A first-ever analysis of school discipline records for the nation’s more than 5,250 charter schools shows a disturbing number are suspending big percentages of their black students and students with disabilities at highly disproportionate rates compared to white and non-disabled students. This from UCLA’s Center for Civil Rights Remedies at The Civil Rights Project. It identifies 374 charter schools across the country that had suspended 25% or more of their entire student body during the course of the 2011-12 academic year. The study also finds:
- Nearly half of all black secondary charter school students attended one of the 270 charter schools that was hyper-segregated (80% black) and where the aggregate black suspension rate was 25%.
- More than 500 charter schools suspended black charter students at a rate that was at least 10 percentage points higher than that of white charter students.
- Even more disconcerting, 1,093 charter schools suspended students with disabilities at a rate that was 10 or more percentage points higher than that of students without disabilities.
- Perhaps most alarming, 235 charter schools suspended more than 50% of their enrolled students with disabilities.
The Disturbing Reason Why Charter Schools May Have Higher Test Scores
Source: Kristina Rizga, Mother Jones, March 18, 2016
But as more “no excuses” charter schools open, a growing number of critics have been raising serious concerns: Do charters truly admit all students—such as kids who face great challenges like severe disabilities or recent immigrants who don’t speak English—like traditional schools do? And do some charters engage in practices that artificially raise kids’ test scores? Yesterday, the UCLA’s Center for Civil Rights Remedies published a study that for the first time looked at discipline data for 5,250 charter schools and 95,000 public schools. The study, “Charter Schools, Civil Rights and School Discipline: A Comprehensive Review,” focused on how often students were sent home on detention (or “out-of-school suspensions,” in education jargon) during the 2011-12 academic year. Researchers have found that being suspended is a strong indicator that a student will eventually drop out. And students who drop out are much more likely to end up in prison, becoming part of the “school to prison pipeline.” This issue disproportionately affects black students (in charter and noncharter schools), who are suspended at a rate three times greater than white students.
Charter Schools Suspend Black and Disabled Students More, Study Says
Source: Mokoto Rich, The New York Times, March 16, 2016
Black students are four times as likely to be suspended from charter schools as white students, according to a new analysis of federal education data. And students with disabilities, the study found, are suspended two to three times the rate of nondisabled students in charter schools. … The analysis of charter school data from the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights of close to 5,000 charters was done by the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the University of California, Los Angeles, a nonprofit civil rights research and policy organization. … Based on data from the 2011-12 school year, the report found that charter schools at the elementary, middle and high school levels suspended 7.8 percent of students, compared with 6.7 percent of students in noncharter schools. Among students with disabilities, charter schools suspended 15.5 percent of students, compared with 13.7 percent at noncharters. At the extreme end, there were 235 charter schools that suspended more than half of their students with disabilities.