Education news. In context.
Are Children Learning
Future of Schools
Future of Teaching
Future of Work
In the Classroom
Movers and Shakers
Sorting the Students
The Other 60 Percent
Who Is in Charge
Find a Job
Republish Our Stories
Code of Ethics
Our News Partners
Work with Us
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.
In your inbox.
Chalkbeat New York
How I Teach
Rise & Shine Colorado
Rise & Shine Detroit
Rise & Shine Indiana
Rise & Shine Tennessee
The Starting Line