Guest post by John Thompson.
NPR's Wade Goodwyn in Why Some Schools Want to Expel Suspensions, reported that Los Angeles schools banned suspensions for "willful defiance of authority." He then left the impression that a single suspension often sets poor children of color down the path to educational failure. Goodwyn asked Daniel Losen of the UCLA Civil Rights Project whether such a suspension could lead to a student dropping out. Losen replied that it is "associated" with a doubled risk of dropping out.
Then, Goodwyn reported on a LAUSD school, Garfield H.S, that supposedly showed that better policies can be cost-free. It turns out that it has a wellness center and scores of community volunteers for addressing misbehavior. In fact, the Civil Rights Project commissioned research by Johns Hopkins' Robert Balfanz which explains that a single suspension can be a trigger and why it should be seen as a warning sign to be investigated. It makes a case for solutions that are costly and complex, even though they would save money in the long run.
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