School Discipline Reflects Racial Divide

School Discipline Reflects Racial Divide

WBEZ brings you fact-based news and information. Sign up for our newsletters to stay up to date on the stories that matter.

This year is the fiftieth anniversary of Brown vs. Board of education and federal school desegregation. It’s a time when education experts are taking stock of progress in educational equality. Chicago Public Radio’s Shawn Allee reports that in one area, there’s work to be done.


When it comes to school discipline, schools have not come far. The Chicago Tribune crunched federal data and confirmed what many experts on Midwest education say - black students are more likely to get expelled or suspended than their white counterparts.

Russ Skiba studies educational equity at Indiana University.

SKIBA: If you look at data over time, the racial disparities are getting worse. The rates of suspension have gone up since the 1970s for both black and white students but the rates for black students have at much greater rate.

Skiba say it’s not clear exactly why black students face greater risk of expulsion or suspension. He wants to test whether white teachers understand how minority children. His latest study should be done within two years.

I’m Shawn Allee, Chicago Public Radio.