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Free for All
2 days ago
A benefit of free lunch for all: fewer students get repeatedly suspended, new study suggests
Allowing an entire school to eat for free can reduce the number of students who get suspended multiple times, according to a new study.
August 23, 2018
Suspensions really do hurt students academically, new studies confirm, but maybe less than previously thought
New research provides some of the strongest evidence yet that suspensions do in fact harm students’ academic performance.
cause and effect
July 10, 2018
Do suspensions lead to higher dropout rates and other academic problems? In New York City, the answer could be yes
The study's findings add new evidence to a heated debate playing out in New York and across the country.
May 18, 2018
Week in review: Taking a look at Superintendent Vitti’s first year
Next week will mark a full year since Superintendent Nikolai Vitti arrived in Detroit. To mark the occasion, we looked back at the…
April 20, 2018
Do charter schools suspend students more? It depends on how you look at the data.
Charters have a higher overall suspension rate than traditional public schools. But when you break down suspensions by race, charters actually post slightly lower rates.
March 30, 2018
After years of decline, suspensions shot up in New York City schools this year
New York City schools are suspending students significantly more often, according to new data the city released Friday. Between July and…
March 13, 2018
When Chicago cut down on suspensions, students saw test scores and attendance rise, study finds
A modest drop in out-of-school suspensions for severe behavior actually led to small increases in test scores and attendance for all students in a school.
February 21, 2018
Looking for the ‘why’ behind student suspensions, Memphis schools turn to behavior specialists — again
For the first time since the city's 2013 school merger, behavior specialists are back in Memphis schools.
February 16, 2018
Arkansas passed a law banning suspensions for truancy. Then it was largely ignored.
Three years after the law passed, nearly 1,100 students were suspended for not showing up to school.
February 14, 2018
With clean clothes, this Detroit school sees a new attitude and improved attendance
Last year, administrators at the A.L. Holmes Academy of Blended Learning struggled to get children to come to school every day. More than…
By the numbers
October 30, 2017
New York City schools continue to give out fewer suspensions, though racial disparities persist
While most student groups received fewer suspensions last year, black students and those with disabilities continued to be suspended at disproportionately high rates.
September 13, 2017
When my student was assaulted and traumatized, my school didn’t know what to do. Let’s change that.
An aura of gloom became a student’s new trademark, and he began acting out. A teacher wonders how her school could have done a better job responding.
a plan emerges
July 17, 2017
Student suspensions will now be used in New York state’s revised plan to evaluate schools
On Monday, education officials released revisions to their draft Every Student Succeeds Act plan.
April 6, 2017
NYC set to adopt long-debated changes to student discipline code that will further reduce suspensions
The debate over the city’s discipline code raises larger questions, some of which are also being asked in other large school districts across the country.
March 28, 2017
Memphis lawmaker, voucher advocate says ‘unraised’ students hold back public schools, teachers
Rep. John DeBerry’s comments offer new insight into his motivation for wanting families to be able to use public funding to pay private school tuition.
a theory of justice
February 9, 2017
A Bronx school with a high suspension rate is trying restorative justice. It isn’t going as planned.
"We’ve worked to give fewer suspensions, which in some ways has been productive and in some ways has been very frustrating."
October 25, 2016
Why Memphis hopes principals stop worrying about sagging pants and start welcoming students warmly
Chief Academic Officer Heidi Ramirez says the way to change discipline practices in Memphis is to change teachers' and administrators' relationships with students.
Updated August 29, 2016
School discipline data mistakes have ripple effects for advocates battling the school-to-prison pipeline
Erroneous discipline data from some Colorado districts has made it hard for advocates to track suspension trends and complicated efforts to press for change.
July 26, 2016
Yes, teachers do want safer schools, and ending suspensions is an important step
The lives of black youth matter, and we have to keep them in the classroom.
More state support
May 12, 2016
When preschoolers bite and hit, these mental health experts step in to help
The ranks of Colorado's state-funded early childhood mental health consultants will soon double, advancing efforts to combat suspensions and expulsions of young children.
