Tag Archives: african american students

Report: Black students more likely to be suspended

7 Aug

 

In Who says Black children can’t learn? Some schools get it, moi said:

 

People want an education for a variety of reasons. Some have a love of learning. Others want to attend a good college or vocational school. Still others, see an education as a ticket to a good job. Increasingly for schools, the goal is to prepare kids with the skills to attend and succeed at college. In order to give children the skills to succeed, schools need teachers who are effective at educating their population of kids. There are many themes in the attempt to answer the question, what will prepare kids for what comes after high school. What will prepare kids for what comes after high school is a good basic education. The schools that provide a good basic education are relentless about the basics. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/who-says-black-children-cant-learn-some-schools-gets-it/

 

Many African American students are suspended or expelled before they complete their education.

 

Nirvi Shah and Lesli A. Maxwell are reporting in the Education Week article, Researchers Sound Alarm Over Black Student Suspensions:

 

This latest collection of civil rights data was the most expansive to date, including information that accounts for 85 percent of all public school students in the country.

 

Florida and Hawaii were excluded because of errors in the reported data. The study also does not provide suspension estimates for New York state because New York City’s data on suspensions are being reviewed by the office for civil rights.

 

This report provides the first large-scale analysis of suspension rates in public schools across all states. Previous research has flagged individual states’ records on suspension and expulsion.

 

The rates of suspension look starkest at the district level.

 

Of the nearly 6,800 districts studied by the Civil Rights Project researchers, 839 suspended at least 10 percent of their students at least once. In some districts, including Chicago; Memphis, Tenn.; Columbus, Ohio; and Henrico County, Va., 18 percent or more of the students enrolled spent time out of school as a punishment. Some 200 districts sent more than 20 percent of students away at one point or another during the school year….

 

A report last year from the Council of State Governments Justice Center in Bethesda, Md., and the Public Policy Research Institute at Texas A&M University found that more than half of students in Texas were suspended or expelled at least once between 7th and 12th grades.

 

Of the students tracked by the Texas study’s researchers from 7th grade through one year past when they were scheduled to be seniors, 75 percent of black students were expelled or suspended, compared with 50 percent of white students. In addition, 75 percent of students with disabilities were suspended or expelled, compared with 55 percent of students without a disability.

 

The problem with suspensions is simple, yet devastating, the authors say: The students—many of them already at risk for low performance or dropping out—are not in class, which leads to a litany of negative consequences.

 

Suspensions matter because they are among the leading indicators of whether a child will drop out of school and because out-of-school suspension increases a child’s risk for future incarceration,” they write.

 

The study from the Civil Rights Project at UCLA recommends that states and districts be required to report suspension data, by race, each year, and that suspension rates be used to measure states’ and districts’ education performance.

 

The authors also want more federal enforcement of civil rights laws to address the disparities in discipline they and others have found. And federal efforts should invest more in systemic improvements to approaches to school discipline and teacher training in classroom management, they argue.

 

Some may hypothesize that students of color are more likely to exhibit inappropriate behavior in the classroom, said Russell Skiba, a professor at the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy at Indiana University, in Bloomington, but research doesn’t support that.

 

But there is evidence that African-American students are punished more severely than other students for minor infractions….

 

The Southern Poverty Law Center has filed civil rights complaints with the federal Education Department against five Florida districts for what it says have been discriminatory disciplinary practices against black students, compared with their white peers….

 

Aware of a growing chorus of voices criticizing the disproportionate rates of punishment, some states are also taking steps to change their policies. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/08/07/01zerotolerance.h32.html?tkn=TSXFDaT6vLNrcbe4GPapqynJmQgDztb66cfJ&intc=es

 

Here is the press release for the report:

 

Millions of Children Find the Schoolhouse Door Locked

 

Date Published: August 07, 2012

 

UCLA Center for Civil Rights Remedies Finds Shocking Suspension Rates in thousands of districts across the nation.

 

Related Documents

 

 

For Immediate Release

Contact  Jamal Simmons, Broderick Johnson (202) 466-8585

(Los Angeles, CA) Today, the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles issued “Opportunities Suspended:  The Disparate Impact of Disciplinary Exclusion From School,” a nationwide report based on an analysis of Federal government suspension-related data from the 2009-10 school year for grades K-12.  This first-ever breakdown of nearly 7,000 districts found that 17% of African American students nationwide received an out-of-school suspension compared to about 5% of White students.  The comparable rate for Latinos was 7%.  The data analyzed covered about 85% of the nation’s public school students.  The suspension rates were equally striking for students with disabilities and revealed that an estimated 13% of all students with disabilities were suspended nationally, approximately twice the rate of their non-disabled peers. 

