        If you looks at the underlying research they controlled for severity and nature of the infractions and the report here should read that minorities are nearly twice as likely to be suspended for the same infraction.  This is far from the dirt such study and is just another clear example of institutional racism at work.   We all done a tremendous disservice by these actions by administrators

      •  StandUp, thanks for your thoughtful dissection of (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sajiocity, Whatithink

        the diary.

        The first question we should be asking is: Are all children treated the same for the same misbehavior?

        Only then can we determine weather their is discrimination based on race, etc.

        What is the proper response for kids who act out and are disruptive or violent?

        While these kids need help, they are taking the teacher away from the rest of the class. What of those kids who want to learn and don't misbehave? Why should they be "punished" by these distractions?

        It’s the Supreme Court, stupid! Followed by: It's always the Supreme Court! Progressives will win only when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive.

        by auapplemac on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 04:36:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  From the linked article: (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wishingwell, happymisanthropy, Miira
          To reach these conclusions, the group relied on research studies, as well as data from the U.S. Education Department. “Several studies indicate … that racial disparities are not sufficiently explained by the theory that black or other minority students are simply misbehaving more," the collaborative wrote.
  •  Gosh, maybe if those young folks... (5+ / 0-)

    behaved more like Paul Ryan, our country would be super-duper.

    And our plates would be extra clean, too.

    So, what do the Paul Ryans of the world do when confronted with facts such as this? I mean, besides make things up, of course.

    This is always the part that the Ayn Rand acolytes conveniently fail to grasp: Yes, equality is awesome, but only if everyone comes from an equally advantaged background, which clearly isn't -- and perhaps never will be -- the case.

    Hell, if I'm reading this correctly, if you're a gay African-American or Latino student with a disability, you're pretty much destined to get suspended.

    The arc of the moral universe is longer than we guessed.

    How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

    by BenderRodriguez on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 09:52:12 AM PDT

    •  It's the breakdown of the family I tell you!! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Deep Texan

      Whatever that means.

      America, where a rising tide lifts all boats! Unless you don't have a boat...uh...then it lifts all who can swim! Er, if you can't swim? SHAME ON YOU!

      by Back In Blue on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 11:41:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  doesn't it mean the changing culture (3+ / 0-)

        of families. my grandfather lived with the entire family on a small piece of land. as the family grew, more houses were built. they took care of each other, literally. they worked together. they ate together. they danced together.

        eventually the area became a city and the family members eventually moved into their own respective houses around the city.

        instead of multiple generations and cousins living under one roof, it's now just the nuclear family unit. for a time the wife stayed home and the husband earned the money. then the women went to work and were liberated. that set off the war of the sexes. which is still going on btw. women still don't make the same as men. women are constantly pigeonholed into a mold created by men/society.

        so from their point of view the breakdown was the wife deciding she had rights, could earn her own money and stopped doing everything for her man. this equal partnership is the right direction but a loss of power/prestige of men everywhere. it's similar to race issues. race, women and gay issues are all civil rights issues. equal protection, rights and access are all these groups require. men (mostly white) can't stand it. have been thorns in the side of progress for as long as i can remember. the things white men in my home town say about women, gays, latinos, blacks etc. are vile.

        -You want to change the system, run for office.

        by Deep Texan on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 12:01:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I meant whatever as in "whatever it means today" (4+ / 0-)

          Your description is perfect and far better and clearer than anything I've ever heard out of goper's mouth. They tend to add on all their personal agenda items to check the dots for each of the groups they pander to and to help muddy the waters and avoid accountability.

          As for white men?  Of course they don't like it because all their privileges are being taken away.  I know, I am a white man.  But I grew up with a strong mother who, although she stopped working as a surgical nurse when her kids were born, had an equal voice in all things in our family. My wife and I do the same and having two daughters has also enlightened me on many issues I thought I understood.  

          That said, there are a lot of white men like me, especially in the next generation.  It's only a matter of time!

          America, where a rising tide lifts all boats! Unless you don't have a boat...uh...then it lifts all who can swim! Er, if you can't swim? SHAME ON YOU!

          by Back In Blue on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 03:23:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  If you had parents, you would most likely (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        auapplemac, slothlax

        have a boat to be lifted in.

        Parents or the lack there of is the number one influence for a person's success in life.

        Certainly there are teachers that are not always fair or skilled in handling their students.  It is well known that female teachers will favor male students and male teachers that will favor female students.  That kind of bias, even in the most innocent ways is built into human nature.

        To me, the saddest thing is that this web site plays the race card, when in fact the biggest single problem with our primary and secondary educational  system isn't the schools or the teachers, it is the parents that aren't doing their job!  It is the parents job to raise their children, to see that they apply their selves in school, teach them to how to get along with other students and to respect the school staff.  Parents are far and away the biggest influence on how our children develop, but only is they, the parents, are fully ingaged in raising the children.  Children learn so much just by  "osmosis," by watching their parents.  I saw that in my children and I can see it in my grand children.  When parents are absent, the chances that the children will be "feral" goes way up.

