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.)