OSPI Releases 2018–19 Student Discipline Data
Today, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) released student discipline data from the 2018–19 school year. The data are available at the school, district, and state level through the state Report Card.
The overall percentage of Washington’s students in grades K–12 who were excluded from school in the 2018–19 school year decreased slightly from the previous year (from 4.1% to 4.0%).
While some student groups continue to be disciplined more frequently than their peers, some of these gaps narrowed in 2018–19. Most notably, the percentage of students in foster care who were excluded decreased from 16.1% to 15%. Students with disabilities also saw a decrease from 9.1% to 8.5%.
Other student groups who experienced lower exclusion rates from the previous school year include students experiencing homelessness and students identified as Native American/Alaskan Native, among others.
The new data are from the first school year in which revised statewide student discipline rules were in effect. Additional rules just went into effect for the current school year.
The recently overhauled discipline rules discourage the use of exclusion as a form of punishment because it has been found to be ineffective in improving student behavior and has several documented harmful effects on students and schools.
Student groups who are overrepresented in school discipline suffer more of these negative effects, such as disconnection from school, loss of academic progress, dropping out, and juvenile or criminal justice involvement.
Research over the past three decades has identified practices that help to reduce gaps in discipline rates and the use of suspension and expulsion overall. These include a structure of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), which includes Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, Social/Emotional Learning, family engagement, and data-based decision-making.
Additional practices that help to reduce discipline gaps and fall within an MTSS framework include culturally-responsive teaching, bias-aware classrooms and schools, positive student/teacher relationships, academic rigor, and high expectations for all students.
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