Giving Compass’ Take:
• More than 70 educators signed a letter that goes into detail about why the Obama-era guidance on school discipline should not be changed due to the racial disparities of school expulsions and suspensions.
• How effective are restorative justice practices within school classrooms?
• Read about the value of restorative justice practices.
A coalition of more than 70 education leaders — from charter school operators to national teachers unions — are calling on the Trump administration to retain an Obama-era guidance document that urged school districts to reduce their reliance on suspensions and expulsions and to eliminate racial disparities in discipline.
In a letter sent Tuesday to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the education groups said they accept responsibility for rethinking traditional approaches to school discipline “because the consequences of inaction are dire. It is unacceptable that students of color, students with disabilities, and students who identify as LGBTQQ experience harsher discipline than their peers,” wrote the education groups, which include ACE Charter Schools, the American Federation of Teachers, Educators for Excellence, and the Discipline Revolution Project, as well as several urban school district superintendents.
Now, DeVos may revoke that guidance document. Rescinding the Obama-era guidance is among topics being considered by the Federal Commission on School Safety, a group established by President Trump following the mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and chaired by the secretary.
Nationally, schools’ reliance on suspensions and expulsions has dropped in recent years, but disparities remain for students of color and those with disabilities. For example, black boys make up 8 percent of public school students but are 25 percent of children suspended at least once, according to the Education Department’s latest Civil Rights Data Collection, which presents statistics from the 2015-16 school year.
“The letter is partly about imploring the federal government to do their job in upholding students’ civil rights, but it is also a public declaration about our values as an education community,” Cami Anderson, founder of the Discipline Revolution Project, said in a media release.
Read the full article about Obama-era school guidance by Mark Keierleber at The 74
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