The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center has released a new report, Realizing the Full Vision of School Discipline Reform: A Framework for Statewide Change, which documents how five states have reduced their reliance on suspensions while moving toward a more comprehensive vision of school discipline reform—one that ensures that efforts to limit disciplinary removals from the classroom are combined with strategies to foster supportive learning environments.
Out-of-school suspensions dropped nearly 20 percent nationally between the 2011-12 and 2013-14 school years, according to the U.S. Department of Education. In many states reductions are even more dramatic. Despite this progress, states continue to struggle to reduce disparities in the use of school discipline for youth of color, and educators and parents have pushed back against school discipline reforms, arguing that efforts to limit suspensions have led to more disruptions in the classroom.
In early 2017, the CSG Justice Center convened legislators and education leaders from five states that substantially reduced their use of suspensions over the last five years—California, Connecticut, Illinois, North Carolina, and Tennessee. (Engaging Schools is working with districts in three of these.) While each of the states featured in the report have pursued a unique combination of approaches to reduce suspensions, three common strategies were at the core of their success: each state collected and analyzed comprehensive school discipline data from their systems; they regularly shared school discipline metrics with policymakers, educational leaders, and the public; and they used that data to drive and shape legislative and administrative improvements. As a part of our work with districts, we help them use data to inform goals for discipline and student support.
The report also offers recommendations for applying this data-driven approach to ensure that school discipline reforms not only reduce suspensions, but also foster supportive learning environments and ultimately improve outcomes for all students. Read the full report here: https://csgjusticecenter.org/youth/publications/realizing-the-full-vision-of-school-discipline-reform-a-framework-for-statewide-change