- San Francisco-based nonprofit YouthTruth Student Survey released new data from 80,000 students in 24 states from grades five through 12, highlighting fairly dismal perspectives on school culture that worsen as students get older.
- According to its report, 44% of sixth graders rate school culture positively, and just 32% of ninth graders and 28% of 11th graders do the same — though students recognize adults treat students with more respect than students treat adults.
- Fewer than half of all students report discipline at their school is fair — but 49% of Asian students say it is, compared to 39% of white students and Latinos, 34% of multiracial students and 28% of black students.
Harsh disciplinary policies tend to impact black students disproportionately. They are overrepresented in the group of students who are suspended or expelled. A recent study showed both black and white teachers are more likely to look at black children when primed to expect trouble-making. Another, however, showed that same-race teachers are more likely to be more lenient when it comes to discipline. Even in this second study, schools that have a large majority of black students had such harsh discipline, on average, that black students paired with black teachers in these schools were still more likely to get suspended than their black peers in majority white schools paired with a teacher of a different race.
YouthTruth was founded as a way to get more student voice into school decision-making. It develops surveys and analyzes results so administrators can use student perspectives to inform school reform strategies and other policies. One of its recent reports covered bullying in schools. While one in four students is bullied, YouthTruth data uncovered massive variety across schools, with some having as few as 12% of students reporting bullying and others having 59%.