Suspensions in DCPS and DC Charter Schools

Would you believe that DCPS has the lowest student suspension rates anywhere in the surrounding area?

According to a study published in the 12-29-2011 Washington Post analyzing suspension rates for black, white, hispanic, and asian students in DC, nearby Virginia and nearby Maryland, it appears that suspension rates are indeed lower in DCPS than in any other local public school system

Only Arlington comes close.

The same low suspension rate does not appear to carry over into the DC charter school system, which appears to have one of the higher rates of suspensions in the Washington metropolitan area for both hispanic and black students.

However, I rather doubt that DC public school students are the best-behaved batch of kids in our metropolitan district, Instead, I suspect that DCPS administrators are constantly told by their higher-ups that under no circumstances is any child to actually be suspended, ever.

I say “appears” because there is no data table to scrutinize, only a graph with somewhat unclear measurements. And given that it’s late on New Year’s Eve, no WaPo reporters are likely to be answering telephones. What’s more, I recently upgraded to a new computer, and I cannot figure out how my trusty scanner interfaces with my new desktop, so I can’t just scan the graphic and show it to you.

But here’s how it appears to me:

In DCPS, the suspension rate among black students looks like about 2 or 3%; about 0% among whites, perhaps 5 or 6% among hispanics, and about 0% among asians.

In the DC charter school system as a whole, the suspension rates appear to be 11 or 12% among black students, 0 to 1% among whites, 5% among hispanics, and 0% among asians.

In the Virginia public school systems on the other side of the Potomac, suspension rates among black students range from a low of about 2-3% in Arlington up to 9 or 10% in Alexandria, with Prince William, Fairfax, and Loudon in-between those two rates. 

The Virginia suburbs seem to have suspension rates among white students of about 0 to 2%; for hispanics, suspension rates range between about 1 and 5%, and for asians, the rates look like 1 to 3%.

In suburban Maryland, suspension rates for all students appear to be the highest in Ann Arundel County public schools. In AA, the rates are about 16% for blacks, 6% for whites, 6% for hispanics, and 3% for asians. The county with the lowest rates is Montgomery, where the rates for black students is about 5%; for whites, 0 to 1%, hispanics about 2 or 3%, and for asians about 0 to 1%.

All the other counties — St. Mary’s, Charles, Calvfert, Prince George’s, and Howard, are in between those two counties I mentioned earlier (AA and MgyCo).

In DC, according to this article, as I said, the charter schools hafe higher rates of suspensions of black students than any of the other suburban jurisdictions:

Arlington; Loudoun; Fairfax, Prince William; Alexandria; Montgomery; Howard; Prince George’s; and Calvert.

The only three suburban systems with higher rates of suspensions for black students than DC’s charter schools are Ann Arundel, St. Mary’s, and Charles.



Published in: on December 31, 2011 at 9:11 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. You are absolutely correct. My principal shared with me that the suspension of a student he “papered” for bringing a weapon to school was overturned by his Instructional Sup. Never mind how other students and staff could have been imperiled by the student’s action. It looks better to the outsize “scrutinizers” to have low suspension rates. What a lie!


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