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The School –To- Prison Pipeline Daniel J. Losen Senior Education Law and Policy Associate The Civil Rights Project at UCLA ©2010.

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Presentation on theme: "The School –To- Prison Pipeline Daniel J. Losen Senior Education Law and Policy Associate The Civil Rights Project at UCLA ©2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 The School –To- Prison Pipeline Daniel J. Losen Senior Education Law and Policy Associate The Civil Rights Project at UCLA ©2010

2 2 Patterns of Racial Disparity in North Carolina 2000 (U.S. Dept of Ed.)

3 The Civil Rights Project DRAFT - 3 Racial Impact of The Rising Use Of Suspension

4 The Civil Rights Project DRAFT - 4 Race with Gender in Middle Schools in U.S. (2006)

5 The Civil Rights Project DRAFT - 5 Robeson County, North Carolina (estimate based on 2006 OCR Data) 10 of 11 middle schools suspended over 33% of Black males (6 over 50%) 6 out of 11 middle schools suspended over 33% white males (5 over 50%)

6 The Civil Rights Project DRAFT - 6 Black/White Risk for Suspension in NC Schools in ( ) for Minor Offenses

7 The Civil Rights Project DRAFT - 7 Black First Time Offenders Suspended at Higher Rates than Whites for Same Minor Offenses (NC ) Percent of Offenders Receiving Suspension for First Offense

8 Same Offense: Harsher Treatment 4,838 Whites versus 2,242 Blacks disciplined for first offense of cell phone rules. 32.7% (732) of the offending Blacks were suspended out of school. 14.5% (704) of the offending Whites were suspended out of school. The Civil Rights Project DRAFT - 8

9 The Civil Rights Project DRAFT - 9 Implicit and Institutional Bias Bush’s “Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations” Legacy of Inequity in Resource Distribution Bias Against Students With Disabilities Class bias

10 Low Achievement Contributes to likelihood of misbehavior. Inequality of educational opportunity, beginning in pre-school, shows up in outcome data, including discipline data. The Civil Rights Project DRAFT - 10

11 The Impact of Inadequate Education If students need greater support today, to what extent do we devote more resources toward meeting academic and behavioral needs early and consistently from pre- school through secondary school? Kids who have experienced trauma are more likely to act out in school, how do we support them? (i.e. witnessed domestic abuse or violence) The Civil Rights Project DRAFT - 11

12 Suspension a Deterrent? Truancy and tardiness? Dress codes and gangs? Removing adult supervision to what end?Generate respect? Safety? Schools can make a large difference… starting with eliminating policies that do not work or that are counter-productive. Law enforcement agencies are complaining about the frequent use of suspension. (See Fight Crime: Invest in Kids) The Civil Rights Project ( The Civil Rights Project DRAFT - 12

13 Pinellas County’s Cohort’s Suspension Rate As Students Advanced in Grade The Civil Rights Project DRAFT - 13 Percentage of cohort’s enrollment suspended at least once: (Mendez 2003)

14 14 Rates and Reasons for Suspension: Impact of incomplete or unused data:  Incomplete reports fuel assumptions that most suspended children posed a serious threat to safety.  PBIS is data driven, but most districts need support and many have data problems.  Lack of awareness, even among principals.  Poses problems for evaluating practice and constructing remedies.

15 15 No Accountability For Over-use of Suspension No regular reporting of suspension data required. School discipline data are not a regular part of school evaluation. Perverse incentives to raise test scores. Students not in attendance for a full academic year are excluded from accountability calculus. Invisible children: We only count those whom we care about….

16 Suspension and Blaming the Parents What should the school do when the parents lack the skills and/or resources to provide good care and guidance? Will suspension from school work? Should we send students away for school for their low academic performance? DRAFT - 16

17 The Attitudes of Principals After controlling for race and poverty, the attitudes of principals on the use of suspension were predictive of: Suspension rates… And test scores…. Lower suspending principals across all demographics had higher achievement. The Civil Rights Project DRAFT - 17

18 Step One: Acknowledge Ways in Which Schools Do Make a Difference Individually and systemically. Teachers can learn more effective classroom management skills, including how to handle very disruptive behavior. Teachers can improve their content instruction in ways that also results in fewer discipline problems. The Civil Rights Project DRAFT - 18

19 The Difference Training Can Make My inexperience and frequent referrals. Typical mistakes easily corrected: –Focusing on wrongs rather than rights. –Assuming bad motives and taking things personally. –Poor preparation. –Deferring to higher authorities. –Group punishments. –Classroom confrontation. –Ignoring special needs…. I received training that was required of all first and second year teachers. The Civil Rights Project DRAFT - 19

20 Racial and Disability Disparities in Discipline: District Level

21 The Civil Rights Project DRAFT - 21 Step Two: Ensure that Schools Meet Their Obligations to All Students, Including those with Disabilities Racial differences raise questions about possible difference in quality of special education by race. Manifestation determination: –Behavior caused by disability, or –Resulted from failure to properly implement the student’s individualized educational plan (IEP). Study of districts in Delaware: About 50% of the principals knew that students with disabilities had additional due-process rights.

22 Are Schools Skirting Their Responsibility to Educate All Children? Data suggests systemic inequalities: Who pays the price? What are the costs? –Financial? –Crime? –The fabric of our democracy? The Civil Rights Project DRAFT - 22

23 The Civil Rights Project DRAFT - 23 Suspension’s Impact Loss of instructional time. Lower achievement. Three fold increase in risk of dropping out. A leading indicator of future incarceration.

24 Balfanz Study of Incarcerated Youth According to Balfanz’s research, the typical ninth grader who went to prison attended school only 58% of the time, …2/3 had been suspended at least once in eighth grade. The Civil Rights Project DRAFT - 24

25 25 Comparison of Percentage of All Students with IEPs in Public Schools and in JJ System (U.S.)

26

27 Police in Our Schools How well trained? Cost benefit analysis compared with support for students and teachers? How evaluated? Arrests or lack thereof? Increase in police presence, without education protocol resulted in dramatic rise in misdemeanor offenses and minor rise in felonies. Costs associated with over-use by educators… DRAFT - 27

28 Step Three: Use data by race, gender and disability, to inform, evaluate and modify the remedy. Use data, broken down by race, gender and disability, to understand the root of the problem. Use data to raise awareness of the disparities on a regular basis. Use data to find remedies already at work within the district. Use data to evaluate the intervention. Use data to encourage replication of success. (i.e. PBIS). The Civil Rights Project DRAFT - 28

29 29 The End Daniel J. Losen New Report: Losen and Skiba, Suspended Education: Urban Middle Schools in Crisis New Book: Kim, Losen and Hewitt, The School to Prison Pipeline: Structuring Legal Reform, NYU Press. Call


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