Skip to comments.Race gap in school discipline persists in Seattle
Posted on 01/12/2006 12:00:30 PM PST by Sopater
Nearly two decades after it began tracking student discipline, Seattle Public Schools continues to struggle with a chronic problem: African American students are still far more likely than their white peers to be suspended or expelled.
The "discipline gap" persists even as the district drastically lowered the overall number of students who were expelled last year, new statistics show.
Compared with white students, African Americans were nearly twice as likely last year to receive short-term suspensions, lasting 10 or fewer days. Long-term suspensions were imposed on black students more than twice the time.
"We're still seeing a lot of disproportionality," said School Board member Darlene Flynn, chairwoman of Student Learning Committee. "That hasn't improved at all."
The disparity was investigated by the Seattle P-I in 2002 in a special report, "An Uneven Hand," which found that black students were being disciplined at much higher rates than students of other races -- and had been for at least two decades.
The district has made an effort in recent years to provide better training to teachers and administrators and focus on alternatives to suspending or expelling students. But short- and long-term suspension rates are virtually unchanged since 2000, and in some cases are higher.
Flynn said the district needs to do a better job of lowering discipline rates, especially for black and Hispanic students.
READ THE REPORT
The Seattle Public Schools discipline report is available online at www.seattleschools.org/area/siso/disprof/2005/disprof_2005.xml, then click "Student Outcome Measures." The section on discipline rates begins on Page 41.
(Excerpt) Read more at seattlepi.nwsource.com ...
Stefan Sharkanski of Sound Politics has an excellent article here where he took just a few moments to compare the cultural issue of family structure to the instences of disciplinary action and found some interesting results...
Could it be that African American students behave offensively more often?
Nah. Couldn't be.
"Discipline gap", or behavior gap? Typical liberal crapola, blame the white guys.
I don't believe for one minute that the Seattle school district thinks that poor training of teachers is responsible for the higher rate of black students' suspensions and expulsions. Everyone knows why black students are disciplined at far higher rates--because they cause problems at far higher rates than other students! The school district knows this as well, of course. It's called p.r. Trying to fend off lawsuits, or whatever.
Sounds like there might actually be a "misbehavior gap".
I'd be curious to know how many suspended students regardless of race come from a home with a mother and father present
Sure. Let the inmates run the prison because they have white whiners looking out for them.
I know how to fix this! Throw more money at it! After all, that's generally why govie programs don't work, isn't it? Yes, more money will do the trick nicely....especially in Seattle.
Could the black students be engaging in activity that warrants the punishments in a far higher percentage than the white students?
Figures lie and liars figure!
The media trick is to state the proportional distribution of punishment, and not the proportional distribution of offenses.
They make it sound unjust, which is what they intend to do.
Gee, they've given extra training to teachers and the administration and tried all kinds of new ideas and it hasn't seemed to work. HELLOOOO, it isn't the teachers or the administration that has the problem, it is some of the black students. When about 70% of any racial group come from one parent homes, they're going to have a problem.
Given the way this story is written it would appear that drastic action is needed to end this "discipline gap". As a drastic measure I would suggest that any principal who suspends an African American student be fired for failing to adequately deal with the problem. I am quite sure that the "discipline gap" described will end very quickly (if that is the real problem).
I was trying to find anywhere in the article where it listed the proportion of offenses committed by black students vs white students. Or something like: "When a white student started a fight, he was suspended 50% of the time, when a black student started a fight, he was suspended 100% of the time." This just says black students are punished more, but doesn't explain the reasons behind punishment.
Discipline has been taken out of the schools what would Flyn expect?
The statistics would be much higher if all the student problems were addressed, probably twice as high.
Bury your head in the sand, Ostrich style, but addressing the problem would not be politically correct.
Just suspend more white students. Problem fixed.
Could that have something to do with the fact that they act up and need disciplined more often? That they are more likely to be fatherless? To be raised in a culture that tells them that actually trying to better yourself is a betrayal of your race????
DUMB LIBERALS! I wouldn't trust em to walk my dog... by the time they brought him back, he'd feel guilty for chaising cats, and self destructive because he actually enjoys being loyal.
I have been a public high school teacher for eighteen years. I teach in a large high school in an urban environment. We are about 25% African-American. Most are great, great kids. Yet we too suspend black kids at an alarmingly high rate. What's the deal?
IT'S CULTURE! Until the black community realizes that kids from one parent families aren't making it and does something about it this is going to go on. Many of these kids hit school totally unprepared for classroom work. Large numbers can't seem to be on time. Too many are interested in obtaining $200.00 sneakers and not top grades. Their language is too often loud and vulgar. Too many seem to have no respect for adults or authority.
