ARLINGTON, Va., Feb. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A growing debate over school discipline has led many educators and policymakers to question the value of punishments involving out-of-school suspensions and the existence of zero-tolerance policies. To help state education leaders address these issues, the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) is partnering with Atlantic Philanthropies on a two-year, $300,000 initiative to examine and reform school discipline policies.
The new NASBE initiative will focus on strengthening state boards' capacity to investigate the next generation of discipline policies that limit the use of suspension, expulsion, and criminalization of students and instead emphasize supportive climate-building practices and more positive disciplinary measures. The need for discipline reform has recently been highlighted by the Supportive School Discipline Initiative, a joint project of the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education; the Council of State Governments 2011 Breaking School Rules report, which found, among other facts, that 60 percent of middle and high school students were suspended or expelled at least once; and the U.S. Department of Education 2012 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) report that discovered minority and special education students face tougher disciplinary consequences than their peers.
"Before a student is suspended or expelled, we as educators must ask ourselves, 'Who pays the cost when students are banned from school?'" said NASBE Executive Director Jim Kohlmoos. "More recently, examination of the school-to-prison pipeline has highlighted the necessity of creating a supportive, positive climate for schools and communities in order to encourage students to make positive life choices. Further, zero-tolerance policies and out-of-school suspensions disproportionately affect minority students. NASBE's national presence and experience place it in a position to aid policymakers as they examine existing policies and create new guidelines that help all students."
In the two-year period, NASBE will create momentum for reform among both board members and other policymakers who work with state boards through analyzing research, producing resources to increase knowledge and raise awareness, and by identifying effective policy alternatives. Additionally, NASBE will award competitive grants to six states (three in each year of the project) to convene statewide task forces and conduct workshops on school discipline policy reform.
The National Association of State Boards of Education represents America's state and territorial boards of education. NASBE exists to strengthen state boards as the preeminent educational policymaking bodies for citizens and students. For more, visit www.nasbe.org.
SOURCE National Association of State Boards of Education