IE students disciplined disproportionately, study finds

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By J.D. WARREN

The Center for Social Innovation’s report finds Black and Native American students are about 2.5 times more likely to be disciplined as white students, and 10 times more likely than Asian students

A report from the UC Riverside Center for Social Innovation finds disproportionately high discipline for Black and Native American students in Inland Empire schools.

“These racial disparities persist, even though there have been some notable reductions in overall suspension rates due to changes in state policy and local practices,” reads the report, “State of Education Equity in the Inland Empire.”

In 2001, the suspension rate for Black students in the Inland Empire was 14.8 for every 100 students; in 2018 the rate was 10.9 suspensions for every 100 students. That rate is still much higher than the rate of four suspensions per 100 white or Latino students, and one suspension per 100 for Asian students, the report states.

Higher rates of school discipline are tied to negative outcomes later in life, such as incarceration. Researchers have described this phenomenon as the “school to prison pipeline.”

Data for school discipline and other measures was provided by the California Department of Education. The data considered Riverside and San Bernardino counties, which together comprise the Inland Empire.

The report also found racial disparities in other measures, including early childhood education and earning a college degree. Thirteen percent of Black students in the Inland Expire complete college, compared to 30% of Black students statewide.

“The Inland Empire is trailing the rest of Southern California and the state average on many indicators that are important for understanding equity in education,” the report finds.

A bright spot in the findings: The report found Inland Expire Black and Native American students had higher test scores than the state average. However, Black and Native American students had significantly lower scores compared to white and Asian students. For example, 29% of Black Inland Empire third graders scored proficient or better in math, compared to 58% of white students and 76.5% of Asian students.

The report was compiled by the Center for Social Innovation, along with partner entities including Growing Inland Achievement; the BLU Educational Foundation; Youth Mentoring Action Network; and Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement. 

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