Friday, September 16, 2016

Charter Schools in Black Areas Suspend More Often - The Atlantic

Charter Schools in Black Areas Suspend More Often - The Atlantic:

Where Charter-School Suspensions Are Concentrated

Many cities are rethinking how they discipline students, but old practices remain in some neighborhoods.



A group of students enters Opportunity Charter School in New York.
A group of students enters Opportunity Charter School in New York.
Students enter Harlem's Opportunity Charter School, which issued 231 suspensions in 2014, more than any other New York City school that year

Shanice Givens’s son, Cyrus, was 6 years old when administrators at his charter school, Success Academy in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, put him on a list of students they wanted to push out. “They’d suspend him for not having on shoes, for not having his shirt tucked, for going to the bathroom,” says Givens. “So he lost courage and a will to want to do better.”

According to Givens, Cyrus was suspended 30 times that school year. Success Academy spokesperson Ann Powell says the kindergartner was suspended only seven times. Either way, that’s a lot of suspensions for a 6 year old. Today, city leaders are increasingly pushing to reform school-discipline practices to minimize suspensions for students like Cyrus, heeding calls from activists and researchers who say excessive discipline can fuel rises in student dropout rates and push young people into the criminal-justice system.



In 2014, Boston mandated that suspensions and expulsions be treated as a last-resort option and that such decisions must come with guaranteed due process for students and their families. Last year, Washington, D.C., passed a bill that would prevent schools from expelling or suspending pre-kindergartners, with some exceptions for classroom violence. And New York City is now pushing to ban suspensions entirely from kindergarten through second grade, albeit with somepotential loopholes.

But data from these school districts indicate that one major factor may be undermining these reform efforts: charter schools.

In New York City, although the charter-school student population represents just under 7 percent of the district’s total enrollment, charter schools accounted for nearly 42 percent of all suspensions, according to the latest available state data, from 2014.

Over the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 school years, of the 50 New York City schools with the most student suspensions, 46 were charter schools in 2013 and 48 were charter schools in 2014. Looking at suspension rates, 45 were charter schools in 2013 and 48 were charter schools in 2014. (These suspension rates control for student population and do not double-count students who receive multiple suspensions.)

A CityLab geographic analysis of these hyper-disciplinary schools finds that nearly all are concentrated in majority-black communities. And among the outlier schools, those with the most flagrant suspension numbers are clustered in the heart of New York’s black communities, particularly in Harlem in Manhattan, and in Crown Heights, Brownsville, and East New York in Brooklyn.

Similar patterns extend beyond New York. According to 2011-2012 charter and traditional public-school data from Washington, D.C., obtained by The Washington Post, charter schools accounted for 40 of the 50 schools with the most total suspensions and expulsions that year, despite the fact that they accounted Charter Schools in Black Areas Suspend More Often - The Atlantic:

Where Charter-School Suspensions Are ConcentratedCharter Schools in Black Areas Suspend More Often - The Atlantic:

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