Friday, September 07, 2012

‘WHY ARE CALIFORNIA SCHOOLS SUSPENDING MORE STUDENTS THAN THEY GRADUATE?’: Statewide hearing examines the problem and offers solutions


California Endowment Press Release |

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- On September 10, The California Endowment will join the offices of California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris in sponsoring a statewide hearing , titled “Why Are California Schools Suspending More Students Than They Graduate?”

California schools suspend more than 400,000 students a year, and the majority of suspensions are unrelated to violence or drugs, according to state and federal data. The hearing will feature youth, community leaders, researchers, educators and policy experts who will discuss the reasons behind the overuse of school discipline, the impact on youth and communities, and alternatives to suspension that are effective for all students.

The Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education, Russlynn H. Ali will highlight new federal data documenting the overuse of suspensions and expulsions in schools, especially among youth of color. As assistant secretary, Ali is responsible for enforcing the U.S. civil rights laws as they pertain to education at the U.S. Department of Education.

The hearing will include the release of new California school discipline policies and program research from Ed Source with findings from the first-ever survey of California school districts about their discipline policies and programs. Ed Source is a leading source of education research, policy and information in California.

The California Endowment, through the statewide “Health Happens in Schools” campaign, supports common-sense school discipline approaches that keep kids in school while holding them accountable for their behavior and helping them learn from mistakes. Even one suspension increases the chances that students will drop out and become involved with the criminal justice system. Completing high school is linked not only to economic opportunity but also to lifelong health benefits.

WHAT: Statewide Hearing on School Discipline Policies in California

WHO: Sponsors: The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, the Office of Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and The California Endowment.

Supported by : ACLU of California, Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, Black Organizing Project, Black Parallel School Board, Brothers Sons Selves Coalition, CADRE, Children’s Defense Fund-California, Dignity in Schools - Los Angeles Chapter, Education Development Center Inc., Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, Gay-Straight Alliance Network, Labor Community Strategy Center, PolicyLink, Public Counsel, The Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy at the UC Berkeley School of Law, Youth Justice Coalition, Youth Leadership Institute

WHEN: Monday, September 10, 3pm – 6pm

WHERE: Los Angeles Public Library, Mark Taper Auditorium

630 W. Fifth Street, Los Angeles CA



smf’s 2¢

  • Too many students are suspended
  • Suspension is bad discipline and educational policy -
  • And there is a inequitable preponderance  of students-of-color suspended.

… But The title of this event:  “Why Are California Schools Suspending More Students Than They Graduate?” relies upon a Apples-to-Oranges statistical comparison.

  1. Suspension is not expulsion.
  2. It takes thirteen years to graduate, a student only graduates once.
  3. But a student can be suspended for a day or two or more  during any of the 2340 days of their K-12 career.
  4. Back in the storied “Golden Age” of California Education students were routinely suspended for needing a haircut or wearing a skirt that was too short.
  5. I was suspended once for wearing Indian moccasins.
  6. Students today are suspended for “Defiance” – an undefined offence that seems to me to be the very job description for an adolescent. This is adults being stuck on stupid.
  7. Brown and Black students are suspended in inordinate amounts. This is criminal.

The California Endowment is a private, statewide health foundation, which was established in 1996 to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians. Headquartered in downtown Los Angeles, The Endowment has regional offices in Sacramento, Oakland, Fresno and San Diego, with program staff working throughout the state. The Endowment challenges the conventional wisdom that medical settings and individual choices are solely responsible for people's health. The Endowment believes that health happens in neighborhoods, schools, and with prevention. For more information, visit The Endowment’s homepage at

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