One in six black students in N.C., nation suspended from school

A new study released today that found that nearly one in every six black students in the country’s public schools are suspended from school during the school year.

That rate stays true for North Carolina, where 16.3 percent of black students (just under one in six) were suspended in the 2009-2010 school year, according to the analysis of federal education data by the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Deroches Civiles at University of California-Los Angeles.

The report, “Opportunities suspended: the disparate impact of disciplinary exclusion from school,” used data from school districts around the country, including North Carolina data that reflected more than 90 percent of all students in the state.

Also highly concerning in North Carolina was the 18 percent rate of suspend Native American students in the state.

(Chart made from the UCLA data)


North Carolina recently reported a four-year graduation rate that topped 80 percent, the first for the state and hailed as a success by education leaders. But black and American Indian students lagged behind that with 73.7 percent and 74.5 percent graduation rates, respectively.

The high suspension rates detailed in the recent report are worrisome, and shows a pattern in some states and school districts of sending at-risk children on a path to failure, especially black children and those with disabilities, wrote Daniel Losen and Jonathan Gillespie, the study’s authors.

“Besides the obvious loss of time in the classroom, suspensions matter because they are among the leading indicators of whether a child will drop out of school, and because out-of-school suspension increases a child’s risk for future incarceration,” Losen and Gillespie wrote. “Given these increased risks, what we don’t know about the use of the suspensions may be putting our children’s futures (and our economy) in jeopardy.”

Click here to read the entire study.  (North Carolina data appears on page 23 of the report.)


  1. Jeff S

    August 7, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    I’m glad to see someone use the correct word. Yes, suspensions are an indicator. At least you stopped short of claiming they were a contributing factor, as do most who bring up the issue.

    This is a very difficult issue to diagnose, and especially in a racially-sensitive manner.

    Of course I believe there is always going to be a certain amount of bias in the system. We all know that this is still more about the behavior of the students than that of the people handing out the punishments.

    I mean, I don’t see anyone protesting the unfavorably kind treatment the Asians are getting. Because, in this case, we don’t have any problem believing that the statistics are a reflection of student behavior. Funny how that works.

  2. cmckinley

    August 7, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    While this certainly represents a tragedy of significant proportions for our society, and the devastating impact it has our children, this story continues to perpetuate the liberal progressive mantra that we are either not spending enough money or that there must be some form of prejudicial racism in our school system that is unjustly weighted against black children. This is, and has always been, a false perception.

    The real problem is well known yet progressives continue to ignore it because it requires the basic conservative principals of self responsibility and criticism. It has been the unwillingness of our elected leaders, community leaders, and many others to recognize that this situation is primarily the result of a breakdown in the family structure within black communities. Somehow we feel it is the school systems responsibility to grow and develop our children. That is not their job. The State is not a parent.

    Over 70% of black children are born into single parent households, the majority of which are headed by women. That should be an unacceptable statistic. Though some have been successful in overcoming this adversity and have raised great kids, they are a very small exception. Unfortunately, the majority has not been successful and the consequences of those failures have resulted in the problems identified in this report. Over 90% of young black men who have been incarcerated come from single parent households. That is a direct result of the lack of a stable family unit. Yet we are loathed to discuss the cause and effect because of some unspoken rule that criticism equals racism.

    Yet too many of the leaders within the black community, particularly those who wish to command a national stage, ignore the fundamental problems which are driving these numbers. For some strange reason, there is a taboo within the black community to either recognize or discuss this problem as being the principal reason for many of these situations.

    This failure among some of the most vocal black leaders to accept any criticism of their community is creating a destructive environment where blame is directed at every direction except to one’s self. For too long, progressive government policies have been structured in a false assumption that treating the symptom will cure the problem. Yet the band aid keeps getting bigger and the problem continues to grow.

    It was President Obama who correctly criticized the dismal failure of many irresponsible fathers in the black community several years ago, only to be attack by black leaders for “talking down” to the community (Jessie Jackson was overheard on TV stating that he wanted to turn him into a Eunuch).

    While certainly there is an important role for our schools in helping to assist with this problem, there is little that they can do unless there is a change in the current attitude of the black community towards the breakdown in the family structure and the recognition that it starts with personal responsibility.

