Public forum on disproportionate school suspensions on for tonight in Raleigh

ScoolSuspensionLast month, Policy Watch reported on the troubling numbers behind suspensions in North Carolina schools, particularly when it comes to the racial disparity.

School staff told members of the State Board of Education that the rate of short-term suspensions for black students, about 3 out of every 10, more than tripled the rate for white students.

And, as far as long-term suspensions go, the rate—about 153 per every 100,000 black students—more than quadrupled the number for white students, according to DPI data.

“The only thing that’s surprising to me is that we haven’t addressed this head-on,” James Ford, an adviser to the state board and North Carolina’s Teacher of the Year in 2014-2015, told Policy Watch.

Now, with the state’s largest school system in Wake County facing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, parents will get a chance to have their say.

The federal agency will hold a forum at the Vital Link School Event Center—1214 E. Lenoir St. in Raleigh—from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. tonight.

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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.

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