Black male suspension data analyzed in new report

March 19, 2018 Staff Writer

A new report from the Black Minds Project presents analyses of publicly available statewide data on the suspension of Black males in California’s public schools.

The Black Minds Project is an initiative of the Community College Equity Assessment Lab at San Diego State University and the Black Male Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. Key results highlighted in the report include:

  • The statewide suspension rate for Black males is 3.6 times greater than that of the statewide rate for all students. Specifically, while 3.6 percent of all students were suspended in 2016-17, the suspension rate for Black boys and young men was 12.8 percent.
  • Since 2011-12, the suspension rates of Black males in California has declined from 17.8 percent to 12.8 percent.
  • The highest suspension disparity by grade level occurs in early childhood education (grades K-3), where Black boys are 5.6 times more likely to be suspended than the state average.
  • Black male students who are classified as “foster youth” are suspended at notably high rates, at 27.4 percent. Across all analyses, Black males who were foster youth in seventh and eighth grade represented the subgroup that had the highest percentage of Black male suspensions, at 41.0 percent.
  • The highest total suspensions occurred in large urban counties, such as Los Angeles County, Sacramento County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County and Contra Costa County. In fact, these five counties alone account for 61 percent of Black male suspensions.
  • The highest suspension rates for Black males occur in rural counties that have smaller Black male enrollments. In 2016-17, Glenn County led the state in Black male suspensions at 42.9 percent.
  • A number of districts have large numbers of Black boys and young men who were suspended at least once. Some of these districts included Sacramento City Unified (n = 887), Los Angeles Unified (n = 849), Elk Grove Unified (n = 745), Fresno Unified (n = 729) and Oakland Unified (n = 711).
  • There are 10 school districts in the state with suspension rates above 30 percent. Of these, the highest suspension rates are reported at Bayshore Elementary, in San Mateo County, at 50 percent; Oroville Union High, Butte County, at 45.2 percent; and the California School for the Deaf-Fremont in Alameda County, 43.8 percent.
  • There are 88 school districts in the state of California that have suspension rates for Black males that are below the state average. These schools vary in size, urbanicity and region.

The report’s authors are J. Luke Wood, dean’s distinguished professor of education, co-director of the Community College Equity Assessment Lab, San Diego State University; Frank Harris III, professor of postsecondary education and co-director of CCEAL; and  Tyrone Howard, professor of education and director of the Black Male Institute, UCLA. The entire report can be downloaded at https://cceal.org.

The UCLA BMI examines issues of race, gender and opportunities to learn in P-20 learning environments and beyond. The CCEAL supports community colleges with research, assessment, and training activities that support the success of historically underserved students of color.

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