The study, titled Breaking Schools' Rules, is extraordinary in that it looked at individual school records and tracked all seventh-graders in Texas — 1 million of them — for six years. One finding surprised even veteran educators: 60 percent of those students were suspended or expelled at least once between their seventh- and 12th-grade years.
Mike Thompson with the Council of State Governments Justice Center, which commissioned the study, said the frequency with which kids in Texas are suspended and expelled reflects a 20-year trend that has seen the rate double nationally.
"For example, in California in 2010 alone, nearly 13 percent of students were put in out-of-school suspension or expelled," he said. "In Florida, that was 9 percent."
Texas, though, is the only state that has been able to use this data to track kids and see what happens to them after they're suspended or expelled.
A Higher Rate Of Removal For Some Groups
Of the 1 million students in Texas who were tracked, 15 percent were disciplined repeatedly — 11 times or more. Half of them ended up in juvenile-justice facilities or programs for an average of 73 schooldays. These students were likely to repeat a grade and not graduate from high school.
Just as worrisome, Thompson said, is who is being suspended and expelled.
"African-American students and those with particular educational disabilities experience a disproportionately high rate of removal from the classroom for disciplinary reasons," he said.One glaring example: 70 percent of black girls were suspended or expelled, compared with 37 percent of white girls, usually for the same offenses...