The Color of Discipline: Understanding and Addressing Racial Inequity in School Punishment

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. . . CDF (1975): Black students suspended 2-3x as frequentlyDisproportionality found in:Office referralsSuspension
The Color of Discipline: Understanding and Addressing Racial...

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1. The Color of Discipline: Understanding and Addressing Racial Inequity in School Punishment Russ Skiba Center for Evaluation and Education Policy Indiana University -- Bloomington Presented at the Creating Effective School Environments Conference Hartford, CT November 20, 2006

2. CDF (1975): Black students suspended 2-3x as frequently Disproportionality found in: Office referrals Suspension & Expulsion Corporal Punishment Interaction with gender Latino disproportionality found inconsistently The second criterion for effectiveness was whether the intervention is non-discriminatory. The Children?s Defense fund first studied this in 1975 finding that etc Since then virtually every study that has looked at this has found disproportionality of African American students in etc. (Also some disproprotionality for Latino students, but more inconsistent) There seems to be a gender by race interaction. Typically rank ordered Black male, white male, black female, white female. Together black males are 16 x as likely as white females to be suspended.The second criterion for effectiveness was whether the intervention is non-discriminatory. The Children?s Defense fund first studied this in 1975 finding that etc Since then virtually every study that has looked at this has found disproportionality of African American students in etc. (Also some disproprotionality for Latino students, but more inconsistent) There seems to be a gender by race interaction. Typically rank ordered Black male, white male, black female, white female. Together black males are 16 x as likely as white females to be suspended.

4. Note: Derived from U.S. Department of Education, 2004 Disproportionality in School Discipline at the National Level: 1972, 2000, 2003

5. Discipline Rates by School Level

6. Out-of-School Suspension Incident Rate Comparison by Race and School Level

7. Urban OSS Significantly higher; No statistical differences for EXP Discipline Rates by Locale

8. Out-of-School Suspension Incident Rates by Race and Locale

9. Alternative Explanations of Disciplinary Disproportionality Disproportionality is related to SES SES and disproportionality correlate, but? Effects of race remain after control Do black students misbehave more? No supporting evidence May in fact be treated more severely for same offenses We can?t say that racial disparity is discrimination however?it is possible there may be alternative explanations. First is SES/Race Hypothesis?when control statistically for poverty thru free lunch status, however, racial disparities remain significant. Second, could hypothesize that AA students earn more suspensions because they act out more. But no data. If anything, existing research has suggested that AA students are treated more severely for same offenses.We can?t say that racial disparity is discrimination however?it is possible there may be alternative explanations. First is SES/Race Hypothesis?when control statistically for poverty thru free lunch status, however, racial disparities remain significant. Second, could hypothesize that AA students earn more suspensions because they act out more. But no data. If anything, existing research has suggested that AA students are treated more severely for same offenses.

10. In Color of Discipline we looked at these 2 hypotheses in more detail. All of the disciplinary referrals and consequences across an entire year for one urban school district. First bar is enrollment figures. As you can see, disproportinoality in both referrals to office and suspension, seems if anything to increase at expulsion level?AA students 4X as likely to be expelled as white students.In Color of Discipline we looked at these 2 hypotheses in more detail. All of the disciplinary referrals and consequences across an entire year for one urban school district. First bar is enrollment figures. As you can see, disproportinoality in both referrals to office and suspension, seems if anything to increase at expulsion level?AA students 4X as likely to be expelled as white students.

11. What Behaviors are Students Referred For? By Race White students referred more for: Smoking Vandalism Leaving w/o permission Obscene Language Black students referred more for: Disrespect Excessive Noise Threat Loitering We looked at reasons for referral?assuming that if this was warranted by behavior, the reasons for referral for AA studnets would be more serious. But found something interesting?while white students were referred more for XXXX, black students were referred more for. Hard to say which is more serious, but clearly white referrals more objective, and black more subjective reasons (even threat is more subjective)We looked at reasons for referral?assuming that if this was warranted by behavior, the reasons for referral for AA studnets would be more serious. But found something interesting?while white students were referred more for XXXX, black students were referred more for. Hard to say which is more serious, but clearly white referrals more objective, and black more subjective reasons (even threat is more subjective)

