Discipline Disparities in U.S. Public Schools: What Roles Do Anti-Black Racism and White Supremacist Beliefs Play?

Author: ORCID icon orcid.org/0000-0001-6286-8460
Nicholas-Hoff, Pamela, Education - School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia
Jennings, Patricia, Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education, University of Virginia
Hofkens, Tara, Leadership, Foundations, and Policy, University of Virginia

“Black students are three times more likely to be suspended and expelled than their White peers” (Erase Racism, 2019, p. 16). Disproportionate rates of exclusionary discipline reduce educational access and undermine school engagement for African American students, contributing to negative educational and occupational outcomes. Disturbingly, while overall counts of both out-of-school suspension and African American student enrollment in U. S. public schools are trending downward (i.e., 18% in school year 2009-10 [OCR, 2012], 16% in school year 2012-13 [OCR, 2014], and 15% in school year 2015-16 [OCR, 2018]), out-of-school suspension rates for African American students are trending upward. For school years 2011-12 and 2015-16, African American students comprised 32% (OCR, 2014) and 39% (OCR, 2018), respectively, of students assigned one or more out-of-school suspensions.
Though numerous studies document disparities in exclusionary discipline, this is the first to utilize 2015-16 and 2017-18 U.S. Department of Education Civil Rights Data Collection data and National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data to compare incident rates across two different presidential administrations. Utilizing zero-inflated negative binomial regression analyses, this study examines whether the proportion of African American male students predicts the reporting and rates of out-of-school suspension across the 2015-16 and 2017-18 school years while controlling for a robust set of school characteristics. For both survey years, we found that schools in the middle quartiles of African American male student enrollment were at greatest risk for higher counts and incident rates of students assigned out-of-school suspension. Further, out-of-school suspension incident rates for schools in the middle quartiles of African American male student enrollment increased from 2015-16 to 2017-18.
Keywords: discipline disparities, exclusionary discipline, out-of-school suspensions

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
discipline disparities, exclusionary discipline, out-of-school suspensions
Sponsoring Agency:
American Educational Research Association-National Science Foundation

This is a three-manuscript dissertation. The provided abstract is for the third manuscript.

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