Los Angeles Unified is the first district in the state to stop suspending students for “willful defiance” – a subjective category that accounts for 54 percent of suspensions and a quarter of all expulsions across the state.

The school board voted 5-2 to ban suspensions for defiance following an impassioned discussion, according to the Los Angeles Times, with one board member saying he considered this change an experiment. The vote is a victory for civil rights groups and other activists who have been working to change the “zero tolerance” approach to discipline in favor of alternatives such as referring students to counseling or contacting parents to determine the root cause of the misbehavior.

Supporters of the change point out that disproportionate numbers of African American students are suspended for willful defiance. African Americans make up 6.5 percent of the state’s students, but they account for 19 percent of the suspensions for willful defiance. Research shows that students who are suspended are much more likely to end up in the juvenile justice system or drop out of school.

Assemblymember Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, has been trying to eliminate willful defiance as a reason for expulsion or out-of-school suspensions across the state. His bill made it through the Legislature during the last legislative session, but was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown. Dickinson is trying again, with Assembly Bill 420, which received the unanimous support of the Assembly Education Committee in April.

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  1. edfundwonk 5 years ago5 years ago

    Regis, Thank you for bringing some much-needed common sense to this entire discussion. CarolineSF, I would suggest that if you are indeed troubled by the confusion between correlation and causation, that door swings both ways. At the risk of being labeled a racist, why does the fact that "26% of the suspendees are black while being only 9% of the District’s population" prove, ipso facto, that the current policy is a failure or unfair. It seems to … Read More

    Regis, Thank you for bringing some much-needed common sense to this entire discussion.

    CarolineSF, I would suggest that if you are indeed troubled by the confusion between correlation and causation, that door swings both ways. At the risk of being labeled a racist, why does the fact that “26% of the suspendees are black while being only 9% of the District’s population” prove, ipso facto, that the current policy is a failure or unfair.

    It seems to me the issue is what would have happened in the absence of the policy. Isn’t it possible… just possible… that black students, as a group, actually ARE engaging in acts of willfull misdefiance at a rate disproportionate to their share of the population? What if, in the absence of the policy, black students’ acts of willfull misdefiance would be even higher?

    Replies

    • el 5 years ago5 years ago

      Of course it is hard to know how much is because behavior tolerated in white students is not tolerated in black students, how much is because students in disadvantaged families act out more, how much is because some staff members are not all that great at interacting with adolescents, how much is real and how much is perception. From my extremely limited point of view, I suspect all of the above. But I was really struck by … Read More

      Of course it is hard to know how much is because behavior tolerated in white students is not tolerated in black students, how much is because students in disadvantaged families act out more, how much is because some staff members are not all that great at interacting with adolescents, how much is real and how much is perception.

      From my extremely limited point of view, I suspect all of the above.

      But I was really struck by the case of Kiera Wilmot, the Florida high schooler who decided to try mixing drain cleaner in a plastic bottle, who was expelled and threatened with serious felony charges. It was a severe overreaction to something that wasn’t especially dangerous, and as a little blonde-haired girl myself, I doubt I would have even been arrested. (You might wonder how I know they’re a big pop but not all that dangerous. I plead the 5th.)

      But then take a look at this: http://newsone.com/2440220/kiera-wilmot-florida-science-experiment-2/

      The same prosecutor who recommended Kiera be charged with a felony recommended no charges at all for a white teenage boy who shot and killed his little brother by mistake. A tragic, and I guess, understandable accident. Because, you know, fooling around with guns is way way better and not nearly as dangerous a small PET bottle bursting.

      I’ll circle around to this: if we have a school with large amounts of suspensions or expulsions, something isn’t working. Exactly whose “fault” it is is less important than finding a solution that allows the kids who want to learn to learn, and that helps the disruptive kids to solve their problems and become kids who want to learn. Kicking them out to a series of alternate schools or sending them home doesn’t accomplish that for the most part.

      Agility is important, though: LAUSD is going to try a new policy. I hope the staff will be given new resources that will support that policy. And then, it’s also essential to keep this policy on a short leash – so if January comes and the outcomes aren’t better, then it will be time to quickly change back or to something else. Hire good staff, give them the authority to innovate, steal the successful ideas and let them spread across the district.

  2. Regis 5 years ago5 years ago

    Wait until these 'students' hit the real world after graduation (or more likely, simply dropping out)and see how much willful defiance their employers will take. I'll bet it won't be much. So much for preparing and grooming the young adults for what real life will be after they get out of school. But that is not the school's job, that is the job of the parents or parent as it stands these … Read More

    Wait until these ‘students’ hit the real world after graduation (or more likely, simply dropping out)and see how much willful defiance their employers will take. I’ll bet it won’t be much. So much for preparing and grooming the young adults for what real life will be after they get out of school. But that is not the school’s job, that is the job of the parents or parent as it stands these days. The school should be there to educate, period, not instill social values, teach manners, feed breakfast, lunch and dinner and next, clothe and house them (I’m sorry, that’s the Government’s job).