12. What Might Be Causing Disciplinary Disproportionality? Doesn?t appear to be related to AA enrollment Perhaps correlated with overuse of suspension and expulsion May originate at classroom level No differences at office level (Skiba et al., 2002) ?Violations of implicit interactional codes? (Vavrus & Coles, 2002)

13. Ferguson, 2001 Cultural Disparities? Teaching differences Cultural misinterpretations Lower or different expectations Interactions of some teachers/some students Influence of stereotypes How are African American boys perceived? Different standards of ?boys will be boys? Differential standards for ?respect?, ?loitering?, ?threat? Ferguson (not afforded same luxury of ?boys will be boys? or ?naughty by nature?; seen as men who are not men); not children, but animals); so treated as suchFerguson (not afforded same luxury of ?boys will be boys? or ?naughty by nature?; seen as men who are not men); not children, but animals); so treated as such

14. Outcomes of Exclusionary Discipline 30-50% of students suspended are repeat offenders ?Suspension functions as a reinforcer...rather than as a punisher? (Tobin, Sugai & Colvin,1996) Use of suspension correlates with School dropout (school level) (Raffaele-Mendez; Ekstrom, 1986) Juvenile incarceration (state level) (Skiba et al) Negative relationship between discipline and achievement? Finally, effectiveness. In studies that report it, there is typically a 30%-50% recidivism rate in suspension. Clearly doesn?t meet the behavioral criteria for an effective intervention to reduce behavior and some researchers have said that... Moderate correlation with school dropout rate in school level data and with state rates of incarceration at state level. Qualitative studies have found that principals admit to using suspension over and over to ?convince? troublemakers that they should voluntarily drop out.Finally, effectiveness. In studies that report it, there is typically a 30%-50% recidivism rate in suspension. Clearly doesn?t meet the behavioral criteria for an effective intervention to reduce behavior and some researchers have said that... Moderate correlation with school dropout rate in school level data and with state rates of incarceration at state level. Qualitative studies have found that principals admit to using suspension over and over to ?convince? troublemakers that they should voluntarily drop out.

15. Percent Passing ISTEP by School Disciplinary Use (Adjusted for Demographic and Economic Indicators)

16. Are There Alternatives to School Exclusion? Creating the Climate Bullying Prevention Conflict Resolution/Life Skills Classroom Management Early Identification/Intervention Threat Assessment Mentoring, Anger Management Effective Responses In-School Alternatives Functional Assessment Restorative Justice But it is clear that this is not the majority understanding. Why do we continue to use susp and exp if not effective? One reason is that policy tends to flow downhill. Zero tolerance has proven extremely pop. politically. Mandates from the fed govt and most state govts drive school practice. So if we are to affect practice in school discipline to leave fewer children behind, probably need to start at the policy level. I?m going to describe a two phase project Jim and I have been discussing to do this.But it is clear that this is not the majority understanding. Why do we continue to use susp and exp if not effective? One reason is that policy tends to flow downhill. Zero tolerance has proven extremely pop. politically. Mandates from the fed govt and most state govts drive school practice. So if we are to affect practice in school discipline to leave fewer children behind, probably need to start at the policy level. I?m going to describe a two phase project Jim and I have been discussing to do this.

17. What Do Effective Principals Do? No compromise on discipline, but... Clarify expectations regarding office referrals and train staff in classroom management strategies. Actively teach appropriate behavior through school philosophy and preventive programs. Communicate and collaborate with parents. Seek to reconnect alienated students through mentoring and anger management. Develop creative options in the school and community to keep even those students who are suspended and expelled engaged in learning.

18. What Do Effective Principals Do? No compromise on discipline ?We will not put up with misbehavior. ?You are here to learn and we?re going to do everything we can to provide the proper education. Your teachers are here to work with you. We?re doing everything we can to support you but then again we will not deal with any misbehaviors. That?s the bottom line. If you hit somebody you?re going to be suspended.?