    Until that happens, this problem will never get better. And for the children who will continue to grow up in this unattainable situation because of a refusal to recognize and address the fundamental cause, I feel a tremendous sense of loss for the communities who will continue to suffer both now and in the future.

  3. david esmay

    August 8, 2012 at 9:10 am

    This story does not “perpetrate the liberal progressive mantra” that we are not spending enough money or that there is some form of “prejudicial racism”. Teaching hasn’t changed that dramatically, but parenting has, we ask teachers and school systems to do more and more with less and less. One thing these numbers do reflect is that a big part of the problem is economic. If you’re denying the fact that NC does not have a long history of institutionalized racism, you’re deluding yourself. The question we have to ask ourselves is how do we improve the student’s education, environment, and economic situation, or at least try to understand the effect it’s having on their ability to succeed. They aren’t failing us, we are failing them.

  4. gregflynn

    August 8, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Nothing like a wealthy white guy who makes his money with high interest loans to poor black people pontificating about the “black community”.

    There is no lack of concern in the “black community”. We are generally too comfortably isolated from it to be aware of it. There is a lack of resources in historically created communities of poverty.

    You don’t just say “Tough luck kid, you were born black in a poor neighborhood. It’s a black problem, not mine”.

    The solutions to the problems of children need action from the larger community all of us, black and white included, not just the proximate community they happen to be born into.

  5. Frank Burns

    August 8, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Greg, What solutions would you suggest we implement to solve this problem? Should we mandate families have fathers? Should we bring back “the board of education” and discipline into the classroom? Do you think spending more money on the schools will help? Speaking in generalities or in leftwing code, does not solve the problem.

  6. gregflynn

    August 8, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Frank, you never respect answers in this forum.

  7. cmckinley

    August 8, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Greg. Typical response from a progressive liberal. Attack or insult the messenger so we don’t discuss the message (by the way, your stereotyping of me is incorrect). No big deal. I am use to it. But this is not about me. It’s about what is happening to children because of the environment they are being raised in.

    So are you saying that institutionalized racism is significantly worse now than it was say forty years ago when the rate was 25%? I don’t think so. Are you saying that 70% of births into single parent households today, many of which cannot financially support or properly parent these children, is not the primary issue? Are you saying that institutional racism is the primary reason to blame for these issues? If your answer is yes, then I would argue that it is you who are “isolated” from the reality of the situation.

    I also do not recall any wording or inference that would suggest that my message was “tough luck black kid”. Again, it is just another example of progressive reflective responses that creates controversy and sees racism where none exists.

    While I am not personally immersed in the black community, neither am I totally isolated from it. None of us are. If one community suffers, we all suffer. Until we all truthfully recognize that the disintegration of the family unit within black communities is the root cause of many of these problems, then we will never find a solution to truly protecting these children and giving them a legitimate opportunity to succeed in life.

    Finally, in order to help someone, they have to want to help themselves. If an individual cannot, or will not, take personal responsibility for their own actions, then no amount of outside help will solve the problem, no matter how committed and substantial that help is. When you direct blame to everyone else and to every other thing, and ignore the primary role of personal responsibility, then you really do create the culture of dependency and that ultimately does more harm than good to the communities we are trying to assist.

  8. gregflynn

    August 8, 2012 at 10:59 am

    You are a white guy telling black students that their black elders are personally responsible for their predicament.

  9. cmckinley

    August 8, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    No. I am just a guy pointing out that the perilous shape of the family unit in black communities is where both the problem and solution lies.

    It is neo-progressive liberals who make everything black versus white which provides the cover for certain members within black communities to continue to play the blame game while ignoring that some of the principal problems lie within.

    What I am saying is that there is no self-criticism of the black community by certain black leaders about the devastation being created by the breakdown in the family unit. They are too busy blaming everyone else (usually for their own self serving agenda). It appears that you support this approach also.

    It is this auto-default to the racism card that prevents a true and meaningful discussion about problems and solutions.

    I also found your response to Frank rather hypocritical given your responses.

