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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Deconstructing School Discipline

From NPR's "Science Friday"

July 31, 2015

Listen HERE.

In March, 2014, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights released a report on school discipline, which highlighted rates of out-of-school suspension. It found that students of color face disproportionately higher rates of this type of suspension than white students—in fact, black students are three times more likely to get suspended than white ones.

Also at higher risk of being removed from school, or even being placed in seclusion, are students with disabilities.

A number of researchers have questioned the efficacy of punitive punishments, such as out-of-school suspension and expulsion, to alter student behavior. And organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union have described suspension from public school and early experience with the juvenile justice system as a key piece of the “school-to-prison pipeline.”

According to a 2007 report from the non-profit Texas Appleseed, for example, over 80 percent of the adults in Texas prisons had dropped out of school. A panel of child psychologists and educational policy experts joins guest host Manoush Zomorodi to discuss how rethinking discipline and punishment could prevent the alienation of students and break down this link between schools and prisons.

*This copy was updated on July 31, 2015. An earlier version focused on expulsion, whereas the report from the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights addresses out-of-school suspension in addition to expulsion.


Russell Skiba
Professor, Counseling and Educational Psychology
Director, Equity Project
Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

Edward Fergus
Assistant Professor, Educational Leadership and Policy
New York University, New York, New York

Yamanda Wright
Data Scientist
Texas AppleseedAustin, Texas

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