    No blame on the causes, the parents lack of involvement, society’s increasingly benign attitude and the root causes of all this to begin with, that we as taxpayers, pay a huge underclass of women or young girls to have babies that become the wards of the State from birth to prison. We incentivize this with WIC, TANF, SNAP and a host of freebie programs that are called ‘Safety Nets’ in this State, but really mean that these women get $50K a year in Taxpayer funded benefits. I would almost laugh sarcastically, if instead of “I made $50K on the Internet by..” to “I make $50K a year staying at home, unmarried with two children and I don’t have to do nuthin”.

    So now we have this HUGE underclass, that in reality, is just about ready to overwhelm the system with their needs (Cloward Piven Strategy is working beautifully!). The costs of Foster Care, here in Los Angeles County is huge and what does it get us? Not hard to guess, is it, by the results?

    We need to remove the incentive. It used to be a shameful thing to be pregnant at School and now, go ahead and bring your baby to class or better yet, drop it off at a Taxpayer funded preschool. The truth is the truth. There are no freebies, somebody has to pay.

  3. CarolineSF 5 years ago5 years ago

    This is a little self-referential as it links to this site, but check out this summary on the issue, including the commentary by an LAUSD middle school teacher. A friend who teaches in a high-poverty Bay Area school was unburdening herself about a defiant, disrespectful, disruptive student with a badly troubled home life. The psychologist who was available in their tiny, challenged district left and has not been replaced, so she literally has no recourse for … Read More

    This is a little self-referential as it links to this site, but check out this summary on the issue, including the commentary by an LAUSD middle school teacher.

    A friend who teaches in a high-poverty Bay Area school was unburdening herself about a defiant, disrespectful, disruptive student with a badly troubled home life. The psychologist who was available in their tiny, challenged district left and has not been replaced, so she literally has no recourse for getting him help. Suggestions, people?

    http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2013/05/19/the-best-posts-on-las-banning-of-suspensions-for-willful-defiance-along-with-commentary-from-an-la-teacher/#.UZhlOdth4lY.facebook

    Replies

    • navigio 5 years ago5 years ago

      When you implement educational policy whose primary goal is to keep kids out of jail but you don't implement it properly (ie avoiding including its support in the zero-sum gyrations of budget politics), it will only do so at the expense of what public education was supposed to achieve. And Infante's comments are eery in that I had an almost identical discussion with a middle school teacher a couple of years ago.. I really wish … Read More

      When you implement educational policy whose primary goal is to keep kids out of jail but you don’t implement it properly (ie avoiding including its support in the zero-sum gyrations of budget politics), it will only do so at the expense of what public education was supposed to achieve.

      And Infante’s comments are eery in that I had an almost identical discussion with a middle school teacher a couple of years ago.. I really wish we would listen to our teachers more. Lets dig up that teacher survey that the Gates foundation published earlier this (?) year and look at the kinds of things our teachers prioritize. Assuming we care, that is..

  4. Manuel 5 years ago5 years ago

    Paul, the actual wording of the directive given to Superintendent Deasy by the Board is too long to cite here. Please see pages 18-22 of the Board's "Stamped Order of Business" available at http://laschoolboard.org/sites/default/files/05-14-13OBSTAMPED.pdf After a quick read I found this: 'Willful Defiance: Beginning Fall 2013, no student shall be suspended or expelled for a “willful defiance” (48900(k) offense.' But it also has this: 'Alternative to School Suspension: Unless suspension is required under category 1 (also known as … Read More

    Paul, the actual wording of the directive given to Superintendent Deasy by the Board is too long to cite here. Please see pages 18-22 of the Board’s “Stamped Order of Business” available at http://laschoolboard.org/sites/default/files/05-14-13OBSTAMPED.pdf

    After a quick read I found this:

    ‘Willful Defiance: Beginning Fall 2013, no student shall be suspended or expelled for a “willful defiance” (48900(k) offense.’

    But it also has this:

    ‘Alternative to School Suspension: Unless suspension is required under category 1 (also known as Ed. Code §48915(c)), no student shall be suspended until a school demonstrates that it has exhausted all alternatives to suspension, as outlined in the Discipline Matrix. All students shall have the right to in and out of school alternatives to suspensions.’

    But my favorite section is:

    “Healthy, Holistic School Environments: All students have the right to holistic, healthy school environments that support students in all aspects of their health and well-being. The Superintendent shall work with community, business, and philanthropic partners to ensure schools have access to full service community schools.”

    Wow. No wonder people of a conservative persuasion laugh at self-described progressives. The irony is that the author of this is not really a progressive, in my opinion. She just pretends to be.

  5. el 5 years ago5 years ago

    I feel like "willful defiance" is too broad a category and means wholly different things to each person who hears it. I also think that sometimes that it's on staff for picking stupid battles. Any school that has a large number of these suspensions IMHO has an ineffective situation - which may merely be that the particular administrators (who may or may not be good people) aren't a fit for those students. Some of those students … Read More

    I feel like “willful defiance” is too broad a category and means wholly different things to each person who hears it. I also think that sometimes that it’s on staff for picking stupid battles. Any school that has a large number of these suspensions IMHO has an ineffective situation – which may merely be that the particular administrators (who may or may not be good people) aren’t a fit for those students.

