Black students are four times as likely to be suspended from charter schools as white students, according to a new analysis of federal education data. And students with disabilities, the study found, are suspended two to three times the rate of nondisabled students in charter schools.What we could really use here is some kind of a breakdown by type and chain. Charters are, by design, a diverse group. I strongly suspect that disaggregation would reveal certain pockets were generating more than their share of suspensions and disciplinary overreaction.
These inequities are similar to those in traditional public schools, where black and disabled students are disproportionately disciplined for even minor infractions, and as early as preschool — although on average, charter schools suspend pupils at slightly higher rates than traditional public schools.
Based on data from the 2011-12 school year, the report found that charter schools at the elementary, middle and high school levels suspended 7.8 percent of students, compared with 6.7 percent of students in noncharter schools. Among students with disabilities, charter schools suspended 15.5 percent of students, compared with 13.7 percent at noncharters. At the extreme end, there were 235 charter schools that suspended more than half of their students with disabilities.
Crossroads Charter School in Charlotte, N.C., suspended close to three-quarters of all black students in 2011-12. Adrian Sundiata, the operational director at the school, said it was now using more disciplinary measures to address infractions like taking a cellphone to school or using profanity, including after-school detentions and community service.