For decades, it has been evident that public schools overdiscipline students of color. Evidence suggests these disparities result from implicit bias and zero-tolerance approaches, and these practices widen the achievement gap and prematurely introduce students to the criminal justice system. Under former President Barack Obama, the U.S. Department of Education took measures to address discipline disparities by helping states, schools, and districts build safer, inclusive schools. The department issued a Dear Colleague Letter and made available a range of school climate and discipline resources. Critics expressed concern that these measures placed unreasonable mandates on overburdened systems and made schools unsafe by preventing educators from disciplining students. In October, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos signaled that she may rescind the Obama-era guidance.
By issuing this guidance, the federal government took an important, overdue step to protect the rights of historically disadvantaged students, and we must fight to preserve it. The Center for American Progress is bringing together researchers, policy experts, and practitioners to highlight productive ways education leaders have complied with the guidance, potential concerns, and what could be at stake if the Trump administration rescinds it.
Please join the Center for American Progress, Educators for Excellence, Sen. Chris Murphy, and an expert panel to discuss how this guidance and other tools can help schools and systems eliminate discipline disparities.
Winnie Stachelberg, Executive Vice President, External Affairs, Center for American Progress
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT)
Bren Elliott, Chief of Equity, DC Public Schools
Abigail Gray, Senior Researcher, Consortium for Policy Research in Education, University of Pennsylvania
Brittany Packnett, Vice President for National Community Alliances, Teach for America
Scott Pearson, Executive Director, DC Public Charter School Board
Evan Stone, Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Educators for Excellence