Minnesota educators weigh in on student discipline debate unfolding in D.C.

Dec 05, 2017

MinnPost, Erin Hinrichs

A few weeks ago, two former Minnesota teachers joined U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ colleagues in Washington, D.C., to make a case for rolling back Obama-era guidance on student discipline. This Friday, a handful of Minnesota educators, advocates and parents will be making that same trek to offer a counterpoint argument at a public hearing before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

The guidance in question, issued via a “Dear Colleague Letter on the Nondiscriminatory Administration of School Discipline” in 2014, laid out the fact that students of color — African-American students, in particular —  are disproportionately impacted by exclusionary discipline policies and practices. Research has shown that such gaps cannot be attributed to students of color simply acting out more frequently or in more extreme ways, the letter says. Rather, the discipline data and research suggest that students of color are being held to different standards when it comes to behavior expectations.

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