The real disturbing story, however, is at the district level. This review covers school districts across the country, from every state, and it found that in nearly 200 districts, 20% or more of the total enrolled students in K-12 were suspended out of school at least once.  The numbers are more shocking when broken down by race and disability.  For all students with disabilities, regardless of race, over 400 districts suspended 25% or more of these students.  Black students with disabilities were most at risk for out-of-school suspension with an alarming 25% national average for all districts in the sample

The report breaks down suspension rates by state and race, and provides links to in-depth profiles of the suspension rates for every district in the sample. The alarmingly high suspension figures highlighted in the report are in stark contrast to the thousands of other districts in the report that suspended 3% or less of each subgroup.  The data show that numerous school districts are not suspending large numbers of children from any racial group.

“The frequent use of out-of-school suspension results in increased dropout rates and heightened risk of youth winding up in the juvenile justice system,” stated the study’s lead author Daniel J. Losen. “We know that schools can support teachers and improve learning environments for children without forcing so many students to lose valuable days of instruction. The data also show that numerous school districts are not suspending large numbers of children from any racial group. In contrast, the incredibly high numbers of students barred from school, often for the most minor infractions, defies common sense and reveals patterns of school exclusion along the lines of race and disability status that must be rejected by all members of the public school community.”

The report also reviews what research tells us about alternatives to out-of-school suspension and discusses numerous ways to respond to misbehavior that would keep children both safe and in school.
Gary Orfield, co-director of the Civil Rights Project, continued, “This important study confirms an unfortunate reality – minority students face the brunt of school-based discipline.  This has to end, and the report provides thoughtful guidance to help us reach that goal.”  

The report makes several recommendations to correct this disturbing trend.  These recommendations are directed to:

  • Parents:  Bring large racial, gender, and disability disparities to the attention of local and state school boards;
  • Federal and state governments:  Provide greater support for research on evidence-based and promising interventions that will reduce the use of suspensions and other harsh disciplinary measures; 
  • Educators:  Use disaggregated discipline data to guide and evaluate reform efforts; and
  • Media:  Question the justification and research basis behind discipline policies that keep large numbers of children out of school. 

To view a copy of “Opportunities Suspended:  The Disparate Impact of Disciplinary Exclusion From School,” by Daniel Losen and Jon Gillespie, please click here. 

About the Civil Rights Project at UCLA


Founded in 1996 by former Harvard professors Gary Orfield and Christopher Edley Jr., the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles is now co-directed by Orfield and Patricia Gándara, professors at UCLA.  Its mission is to create a new generation of research in social science and law on the critical issues of civil rights and equal opportunity for racial and ethnic groups in the United States.  It has commissioned more than 400 studies, published 13 books and issued numerous reports from authors at universities and research centers across the country. This research, conducted by the CRP’s Center for Civil Rights Remedies, was made possible with the support of Atlantic Philanthropies. The Center is dedicated to improving educational opportunities and outcomes for children from subgroups who have been discriminated against historically due to their race/ethnicity, and who are frequently subjected to exclusionary practices such as disciplinary removal, over-representation in special education, and reduced access to a college-bound curriculum.

 

 

The focus at this point should be how best to address the behavior issues that resulted in the disciplinary action. It is important for the districts to provide resources to assist students in overcoming their challenges. Many children have behavior problems because they are not in the correct education placement. Often, moving the child to a different education setting is the beginning of dealing with the challenges they face. Many children face challenges in their living situations and districts may need comprehensive social assistance to help children with living situation challenges.

 

See:

 

Education Law Center

 

Discipline In Schools: What Works and What Doesn’t?

 

Justice for Children and Youth has a pamphlet I’m being expelled from school – what are my rights?

 

Related:

 

 

A strategy to reduce school suspensions: ‘School Wide Positive Behavior Support’                                                          https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/07/01/a-strategy-to-reduce-school-suspensions-school-wide-positive-behavior-support/

 

 

Single-sex classrooms should be allowed in public schools https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/07/22/single-sex-classrooms-should-be-allowed-in-public-schools/

 

 

Boys of color: Resources from the Boys Initiative https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/boys-of-color-resources-from-the-boys-initiative/

 

U.S. Education Dept. Civil Rights Office releases report on racial disparity in school retention                   https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/u-s-education-dept-civil-rights-office-releases-report-on-racial-disparity-in-school-retention/

 

Inappropriate discipline: The first step on the road to education failure                                                     https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/inappropriate-discipline-the-first-step-on-the-road-to-education-failure/

 

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

 

 

 

Hard question: Does indigenous African-American culture support academic success?

19 Dec

Jesse Washington of AP has written a comprehensive article which details the magnitude of the disaster which is occurring in the African-American community. In the article, Blacks Struggle With 72% Unwed Mother Rate  which was reprinted at SeattlePI.Com Washington sounds an alarm which if you can’t hear it, makes you deaf.

