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CA Schools Suspend Fewer Students, See Greater Student Success

Emory Maiden

Student suspension rates in California school districts are falling – and a new UCLA study suggests that schools issuing fewer suspensions see stronger student achievement.

The study found the number of suspensions issued to California students fell by more than 200,000 from the 2011-12 school year through 2013-14. That’s just eight suspensions per 100 students – down from nearly 11.5 suspensions. 

“Where there tended to be higher achievement, there tended to be lower than average suspensions – and this held true for every ethnic and racial group,” said study author Dan Losen.  

Some teachers said the change in suspension policy has led to more unruly students. Losen said districts should put more money into training teachers in alternative discipline.

“The goal is to keep students in school, hold them accountable for their behavior, but also get at the root cause of the behavior,” Losen said.

Students of color are suspended at much higher rates than white students. Losen said districts that improved their suspension rates also reduced their racial discipline gap.

This story was produced by Capital Public Radio.