Wednesday, June 12, 2013
The Connecticut Department of Education just released its annual report on school discipline. The good news in the report is that suspensions are down overall statewide. The bad news is that the suspension rate for minorities continues to be off the charts, as does the suspension rate in charter schools. The suspension rate for African Americans is just short of 20% and nearly 4 times the rate as whites. The data on charter schools was even more shocking. The suspension rate in charter schools was almost 10 times the rate of regular elementary schools. While I have heard charges for some time that charter schools push out children, I had never examined data to substantiate the charge. The data in this report, however, is not conclusive on that point. First, comparing all elementary schools to charters is probably unfair, as charters tend to draw disproprotionately poor and minority students in many places. If one compared the suspension rates of charters to similarly situated regular schools, they disparaty would likely be smaller. Second, these suspensions may not lead to push outs. Rather, it could be evidence of new student populations adjusting to new environments (as many charters are new and have more strict behavior expectations). For more analysis of the report, see here.