As more districts work to reduce discipline that takes students out of class, a new case-study report by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute suggests how those policies are implemented can make a big difference.
The 200,000-student Philadelphia district revised its code of conduct in 2012. Students were no longer allowed to be suspended out of school for “conduct violations” like failing to follow classroom rules or using profane or obscene language or gestures.
The report found only 18 percent of schools fully complied with the change. Sixty percent reduced but did not eliminate out-of-school suspensions for conduct violations, and 17 percent did not comply at all.
In the few schools that complied fully, students who had been previously suspended had better attendance, though not better test scores. But as suspension rates dropped for low-level offenses, the school increased suspensions for more serious offenses, and racial disparities continued.
A version of this article appeared in the December 13, 2017 edition of Education Week as School Discipline