Off course they're going to get suspended. This isn't going to change until behaviors change. Is anybody really surprised?
This is also something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. If black students are led to believe that they are being disciplined due to institutional racism, what motivation does that leave them to behave better? If you believe that racism is the reason behind your punishment, you are only given more reason to misbehave. The mindset behind this article is pathetic on its face; but it is typical of Seattle educators and journalists.
I am very mad at my daughters school right now, mainly because of a lack of discipline. My daughters old school was closed, and they are at a new school that is clueless about discipline.
My daughters' teacher is great. We had her last year at our old school, and she is great at controlling her classroom. However, when the kids are at lunch and out of control of the teacher, it is another story.
The new school does not have a cafeteria, and the kids eat outside most of the time. Well, yesterday it started raining. The staff told the kids to go into the gym. The kids went in and started screaming at the top of their lungs, and no one did anything about it. One of my daughters said she had to cover her ears, and she hated being in there.
I told my daughters that they were not to go into the gym anymore and to either go to the office or the nurse and call me if it happens again.
I've talked to their teacher and the principal.
If I didn't like their teacher, I wouldn't stay at the school. We will not be there next year, no matter what.
The lefties REALLY don't want to dig into that matter. Deep down, they know what they'd dig up: that black students generally receive LESS punishment for the same misbehavior. Go to the average inner city, predominantly black high school, and you'll see the BETTER behaved kids doing and saying stuff that would get them suspended from a lot of predominantly white schools. For starters, just imagine a kid (of any color) calling another student "nigger" at a predominantly white school.
No...the reason is this:
Percentage of Black kids born out of wedlock: 70%
Percentage of white kids: 25%
Family values really do mean something.
The Unspoken Here: School Officials are all white and don't like blacks. Not that that is a steriotype...
Our response to these very real concerns was to enroll our daughter in Catholic school, even though we are not Catholic. There is a culture of learning and achievement, and zero discipline problems. Also, Catholic schools expect (actually, demand) parental involvement in the educational process, and in my view this is an essential aspect of their success.
Our black population in Pocatello is very small, but they too exhibit problems far out of proportion to their percentage of the population. A small number of black football players were recruited to the local college and managed to record the first drive by shooting we've ever had in the area.
Diverting the subject away from misbehavior, how are these students doing academically? Are they top of the line scholars?
Why?? Because the ...
* Race gap in ordinary manners for young children persists.
* Race gap in fatherless homes persists.
* Race gap in drug-addicted mothers persists.
* Race gap in stupid teens who spread their legs too willingly persists.
* Race gap in minority culture, that stresses sports over academics, persists.
* Race gap in minority culture, that says a young black scholar is a sellout, persists.
* Race gap in teens and pre-teens who join gangs persists.
I could go on and on. But this issue is a no-brainer. It only takes an idiot liberal in the media, combined with one at the school district level, to claim racism.
My son was in private school for a few years. The problem we have is my daughter is special needs. Most private schools cannot handle her situation, and we also lose all of her services if we transfer to a private school or homeschool.
We are currently trying to get my daughters into a charter school for next year, but the charter school is full for this year.
The prison system also has the same problem with high black disciplinary problems. A study suggested higher testosterone levels were possibly the reason, because black prisoners had higher levels of the hormone.
However, race-based biological explanations of behavior are not politically correct, sociological explanations can't be discussed, and even adult criminal statistics that mirror this phenom are tossed out the window. Those doing the reporting must stop reporting black transgressions as well as try to over-report white transgressions to rectify the imbalance.
We all know that a disproportionate of prisoners in our jails are black. Why ? Because they are the ones breaking the law. Here we have students in school being disproportionately punished. Why?? Thhaaaaats right folks , they are the ones breaking the rules. Can there be some sort of reason the same kids breaking the rules in school are ending up in jail?? Yeah Thats right again. Certainly there is.
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This type of crap leads to people becoming apologists for behavior issues that sometimes plaque black students- such as cursing at teachers; constantly disrupting instruction; fighting; bringing guns, knives, and other weapons to school (even here at the Primary school where I teach, grades 2-3). For example, a black principal refusing to punish black students who called a white teacher a "stupid bitch-ho" because that type of behavior was "cultural". The principal told my friend she would have to get over it, it was a cultural thing. No amount of training for teachers or administrators is going to change student behavior. Not punishing students for their misbehavior does not help either. Us teachers cannot undo what is done at home.
