In the News: Educators Worry Schools Are Botching Student Discipline Reform

Emmanuel Felton of the Hechinger Report looks at complaints by teachers in four states about school discipline reform.

Teachers are arguing that efforts to change student-disciplinary practices—largely in an attempt to address big racial disparities in who gets suspended and expelled—are making their classrooms harder to manage.

The complaints have come in Fresno, California; Des Moines, Iowa; Indianapolis, and New York City.

ednext_XVII_1_steinberg_img01In an article in the Winter 2017 issue of Education Next, Matthew Steinberg and Johanna Lacoe describe efforts by the federal government and many state governments to reduce suspensions and expulsions and encourage other approaches to discipline. They examine the research on school discipline reform and conclude

In general, we find that the evidence for critiques of exclusionary discipline and in support of alternative strategies is relatively thin. In part, this is because many discipline reforms at the state and local levels have only been implemented in the last few years. While disparities in school discipline by race and disability status have been well documented, the evidence is inconclusive as to whether or not these disparate practices involve racial bias and discrimination. Further, the evidence on alternative strategies is mainly correlational, suggesting that more research is necessary to uncover how alternative approaches to suspensions affect school safety and student outcomes.

— Education Next

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