On the heels of a report about racial disparities in out-of-school suspensions, U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. is calling on charter schools to become leaders in rethinking student discipline.
“In every school, no matter how successful, we know there is more we can do to reach the students who are not yet succeeding and more we can do to equip students with not just the fundamental academic skills but the socioemotional skills needed for success in life,” King said in a statement, ahead of a speech at the National Charter School Conference in Nashville.
In April, the department released new data from the 2013–2014 school year on out-of-school suspensions for K-12 students. The report revealed that Black students are nearly four times as likely to get expelled from school compared to White students.
The DOE’s statement highlighted the consequences:
“The impact of out of school suspensions and expulsions on students is devastating — suspended students are less likely to graduate on time, and more likely to repeat a grade, drop out of school, and enter the juvenile justice system.”
In many cases, these students are suspended disproportionately for minor offenses, such as talking back to teachers or writing on their desk.
The situation at charter schools is not much better. In March, UCLA’s Civil Rights Project unveiled an analysis of federal data, which found that charter schools suspend students at a higher rate than public schools. The report noted racial disparities at Black and White charter schools.
The Washington Post underscored that King’s speech “echoes critics” who say charter schools apply zero tolerance policies that wind up throwing disadvantaged students back to neighborhood public schools.
King pointed to a suite of resources by the National Charter Schools Resources Center to assist charter school leaders in rethinking how they discipline students. He also underscored a department joint campaign with the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Justice called #ReThinkDiscipline.
SOURCE: Washington Post | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty