Student suspension rates in California school districts are falling – and a new study suggests that schools issuing fewer suspensions see stronger student achievement.
The UCLA study found the number of suspensions issued to California students fell by more than 200,000 from the 2011-12 school year through 2013-14. That’s just 8.1 suspensions per 100 students, down from 11.4.
What's more, “Where there tended to be higher achievement, there tended to be lower than average suspensions,“ says study author Dan Losen, “and this held true for every ethnic and racial group.”
Some teachers say the change in suspension policy has led to more unruly students. Losen says districts should put more money into training teachers in alternative discipline.
“The goal is to keep students in school, hold them accountable for their behavior, but also get at the root cause of the behavior,” he says.
Students of color are suspended at much higher rates than white students. Losen says districts that improved their suspension rates also reduced their racial discipline gap.