GAO Report: Black Students Disciplined More Severely

By Free Radicalimages

According to a new report published by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, Black k-12 students are disproportionately disciplined. The lead researcher, Jacqueline Nowicki expressed that these disparities were consistent “regardless of the type of disciplinary action, regardless of the level of school poverty, and regardless of the type of public school attended.”

Using data from the Civil Rights Data Collection which covered more than 95,000 schools and extensive interviews of school administrators, the report showed that Black students were 15.5 percent of all public school students yet made up 39 percent of all students suspensions.

The data reinforces other studies that have shown that Black boys and girls are disciplined more harshly and receive stiffer penalties when committing the same infractions as White children.

The timing of the data is crucial as the current Secretary of Education Betsy Devos is mulling if she will rescind an Obama era directive warning schools that they could be held accountable if they maintain such stark inequalities in school discipline. Though intent is hard to prove, the data strongly suggests the impact of bias, be it implicit or explicit.

For more on the GAO study, click here.

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