So Cal education, LAUSD, the Cal States and the UCs

Bills on school discipline clear first hurdle in state Legislature

California Stock Photo

roarofthefour/Flickr.com

California State Capitol in Sacramento

Three bills in the California Legislature that aim to address problems with school suspension rates and discipline cleared an initial hurdle and passed out of committee today.

These include AB 2242, which seeks to reduce out-of-school suspensions for students under the category of "willful defiance," an often very subjective classification that includes behavior such as failing to bring materials to class, not paying attention or talking back. The bill would limit the use of such suspensions and instead have students sent to an in-school supervised suspension classroom.

"We’re not condoning any of these behaviors, what we’re saying is we have better strategies to hold students accountable, and what we know does not work is sending them home to an unsupervised vacation," said Laura Faer, education rights director for the nonprofit Public Counsel, which is sponsoring a number of bills on discipline. "What we do when we do that, we leave them subject to victimization on the streets or able to get in trouble with the law."

Read More...

LA Unified to collect suspension data down to classroom, teacher level

Tami Abdollah / KPCC

L.A. Unified plans to begin collecting data on suspension rates at the individual classroom and teacher level starting this summer as part of its effort to improve its schools, a district official said today.

"It starts at the classroom level," said Isabel Villalobos, coordinator of student discipline and expulsion support for L.A. Unified. "We're building systems where we can determine is [the suspension rate because of] a particular student, a particular teacher, or is it a combination of both."

The district has worked to detail its suspension rates over the last year, tracking more details including who is suspended and for how many days, but now it will be "drilling down into the classroom" and collecting data relevant to each teacher, Villalobos said. She said the plan is to have the system up and going in July.

Read More...

Bills in California Legislature aim to address school discipline

Mercer 7113

David Paul Morris/Getty Images

California State Assembly.

Several bills are being heard by the state Legislature in Sacramento this week that aim to address problems with school discipline.

These include AB 2242, which seeks to reduce out-of-school suspensions for students under the category of "willful defiance," an often very subjective classification that includes behavior such as failing to bring materials to class, not paying attention or talking back. The bill would limit the use of such suspensions and instead have students sent to an in-school supervised suspension classroom.

More than 40 percent of suspensions in California are given out for "willful defiance," said Laura Faer, education rights director for the nonprofit Public Counsel. And because it is so subjective, it often has a much greater impact on students of color. A report released today by UCLA's The Civil Rights Project found that a black male student with disabilities was most likely to be suspended from the classroom in California compared to other students.

Read More...

Report: A black male disabled student is most likely to be suspended

Mercer 4587

Robyn Beck/Getty Images

A student on his way to school walks past a Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) school, in Los Angeles, California on February 13, 2009.

If you're a black male student who is disabled, you are more likely to be suspended from the classroom in California's largest districts than any other student, according to a report released today by UCLA's The Civil Rights Project.

The report, and its spreadsheet, covers 500 districts statewide and are based on 2009-10 data from the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. It shows significant disparities in suspension rates based on gender and race as well as disability status in statewide and district specific data.

"In too many districts we're no longer saving out-of-school suspension for to be a measure of last resort," said Daniel Losen, co-author of the report and director of the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at UCLA's Civil Rights Project.

In 2009-10 more than 400,000 students were suspended and sent out of the classroom at least once, according to the data. The California Department of Education has reported more than 750,000 total suspensions in 2009-10, which means some of the 400,000 students were suspended multiple times that year.

Read More...