UCLA Research School Suspensions Waste Of Taxpayer Money

School Suspensions

Research released by UCLA Center for Civil Rights Project found that suspending students from schools leads to huge figures of economic costs simply put, “a waste of money”.

The research entitled ‘The High Cost of Harsh Discipline and Its Disparate Impact’ concluded that “excessive school suspensions” do not improve school learning environment and fail to enhance academic achievement.

Dr. Russell W. Rumberger, co-author of the study and a professor in Gevirtz Graduate School of Education in University of California, Santa Barbara said that suspending students increases risk for dropping out of high school.

Rumberger further stated that people who do not possess high school diploma earn less, have more health problems and that they are more likely to commit infractions of the laws.

These factors lead him to conclude that suspension will ultimately lead to less tax revenue as well as higher spending for health care and criminal justice.

By using national longitudinal data, the researchers have estimated that suspension among 10th grades result to more than 67,000 high school dropouts.

By using other data sources, the team were also able to observe the trends in California and Florida.

In Canada, 10th grade suspensions resulted to more than 10,000 high school dropouts whereas in Florida, 9th grade suspensions increased the high school dropout rates by 3,500.

With the figures collected above, it has been calculated that throughout the course of a lifetime, an additional dropout projects $163,000 in loss tax revue and $364,000 in social costs such as health care and criminal justice expenses alone.

Thus, the cumulative cost of 67,000 additional high school dropouts exceeds $35 billion.

The UCLA research joins other studies which observed a strong race-based discipline gap, in which students of color would more likely be suspended as compare to White students.

The study found out that 13 percent of suspended 10th grade students and up to a rate of 25 percent of all suspended students were blacks, a figure which corresponds to $9 in terms of economic losses due to student suspensions.

In another study it has been observed that schools across the United States have increased the use of punitive disciplinary methods such as suspension.

Whereas the need to address serious misconduct has been undisputed, the same research had shown that schools with low suspension rates have more favorable ratings of overall school appearance while those who have high suspension rates have more negative and hostile student-student relationships that those schools with low suspension rates.

“The High Cost of Harsh Discipline and Its Disparate Impact,” concludes with three key recommendations.

First, is to include suspension rates as a key metric in evaluating school performance. With the linked established between school suspension to dropout rates then, fewer suspension rates should also be considered as an indicator of a school’s success.

Second is to identify the most effective school discipline approach.

Schools should not just collect suspension and expulsion rates in total but should also indicate other figures such as race, disability, status, gender and other categories in which suspended or expelled students belong.

Lastly, is to direct funds towards discipline practices to keep children in school. An initial investment should also be given to teacher and administrator to train in their use of these alternative discipline practices.

Rob Clark

SchoolCampus.org admin staff managing editor

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