        •  I do not know if I even agree or disagree with (5+ / 0-)

          your comment.  Because as soon as you decided to say...Play the Race Card...I bristled.  I do not like when people use that phrase, bothers me a great deal.

          Keystone Liberals on Twitter @ KeystoneLibs , Join PA Liberals at

          by wishingwell on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 05:03:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  "this web site plays the race card"? (9+ / 0-)

          I have kids too, and I have grandkids too. Some are white, some are kids of color. Raised all their lives by the same parents, but if you think society doesn't see them and treat them differently, you're kidding yourself.

        •  Growing up with no or improper discipline is the (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          manyamile, sajiocity, slothlax

          cause of much of these problems.

          I have written before that parents are the primary teachers of their kids for the first important years of their lives.

          If kids are not taught to behave or be respectful, they enter school at a disadvantage.

          Please don't think I'm supporting bringing up little martinets just kids who know how to behave in a group, how to respect the other kids in the classroom.

          You're not supposed to throw things, curse, interrupt the teacher or another student when they are talking. Wait your turn and most important not to solve problems by fighting.

          When kids are raising kids or older grandmothers are raising their grandkids, it difficult for children to be kept on the right track.

          It’s the Supreme Court, stupid! Followed by: It's always the Supreme Court! Progressives will win only when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive.

          by auapplemac on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 05:10:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My daughter taught public school (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sajiocity, middleagedhousewife, Miira

            in Baltimore, in the neighborhood where they filmed The Wire. Some of her kids were being raised by their grandmothers, some by very young moms.
            None of them behaved the way you describe. Respect goes both ways, and in a student-teacher relationship, it starts with the adult.

            •  No, it starts with the child being brought up to (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              know how to behave in a classroom. That primarily comes from home.

              Funny how so many on dKos support the Teacher's Unions, but when it comes to the teachers, not so much.

              I was raised in a lower middle class/lower income neighborhood. I went to an integrated K-8 school. We all knew how to behave. We were taught by our parents to listen to the teacher. She continued to guide us on how to behave in class to show respect for both her and the rest of the class.

              This continue through middle school. It was an "open" school. While in a middle class neighborhood, the kids came from all types of backgrounds and neighborhoods. Still no major discipline problems in the classroom.

              This was in the late 40s/50s. What has changed since then?

              It’s the Supreme Court, stupid! Followed by: It's always the Supreme Court! Progressives will win only when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive.

              by auapplemac on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 07:32:08 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I think you're starting with the presumption (4+ / 0-)

                that kids who are raised by single moms or grandmothers are not being taught to show respect. That's quite a presumption- and in most cases it's simply not true.

                In my daughter's class, she made conflict resolution a part of every day's activity, especially at the beginning of the year. If there were any kids who had problems with it initially, they all learned to do it faster than you would imagine.

                She considered it part of her job to help kids have a peaceful learning environment. So did the teachers I had in school- also in the fifties. They didn't call it conflict resolution, but they worked on classroom dynamics in their own way.

                I don't agree that it should now be the sole province of parents to do what teachers have done for decades. If anything has changed, it's that expectation.

        •  Oh and by the way, rockman13- (5+ / 0-)

          you've been here nine years and your first comment ever is about "the race card" and "feral" children.

  •  experience (7+ / 0-)

    As a retired NYC teacher, let me add a slant to this report.  Poor kids are more often brought up poorly.  More often they come to school without breakfast--without school supplies--without educational encouragement from their parents. Poor minority kids that live with a single parent are also often left alone at too early an age.  Minority kids are more often in foster care and/or suffer from a lack of proper medical care.
    Add all this up and you get America's habit of blaming the schools for society's failures.  My guess is that wealthy minority children are not more often suspended--and if they are--often it's because "gangsta" is positively displayed in media.
    Before someone retorts about free breakfasts--most kids don't eat them--or pick and choose.  Middle class kids are often goaded by their parent s to eat properly.  

    Actions speak louder than petitions.

    by melvynny on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 09:53:35 AM PDT

    •  Are the difference in rates due to (0+ / 0-)

      differences in behavior, or differences in teacher perception? I don't think any conclusions can be drawn based on what is here.

      A way to explore that would be to rerun those stats based on the characteristics of the teacher.

      But I'd wager that you are also correct that the rates within the groups would also vary by socio-economic status.

      •  new teachers have most trouble with this (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Inexperienced teachers are often most taxed by behaviour problems in the classroom, and even with kids from different cultures than their own. It often takes years to learn the skills of classroom management that allow teachers to maintain control of a learning environment with diverse and challenging kids. And guess who usually ends up teaching in those low income schools that nobody else wants to teach at?

        As for whether it is the kid or the teacher, it's pretty easy to determine: does the kid have a reputation across years and schools, or does the teacher? Real problem kids act out in every class year after year. By the time they get to middle school, they often have a record, an intervention plan, maybe have had counseling, etc.

