U.S. Education Dept. Civil Rights Office releases report on racial disparity in school retention

7 Mar

One of the causalities of the decline and death of newspapers is the decline in investigative journalism. When the Seattle PI was still a print publication in 2001, they published a series of articles about discipline in the Seattle Public Schools. At that time, the list of behaviors included:

                                              1.   Disruptive conduct

                                              2.   Fighting

                                              3.   Disobedience

                                              4. .Assault

                                              5. Rule-breaking

                                              6. Alcohol/drugs

                                              7. Theft

                                              8. Trespass

                                              9.   Smoking

                                              10. Weapons

When this report was written, African American students were suspended at a higher rate than other students. The great thing about this piece of journalism was the reporters examined assumptions about what could be causing the disparity in expulsions. The assumptions about why African American students are disciplined and the statistical reality often do not provide clear-cut answers. The Seattle PI followed the report with a 2006 Update and the disparity issue remained. Perhaps, Dr. Bill Cosby is on to something with his crusade to ask tough questions about whether a “hip hop” culture is conducive to promoting success values in a population who must survive in the dominant culture. Debates about what cultural norms are healthy and should prevail are not useful to a child who is facing a suspension or expulsion and who must deal with that reality. It is imperative that children stay in school and receive a diploma or receive sufficient skills to allow them to prepare for a GED. If a child is facing a suspension or expulsion, the parent or guardian has to advocate for the child and the future placement and follow-up treatment for the child. The hard questions about placement in an education setting center on student behavior and whether the behavior of the individual child is so disruptive that the child must be removed from the school either for a period of time or permanently

Martha Plotkin has written the report Out of Class Into Court Discretion in School Discipline has Big Impacts, for the Council of State Governments.

Large numbers of children in middle and high school in the nation’s second largest public school system are being suspended and expelled—and those disciplined students are more likely to repeat a grade, drop out and become involved in the juvenile justice system.

The numbers are startling.

Nearly 60 percent of students in Texas received at least one disciplinary action—including in-school suspensions ranging from a single class period to several days, with no cap on how many suspensions they can receive in a school year;

More than 30 percent had out-of-school suspensions of up to three days, with no cap on the number in a year;

About 15 percent were sent to Disciplinary Alternative Education Programs for an average of 27 days;

Approximately 8 percent were placed in Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Programs, averaging 73 days.

Those are some of the findings from a recent report, Breaking Schools’ Rules: A Statewide Study of How School Discipline Relates to Students’ Success and Juvenile Justice Involvement. The study, released July 19, was a partnership between The Council of State Governments Justice Center and the Public Policy Research Institute at Texas A&M.
The report was released at a Texas event—and webcast nationally—at which legislators, court and school officials, education and juvenile justice agency leaders, and school law enforcement representatives discussed its implications. Some of the findings seemed unexpected, such as nearly all the actions taken against students for misbehavior at school being at the discretion of school officials. Only about 3 percent of the disciplinary actions were for behaviors that have a mandated school response under state law.
The landmark study relied on data for nearly 1 million public secondary school students in Texas—every student in the state, not just a sample of students—who were in seventh grade in the 2000, 2001 and 2002 academic years. The students were followed from the seventh through 12th grades. The study drew from more than 6 million individual student records, school campus information and juvenile justice data.
The study is remarkable for its size and scope,” said national school discipline expert Russ Skiba, director of the Equity Project at the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy at Indiana University. “The base data involving all students in the state of Texas for a six-year period represents the most complete data set that I’ve seen in the field of school discipline.”
Because of study population size and access to such comprehensive data, the researchers were able to use multivariate analyses to control for more than 80 variables, effectively isolating the impact that these factors had on the likelihood of a student being suspended and expelled. These analyses allowed researchers to delve into the relationship between the discipline of a student and that student’s academic performance—such as dropping out or repeating a grade—or involvement in the juvenile justice system.

Frequently Disciplined Students

Students who were repeatedly disciplined often experienced poor outcomes at particularly high rates. The Texas study found that 15 percent of Texas students had 11 or more disciplinary violations between seventh and 12th grades; about half of those frequent violators had subsequent contact with the juvenile justice system. Repeated suspensions and expulsions also predicted poor academic outcomes. Only 40 percent of students disciplined 11 times or more graduated from high school during the study period, and 31 percent of students disciplined one or more times repeated their grade at least once, compared with 5 percent of students who had not been disciplined.
Even students who were disciplined less frequently were still more likely to repeat a grade or drop out. A student who had experienced a discretionary disciplinary action was twice as likely to repeat a grade as a student who had the same characteristics and attended a similar school but was not suspended or expelled. The results were also troubling in regard to keeping students with disciplinary histories in school. Nearly 10 percent of students with at least one disciplinary contact dropped out of school, compared to just 2 percent of students with no disciplinary actions. http://www.csg.org/pubs/capitolideas/sep_oct_2011/schooldiscipline.aspx

There is a relationship between discipline, suspension, expulsion, and retention.

