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Janel George Opinion for Education Week "ESSA Offers Opportunity to Combat School Pushout"

Friday, January 8, 2016

ESSA Offers Opportunity to Combat School Pushout

ESSA includes provisions that could help dismantle one of the most discriminatory and insidious, yet often overlooked, phenomena in our nation's public education system: school pushout. The term refers broadly to disciplinary policies, practices, conditions, and mindsets that result in students being targeted and excluded from the general classroom—and often steered toward the juvenile justice system. These practices include exclusionary disciplinary actions, including suspensions, expulsions, and arrests—most frequently for minor subjective offenses, such as "disrespect." 

Bias—both explicit and implicit—come into play in discretionary discipline decisions, resulting in disparities along racial and other lines. Students of color, students with disabilities, and LGBTQ students are disproportionately targeted for school pushout. Students, schools, and districts all suffer the consequences of school pushout, including higher dropout rates, poor student performance, and hostile and tense school climates. Students cannot learn if they are not in school.

Read Janel George's full article here.