The Equity Project

Our Projects

Disciplinary Disparities Research-to-Practice Collaborative

Funded by the Atlantic Philanthropies and the Open Society Foundations

The Equity Project is the lead agency for the Disciplinary Disparities Research-to-Practice Collaborative, designed to identify promising directions in research on disparities in school discipline by race, gender, and gender identity.  The national panel meets quarterly to (a) complete a strategic status report, (b) support intervention research in the area including bullying prevention, and (c) hold a national conference on the issue. The project has funded eleven new research projects to expand the knowledge base concerning disciplinary disparities, especially in the area of intervention. In addition, the Collaborative, in conjunction with the UCLA Civil Rights project, has commissioned papers from noted researchers addressing multiple facets of the problem, and has organized a Congressional briefing to disseminate those findings to the widest possible audience. Our goal has been to bring together researchers, advocates, educators, parents/students and policymakers in order to increase the availability of interventions that are both practical and evidence-based, and to develop and push a policy agenda that will lead to change in practice and policy surrounding issues of equity in school discipline.


PBIS Indiana: Establishing a Statewide Network of Culturally Responsive Positive Behavior Supports

Funded by the Indiana Department of Education and SPDIG

PBIS Indiana is working to create a statewide network of culturally responsive positive behavior interventions and supports (CR-PBIS). PBIS Indiana works with schools and districts throughout the state, to develop a model of culturally responsive PBIS, and provides technical assistance to schools addressing compliance issues related to disparities in discipline. PBIS Indiana is collaborating closely with national leaders in the field to establish a statewide CR-PBIS network.


School Disciplinary Climate and Educational Outcomes for African American Students

Funded by the William T. Grant Foundation

This is the second phase of research that explores African American disproportionality in school suspension and expulsion.  In this phase, the Equity Project is conducting four case studies in urban and suburban schools to identify factors that may contribute to racial disparities in discipline at the school level.  The over-representation of African American students in suspension and expulsion has serious ramifications for academic achievement and youth development.  Intensive case studies of schools varying in racial disproportionality in discipline and achievement outcomes explore how school discipline climates contribute to racial disproportionality in discipline and achievement outcomes. Follow-up quantitative analyses further explore the relationship between school disciplinary practices and academic outcomes, especially for African American students.


Evaluation of Indiana's LEA Data for Special Education Indicators

The Equity Project works with the Indiana Department of Education to analyze statewide discipline and special education eligibility data to identify school districts out of compliance with respect to the disproportionality requirements of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).


National Contributions

Key Activities

  • Lead Author: American Psychological Association Zero Tolerance Task Force Report
  • Continuing member of USDOE Office of Special Education Programs Technical Workgroup on Disproportionality
  • Keynote and consultations to Department of Education and Department of Justice, as well as numerous states (e.g. Texas, Michigan, Maryland, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Iowa, Georgia, California, Minnesota) on issues of disproportionality in discipline and special education


Recent Presentations

Skiba, R. J. (2012, August).  School discipline: What have we learned?  Invited Plenary Session, US Department of Education Office of Safe and Healthy Schools Meeting the Challenge National Conference, Washington, D.C.

Skiba, R. J. (2012, February).  Interventions for   Reducing Disciplinary Disparities and The Problem of Race Neutrality.  Invited   presentation to the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs Technical Working Group on 

       Disproportionality, Washington, D.C.

Skiba, R. J. (2010, September).  Race is not neutral:  Addressing racial and ethnic disparities in school discipline.   Presented at the USDOJ/USDOE Civil Rights and School Discipline Conference, Washington, D.C.


Recent Publications

Skiba, R. (2012). Racial and ethnic disproportionality in special education. In J.A. Banks (Ed.),Encyclopedia of diversity in education. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Skiba, R. J., Horner, R. H., Chung, C. G., Rausch, M. K., May, S. L., & Tobin, T. (2011). Race is not neutral: A national investigation of African American and Latino disproportionality in school discipline.   School Psychology Review, 40, 85-107

Skiba, R.J., Eckes, S., & Brown, K. (2010).  African American disproportionality in school discipline: The divide between best evidence and legal remedy. New York Law School Law Review, 54,1071-1112.

Gregory, A., Skiba, R.J., & Noguera, P. (2010). The achievement gap and the discipline gap: Two sides of the same coin?  Educational Researcher, 39, 59-68.


Recent Select Media Stories

  • January 3, 2012, The Washington Post: Equity Project work cited in story on disproportionate suspensions in D.C. schools.
  • March 6, 2012, The Huffington Post: Equity Project data featured on minority students and racial divide.
  • April 11, 2012, The New York Times: Equity Project quoted in story on Brooklyn school using mediation to help discipline.
  • August 8, 2012, Education Week: Equity Project quoted on study of black student suspensions.