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A new report found that charter schools suspend students at a higher rate than public schools do, the Huffington Post reports.

UCLA’s Civil Rights Project unveiled its analysis Wednesday, based on data from a federal survey that required all public and charter schools to submit statistics on suspensions.

According to the report, charter schools suspended 7.8 percent of students, compared to a 6.7 percent rate at non-charter schools, during the 2011 to 2012 school year. But the slight percentage point difference in relative terms means that, nationally, the charter school suspension rate was 16% higher than the non-charter school suspension rate, according to the report.

What’s more, the UCLA researchers noted racial disparities at Black and White charter schools at the elementary and secondary levels. The 6.4 percentage point racial gap in suspensions at primary schools escalated to 16.4 points at the secondary level.

However, the analysis found that most charter schools had low suspension rates. There were several schools that tended to use suspensions as a disciplinary tool more than others.

“One can reasonably infer that, like noncharter schools, there are likely many effective charter schools that reserve suspension as a measure of last resort,” the report states.

Daniel Losen, the report’s author and director of the Center for Civil Rights Remedies, told the Huffington Post that there are alternatives to suspension teachers could utilize.

He added: “The choice is not between chaos on the one hand and very strict discipline on the other.”

As the Post notes, the American Academy of Pediatrics opposes zero tolerance policies. It recommends suspending students only on a case-by-case basis. The academy points to research that demonstrates the harm it causes, including evidence that suspended students are 10 times more likely to become high school dropouts.

SOURCE: Huffington Post | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty 


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