Caralee J. Adams, Erik W. Robelen, and Nirvi Shah wrote the Education Week article, Civil Rights Data Show Retention Disparities. Original data analysis was conducted by Michele McNeil and Ms. Shah.

New nationwide data collected by the U.S. Department of Education’s civil rights office reveal stark racial and ethnic disparities in student retentions, with black and Hispanic students far more likely than white students to repeat a grade, especially in elementary and middle school.

The contrast is especially strong for African-Americans. In the most extreme case, more than half of all 4th graders retained at the end of the 2009-10 academic year—56 percent—were black, according to the data, which account for about 85 percent of the nation’s public school population. In 3rd grade, 49 percent of those held back were black.

Those findings come even though African-American students represented less than one-fifth of the entire universe of students in the K-12 data set collected from districts.

In all, nearly 1 million students, or 2.3 percent of those enrolled, were retained across K-12, the data show. Black students were nearly three times as likely as white students to be retained, when combining all grade levels. Hispanic students were twice as likely to be held back.

Repeating Grades

The number of students who had to repeat a grade in the 2010-11 school year spiked in 9th grade. In most grade levels, black and Hispanic students make up a large and disproportionate number of those retained, according to first-ever, nationwide data from the U.S. Department of Education’s office for civil rights.

The new Civil Rights Data Collection, a portion of which was provided to Education Week last week, was scheduled for public release on March 6. Collected from nearly 7,000 school districts, the data are part of an ongoing information-collection effort by the agency’s office for civil rights. In this latest round, the agency significantly expanded the type of information gathered, for the first time collecting school-by-school retention data. Several experts said they were not aware of any such national data previously being made available….

Federal Analysis of New Information

The U.S. Department of Education office for civil rights found disparities in the way children of different races and ethnicities prepare for college and careers, are disciplined, and are given access to experienced teachers.

Access to Courses:
• More than 80 percent of high schools in the survey said they offer algebra, geometry, and biology.
• But only about half the high schools surveyed offer calculus.
• Hispanic students make up 20 percent of the students at high schools that offer calculus, but only 10 percent of the students taking the course.

Gifted and Talented Programs:
• White and Asian students make up nearly three-fourths of the students in these programs, the survey data found.

Early-Childhood Education:
• A fifth of school districts with prekindergarten programs offer them to low-income children.

Retention:
• Black students represent 16 percent of middle school students in the data collection, but 42 percent of the middle school students who had to repeat their grade.
• English-language learners make up 6 percent of high school enrollment, but 12 percent of students retained, the survey data found.

Discipline:
• Black students represent 18 percent of students in the data, but 46 percent of those suspended more than once and 39 percent of those expelled.
• Black and Hispanic students represented more than 70 percent of those involved in school-related arrests or referrals to law enforcement.
• Students with disabilities are more than twice as likely to receive one or more out-of-school suspensions.
• Black students represent 21 percent of students with disabilities, but 44 percent of students who were subjected to mechanical restraint.

Teacher Equity:
• In schools with the highest black and Hispanic enrollment, 15 percent of teachers were in their first or second years in the profession, compared with 8 percent of teachers in schools with the lowest minority enrollments.
• Teachers in high-minority schools were paid on average $2,251 less per year than their colleagues in other schools.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/03/07/23data_ep.h31.html?tkn=UPUFuAmn%2FcwP%2FQ0zRHlWyo%2F9Aj8fzU8c4Zpy&cmp=clp-edweek

Citation:

Civil Rights Data

Civil Rights Data Collection Background Information

The U.S. Department of Education [ED] conducts the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), formerly the Elementary and Secondary School Survey (E&S Survey), to collect data on key education and civil rights issues in our nation’s public schools. The CRDC collects a variety of information including, student enrollment and educational programs and services, disaggregated by race/ethnicity, sex, limited English proficiency and disability. The CRDC is a longstanding and important aspect of the ED Office for Civil Right’s overall strategy for administering and enforcing the civil rights statutes for which it is responsible. Information collected by the CRDC is also used by other ED offices as well as policymakers and researchers outside of ED.

