Center for American Progress Addresses Racial Disparity in School Discipline

The Center for American Progress has published a new study that shows that in New York and Los Angeles – the nation’s two largest school districts – students were expelled or suspended for a total of 47,558 days during the 2016-17 school year. These school districts are predominantly Black and Hispanic.

The report found that in New York, Whites were 15 percent of all students but accounted for only 8 percent of the days missed due to expulsions or suspensions. In contrast, Blacks were 27 percent of the total student population but accounted for 47 percent of the school days lost to expulsions or suspensions.

In Los Angeles, African Americans make up 8 percent of total enrollments but account for 39 percent of the days lost to expulsion or suspension.

The reports states that “as the demographics of classrooms and school buildings continue to evolve, it is important to examine the extent to which race may influence how teachers interpret and respond to students’ behavior and to guard against potential bias.”

The authors conclude that “unless students take extreme, dangerous actions, public schools should not suspend or expel them for misbehavior and deprive them of valuable learning time.”

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