This is not about racism or being elitist. This is about survival of an indigenous American culture. This is not about speaking the truth to power, it is about speaking the truth. The truth is children need two parents to help them develop properly and the majority of single parent headed families will live in poverty. Children from single parent homes have more difficult lives. So called “progressives” who want to make their “Sex and the City” life style choices the norm because they have a difficult time dealing with the emotional wreckage of their lives, need to shut-up when it comes to the survival of the African American community. This is an issue that the so called educated classes and religious communities have to get involved in.

Trip Gabriel reported about more fallout from the failure of the African-American family in the New York Times. In Proficiency of Black Students Is Found to Be Far Lower Than Expected  Gabriel reports:

An achievement gap separating black from white students has long been documented — a social divide extremely vexing to policy makers and the target of one blast of school reform after another.

But a new report focusing on black males suggests that the picture is even bleaker than generally known.

Only 12 percent of black fourth-grade boys are proficient in reading, compared with 38 percent of white boys, and only 12 percent of black eighth-grade boys are proficient in math, compared with 44 percent of white boys.

Poverty alone does not seem to explain the differences: poor white boys do just as well as African-American boys who do not live in poverty, measured by whether they qualify for subsidized school lunches.

The data was distilled from highly respected national math and reading tests, known as the National Assessment for Educational Progress, which are given to students in fourth and eighth grades, most recently in 2009. The report, “A Call for Change,” is to be released Tuesday by the Council of the Great City Schools, an advocacy group for urban public schools…

The search for explanations has recently looked at causes besides poverty, and this report may further spur those efforts.

There’s accumulating evidence that there are racial differences in what kids experience before the first day of kindergarten,” said Ronald Ferguson, director of the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard. “They have to do with a lot of sociological and historical forces. In order to address those, we have to be able to have conversations that people are unwilling to have.”

Brian M. Rosenthal’s  Seattle Times article reports about the achievement gap between native African-Americans and immigrant African ethnic groups in Seattle.

In the article, ‘Alarming’ new test-score gap discovered in Seattle schools, Rosenthal reports:

African-American students whose primary language is English perform significantly worse in math and reading than black students who speak another language at home — typically immigrants or refugees — according to new numbers released by Seattle Public Schools.

District officials, who presented the finding at a recent community meeting at Rainier Beach High School, noted the results come with caveats, but called the potential trend troubling and pledged to study what might be causing it.

Michael Tolley, an executive director overseeing Southeast Seattle schools, said at the meeting that the data exposed a new achievement gap that is “extremely, extremely alarming.”

The administration has for years analyzed test scores by race. It has never before broken down student-achievement data by specific home language or country of origin — it is rare for school districts to examine test scores at that level — but it is unlikely that the phenomenon the data suggest is actually new.

In fact, some national experts said the trend represented by the Seattle data is not surprising. They pointed to some studies about college attendance and achievement indicating that immigrant families from all backgrounds tend to put a larger emphasis on education than those families that have been in the country longer.

Traditional factors in low performance, such as poverty and single-parent homes, are generally shared by black immigrants and nonimmigrants alike….

The results, although preliminary, were eye-opening:

Only 36 percent of black students who speak English at home passed their grade’s math test, while 47 percent of Somali-speaking students passed. Other black ethnic groups did even better, although still lower than the district average of 70 percent.

In reading, 56 percent of black students who speak English passed, while 67 percent of Somali-speaking students passed. Again, other black ethnic groups did better, though still lower than the district average of 78 percent.

The numbers do have significant limitations, Teoh said. That’s because they are based on home-language information that is entirely self-reported, and the data exclude English Language Learners — an optional program for students who score poorly on an English proficiency test.

Most of all, Teoh said, because the English-speaking category includes students of many black ethnic groups, it’s impossible to compare specific ethnic groups.

At the recent community meeting, much of that distinction was lost on the parents in the audience.

“It’s very alarming that students that were born right here are at the bottom of the barrel,” said Vallerie Fisher, whose daughter is a senior at Rainier Beach. “How is that possible?”

Immigrant experience

The answer to that question may lie in the culture of immigrant families, national education experts said.

Many of those families, who often were relatively wealthy and well-educated in their home countries, have strong social-support systems that emphasize education, said Mike Petrilli, the executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative education think tank based in Washington, D.C.

Pamela Bennett, a sociologist at Johns Hopkins University, agreed. She conducted a study in 2009 that found that immigrant black high-school graduates attend college at a much higher rate than black or white students born in the U.S. The reason was that the immigrants had a higher socioeconomic background, she said.

But that explanation may falter when Seattle’s Somali population is considered.

Many of the Somalis, after all, did not follow a normal pattern of immigration. Their families came to the U.S. to escape their war-torn country, many by way of refugee camps. But they still did better than English-speaking African Americans on the tests.

