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.
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
Planned and ongoing activities
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.
REL Mid-Atlantic partnered with the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) to conduct analyses of MSDE's school discipline data. MSDE sought to identify trends in, and school characteristics associated with, disproportionate rates of exclusionary discipline for students based on race/ethnicity and disability status. The report’s key findings include:
- Exclusionary discipline rates declined for all subgroups of students in Maryland during the past decade, but Black students and students with disabilities continued to be suspended and expelled from school at more than twice the rates of other students.
- Even when they were involved in the same types of infractions, Black students and students with disabilities were significantly more likely to receive out-of-school suspensions than other subgroups.
- Schools with discipline disparities shared some characteristics, including a higher percentage of inexperienced teachers.
Infographic on understanding discipline disparities in Maryland (408 KB)
Although disciplinary removals have declined in Maryland over the past 10 years, discipline disparities persist. This REL infographic discusses how to use data to identify disparities and how the REL is working with Maryland to improve disparities.
- 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
- Dara Shaw, Maryland State Department of Education
|Name||Title||Organizational affiliation||Organization location|
|Kimberly Buckheit||Program Specialist||Maryland State Department of Education||Maryland|
|Tracy Dusablon||Research and Data Coordinator||Maryland State Department of Education||Maryland|
|Mary Gable||Assistant State Superintendent of Academic Policy||Maryland State Department of Education||Maryland|
|Chandra Haislet||Director of Accountability and Data Systems||Maryland State Department of Education||Maryland|
|Sylvia Lawson||Chief Performance Officer, Deputy State Superintendent, Office of School Effectiveness||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|
|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|
|Dara Shaw||Executive Director, Office of Research||Maryland State Department of Education||Maryland|
|Christy Thompson||Division Executive Director of Student, Family, and School Support||Maryland State Department of Education||Maryland|