Will School-Discipline Reform Actually Change Anything?

The Atlantic

Policymakers and educators, among others, are beginning to question the harsh discipline policies and practices that have in recent decades became popular in certain districts, too. Research shows that the reliance on punitive school discipline like suspensions, expulsions, and school arrests—“school pushout”—deprives students of learning time and takes the greatest toll on nonwhite students, students with disabilities, LGBT youth and other vulnerable student groups. Suspensions can even harm the education of non-misbehaving students, according to some research.

The data on the shortcomings of zero-tolerance discipline is clear and overwhelming, and with increasing regularity and in increasing numbers school districts and states are responding to calls for reform. A wide range of approaches to address discipline concerns with new policies and laws are being tested across the country—including in New York City—with varying degrees of success and enthusiasm. Many of these efforts are spurred by grassroots activists, as well as a growing research base suggesting that suspensions—particularly for minor infractions—are a flawed discipline strategy. A 2011 analysis by the advocacy group and think tank Child Trends found that majority of school suspensions are for nonviolent offense The analysis cites a study on one large, unnamed urban school district in Florida showing that attendance violations and disrespect were the most common reason for suspensions in the jurisdiction, while another study, this one included in a DOE report, found 95 percent of out-of-school suspensions were for slight infractions and misbehavior...

Full article can be found here: Will School-Discipline Reform Actually Change Anything?