In the News: Civil Rights Commission Calls for Schools to Combat Racial Disparities in Discipline



By 07/23/2019

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Link to the Washington PostRacial disparities in school discipline are the topic of a new report from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The report is titled, “Beyond Suspensions: Examining School Discipline Policies and Connections to the School-to-Prison Pipeline for Students of Color with Disabilities.” It is is the topic of a Washington Post article that mentions the commission’s chair, Catherine E. Lhamon, who led the Office for Civil Rights at the Education Department during the Obama administration. The Post’s Laura Meckler writes: “Lhamon and her aides pointed to a few spots in the 224-page report to back up the claim that there are no underlying differences in student behavior. But those citations did not offer such evidence. One set of data referenced in the report showed the opposite, documenting small but statistically significant differences in behavior of black and Hispanic students, compared with whites.”

In a 2018 blog post, Education Next executive editor Michael Petrilli wrote about “Why Disparate Impact Theory Is a Bad Fit for School Discipline.” Petrilli wrote about what he called “a faulty assumption—that any racial disparity in discipline reflects discrimination rather than differences in student behavior.”

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