About the CRDC download files MS WORD (34K)

CRDC Data Notes download files MS WORD (41K)

Access CRDC Data

The CRDC Website contains data from the 2000, 2004, 2006 and 2009-10 CRDC Surveys

Civil Rights Data Collection

2009-10 CRDC

The 2009-10 CRDC collected data from a sample of approximately 7,000 school districts and over 72,000 schools. All data is from the 2009-10 school year. Part 1 collected point in time (snap shot) data. Part 2 collected cumulative or end of year data.

2011-12 CRDC

The 2011-12 CRDC will collect data for the 2011-12 school year from a universe of all schools and school districts. The last time the CRDC was conducted as a universal collection was in 2000. The 2011-12 Table Layouts with Definitions are posted below along with the Q&A’s. We will also be contacting participating school districts with additional information

For additional information about the CRDC, please e-mail us at ocrdata@ed.gov

There must be some tough questions asked about the culture which envelops some of these children.

Does Hip-Hop Culture Affect Student Behavior?

Gosa and Young’s case study about the oppositional culture of hip-hop is a good description of the possible impact of a certain genre of music on the educational values of the young listeners.

Given the prominent, yet controversial theory of oppositional culture used to explain the poor academic achievement of black youth and recent concerns that hip-hop is leading black youth to adopt anti-school attitudes, we examine the construction of oppositional culture in hip-hop music. Through a qualitative case of song lyrics (n=250) from two of hip-hop’s most influential artists – “conscious” rapper Kanye West and “gangster” rapper Tupac Skakur, we find oppositional culture in both artist’s lyrics. However, our analysis reveals important differences in how the two artists describe the role of schooling in adult success, relationships with teachers and schools, and how education is related to authentic black male identity. Our findings suggest a need for reexamining the notion that oppositional culture means school resistance. 

The study gives a good description of oppositional culture, but it is overly optimistic about the role of the market place in promoting the basest values for a buck.

Lest one think that hip-hop culture is simply the province of thugs and low- income urban youth. Think again, there are many attempts to market a stylized version of the culture. A 1996 American Demographics article describes the marketing used to cross-over hip-hop culture into the mainstream.

Many of the hottest trends in teenage music, language, and fashion start in America’s inner cities, then quickly spread to suburbs. Targeting urban teens has put some companies on the map with the larger mainstream market. But companies need an education in hip-hop culture to avoid costly mistakes.

The Scene: Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, a bastion of the white East Coast establishment. A teenaged boy saunters down the street, his gait and attitude embodying adolescent rebellion. Baggy jeans sag atop over-designed sneakers, gold hoops adorn both ears, and a baseball cap shields his eyes. On his chest, a Tommy Hilfiger shirt sports the designer’s distinctive pairing of blue, red, and white rectangles.

Four years ago, this outfit would have been unimaginable to this cool teen; only his clean-cut, country-club peers sported Hilfiger clothes. What linked the previously preppy Hilfiger to jeans so low-slung they seem to defy gravity? To a large extent, the answer lies 200 miles southwest, in the oversized personage of Brooklyn’s Biggie Smalls, an admitted ex-drug dealer turned rapper.

Over the past few years, Smalls and other hip-hop stars have become a crucial part of Hilfiger’s open attempt to tap into the urban youth market. In exchange for giving artists free wardrobes, Hilfiger found its name mentioned in both the rhyming verses of rap songs and their “shout-out” lyrics, in which rap artists chant out thanks to friends and sponsors for their support.

For Tommy Hilfiger and other brands, the result is de facto product placement. The September 1996 issue of Rolling Stone magazine featured the rap group The Fugees, with the men prominently sporting the Tommy Hilfiger logo. In February 1996, Hilfiger even used a pair of rap stars as runway models: horror-core rapper Method Man and muscular bad-boy Treach of Naughty by Nature.

Suburban normed or middle class youth may dabble in hip-hop culture, but they have a “recovery period.” The “recovery period” for suburban youth means moving from deviant norms, which preclude success into mainstream norms, which often promote success. Suburban children often have parental and peer social pressure to move them to the mainstream. Robert Downey, Jr., the once troubled actor is not necessarily an example of hip-hop culture, but he is an example of the process of “recovery” moving an individual back into the mainstream. Children of color and low-income children often do not get the chance to “recover” and move into mainstream norms. The next movement for them after a suspension or expulsion is often the criminal justice system.

The data is shouting load and clear.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

6 Responses to “U.S. Education Dept. Civil Rights Office releases report on racial disparity in school retention”

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