Something to Consider: Good Enough?

Submitted by Michelle LeBrun-Griffin, Project Coordinator

As I finalize the 2015 Annual Performance Report (APR) for CT’s SPDG, I am engaging in both personal and professional reflection regarding, what is “good enough”? For the 2014 APR, we reported 27% (9/34) of participating schools had proportionate representation of students of color with major office discipline referrals (ODRs). For the purposes of this measure, “students of color” is defined by the racial categories of Black, Hispanic, and Multi-Racial. Proportionate representation occurs when the percentage of ODRs that are received is equal to or lower than the percentage of all students of color. For example, if students of color represent 25% of the student population, then they should represent no more than 25% of the ODRs issued within a school year.

For the 2015 APR, we are reporting 51% (22/43) of participating schools with proportionate representation. At first, I was pleased to evidence that we had almost doubled the rate of last year, but my second thought was this isn’t “good enough”. We need to be doing something different to support the other 50% of schools who are experiencing disproportionate behavioral infractions being imposed on, particularly male, students of color.

As I did my research, this “trend” is not unique to CT’s SPDG, but is something districts across the state as a whole, as well as states throughout the nation are struggling with and being held accountable for. The attached article was shared with me by a colleague. It synthesizes what we need to consider as the rationale for the disparity in office referrals by race and suggests evidence-based strategies to “turn the curve”. I am hopeful that those who follow my blog will read it thoroughly and post your reflections/ promises here as to the actions you will take as a result of your new learning.

Article: How Educators Can Eradicate Disparities in School Discipline: A Briefing Paper on School-Based Interventions