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Addressing disproportionality in discipline About the Addressing Disproportionality in Discipline Alliance

Across the nation, minority students, particularly black students, economically disadvantaged students, and students with disabilities, are disproportionately subjected to exclusionary disciplinary practices that compromise students’ opportunities to learn.1 Beginning with work in Maryland, the school discipline alliance brings together staff from state education agencies and other state and local stakeholders to support efforts to reduce, and ultimately eliminate, discipline disparities.

Planned and ongoing activities

REL Mid-Atlantic is partnering with the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) to conduct analyses of MSDE's school discipline data. MSDE seeks to identify trends in, and school characteristics associated with, disproportionate rates of exclusionary discipline for students based on race/ethnicity and disability status. The study will answer the following research questions:

  1. What are the trends in school removals (out-of-school suspensions and expulsions) in Maryland from 2009–2010 to 2016–2017, both overall and by student group?
  2. What are the overall trends in characteristics of disciplinary responses during this period?
  3. What are the characteristics of schools with discipline disproportionalities?

The REL is providing the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) with coaching and consultation in developing teacher and administrator surveys to measure how schools identified as having disproportionate rates of school discipline for subgroups of students are implementing their district’s action plan for reducing those disproportionalities. The coaching will help build MSDE’s capacity for developing and administering the surveys.

Goals

  • Help states and school districts (beginning with Maryland) understand their discipline data, refine their definition and measurement of disproportionality, and assess their progress toward addressing disparities
  • Help inform and improve the evidence-based technical support states deliver to schools and districts with disproportionately high suspension and expulsion rates
  • Develop and disseminate products and evidence-based strategies to address disparities, thereby raising public awareness about exclusionary discipline

What Our Stakeholders Are Saying

Identifying characteristics of schools with disproportionate rates

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1Losen, D. J., & Gillespie, J. (2012). Opportunities suspended: The disparate impact of disciplinary exclusion from school. Los Angeles, CA: Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED534184; Lacoe, J., & Steinberg, M. P. (2019, March). Do suspensions affect student outcomes? Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 41(1), 34–62. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1204837; Gregory, A., Skiba, R. J., & Noguera, P. A. (2010). The achievement gap and the discipline gap: Two sides of the same coin? Educational Researcher, 39(1), 59–68. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ886500; Fabelo, T., Thompson, M. D., Plotkin, M., Carmichael, D., Marchbanks, M. P., & Booth, E. A. (2011). Breaking schools’ rules: A statewide study of how school discipline relates to students’ success and juvenile justice involvement. New York: Council of State Governments Justice Center.; U.S. Government Accountability Office. (2018, March). K-12 education: Discipline disparities for black students, boys, and students with disabilities (Publication No. GAO-18-258). Retrieved from https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-18-258; Barrett, N., McEachin, A., Mills, J., & Valant, J. (2019). Disparities in student discipline by race and family income (EdWorkingPaper No.19-53). Retrieved from the Annenberg Institute at Brown University website: http://edworkingpapers.com/ai19-53

Name Title Organizational affiliation Organization location
Tracy Dusablon Research and data coordinator Maryland State Department of Education Maryland
Dara Shaw Executive director, Office of Research Maryland State Department of Education Maryland
Mary Gable Assistant State Superintendent of Academic Policy Maryland State Department of Education Maryland
Matthew Duque Senior Research and Data Specialist Maryland State Department of Education Maryland
Christy Thompson Division Executive Director of Student, Family, and School Support Maryland State Department of Education Maryland
Sylvia Lawson Chief Performance Officer, Deputy State Superintendent, Office of School Effectiveness Maryland State Department of Education Maryland
Deborah Nelson Section Chief, School Safety and Climate, Division of Student Support, Academic Enrichment, and Educational Policy Maryland State Department of Education Maryland
Walter Sallee Director, Student Services and Strategic Planning Branch Maryland State Department of Education Maryland
Chandra Haislet Director of Accountability and Data Systems Maryland State Department of Education Maryland
Lynne Muller Section Chief, Student Services and School Counseling, Division of Student Support, Academic Enrichment, and Educational Policy Maryland State Department of Education Maryland
Kimberly Buckheit Program Specialist Maryland State Department of Education Maryland
Interested in joining us or learning more? Contact us.