19. Clarify Expectations and Train in Behavior Management ?Once you send a child to the office as a classroom teacher you give up a part of your control over that child. It sends a message to the child that you know you really don?t have control... So I think as a school we?ve come to realize that it?s a lot better to handle the discipline within the team [of teachers] if we can because that sends a message to the student that the team has control.?

20. Teach Appropriate Skills through Preventive Programs ?There are 17 or so character values. Respect, cooperation, honesty, perseverance, caring, courage? our staff members have embraced it and you see it everywhere. You see it in the hallways. You see it on bulletin boards. You see it in the classrooms. The teachers take time to talk about those life skills? and then you begin also embedding this in your curriculum ? what you end up having are kids who are very respectful to one another, that are willing to work cooperatively.?

21. Communicate and Collaborate with Parents ?[Teachers] know that if they send someone to the office, we shouldn?t be the first one to contact the parents about the problems the kids is having.? ?I have very few parents who get upset with me because a lot of times we?ve done a lot of interventions ? There?s no surprises. And I have to think the parents appreciate that through the entire process they?ve been part of it.?

22. Communication & Connection: All Students ?Communication is really stressed, we?re increasing email, they do newsletters, really chatting, we have input forms [from parents]. I think it?s part of the culture of the building? ?Every time he [the principal] has the student body together he reminds them that if there is anything out there that?s lingering that?s dangerous to make sure that you bring it forward. He is just continually impressing upon the kids how important communication is.?

23. Communication & Connection: At Risk or Alienated Students ?We look to intervene early if we see some things that are developing. We worked really hard helping teachers identify internalizers as well as externalizers?This isn?t a way of identifying a student. Its more like trying to predict the problem and prevent it. ? ?And all we asked was that an adult would meet with these kids once a week?I would have lunch with this child and we would play chess and we would talk and he would share things that were going on in his life?We saw that were making progress with these kids because really a lot of these kids didn?t have anyone who really took an interest in them.?

24. Creative Options for Challenging Students: At School ?One comes in from 6 to 2 and the other from 10 to 6 and then in that cross between it gives them some time to also meet with the student if necessary, go to a class with the student they?re having particular trouble in... These students also have two counseling components a week from local counseling providers that we have here in our community and this is done on their own. ?The program has been very successful. Our suspension rate the first year we implemented it dropped 50%.? ?We absolutely do not believe in zero tolerance policies? If we?re going to expel a student probably 90% of the time we will expel them technically but we allow them back in school to return to school on what?s called a continuing education agreement?.?

25. Creative Options for Challenging Students: In the Community Boys & Girls Club, Wayne County Schools fax work for suspended students Conflict Resolution, speaker programs Hamilton Centers Collaboration with courts, DFC 97% completion rate for students in program Allen County Youth Services Program SOCAP: Case Facilitator assigned Students Out of School (SOS): Students have performed over 5000 hours of community service

26. Doing Discipline Differently: The Greenfield Middle School Story

27. APA Task Force Recommendations: Reducing Suspension/Expulsion Implement a Graduated Set of Consequences Teach alternative ways of getting along Improve communication and connection w/ students, parents Increasing available options Outrage at zero tolerance may be because of our inherent sense that punishment should fit the crime (cruel and unusual punishment) Findley?Suspensions of children watching fight. Is that efficient? Wouldn?t a lesser punishment work for most of those children? Often believe that removal is our only option. Using a variety of consequences is not softer on disruption?just more effectiveOutrage at zero tolerance may be because of our inherent sense that punishment should fit the crime (cruel and unusual punishment) Findley?Suspensions of children watching fight. Is that efficient? Wouldn?t a lesser punishment work for most of those children? Often believe that removal is our only option. Using a variety of consequences is not softer on disruption?just more effective