        "Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb

        by quill on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 02:30:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  this. The problem is more complicated (5+ / 0-)

      The implication I got from the diary is that schools, teachers, and admin/security are racist. That may be true, but from what I've observed, that is not the main cause of this problem. As melvynny says, kids often bring their outside issues into the classroom, and I'd add that besides poverty those outside issues often include violence, neglect and abuse, which kids often deal with by acting out in class. Additionally, schools in poor/minority areas are much more likely to have strict zero tolerance policies (decided at the district level), which surely helps to create these terrible statistics.

      About this:

      Research shows that removing so-called "bad kids" from the classroom doesn't help non-disruptive kids learn, according to the collaborative. The group found that some restorative justice programs and prevention programs that call for more student-teacher engagement can help lower suspension rates and minimize disruptions.
      I have a very hard time believing this assertion. A severely disruptive child can significantly distract the teacher and create an unmanageable classroom environment as other kids cue off that child. It takes great skill to handle and even veteran teachers can struggle with this problem. The notion that teachers just need to engage more seems insulting to teachers who have to deal with these problems regularly, especially in low income areas where kids with behavior problesm are much more common.

      "Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb

      by quill on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 10:30:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I had problems with that assertion as well. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I live in an integrated small city and have seen parents keep their kids at home and home schooled. Not because they were religious nuts but because the teachers were so busy trying to control a few disruptive students that no one was learning.

      •  I agree. That assertion is incorrect and makes it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        seem that serious misbehavior that disrupts a classroom to the point of other students being held back from a positive learning environment is somehow the fault of the teacher. When one student's misbehavior is so extreme that the entire classroom is disrupted for late amounts of time daily, then at what point should the others be given a right to an education?  

    •  kudos for on-target comment (0+ / 0-)

      Have to agree with you... I've seen the same kind of patterns. My own 14-yr old was enrolled in private schools (because of their unique educational approaches, one multiple intelligences, the other b/c they had the highest educational standards in our location) and even the students in those schools fit your model as did those in my school where 96% of the kids were on free or reduced-cost breakfast. And yes, not seeing the value of the food, like the value of education, they didn't consume either! UNLESS, the parents were strongly supportive of education, regardless of the school's location, tuition cost, or application of educational theory.

  •  But don't you think ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ... that this is good training for the kind of jobs these kids are most likely to be shuttled into, where WORK "is a punitive place where everything they do will be viewed with suspicion and anger because of who they are"?

    I mean, after all, this still is AMURIKA, isn't it?

    OF COURSE the New Right is wrong - but that doesn't make WRONG the new RIGHT!

    by mstaggerlee on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 11:40:59 AM PDT

  •  Race Card? REALLY??? Misses the point... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mymom51, sendtheasteroid, rockman13

    Having taught in an inner-city charter school that called itself a "preparatory academy", I can speak from first-hand experience that the issue of suspending kids based on racial lines is total BS, at least at our school, but I would guess at many American public schools. Being that our school was 99% non-white would taint statistics such as those you are quoting terribly.

    While I agree that putting kids out of class, either ISS or OSS, does not forward their education, it DOES attempt to protect the productive learning environment for those who are respectful of and/or actually interested in the purpose of school, learning something. Our school used a behavioral modification program with graduated penalties both for both severity and repeat offenses. Students actively undermining the classroom environment would still be responsible for the work done in class.

    Unfortunately, their absence made it (1) more difficult for them since they'd not be exposed to the material, and (2) more difficult for the teacher since they might have to do a one-on-one with a student who was finally resolved to acquire the learning. What’s truly frustrating to many educators is that, in many cases, the social cred earned by a “Major Problem” student for successfully disrupting class is often the hood equivalent to the Congressional Medal of Honor, sometimes celebrated by high-fives in the classroom. Much of the lack of progress towards state mandates may come from the takeover of the classroom by those who feel disenfranchised by the system and/or fail to recognize the value of education.

    While I've not done research on the reasons for suspension, my experience tells me that loss of student interest stems, in part, from a failure to understand what's happening to a wide range of reasons ranging from distraction (opposite sex, smart phones, asocial behavior) through disengagement (reading ability, vocabulary, attention span, dysfunctional schools). It's too easy (not to mention cliché) to write an article such as this pointing the finger at racism as the cause, but I'm sure there's sound basis for investigating the detrimental effects of articles such as this on the morale of ethical teachers and families who place a high value on education but can't afford private schools. This is a very difficult and important problem that deserves our full attention because we're wasting billions of dollars trying to educate kids when there are too many disruptions in the educational environment.

    As a scientifically-trained educator and educational consultant, I know that trying to point the finger at a single reason fails any litmus test as problems like this are way more complex than non-scientific minds would like to comprehend. A quick reading of the 1990 seminal work by Peter Senge "The Fifth Discipline" [ISBN 0-385-51725-4] in which system complexity and dynamics are discussed. Few complex problems, such as classroom behavior and discipline, are truly solved by simplistic thinking, but simplistic solutions, such as blaming racial targeting, can complexify existing problems.

