December 14, 2012

Hans Bader's latest

First up is his PolitiFact Is The Liar Of The Year.

But more importantly (to us) is his Where Will the Senate ‘School-to-Prison Pipeline’ Hearing Lead?

But the facts do not support the kind of legislation that seems to be under consideration. Two recent and highly sophisticated studies by Rochester University professor Joshua Kinsler shed new light on the well-established trends noted above. For the first time, Kinsler factored-in between school variations in discipline policy when looking at the racial disparity in out-of-school suspensions. He discovered that, within any given school, black and white students sent to the principal’s office for a given reason are issued the same suspensions at the same rates. The disparity is all between schools.

Schools with predominantly black student bodies are more likely to issue suspensions, and to issue longer ones, for a given offense. White students at those schools get the same treatment, but most white students are in predominantly white schools that are less severe in their discipline policies. Black students at mostly white schools also get less severe punishments.

Kinsler did find that African American students were more likely to be referred to the principal’s office, which has long been seen as evidence of systemic racism. To investigate that explanation, Kinsler looked for any relationship between teachers’ referral rates to the principal’s office and the race of those teachers and of the students they refer. He found none. This does not mean that racism plays no role, but it calls into question the view that racism is a dominant factor in referrals to the principal’s office.

In a subsequent empirical study, Kinsler investigated what would happen if all schools were compelled to observe a more lenient suspension policy, to close the black/white discipline gap. He found that this would disproportionately hurt the achievement of African American students, widening the black/white achievement gap. The reason for this, according to Kinsler’s findings, is that serious suspensions do in fact discourage misbehavior, and that removing disruptive students from the class does improve the achievement of the other students.

Gee, who'da thought? Actually punishing misbehavior results in ... less of it!

Posted by Hube at December 14, 2012 08:14 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Indeed... that's a lesson that all schools should learn. And learn to distinguish between self-defense and actual bullying, too... as someone who had to deal with that in middle school, the fact I was punished for self-defense because of a "zero tolerance" policy always bugged me.

Posted by: Carl at December 14, 2012 08:31 PM