and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same.
Racial and gender disparities in school discipline have received attention from both the advocacy and research community for at least ten years, yet the lack of coordination of those efforts may have limited progress in translating concern into an effective policy agenda. In order to assist Atlantic Philanthropies, The Equity Project is convening a Research to Practice Collaborative, including nationally recognized researchers, advocates, juvenile justice experts and practitioners, to explore gaps in our knowledge, assess the needs of the field, and develop a Strategic Plan. The plan will include recommendations for practice, policy, and research. The Collaborative meets with groups of stakeholders – advocates, educators, juvenile justice representatives, intervention agents, and policymakers – in order to explore current practices and issues, barriers to more effective practices, and identify and recommend effective interventions to address race and gender disparities in school discipline.
In addition, the Collaborative, in conjunction with the UCLA Civil Rights Project, will commission papers from noted researchers addressing multiple facets of the problem, and organize a conference and Congressional briefing to disseminate those findings to the widest possible audience. Our goal is to use these efforts to increase the availability of interventions that are both practical and evidence-based, and move the national dialogue about school disciplinary disparities into the center of the national school reform discourse, in order to affect educational practice, as well as legislative and policy change, to reduce disciplinary disproportionality.
The Indiana Resource Network comprises six centers working together to improve support for students with special needs by providing Indiana's schools with targeted and comprehensive special education support and assistance.
The EERC works in collaboration with the Indiana Resource Network to provide an array of professional development and coaching opportunities, develop resources and materials, facilitate statewide and regional collaborative networks, and advance the use of statewide technology during the evaluation process. Through its work with the EERC, The Equity Project provides professional development and targeted technical assistance in understanding and addressing disproportionality in special education and in developing culturally responsive practice. The EERC uses input and feedback from Indiana school staff, families, and stakeholders to identify the specific topics and focus of its work.
PBIS Indiana is working to create a statewide network of culturally responsive positive behavior interventions and supports (CR-PBIS). PBIS Indiana works with school districts throughout the state providing regional training for schools and district leadership teams, working intensively with six demonstration sites, to develop a model of culturally responsive PBIS, and providing technical assistance to schools addressing compliance issues related to disparities in discipline. PBIS Indiana is collaborating closely with national leaders in the field to establish a statewide CR-PBIS network.
The over-representation of African American students in suspension and expulsion has serious ramifications for academic achievement and youth development. This is the second phase of an investigation exploring 1) How setting variables contribute to school exclusion and racial disparities in discipline, and 2) How school disciplinary climates predict key outcomes for African American students. Intensive case studies of schools varying in racial disproportionality in discipline and achievement outcomes explore how school discipline climates contribute to racial disproportionality in discipline and achievement outcomes. Follow-up quantitative analyses further explore the relationship between school disciplinary practices and academic outcomes, especially for African American students. The rich database generated by this study will deepen our understanding of this important issue, while continuous stakeholder involvement will ensure culturally valid and practical recommendations for improving practice.
The Indiana Disproportionality Project is a nationally-recognized collaboration of the Indiana Department of Education Center for Exceptional Learners, the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy (CEEP), and Indiana school corporations. In order to meet the disproportionality requirements of federal special education legislation (IDEIA 2004), the goals of the project are:
Discipline, Disability, and Race: Disproportionality in Indiana Schools. Download
Latino Students and Disproportionality in Special Education. Download
Using Data to Address Equity Issues in Special Education. Download
Local Equity Action Development (LEAD). Download
The over-representation of African American students in out-of-school suspension and expulsion has been a consistently documented phenomenon, and represents a major issue of equity to be addressed in our schools. This project is a mixed-methods investigation to extend and deepen our understanding of racial disparities in out-of-school suspension and expulsion. In this study, multivariate analyses of a statewide data base will enable us to identify more precisely the setting-level variables that contribute to suspension and expulsion above and beyond contributions of student characteristics to discipline.
Under the 2002 amendments to the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDP), states are now required to address not only the disproportionate confinement of youth of color, but also disproportionality in contact points throughout the juvenile justice system. This project describes the extent of disproportionate minority contact (DMC) in Indiana in order to meet this federal requirement and to help inform local and state policymaking. Data from seven Indiana counties at eight key decision points describe the extent of DMC. Results indicate that over-representation of Black youth at arrest makes a strong contribution to DMC, with further disproportionate contact at several other points of contact.
Disproportionate Minority Contact: Quantitative Analyses (Final Report). Download
The Children Left Behind was a collaboration of the Indiana Youth Services Association and the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy. This project shares data on the use and effect of school suspension and expulsion with policymakers, educators, and community members in order to create a meaningful dialogue about suspension, expulsion, and their alternatives.
The Safe and Responsive Schools model is intended to enable schools and school districts to develop a broader perspective on school safety, stressing comprehensive planning, prevention, and parent/community involvement. This project sought to implement our best knowledge of school-wide behavior planning by developing a comprehensive model of systems change in school discipline.
See also: Skiba, R.J., Ritter, S., Simmons, A.B., Peterson, R., & Miller, C. (2006). The Safe and Responsive Schools Project: A school reform model for implementing best practices in violence prevention. In S.R. Jimerson & M.J. Furlong (Eds.), Handbook of school violence and school safety: From research to practice. (pp. 631-650). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Download