The weird thing is that poorer children of all races tend to have more behavior problems that wealthier kids. We don't have black kids here for the most part and we still have issues. And it is generally the poor kids that get in trouble.
If a higher pecentage of black kids live at the poverty level.....
But you can't get money using those stats. Make it a racial problem and someone will want to throw free government money at it. And the people who found the problem will be there to catch it.
The "officials" would never see a student unless a behavior problem warranted taking the student out of the classroom. Before asserting a bias in handling cases of misbehavior, I want to see exactly how many students were referred to "officials" for misbehavior...broken down by race please. I want to know the exact nature of the offense and the action taken.
Obviously bad discipline problems among White students MUST BE INCREASED...
Yes, and reckless drivers get pulled over way more often (though not often enough) than law-abiding drivers.
There is a high percentage of XYY "super males" in the prison population as well. They tend to be bigger, stronger and more aggressive than the average male. I have no idea what the distribution of that anomaly is with respect to race.
Yep! And the whole time that this particular student is acting up in class the rest of the students aren't learning anything.
I believe it was called "mainstreaming" where kids with behavior problems were placed in regular classrooms so their fragile "self-esteem" wouldn't be damaged. The result is that one or two of these kids can hijack the entire class and waste untold hours throughout the year while the motivated kids sit in silence watching the clock tick away learning nothing.
Reason number 4,597 why I would never be a public school teacher.
She should get the principal's response in writing and take his negligent behavior to the school board. I suppose negligence is "cultural" too.
Sadly, the way Seattle will likely remedy this problem is to suspend white kids and give black kids a pass for the same infraction. That way white suspension numbers rise while black suspension numbers fall until they are at parity. Problem solved! Administration happy!
The "chicken and egg" problem. Why are the children poor? Could it be that mom and dad were underperforming slackers in school and can't make a decent living now? Poverty doesn't cause behavior problems. Behavior problems cause poverty. Once it starts, the bad behavior and poor living conditions persist. Mom and dad are too stupid and ill behaved themselves to break the cycle. Children of "wealthy" parents often misbehave as a consequence of neglect while parents are pursuing the almighty dollar and indulging themselves. Inherited wealth rarely persists beyond a generation as wealth is a consequence of behavior that isn't understood by the inheritor.
Anecdotely, I remember the kids who were suspended in school and they tended to be the poorest kids. Very seldom was a middle-class or rich kid suspended. In our case, however, we were given the option of performing "work" after school to avoid suspension i.e. cutting the grass. This was to avoid getting zeroes for the tests that were missed. The poor kids never seemed interested in that. They just took the days off. I was friends with one of the kids (druggie) and he told me the days off were preferred because they had to pass him anyway. Since they couldn't flunk him and he didn't care about his grades, he stayed at home and smoked dope when he got suspended while his mom worked. Win-win in his eyes.
Oddly, he told me that the teachers gave him F's but the principal always changed the grades so he would pass. A high number of kids flunking looked bad for the principal.
He knows better than to write it. Using a tape recorder is preferred but watch out. If you pull one out at a school board meeting to play the words of an administrator, they'll react as if you pulled out a hand grenade.
Nothing upsets people more than hearing something they are trying not to hear.
Great post. Thanks!
There is no evidence that having married parents is a significant factor. Correlatiod does not equal causation. Parental education and income levels, and age, also have very strong correlations to children's behavior and eventual educational achievement and criminality. And I don't think it would be hard to prove that parental rap sheet length is one of the strongest predictors for out of control children who grow up to engage in criminal behavior. On the other hand, you'll find very good outcomes among children of financially self-sufficient single parents. Outcomes for children raised only by their widowed mothers, when the father died before or shortly after the chidren's birth, are indistinguishable from those of children raised in 2-parent homes, exposing the falsehood of the notion that lack of a father is a major causative factor of poor outcomes for children.
Another elementary school friend was active in scouts when I returned to San Diego in 1969. He was doing fine until he tagged up with the druggies and smokers. He had an illigitimate kid and never managed to graduate from high school. His dad was a Lt in the Navy and lived and a slightly nicer house than my own a couple blocks away.
I could writes volumes of anecdotes describing perfectly nice middle class white kids that grew up to be below average performers. Not criminals, but just barely productive enough to stay off welfare.
As with any distribution, you have success and failure. The class president and valedictorian was Valerie Zavala. She lived two doors down from my house. She earned a PhD at Harvard. We only had ONE valedictorian when I graduated. No need to assuage the egos of 10+ people. There was a number one and she was the genuine article. She is apparently the nightly news magazine anchor at PBS station KCET in Los Angeles now.