CA Bills Address School Discipline to Narrow Racial Achievement Gap

Aug. 26, 2013 / By



New America Media, News Analysis, Nicole Hudley

What accounts for the achievement gap between minority and white students? Researchers have long looked at economic differences as a key factor, but lately the role of school discipline policies has been getting more attention. Some lawmakers in California have proposed three bills focused on school climate as a way to narrow the achievement gap.

The release of statewide achievement test scores earlier this month underscored the need to address other factors beyond income level that might be contributing to an achievement gap.

Controlling for economic differences, African American students continue to trail white and Latino students in mathematics. Middle and high-income black students fell six percentage points below low-income white students, while Latino students trailed by one percentage point.

Lester Meza, a youth organizer with the educational advocacy organization, Inner City Struggle, said that young men of color need mental and behavioral health services instead of punitive suspension policies to succeed in school at a recent hearing at the State Capitol in Sacramento.

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