  10. gregflynn

    August 8, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Everybody loves personal responsibility, as long as someone else is personally responsible.

    Here’s one way I have taken personal responsibility. 22 years ago I invested in the start-up of a community bank to make small business and low-income loans in red-lined areas.

  11. david esmay

    August 8, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    There is plenty of self criticism in the black community and a lot adult black males working to give kids a different perspective on life. One of the biggest problems is that these kids don’t see how schools pertain to their everyday lives that center around just surviving day to day, or how it applies to their futures. It’s not just minority kids, but all kids on the lower socio-economic ladder. It’s hard to study when you get home and the lights have been cut off, your only real meal of the day is at school, and the obstacles you might be dealing with are not of your making and embarrassing to discuss. We can cherry pick and point to kids who did over come obstacles, but the vast majority slip through the cracks and are filling up our prisons. I find your responses patronizing and peppered with talking points from an ALEC lecture on education.

  12. Nonanon

    August 8, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    A study that raises more questions than answers isn’t really a study, is it?

    Could it be as simple as blacks and native americans, presumably this includes hispanics, are less prepared for an education because of their culture.

    Unless and until the attitude of blacks and hispanics changes, and the attitude of our entitlement society as a whole changes, nothing else will, at least not for the better.

  13. Stephen

    August 8, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    cmckinley: “the perilous shape of the family unit in black communities is where both the problem and solution lies”

    That’s your opinion, but it’s not a fact. care to cite some actual research? Or are you content to blather your ideology as if it’s more than just your opinion?

  14. cmckinley

    August 8, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Since many of the posters here feel that as a “white guy” I should have no place in discussing this issue (unless of course I agree with their philosophy in lock step), I thought I would share this bit of information. This is from the National Black Church Group. Obviously it is a concern to them as they recognize the problem and have condemned the politics of white liberals who help make excuses that never address the real problem. In fact, it has been the neo-progressive liberals that have driven polices and agenda that have ultimately damaged African American communities.

    “The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI), a coalition of 34,000 churches, is committed to strengthening the African American family by repairing the damage created by unmarried parents, weak moral standards, and years of neglecting to address this truly pressing societal issue. The family unit is an essential component in the fabric of American life and the success of the Black community depends on the Church’s vigorous defense of the traditional family. Studies have shown that children thrive on the love and support of two parents – it is this basic fact that propels NBCI to take action to protect the family by safeguarding and promoting marriage between a man and a woman, educating African Americans on the importance of health and financial responsibility, involving therapy to repair at-risk relationships, preventing violence, and creating new standards for families nationwide. It is time to stand up for the family and create a better future for our children.”

    My last post on this subject since I think we have pushed this thing back and forth with little real discussion of the need to find a solution to what is a real problem. For those who require some form of proof in reserach, may I suggest you Google the matter and you will find both governmental and well respected, independent research material on the subject. Enjoyed the banter. Have a great day :)

  15. Frank Burns

    August 8, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Since we get no suggestions from the left other than criticize others, I would like to make a modest suggestion. In my opinion we need to bring back corporal punishment and discipline in the classroom beginning in Jr High. We’ve gotten too lax and coddle kids who disrespect the teachers. If this doesn’t work with selected students, they would be removed and enrolled in a military school with extreme discipline.

  16. gregflynn

    August 8, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Marriage counselor Father Guido McKinley confuses correlation with causation. Recent research suggests the opposite of his claim. The study reveals that wealth accumulation is a determining factor for first marriage: Lack of Material Wealth Influences Whether You Get Married

    The results show that the wealth gap between blacks and whites in the U.S. is contributing to the growing marriage gap even more so than differences in income.

    According to Schneider’s analysis, about 30 percent of the racial marriage gap can be explained by wealth, while income, employment, and public benefits explains about 20 percent. The wealth effect also explains more than half of the gap in marriage rates between those with people who did not finish high school and those with college degrees.

    “In all, I find evidence to support the argument that wealth is an important prerequisite of marriage, especially for men,” Schneider writes.

    “What people own, not just what they earn or know, shapes entrance into marriage and so may perpetuate disadvantage across generations.”

