California dashboard shows 45% of schools meeting standards for fewer suspensions
- EdSource examined data from the California Department of Education's California School Dashboard evaluation tool, finding that over 45% of districts were rated either "blue" or "green" — the first and second-most positive ratings, respectively — on the State Board of Education's standards for lowering suspension rates.
- Under the state's new accountability measures, suspensions will be factored in as a school success indicator, furthering efforts to move away from "zero-tolerance" policies that have seen students suspended for minor disciplinary issues.
- Amid the decline in suspensions, some educators have found themselves lacking the training to deal with disciplinary issues in class, though districts like Bellflower Unified have found success with new systems of discipline that focus on rewarding positive behavior while encouraging students to correct disruptive habits, EdSource reports.
A number of states have made efforts in recent years to address the school-to-prison pipeline, which has seen a significant number of students funneled into the justice system due to the criminalization of minor disciplinary offenses under "zero-tolerance" policies. The phenomenon has disproportionately impacted students of color and those with disabilities, even as early as preschool.
While California has been seen over the past few years as leading the way on curbing the pipeline, doing so will also require additional training for educators on how to best handle minor disciplinary issues in the classroom. For a number of districts nationwide, that has come in the form of restorative justice practices that allow students to talk through their problems in peer groups, though additional school counselors can also help to relieve the burden on educators and to help students without having them lose class time.
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