Veronica Gallardo, the director of international programs for Seattle Public Schools, speculated that the trauma experienced by Somali families causes them to value the opportunity education provides. In addition, Somali community groups tend to prioritize education, said Alexandra Blum, who works with the Somali Community Services Coalition, a nonprofit that works to empower families in King County.

Seattle School Board member Betty Patu, who has worked for decades with community groups serving students of color, said she has noticed that all immigrant families, regardless of socioeconomic status, place high value on education. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2017046660_newgap19m.html

If you are a young unmarried woman of any color, you probably do not have the resources either emotional or financial to parent a child(ren). If you don’t care about your future, care about the future of your child. If you want to sleep with everything that has a pulse, that is your choice. BUT, you have no right to choose a life of poverty and misery for a child. As for those so called “progressives?” Just shut-up.

There are some very uncomfortable conversations ahead for the African-American community about the high rate of unwed mothers, about the care of women during pregnancy, and about early childhood education in the homes of children.Most important, about the lack the active involvement of fathers of some children.

Time to start talking. The conversation is not going to get any less difficult.

See:

We give up as a society: Jailing parents because kids are truant

https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/we-give-up-as-a-society-jailing-parents-because-kids-are-truant/

Jonathan Cohn’s ‘The Two Year Window’

https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/jonathan-cohns-the-two-year-window/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Inappropriate discipline: The first step on the road to education failure

13 Dec

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.

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

Joan Gausted of the University of Oregon has an excellent article in Eric Digest 78, School Discipline

School discipline has two main goals: (1) ensure the safety of staff and students, and (2) create an environment conducive to learning. Serious student misconduct involving violent or criminal behavior defeats these goals and often makes headlines in the process. However, the commonest discipline problems involve noncriminal student behavior (Moles 1989).

The issue for schools is how to maintain order, yet deal with noncriminal student behavior and keep children in school.

Alan Schwartz has a provocative article in the New York Times about a longitudinal study of discipline conducted in Texas. In School Discipline Study Raises Fresh Questions  Schwartz reports:

Raising new questions about the effectiveness of school discipline, a report scheduled for release on Tuesday found that 31 percent of Texas students were suspended off campus or expelled at least once during their years in middle and high school — at an average of almost four times apiece.

Donna St. George has written a Washington Post article which elaborates on the Texas study.

In the article, Study shows wide varieties in discipline methods among very similar schools, St. George reports:

The report, released Tuesday, challenges a common misperception that the only way schools can manage behavior is through suspension, said Michael D. Thompson, a co-author of the report, done by the Council of State Governments Justice Center and Texas A&M University’s Public Policy Research Institute. “The bottom line is that schools can get different outcomes with very similar student bodies,” he said. “School administrators and school superintendents and teachers can have a dramatic impact….”

The results showed that suspension or expulsion greatly increased a student’s risk of being held back a grade, dropping out or landing in the juvenile justice system. Such ideas have been probed in other research, but not with such a large population and across a lengthy period, experts said. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/study-exposes-some-some-myths-about-school-discipline/2011/07/18/gIQAV0sZMI_story.html?wpisrc=emailtoafriend

Family First Aid has a good discussion about the types of behavior problems that result in suspension or expulsion.  Dore Francis has a guide, which lists what parents should do if their child is suspended. The guide gives detailed instructions to these steps and other steps. Francis also lists what questions to ask after meeting with school officials.

Additionally, Family First Aid discusses the education questions a parent or guardian should ask when their child has been permanently excluded from a school setting because of behavior problems.

What options are there now that your teen has been expelled?

– Home School? Yes, your teen may get the academics, the grades, and the knowledge. But he will not learn to interact with others in a positive manner, and the original problem still exists.

– Alternative School? The focus at an alternative school is to finish the coursework for graduation. There is no focus on the original problem of why the student could not succeed socially in the regular school setting and again, the original problem still exists.

– Specialty School? There are several different kinds of specialty schools and programs. There are wilderness programs “boot camps” military schools, and religious schools. Some include academics and some do not. Some programs are an intense “wake up call” that last about a month, and others are long term. Some focus only on the child and some involve the entire family in the healing process.

If your child has a behavior disorder, one month of intense “wake up” won’t change anything. It also won’t change the peer group he has or his involvement with drugs and/or weapons.

The focus at this point should be how best to address the behavior issues that resulted in the disciplinary action. It is important to contact the district to find out what types of resources are available to assist the student in overcoming their challenges. Many children have behavior problems because they are not in the correct education placement. Often, moving the child to a different education setting is the beginning of dealing with the challenges they face.

See:

Education Law Center

Discipline In Schools: What Works and What Doesn’t?

Justice for Children and Youth has a pamphlet I’m being expelled from school – what are my rights?

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©