February 14, 2017

How DC charter schools rig the game

Wasington Post - A new Government Accountability Office report says suspension and expulsion rates for charters in the capital city are double the national rate and disproportionately high for black students and those with disabilities.

During the 2013-2014 school year, for example, “D.C charter schools had about a 13 percent suspension rate, while the national rate for all charter schools was about 6 percent,” the GAO reported. “This was also true for expulsions, with charter schools in D.C. reporting double the rate of charter schools nationally.”

When D.C. charter schools kick students out, they are not allowed to return, the GAO reported. They generally transfer to a traditional public school.

“In contrast, D.C. traditional public schools generally do not expel students,” the GAO said. “Instead, D.C. traditional public schools generally use long-term suspensions (greater than 11 days) and temporarily transfer these students to an alternative middle and high school.”

It’s no surprise that the greater suspension and expulsion rates for charter schools fall heavily on black students. From preschool discipline and throughout the criminal justice system, studies have shown that black people are treated more harshly than white people for similar conduct.

The GAO “found that the rates of suspension for Black students in D.C. charter schools were about six times higher than the rates for White students and the rates for students with disabilities were almost double the rates for students without disabilities.”

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