    •  Wow (0+ / 0-)

      Thanks.  I'd love to hear more about these interactions.

    •  Ah the "race card" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It's amazing how people will just completely reject evidence if it doesn't fit their world view. I'm not sure what makes you different from anti-vaccine folks. You do realize you are rejecting more than a decade of research right? People aren't just pulling this stuff out of their ass. And I find it amazing that everyone can acknowledge that racism is still a problem, but rejects it as a problem when specifics are looked at.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 10:43:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  dmount55 is mostly right (0+ / 0-)

        By my read, dmount55 is NOT rejecting the evidence - but is questioning the INTERPRETATION of that evidence. It is also my experience that explicit racial prejudice is socially unacceptable in nearly every setting. And yet, there are still disparate impacts.

        I do think the kind of evidence suggested by the study demonstrates INSTITUTIONAL racism, but not necessarily INDIVIDUAL prejudice (and certainly not of the intentional kind). Let me start my saying I think there are probably some people in schools with racial prejudices, but I believe the vast majority are anti-prejudice. And yet, we have a clearly disparate impact despite it.

        So, how to approach this problem? The author appears to suggest the problem is that administrators are lying about their racial prejudices, and need to be replaced with non-racists. That might be true in isolated instances, but the real problem is that there are collective cultural biases which cause us to view individual situations differently. If I were an administrator suspending a kid, I would consider the totality of the circumstances, not just the name of the infraction. The totality includes the kid's behavior in my office, the degree to which I think the parents will be effectively involved, and how the teachers as witnesses perceived the situation. That totality might lead to lenience in some cases and a harder line in others. It might also lead to racial disparity since every interaction I just described (along with all the other ones happening on the same day) is mediated by cultural assumptions, which are tied somewhat to race.

        The argument for a post-racial approach isn't that racism has gone away - it is that we have made a huge step in making explicit prejudice socially unacceptable (despite some backsliding based on opposition to Obama), and we should be trying to expand the use of post-racial assumptions instead of abandoning them. The collective social experience of the reconstrcution, its collapse, the slow moral acceptance across racial lines, and developments since the civil rights movement show that there is a lot of risk in refusing to distinguish between individuals who directly show prejudice and those who don't.

        Individual responsibility for institutional racism is a really destructive approach. Hold individuals accountable for their individual actions and then hold hands with others who are anti-prejudice while we engage the long and difficult job of unworking the social and cultural biases which enable institutional racism.

        •  The thing is (0+ / 0-)

          The article isn't much more than a fluff piece, par for the course at Huffpo. The author isn't a researcher, and quite frankly didn't even include the most important parts of the research. A better source is here, which is the project that is the primary resource for the article anyway.

          What stood out for me when I first heard about this over a year ago and started paying attention was something from this overview of the research:

          It is crucial to note that disparities are less apparent for clearly defined objective infractions such a violence, drugs, or weapons charges, and most apparent for those infractions that are more open to subjective interpretation, such as defiance, disrespect, insubordination, clothing, or “talking back” violations.
          In other words, when it comes to infractions which are clearly detailed in school policy, there isn't much of a racial disparity. Where the real disparity comes in are the subjective ones. When it's left up to teacher discretion, that's when the racial disparity crops up. And as the research shows, it goes much further than just a racial disparity. And keep in mind, this is across the board for all teachers, regardless of race.

          Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

          by moviemeister76 on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 10:21:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Having been in the schools as a volunteer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Disruptive students need to be out of the classroom for the sake of the classroom learning. My own son was ADD and caused some disruption from time to time. I did not back him in the problem, I explained that he was not allowed to disrupt the other kids learning and if he wanted to be with them he would have to find a way to behave. He managed to do that and graduate from high school. My child needed a different environment that was not available so we had to make do. It would not have been fair to the other students had we indulged his disabilities at their expense. In my local high school there are a number of students who make teaching impossible and their parents expect them to be coddled. If we continue to indulge disabled and disruptive student at the disadvantage of the rest, no one will have any kind of education. I hate to cut them out but I have come to the point where the majority of the average students must be serviced first. With preschool generally available, there is no reason why children don't know what is expected of them by the time they are in second grade. If they cannot attain this level of behavior then they need to be in a space where their behavior doesn't disturb the others. Parents of disabled children want their kids included but don't want to have to have them behave in class. My kid tended to make noises and disrupt things until he was given the choice of behaving or not being in school.

    •  good for you (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slothlax, Mostel26

      too many parents take their kids side instead of the teachers. Parents need to teach their children to respect teachers and follow the rules when in school.  

      Those children with special needs should be given they tools they need to learn, but not be allowed to disrupt classes.

      I think instead of looking at race and disabilities you need to look at why they were dismissed.