April 28, 2016
First Person: How can we teach students to be productive members of a community by removing them from it?
As public school educators, we cannot allow for our frustrations with the sloppy rollout of restorative practices in New York City to justify a call for punitive discipline.
how low will they go?
March 31, 2016
School suspensions continue to drop sharply under de Blasio
Schools gave out 31 percent fewer suspensions in the first half of this school year than they did in 2014.
January 19, 2016
In Bronx survey, struggling students explain what’s missing from school discipline debates
A survey of nearly 400 Bronxites found that students who struggle academically or socially at school are also more likely to get into trouble.
By the numbers
October 30, 2015
School suspensions fall sharply, but continue to land most heavily on black students
Schools gave out about 9,000 fewer suspensions in 2014-15 than in the previous academic year.
October 30, 2015
Eva Moskowitz calls ‘Got to Go’ list an anomaly as Success principal gives tearful apology
Following a report detailing Success Academy schools trying to remove unruly students, Eva Moskowitz denied any systematic effort to push students out of her schools.
October 29, 2015
Moskowitz to face tough questions after reports of schools pushing out kids
Success’ leader said Thursday afternoon that “mistakes are sometimes made.”
October 9, 2015
Coalition proposes sweeping changes to state’s school discipline law to reduce suspensions
The changes would also require schools to consider alternatives to suspension, including methods meant to de-escalate conflict.
Where We Stand
April 10, 2015
Report: Students of color still more likely to face harsh discipline in Colorado schools
Harsh disciplinary actions were less common in Colorado schools during the 2013-14 school year than in previous ones, according to a report.
maintaining the spotlight
April 6, 2015
Success Academy: A guide to the city’s largest, most controversial charter-school network
There has been an ongoing fascination with the city’s largest and most polarizing charter school network as it grows in size and in scope within the education landscape.
March 31, 2015
Suspensions down 10 percent this school year as city prepares to apply new policies
Suspensions in city schools over the first seven months of the school year are down 10 percent compared to that period last year, officials said Tuesday.
February 23, 2015
Suspensions at city charter schools far outpace those at district schools, data show
Charter schools suspended 11 percent of their students in 2011-12.
February 23, 2015
How Chalkbeat analyzed district and charter-school suspensions
Here’s what we considered in our analysis of charter school suspension data.
February 13, 2015
Long-awaited discipline policy changes further restrict suspensions, restraints
The plan includes a new review process for suspensions for insubordination, though advocates say there's more to be done.
February 11, 2015
Council Speaker adds high-profile voice to calls for school discipline reform
Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said Wednesday that she will push the city to further reduce suspensions.
By the numbers
October 31, 2014
Spring suspensions drop as overall figures hold steady
Virtually the same number of students were suspended in 2013-14 as were suspended the year before, ending a recent trend of steep declines, according to new data from the Department of Education.
October 31, 2013
Suspensions fall, but disparities for some students persist
Student suspensions have plummeted in the last school year, but the rate is falling more slowly for black students and students with special needs, according to an analysis of new disciplinary data released by the Department of Education. A total of 53,465 suspensions were handed out to students in the 2012-2013 school year, a 23 percent decrease over the 2011-2012 school year, when nearly students received nearly 70,000 suspensions. That's a significantly larger decline since the numbers began dropping in 2011-2012, after a new transparency law began requiring the city to release detailed data about suspensions and student safety. "Sunshine is a great medicine," said Johanna Miller, advocacy director at New York Civil Liberties Union, which pushed for the transparency laws in 2010.
