Study Shows Black And Latino Students Are Disciplined Less By Same Race Teachers
The concern about the wide discipline disparity is that once children are not in school, they are more susceptible to entering the “school-to-prison-pipeline”. Getting an education is not only about learning, but about keeping kids out of the streets, and white teachers don’t appear to take that into consideration.
Breaking the pipeline is an explicit federal priority, and on the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton pledged $2 billion to help schools add counselors and reduce suspensions. “This is not just an education issue, this is a civil rights issue, and we cannot ignore it any longer,” she told a Harlem audience in February 2016.
The study focuses on elementary school students in North Carolina who are followed for several years in order to see how same race teachers effect the severity and frequency of their discipline.
The theory behind the “school-to-prison pipeline” concept is that black and Latino students experience harsher discipline in school than their white peers, and that these school-based experiences increase the likelihood of their eventual engagement with the criminal justice system. Indeed, a 2014 analysis of school discipline data by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights found these students are overrepresented among students who experience exclusionary discipline across the country. Black children, for example, represented 16 percent of K‒12 enrollment nationwide but were 43 percent of students who received multiple out-of-school suspensions during the 2011‒12 school year
Interesting, and eerie, how much these numbers mirror the same trend we see in the percentage of POC in the prison system.
We find consistent evidence that North Carolina students are less likely to be removed from school as punishment when they and their teachers are the same race. This effect is driven almost entirely by black students, especially black boys, who are markedly less likely to be subjected to exclusionary discipline when taught by black teachers. There is little evidence of any benefit for white students of being matched with white teachers.
Hopefully this research will encourage the hiring of black and latin/hispanic teachers while also giving children representative role models to look up to. You can read the study in it’s entirety HERE.
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