  •  In AZ 10 years ago my granddaughter... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, manyamile

    who is hearing impaired was suspended for disrupting the classroom.  She was waiting on new hearing aids for both ears, and needed to see the teacher's face to lip read since the school had cut funding for an in-class helper for her.  My daughter packed up her two children and moved them back to Washington where my granddaughter just graduated with honors from high school.  At that time the schools in Washington helped disabled children to learn not only their school work, but also encouraged them to handle their handicaps as nothing more than a slight obstacle to success that could be overcome.  

    This problem is not new, and sadly, it is still not being addressed.  Until we start realizing that the first thing that should NOT BE cut from a budget is education spending and demand better for our children both at the ballot box and in the streets, teachers and our children will suffer.  

    And that means that our future is in jeopardy.  

    We are seeing it today in the medical profession where poor quality doctors are entering the field, relegating much of their responsibilities to nurse-practitioners, and patients are suffering.  We see it in law schools where the art of making the deal in corporate law gets getter emphasis than in law for the public good.  We see it in government where corporate money is putting people in office who can barely make coherent sentences much less reasonable laws.

    It is time to stop sitting idly by and stand up for what our children need - a good, free public educational system, not corporate and religious charter schools.  It is time to teach this nation once again that education is the best defense against tyranny, and we do it by speaking out and demanding change.  Educational funding should be more than defense spending and certainly more than subsidies to corporations like Koch Industries and Wal-Mart.

  •  It may make (0+ / 0-)

    the school to  prison pipeline extremely functional, but it also gives the holier-than-thou pontificators something to feel holy about.  If there were no failures, who would they feel better than?

  •  Why am I not surprised? (0+ / 0-)

    Unless a student is lily white, religiously boring and straight, it is difficult for a student to get through school.

    It doesn't help that the bullies are not always challenged by the school authorities. This leads to a blame-the-victim mindset.

    It's easier to remove the "non-perfects" than to make them be accepted. (Hate is easier to teach than love - consider the GOP and their religions.)

    Trying to teach acceptance after third or fourth grade is difficult. Too bad many teachers and authorities take the easy road out. This goes under bullying - and why there are justifiable lawsuits against the schools.


  •  Don't I know it... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rduran, Cassandra Waites

    I worked in a large school district  for more than 3 years as a Home/"Hospital" teacher, the ones who used to go to a student's home if they were ill for a long time & unable to get to class. Now, the vast majority of the students these teachers are serving are "special ed," black, male students who have been either kicked out of class for days or permanently. The first thing that needs to be investigated are the IEPs that labeled these students "disabled" or "special ed." I've been through this process with my son and I can tell you that parents are railroaded into agreeing with the school, even though they know that their son/daughter is not special ed material and does not belong in special ed classes, and definitely does not deserve to be labeled for their entire school career. Of course they are also strongly advised to medicate.

    My theory? I believe that the schools want these children out of the classroom, yet they know expulsions & suspensions are not deserved. So, all you need do to make certain that the state still gives the kids at least some semblance of education (Which is only 3-6 hours per week for all subjects.) so that you can still sleep at night, is label them special ed.  Great...done...wash my hands of it... (In the schools' defense, they have to have some means of relieving the stress of 35-45 students in a classroom & no money for even the basics like textbooks. Some times I was expected to teach a student with no text.)

    I can tell you after teaching these students that they were not learning disabled; they were submissive disabled & thank God for that. Thank God that, even though our schools have done every single thing they can to get these students "in line," and step-marching to the passivity drum, they have steadfastly refused--paid for it dearly--but refused all the same.

    •  Thank god for that? (0+ / 0-)

      I agree a number of special education students are basically non-conformists, but how does that help them individually or society as a whole?

      There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

      by slothlax on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 09:05:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  How about this (0+ / 0-)

        This country was built by non-conformists. It's not the purpose of school to encourage that, but there are lots of people who do better outside of a structure such as school.

        We need to find ways to reach them, but that requires resources.

        My father in law has taught both special education and gifted ed - he says they are largely the same students, but are being treated in very different ways. The gifted program in our district is about different learning styles, and is built on a recognition that students both need to learn how to behave in a classroom and also have their curiousity tapped in other ways. But for that program, I think a number of those students would end up treated in a disciplinary manner.

        I think we should consider it amazing that schools do as well as they do in keeping kids engaged. Yes, students might have been better behaved in past generations, but that was based on ostracism and punishment more than semi-voluntary social exchange. We are headed in the right directions, but we have a long way to go.

  •  So much for the myth, then, that our educational (5+ / 0-)

    system in dominated by "bleeding heart liberals", eh?

    If you get confused, listen to the music play - R. Hunter

    by SpamNunn on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 04:10:29 PM PDT

  •  Post-Racial America my ass. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Florida is one of the worst states when it comes to this kind of crap. In fact, we have one of the biggest private prison industries in the country.