    Schneider believes the findings make a strong case for social programs to help people build their assets.

    “Contrary to concerns that such programs are unlikely to make a meaningful difference in the lives of the poor because these individuals are unlikely to accumulate significant savings, I argue that even small amounts of wealth may help disadvantaged men and women meet the economic standard of marriage.”

    Also: Marriage Rates Declining For Blacks, Less Educated: Study

    Why is wealth accumulation so important for first marriages?

    There’s one argument that’s a cultural argument: the social standard for marriage has changed in a way to make wealth important. It’s no longer enough to get married and then try to make a go of it together, you really need to show that you’ve economically arrived before marriage

    Why is this stratification happening by race and education?

    On the one hand, there’s been less inter-generational transference of wealth over time for quite a long time for African Americans as compared to whites … For instance, for whites, many count on their families for a first down payment on a home. A home is a key way in which Americans accumulate wealth in this country, but many African Americans can’t rely on their families for that. So in this way, a lack of assets compounds across generations.

    A second explanation that people have suggested is that African American communities are much less well-served by banks and other financial institutions, so they don’t have access to those same tools that whites have to build wealth. To build wealth, everybody needs help–you need an IRA, you need a 401K, you need a bank account, you need not to have your wealth suctioned off by payday lenders and check cashers–and there’s a real inequality in what services are available to folks.

  17. Frank Burns

    August 8, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    cmckinley, your views are valuable. The color of your skin does not disqualify you from offering your views. This is how the left tries to marginalize those who disagree. I notice when they ask us to pay taxes, the color of our skin is never questioned.

    Greg, what is the point of that silly study? Wealth accumulation or deciding to spend money is an individual decision and does not excuse any race from not having a father in the family. Love and committment are what decides whether or not someone gets married. So what is their conclusion? Do they expect the taxpayer to supplement their wealth so that they can get married? Get real.

  18. gregflynn

    August 8, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Lets review. So far the solutions are:
    (a) send a note home to black student’s single parent telling her/him to marry
    (b) send a note home to black/Indian student’s “culture” telling it/them to change attidude
    (c) beat the student

    If you answered a, b, or c, you failed to read and properly state the problem.

    The issue is disproportionate suspension of black students and those with disabilities and, that African American males are disproportionately placed into categories of special education that are associated with extremely poor outcomes. Students with disabilities are suspended about twice as often as their non-disabled peers.

    Suspended students typically have a tenuous connection with their schools and are destined to drop-out and get into criminal trouble. The study found a large number of “low-suspending” districts. That points to solutions. The liberal use of suspension to solve problems is causing problems.

    As one educator who supervised an “alternative school” for misfits said to me, sending a kid home alone with nothing to do except break into a neighbor’s liquor cabinet is not a solution.

    Equally important is that researchers find that the frequent use of suspension brings no benefits in terms of test scores or graduation rates. Thus the oft-repeated claim that it is necessary to kick out the bad kids so the good kids can learn is shown to be a myth. In fact, research suggests that a relatively lower use of out-of-school suspensions, after controlling for race and poverty, correlates with higher test scores, not lower.

    Students have different needs that vary at different times in their academic careers. When those individual needs are identified and addressed success is more likely. When they are swept onto the suspension pile, success is not likely.

  19. Alex

    August 9, 2012 at 7:57 am

    I’m amazed that Greg thinks he’s an expert in everything- education,economics,government, climate change, race relations,social issues, just to name a few. Are we not wasting this man’s talents having him mired in the state bureaucracy ?

  20. Frank Burns

    August 9, 2012 at 7:58 am

    So the solution the left offers is stop suspending the miscreants and ruin education for the kids who want to learn. Does anyone wonder why there is such a demand for Charter schools?

  21. gregflynn

    August 9, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Alex, you are hopelessly misinformed and exceedingly rude. The only commenter on this page who is “mired in the state bureaucracy” that I am aware of is a right-winger.

  22. Alex

    August 9, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Calling someone else rude for you greg must be the height of hypocrisy !

  23. Doug

    August 9, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    Ah greg,

    To wad some Power the giftie gie us
    To see oursels as ithers see us!

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