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Overall Suspensions Are Down In California’s Schools, But Not For Black Students

By Victor Trammell

Photo credits: Irfan Khan, Los Angeles Times

A recently completed, multi-year study, which was conducted by a member of the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. found that the overall number of out-of-school suspensions have dropped for the majority of California’s public school students.

According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, education experts are attributing the overall decline in out-of-school suspensions within California to a 2014 law passed by the state legislature, which made it illegal to suspend students for “willful defiance.” However, black students have not fared well on this trend of declining suspensions.

“But while fewer students are being suspended, the state has yet to resolve the fairness question,” wrote Joy Resmovits, an education correspondent for the Los Angeles Times.

Tom Loveless, a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution has been conducting the research, which has called California’s current suspension and racial fairness dilemma into question. Loveless found that in 2012, California’s public school districts recorded 539,134 total out-of-school suspensions.

By the end of 2015, that number fell to 334,649, according to the data extracted from the Brookings Institution study. However, black students kept getting suspended at disproportionately higher rates regardless of the fact that they represented a small minority of all the total students who attend institutions in California’s public school districts.

“[In 2015], black students made up only 6% of the state’s public school enrollment, [yet] they faced 19.8% of suspensions,” Resmovits also wrote. In an interview with The Times, Loveless shared that he could not reasonably explain the causes of these race-based, gross suspension disproportions in California.

“Perhaps these schools are in racially concentrated and very poor neighborhoods, where security might be a concern,” Loveless told The Times. “We don’t exactly know,” he continued.

More data about the studies of Mr. Loveless can be read by clicking the link to the source of this article below.

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