October 29, 2013
Report cites connection between “stop and frisk,” school suspensions
School suspensions and police stops on the street are highest in the same neighborhoods with many black and Latino residents, according to a new…
July 16, 2013
Liu extends call for discipline changes, starting in middle school
A chart from Comptroller John Liu's new report shows that suspension rates rise sharply in the middle school years. Liu proposes adding guidance counselors and changing the city's discipline code to reduce suspensions. New York City's school discipline practices have given rise to an early-onset "stop-and-frisk atmosphere" that must be changed, according to Comptroller John Liu. In a new report, Liu — who is running for mayor — cites Department of Education suspension and arrest data to argue that the city should add more guidance counselors, eliminate long-term suspensions, and turn over control of school safety from the New York Police Department to principals. He pegs the annual cost of adding 50 percent more middle school guidance counselors at $55 million.
May 30, 2013
Task force outlines strategies to keep kids in school, out of court
The School-Justice Partnership task force presented recommendations to decrease school suspensions Thursday at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. A group of city officials, educators and members of the justice system are determined to make lowering school suspensions and arrests a high city priority. The 45-member School-Justice Partnership task force led by a former state judge released a report Thursday that recommends the next mayor encourage all agencies and the court system to work together to reduce suspensions, summonses and student arrests. The report, which took two years to complete, was presented to an audience of about 150 at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where mayoral candidate Bill Thompson also made an appearance to support the recommendations.
May 24, 2013
Advocates say draft discipline code is a letdown after last year
A year after the Department of Education substantially revised its discipline code to favor less punitive responses to student misbehavior, advocates say a new round of revisions misses an opportunity to improve school climate further. Last year, in sweeping changes, the department reduced penalties for minor misbehavior, introduced some alternatives to suspensions, and eliminated suspensions altogether for the city's youngest students. The proposed changes to the discipline code for next year are more incremental, highlighting some discipline strategies that could replace suspension and clarifying that in-school discipline should not cause students to miss instructional time. "We continued this same strong message about progressive discipline and we want to continue to reinforce a range of disciplinary and guidance supports so schools can develop a progressive approach," said Marge Feinberg, a department spokeswoman.
March 28, 2013
Citywide, suspensions down by a third over same time last year
In a year when city officials softened discipline rules, city schools issued a third fewer suspensions in the first four months of the school year than they did during the same period in 2012, according to data that the Department of Education released today.
November 16, 2012
Suspension rates continue to raise concerns, even as they drop
The number of suspensions that principals and superintendents handed out to students is down in the second year since the Department of Education was required to report the data publicly, but it's still much higher than it was a decade ago. City schools gave out 69,643 suspensions in the 2011-2012 school year, down from 73,441 in 2010-2011. As was the case last year, the vast majority of suspensions were principal suspensions, meaning students were not allowed to attend school for between one and five days. The number of principal suspensions declined slightly, from 58,386 to 56,385. The decline in the stricter superintendent suspensions was even more significant—those dropped from 15,055 in 2011 to 13,258 in 2012. The data shows that a decline in suspensions preceded the department's move to soften the discipline code by making fewer offenses grounds for suspension. Officials attributed the declines to efforts to reduce the penalties for minor behavioral problems and introduce more student-teacher conferences as alternatives to suspension. "Many schools now are using conflict resolution and peer mediation, which has helped to address issues in a timely fashion," said department spokeswoman Marge Feinberg. "We started implementing more and more training for these programs prior to 2012."
September 7, 2012
Dozens of Stuyvesant HS students suspended for cheating
A dozen Stuyvesant High School students will be suspended for as long as two weeks and more than 50 others could face short-term suspension for cheating. The punishments are only one component of the school's renewed response to a broad cheating scandal that broke this summer. Stuyvesant's new principal, Jie Zhang, is also requiring students to sign on to an academic honesty policy, urging the creation of an "honor code," and cracking down on student cell phones. Department of Education officials announced in July that they had determined that 71 students had cheated on final exams, with all but two receiving answers in advance to a city Spanish exam. They said at the time that a student who provided the answers would be suspended and not allowed to return to the school, the city's most elite. They also said more punishments could come this fall but did not say how many students faced suspension. Today, the city announced that the number is 66. Zhang informed the students and their families today about the suspensions, which for some students will start on Monday. A second phase in the department's investigation into the cheating, which is ongoing, is looking at the school's original response. The department did not learn about the cheating until nearly a week after then-Principal Stanley Teitel sent a letter to parents informing them that some students had been punished, and the penalties the school levied did not match those outlined in the city’s discipline code.
