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NEA President comments on new report on school disciplinary policies

Report finding: removing so-called “bad” students so “good” students can learn doesn’t work


WASHINGTON - March 13, 2014 -

A group of 26 nationally recognized experts from the social science, education and legal fields — assembled three years ago with the backing of two large philanthropies — has compiled and analyzed a huge body of recent research that challenges virtually every notion behind the frequent use of disciplinary policies that remove students from the classroom.

The group, known as the Discipline Disparities Research-to-Practice Collaborative, found clear evidence that students of color, particularly African-Americans, and students with disabilities are suspended at hugely disproportionate rates compared to white students, perpetuating racial and educational inequality across the country. LGBT students also are over-represented in suspension.

The Collaborative further determined there is no evidence to support the premise that “bad kids” should be removed from the classroom in order to ensure that “good kids” can learn.

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel issued the following statement:

“It is tragic and unacceptable that six decades after Brown vs. Board we still haven’t achieved equality in public education; inequities still exist, including disparities in school discipline.

“Far too many of our most vulnerable students are excluded from class for minor, non-violent behavior, which puts them at great risk for academic failure, dropping out, and an unnecessary journey down the school to prison pipeline.

“Far too many of our teachers and school personnel lack the support and resources they need to meet their students’ developmental needs. The Discipline Disparities Collaborative has focused needed attention on what works for both students and educators to create healthy, safe, engaged school climates in which all can flourish.

“NEA will continue to lead on these critical issues through high quality professional development training in the areas of cultural competence, culturally responsive practice, diversity, and social justice — and in the process, implement key recommendations for decreasing disciplinary disparities related to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and ELL status.”

Follow the conversation at @NEAMedia #disciplinereport

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The National Education Association (nea.org) is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez  (202) 822-7823, mgonzalez@nea.org