    I write a series called 'My Life as an Aspie', documenting my experiences before and after my A.S. diagnosis as a way to help fellow Aspies and parents of Aspies and spread awareness. If I help just one person by doing this, then I've served a purpose.

    by Homer177 on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 04:14:20 PM PDT

    •  There was racial disparity before (0+ / 0-)

      the rise of private prisons. We should be pushing against private prisons, clearly, but it is just gross to suggest that individual school administrators are doing these things in order to enrich private prisons. Want to persuade me otherwise? Show me the kickbacks - and then I will fight with you to remove individual school administrators taking bribes.

      The school to prison pipeline may be a thing, but it is not a reason to attack the education sector. If anything, it is the result of past attacks on the education sector (e.g. resources encourage schools to take a harder line on discipline, etc).

      We need more teachers who are allowed to follow your italic text ("if I help just one student by doing this") not teachers who raise the average score by excluding the outliers.

  •  I never got it (0+ / 0-)

    What's the purpose of school suspension in the first place?

    •  Removing a disruption from the classroom so (5+ / 0-)

      the majority of kids have a chance to get an education.

      Philly used to have a school where these kids were reassigned.

      If a choice has to be made, do we abandon the rest of the kids or cater too the disruptor?

      It’s the Supreme Court, stupid! Followed by: It's always the Supreme Court! Progressives will win only when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive.

      by auapplemac on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 05:22:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Disruption" is awfully subjective (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        middleagedhousewife, Miira

        Disrespect, foul language, note passing, not paying attention, texting, clothing; any number of factors--many seemingly arbitrary--beyond violence and verbal abuse.  And I've yet to see anything more than a teacher's or administrator's say so that removing said "disruptions" optimizes anything.

        •  I trust the teachers on this one (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          and I've seen cases where teachers are quite distracted from the overall content because a couple of students are disruptive. That's a direct tradeoff.

          There are probably some disruptions which are better ignored, and I suspect many such disruptions are ignored now.

          Students also model each other, so if you get away with it, I might try it.

          Balancing this is a tricky proposition indeed, and people who are hired as teachers have significant training (textbook and practical) in the problem. People who aren't really good at it rarely get hired - or retained - as teachers.

          •  Given the findings presented in this diary (0+ / 0-)

            I'm about done with giving teachers the benefit of the doubt.  

            •  So you're going to blame teachers (0+ / 0-)

              That seems like an awfully lazy conclusion of a very nuanced and difficult problem.

              •  Students don't suspend themselves (0+ / 0-)
                •  Obvioulsy (0+ / 0-)

                  You're correct that students don't suspend themselves, but your comment takes a relativist position that all behavior in a school should be permitted. I'd also like to point out that no teacher suspends a student; that is done by an administrator. If you'd like to find fault in how a school resolves malfeasant behavior on the part of its students you might want to do a little deeper thinking on the matter from a position that balances the need of all children to learn vs. the behavior of any one student vs. the need of teacher to maintain an orderly classroom environment vs. the way in which administrators / policy makers set up school systems to acculturate students to be successful. Your attack on teachers is simplistic and misplaced.

                  •  Not permitted (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    My issue is with the supposed remedy.  

                    •  Your issue with the remedy is fine (0+ / 0-)

                      but suspension / disciplinary policies at almost every school are devised by administrators, central office personnel, and/or local elected officials. My objection with your comments has to do with laying blame at the feet of teachers.

                      •  And executed by the teachers (0+ / 0-)

                        In just about every school district, teachers have wide latitude in crafting their own classroom discipline policies.  That administrators and officials also bear significant responsibility for this sad state of affairs does not absolve teachers of their role.

                        •  I'll assume....... (0+ / 0-)

                          you have little experience in working in a school, are approaching a rather difficult and nuanced issue as a lay person, and don't care to understand the relevant dynamics in a manner that might lead to a better school environment for all relevant parties. Feel free to resume painting the entire issue with your XXL brush.

  •  The overlap of race and class (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    manyamile, slothlax, Mostel26, Miira

    Black people are subjected to specific anti-black racism (often unconscious and unintended) which is not applied even to lower class whites, and which is currently on average more severe than that applied to Hispanics and Asians, even though historically groups like Chinese and Irish immigrants have experienced nearly equal bigotry (but no longer do).  It could just be that teachers suspend black students for exactly the same behavior that white students are not suspended for, and sometimes it probably is, but it could also be more complex.

    A major impact of historical racism has been the black people are much more likely to be members of the economic and social lower class and working class.

    Lower class and working class white people also start life with major disadvantages in terms of economic resources, understanding of the nuances of the education system, and cultural tendencies which are superficially self-serving but actually self-destructive.  I know that because I was raised culturally middle class but economically lower class.  I had major obstacles, including extreme naivete about the educational system relative to upper middle class students, but had less baggage than multi-generational lower class students.

    It is exceptionally difficult to tease apart the effects of race from the effects of class, although we can clearly see that people who are physically black but culturally completely middle class, such as President Obama, are subjected to substantial racism but are often much less impeded by it, at least in economic terms.  