December 1, 2011
Students, advocates rail against suspension trends at hearing
Nilesh Wishwasrao, a former student at Flushing High School, said he's been suspended from school so many times that he finally lost count. "Their first reaction was always a suspension," Wishwasrao recalled Wednesday at a City Council hearing about the Department of Education's suspension data released last month. Wishwasrao said he was suspended "constantly" for what he said were small infractions, such as chewing gum and wearing a hat in school. Sometimes he was more disruptive, "talking back to a teacher, yelling at a dean." Finally, Wishwasrao testified, a guidance counselor met with his father to explain that high school probably wasn't right for him and "it would be better if I get a GED rather than a high school diploma." Wishwasrao never graduated and is now pursuing his GED. Wishwasrao was part of a chorus of criticism from students and advocates who testified at the hearing, held by the City Council's education committee. Their testimonies came directly after DOE officials shed more light on suspensions in the city schools and promised changes to how some suspensions are handled. At least 45,939 students — or 4.5 percent of the city's student population — were suspended during the 2010-2011 school year, Deputy Chancellor Kathleen Grimm said in her testimony. The majority of them — 70 percent — were suspended just once, she said, but more than one in 10 — about 6,000 students — were suspended three or more times.
November 3, 2011
NYPD is urged to be like the DOE and release school safety data
The release of school-by-school suspension tallies earlier this week was a triumph to advocates who spent years pushing the city to make school safety data transparent. But it was only a partial win. That's because the New York Police Department is also required to release school safety numbers under the terms of the Student Safety Act, which the City Council passed nearly a year ago. The NYPD was supposed to report data about summons and arrests made by school safety agents and about non-criminal incidents in school buildings twice already, in August and again this week. But so far it has released no data. When the police department missed the first deadline, officials said they were moving slowly to ensure accuracy with the complicated data, the Daily News reported at the time. Today, Paul Browne, an NYPD spokesman, said the department would release the data "after the [computer] programming is completed and the data is carefully tabulated and checked in such a way to insure complete, accurate and reliable reporting to the City Council." The New York Civil Liberties Union, which was instrumental in convincing council members to pass the Student Safety Act, is pushing NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly to pick up the pace. Today, the NYCLU sent Kelly a letter today expressing concern about the "unreasonable delay" in releasing the data, noting that the DOE met its reporting deadline despite having to collect similarly complex numbers.
November 1, 2011
For first time, DOE details school safety, suspension numbers
Principals and superintendents suspended a disproportionally high number of black and special needs students last year, according to data the Department of Education released today to comply with a new law. Of the 73,441 suspensions in the 2010-2011 school year, more than 50 percent were black and thirty percent had individualized education plans, according to the data. In contrast, black students make up 33 percent of city enrollment and students requiring special education services make up 17 percent. "These are outrageous numbers," said Udi Ofer, Advocacy Director for New York Civil Liberties Union, a group that has closely followed suspension data for more than a decade. "It shows a policy and practice that has a grossly disproportionate impact on black and special needs children." It is the first time that the DOE is providing disaggregated data about student suspensions to the public under the Student Safety Act, which City Council passed last year after years of lobbying by NYCLU and other advocacy groups. In previous years, the DOE has only been required to release overall suspensions under state law.
January 27, 2011
City schools are suspending more students, and for longer
New York City's public schools are suspending more students than they did a decade ago, and for longer periods of time, according to a report released today. Data on student suspensions obtained by the Student Safety Coalition through Freedom of Information requests and analyzed by the New York Civil Liberties Union shows that the city's public schools have doled out increasingly large numbers of suspensions each year since 2002. Black students are being suspended in disproportionate numbers, and a third of the suspensions have taken place during months when students spend weeks sitting for state exams.
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