28. APA Recommendations: Reducing Disciplinary Disproportionality Teacher Training in Classroom Behavior Management Reducing Cultural Mismatch Avoid One-Size-Fits-All Discipline Use Data to Transform Also important to talk about specific reductions in disproportionality (may reduce suspensions w/o changing disparity in rate) 1. Townsend: AA beh style, misinterprtation May be fear: ?One principal noticed a teacher with a pattern of sending the same black kid to the office, and when he called her on it, she said, ?I?m scared of that child.?? Linelle Clark Time Magazine May be interaction: Brophy has noted that more teachers in urban districts are undertrained in b.m. leading to higher power struggles. Vavrus & Coles: Many suspensions not about serious infraction, but about kid in wrong place at wrong time?happens to be child of color more often One size fits all: ZT assumes that discipline should be one size fits all, But think about that for instruction: would we do that? A couple of pieces of research suggesting that students of color feel more need for personal interaction; Gregory has noted that AA students feel more rejected in schools with high suspension rates. Hosp & Reschly?higher aa overrep. when teachers do not ind. By definition, an increasingly diverse school population means that schools will need to respond to increasingly diverse needs. Thus, by definition, as schools become more diverse, a one-size-fits-all approach to discipline will leave ever increasing numbers of children behind. Ideas about why disproportionality occurs: Typical classroom management relies on negative consequences Behavior interpreted as combative or argumentative by unfamiliar listeners ?Threatening? or ?dangerous? stereotypes about African American males Unfamiliar and uncomfortable with the more active and boisterous style Also important to talk about specific reductions in disproportionality (may reduce suspensions w/o changing disparity in rate) 1. Townsend: AA beh style, misinterprtation May be fear: ?One principal noticed a teacher with a pattern of sending the same black kid to the office, and when he called her on it, she said, ?I?m scared of that child.?? Linelle Clark Time Magazine May be interaction: Brophy has noted that more teachers in urban districts are undertrained in b.m. leading to higher power struggles. Vavrus & Coles: Many suspensions not about serious infraction, but about kid in wrong place at wrong time?happens to be child of color more often One size fits all: ZT assumes that discipline should be one size fits all, But think about that for instruction: would we do that? A couple of pieces of research suggesting that students of color feel more need for personal interaction; Gregory has noted that AA students feel more rejected in schools with high suspension rates. Hosp & Reschly?higher aa overrep. when teachers do not ind. By definition, an increasingly diverse school population means that schools will need to respond to increasingly diverse needs.

29. Studying Equity at Home: Local Equity Action Development (LEAD) School/District Reflection Data Mining Discussions on Diversity Identify Actions of Greatest Potential Impact Develop a Plan Implement, Assess, Adapt

30. The Difficulty of Talking About Race

31. Process Steps in Addressing Inequity Look at the data on disparities How great are the disparities? In what infractions? In what consequences? Which schools have largest discrepancy? No blame, but it is a problem and its ours Develop hypotheses Must represent all groups and perspectives

32. What?s Your Theory? Poverty? Deficits in classroom management? Negative community influences? Lack of cultural competence? Negative peer culture? Historical discrimination?

33.

34. Perspectives on Katrina: Washington Post/ABC News Poll, 9/13/05

35. Process Steps in Addressing Inequity Look at the data on disparities How great are the disparities? In what infractions? In what consequences? Which schools have largest discrepancy? Develop hypotheses Must represent all groups and perspectives Implement culturally competent intervention

36. Discipline Rates

37. Discipline Rates

38. Discipline Rates Disaggregated

39. Process Steps in Addressing Inequity Look at the data on disparities How great are the disparities? In what infractions? In what consequences? Which schools have largest discrepancy? Develop hypotheses Must represent all groups and perspectives Implement culturally competent intervention Evaluate impact on racial/ethnic disparities

40. Discipline Rates

41. Discipline Rates

42. Discipline Rates: Equity

43. When Did Segregation End? Brown v. Board of Education ?with all deliberate speed...? Alexander v. Holmes County Bd. of Ed. ?There is no reason why such a wholesale deprivation of constitutional rights should be tolerated another minute.?

44. Some Relative Lengths... State sponsored discrimination: 351 years Since its end: 37 years

45. The Meanings of Equity If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for theeIf a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee

46. Websites: Equity Project at Indiana University ceep.indiana.edu/equity Children Left Behind ceep.indiana.edu/ChildrenLeftBehind Safe and Responsive Schools www.indiana.edu/~safeschl www.unl.edu/srs APA Zero Tolerance Report http://www.apa.org/ed/cpse/zttfreport.pdf


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