    Race and class form a feedback loop.  Being disadvantaged and lower class predisposes to behavior which can fuel conscious and unconscious bias against an ethnic/cultural group.  This effect is seen in some white subcultures, such as those who strongly self-identify as "redneck" or cultivate strong accents associated with large East Coast urban areas, while simultaneously engaging in "outrageous" behavior.  

    It's a difficult cycle to break.  The logical solution would be equal access to high quality public education and opportunity, but that will not work instantly, meaning that "conservatives" will always have a period during which they can claim that "we gave some disadvantaged group access to public education and it didn't instantly change their status, therefore we should take it away".

  •  WONDERFUL photo at top of the diary! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I wonder where that came from?  Great choice!

  •  three guesses (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and the first two don't count.

  •  Our public school teachers are heavily (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, slothlax, Miira

    drawn from the middle class, and many of them firmly believe it is their sacred duty to force their middle class norms onto to students.

    Many of them will, in fact, proudly tell you this is their job.

    I'd love to see these numbers reflect income.

    Don't expect to.

  •  Took a while to find some raw numbers (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    auapplemac, Whatithink

    In only one state -- Utah -- did Asian/Pacific Islander suspension rates exceed that of whites. Most of the time, the white rate was way higher.

    Is that confirmation bias on the part of teachers and administrators, or something else?  

  •  I got suspended for fighting (0+ / 0-)

    a fey little boy fighting back against the bullies. I never initiated a fight.

    I couldn't believe being told to stay home from school was a punishment. Really? I not only don't have to come to school, I won't be allowed to? I already had the worst attendance record in the school. It's not like I was safe there.

  •  This part worries me (5+ / 0-)

    "Research shows that removing so-called "bad kids" from the classroom doesn't help non-disruptive kids learn, according to the collaborative."

    The bullying problem in this nation is out of control and has been since I was in school over a dozen years ago. I have no tolerance for bullies and believe schools need strict consequences for it so students that don't bully can learn without being the subject of continued harassment. If this means removal from class, so be it.

    The crap students go through at school is unreal. If an adult was experiencing it at work or in public, they could go to a boss and get the employee fired or call the police and file a report and have their harasser arrested.

    If we don't expect adults to put up with this, and have laws to stop them and punish them, why do bullies get off with the "oh, children will be children" line? Why do we expect kids to put up with it and just "not let it bother them" when we don't expect that of fellow adults? It's pure hypocrisy!

    The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them. - Albert Einstein.

    by Cvstos on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 06:53:25 PM PDT

  •  Suspensions (0+ / 0-)

    "African-American, Latino, and disabled students are suspended from school at disproportionate rates compared to white students, .."                                                          
    This sounds as if there are no white disabled or Latino students.

  •  Is there a link to the actual study? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Whatithink, pdxteacher

    Because all the HP has are characterizations such as:

    “Several studies indicate…"  Which is not science.

    Would like to see the methodology. All we got is raw numbers in this link.

    •  Here (0+ / 0-)




      This is a really good resource as well.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 09:48:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And yet none of them actually (0+ / 0-)

        link to the study mentioned in the HP piece.

        •  What are you talking about? (0+ / 0-)

          First of all, the article mentions "several studies." Second of all, the last link I gave you was the link to the Equity Project at Indiana University, which is where the Discipline Disparities: A Research to Practice Collaborative is being headed. I literally gave you the link to the web site of the group from which the article is primarily getting their info.

          Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

          by moviemeister76 on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 09:53:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Perhaps this is semantic (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I guess I was looking for a "new" research study. I went back and read the original post that says a "a new report finds".

            So at the Indiana link (I had already been there thank you very much) I did not see any links to a "new report".

            The characterization by the diarist that teachers and administrators are guilty of proving that "that school is a punitive place where everything they do will be viewed with suspicion and anger because of who they are. And when you look at the list of groups targeted for punishment, it's clear that it is because of who they are." begs for more than an assertion based upon numerical outcomes. Remember correlation is not causality.

            That is why I was interested in some research and underlying methodology that determined intent/rationale rather outcomes. I'll investigate the studies now that I realize the report is based upon previous work and not a new inquiry.  

            •  I think where the misinformation comes in (0+ / 0-)

              Is that the researchers in the project just presented their findings to Congress about a week ago. So to some people it is new. They began the project back in 2011, and they used both studies that had been conducted up to that point and conducted brand new studies in 2012. However, they are a pretty open project and have been sharing what they found for at least a year now when I first heard about it.

              Here's the info they presented to Congress.

              And it should be noted that many school districts across the country were well aware of this already and have been working, some with success, to correct this issue.

              Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

              by moviemeister76 on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 02:42:03 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  So I read several reports and studies listed (0+ / 0-)

                There is a discrepancy of outcomes (more disciplinary procedures with african americans- esp males). But the diarist's claim of (well HEAVILY implicit) blame of racism and discrimination falls flat. The discipline is not because of who they are but rather what they do. At least from a statistically significant perspective. I agree that aligning disciplinary codes to better reflect missions is needed. But I reject the notion implied with the diary that the majority of educators are discriminatory in their actions regarding discipline and conduct. Again, correlate is not causation. there are a lot of factors at work in the disciplinary outcomes. Not the least of which is single parent households, SES, title 1 assistance, and much more.

  •  Defiance vs compliance (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    As someone who has worked as a substitute teacher in an urbam school district for ten years now, which means I am on the one hand a person directly resposibile for dealing with classroom behavior but on the other an outside observer who does not work in classrooms on a day to day basis and have no vested interest in the subject, I have a huge problem with this meme.

    Many commenters have made critical remarks in this thread that I agree with. What I haven't seen articulated precisely is that the reaction to discipline is a big part of the process. When a student does something that is objectively wrong, and gets called out on it by an authority figure, the student's reaction becomes the foremost factor in how the incident is resolved. In my experience, white students are more compliant once misbehavior is called out and black students are more defiant. That is a generalization of course, there have been plenty of defiant white students I've come across and compliant black students, and as has been pointed out it really has more to do with class and parents' respect or trust in institutions. It is a lot easier for a teacher or administrator to write off "kids being kids" when the kid in question accepts they were in the wrong.

    There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

    by slothlax on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 09:33:17 PM PDT

    •  I dunno (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      All the studies I've read show that children of color are far more likely to actually be punished for actions which are not objectively wrong, whereas it's the white students which are far more likely to be punished for violations which are objectively wrong.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 09:54:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I see your point both ways (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I would agree with the conclusion from studies that there is some difference level of race-based severity in punishments for actions of a similar nature, but I'd also agree with slothlax that there can be some cultural difference in response to correction that leads situations that are similar at their outset to become more serious disciplinary issues to verbal defiance / arguing and slow response time to a command.

        •  But the thing is (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          If you grow up realizing that you are being treated unfairly, wouldn't you have a different reaction than a white kid who doesn't have to live with that?

          Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

          by moviemeister76 on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 03:34:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Totally what makes it a complicated issue (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            There are elements of a child's history that cloud their perception yet there are behaviors that cannot be allowed in a classroom environment. That is what really frustrated me about some of the absolutist positions taken by a few of the folks commenting.

  •  I see reports about minority students... (0+ / 0-)

    In this study.  Why didn't they include Asian students?  Curious.

    •  They did (0+ / 0-)

      The article doesn't really do a good job of explaining. It was more than one study. It was a project that took past studies and combined them with several new studies, and then presented their findings to Congress last week.

      Here's the bibliography of their presentation. If you look on page 5, you will see that they did include Asian American students.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 03:41:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is a very difficult topic (0+ / 0-)

    I'm very sorry that a lot of folks have been dismissive of the overall findings of the studies in this article. I'm even more study that some trolls have used a study that should be instructive to all of us as a vehicle to attack teachers.

    I find myself to be generally trusting of the validity of the study's general conclusions that there are racial imbalances in the disciplinary consequences applied to students. What I find lacking in the discussion, except from a few thoughtful folks making comments, is any level of nuance.

    I can only discuss my views on the issue through my own views as  high school teacher and a person who has done the accreditation review for many other high schools. In my view this issue should be framed around a few thoughts.

    To enumerate them:

    1) Most students, for better or worse in this country, attend a comprehensive academic high school modeled on college preparation with the ultimate outcome of a white collar job in mind for the students who attend those schools. We have set behavioral expectations as educators that balance a maintenance of order with setting expectations for behavior at a white collar job.

    2) There are certain rules and expected behaviors that every school has the right to set for their students that should be 100% non-negotiable. Taking off one's hat / hood when indoors, removing earphones when walking in the hall or not when tasked to work individually, moving through the hallways in an orderly and purposeful manner to arrive at class on time, being silent when another person is speaking to the class, and compliance (sans insubordinate backtalk) with a reasonable command from an adult would qualify as a few givens for an organized school environment.

    3) As a nation, "throwing money at a problem doesn't solve anything" assholes be damned, we have not done enough to socialize minority and low SES students on how to "play school" via universal enrollment in early childhood education. If we had universal pre-school programs available there would be significantly less cultural conflicts in expected behaviors between educators and students by the time they're old enough to warrant major disciplinary consequences for inappropriate behavior in school.

    My bottom line with this whole issue is that we're not doing young people (or the classroom / school  environment) any favors by excusing lateness, loitering, insubordinate speech, disrespectful behavior, and/or disruptive behavior. I, along with all my students, have a right to work together at teaching / learning in an environment where teacher / learning can occur. If a student needs to suffer disciplinary consequences because they violate those behavioral norms, so be it. As a system of schools we need to find more ways to acculturate all students on the right way to act in a school environment at the earliest age possible and need to have the extra support staff in place to assist those students in conforming to those norms when they wind up facing disciplinary consequences for failing to do so.  

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site