    Some of those students may have honest and legitimate objections. There needs to be a place for that.

    Obviously classrooms need to function, and students who prevent that need to be removed from the classroom. That doesn’t have to mean suspending them and sending them home. It may mean having more dedicated staff to discipline and more options for other unpleasant places to be instead of class.

    Some of those issues probably can be dealt with using in-school measures and the like and some perhaps are best recategorized with some other label.

    Replies

    • Paul 5 years ago5 years ago

      el, "willfull defiance/disruption" exists in the Education Code only because it would be impossible to enumerate all possible problem behaviors. The other legal grounds for suspension/expulsion are all very specific. A category that falls somewhere between chewing gum and brandishing a gun is necessary. Next on the "civil rights" hit list will be "habitual profanity", the least serious of the remaining grounds for suspension, and clearly in conflict with students' right to "cultural" expression. (My use … Read More

      el, “willfull defiance/disruption” exists in the Education Code only because it would be impossible to enumerate all possible problem behaviors. The other legal grounds for suspension/expulsion are all very specific. A category that falls somewhere between chewing gum and brandishing a gun is necessary.

      Next on the “civil rights” hit list will be “habitual profanity”, the least serious of the remaining grounds for suspension, and clearly in conflict with students’ right to “cultural” expression. (My use of quotes is meant to emphasize that this would be a perversion of the civil rights cause.)

      To pick up on your point about alternatives to “suspending [students] and sending them home”, do you know how LAUSD worded its new policy? If the new policy blocks use of Section 48900(k), then it blocks in-school as well as out-of school suspensions, both of which depend on the same list of reasons. Teacher-initiated in-school suspension — removing a student from the classroom but not the school building — is an important alternative to out-of-school suspension. A knee-jerk policy response would close that door, forcing teachers to keep students in class for all but the most egregious offenses, such as weapons possession and drug use.

  6. CarolineSF 5 years ago5 years ago

    By the way, this confounds correlation with causation, since the context implies that the suspensions are the cause of the later problems. I’m trying to get confounding correlation with causation escalated to a mortal journalistic sin.

    **

    Research shows that students who are suspended are much more likely to end up in the juvenile justice system or drop out of school.

    Replies

    • navigio 5 years ago5 years ago

      Good luck on mortal sin front. Unfortunately, as long as the general public accepts correlation as a substitute for causation, the media and even researchers will continue to use it.

      • CarolineSF 5 years ago5 years ago

        That’s the soft bigotry of low expectations, Navigio! Let’s raise the bar. No journalist left behind.

        • navigio 5 years ago5 years ago

          Oh goodie! Can I create the tests?

  7. Frances O'Neill Zimmerman 5 years ago5 years ago

    If you happened to read the full LA Times story, as I did, you might be astonished to see the photograph, name and quoted remarks of a 16-year-old African-American male student who had been suspended several times from his high school for defiance. He said he believes he learned nothing from the suspension experience and is now in the vanguard of those seeking an alternative path called "restorative justice." One alternative suggested, as described in the … Read More

    If you happened to read the full LA Times story, as I did, you might be astonished to see the photograph, name and quoted remarks of a 16-year-old African-American male student who had been suspended several times from his high school for defiance. He said he believes he learned nothing from the suspension experience and is now in the vanguard of those seeking an alternative path called “restorative justice.”

    One alternative suggested, as described in the paper, might involve an exchange of letters of apology written by the defiant suspended student and the fed-up stressed-out teacher, the reading-aloud of said letters in front of the class and a public conversation about the differing viewpoints of student and teacher. Presumably this catharsis restores peace. Surely it takes up more than one class period of instructional time and I doubt that it’s in the union contract.

    You report here that LAUSD’s Board of Education has now approved finding alternatives to suspension for willful defiance. If these punishments fall disproportionately on African-American kids — and from my own experience I think they do — then I would hope black parents and guardians, community leaders and pastors would be enlisted to provide supervision, conversation and counseling to such students in on-campus detention rooms until they can rejoin their classmates in a respectful and productive way.

    I’m not sure who would be available to round up the players on a moment’s notice as school office personnel have been cut to the bone. Maybe the helping adults could be in residence throughout the school day, just in case.

    Certainly no teacher of a class of 35 to 40 students has time for the elaborate process that was described in this story as a good new idea. And secondary school counselors already have immense caseloads without adding to their responsibilities a bunch of kids who act out in class and refuse to conform to the demands of school culture.

    I don’t know why commenters here segue into talk of segregation and whether families will be repelled by the notion of schools without serious discipline. Segregation has nothing to do with preserving the sanctity of a school’s teaching and learning environment. And yes, families of all ethnicities will elect to stay far away, if they can, from schools with bad reputations and unruly students.

  8. navigio 5 years ago5 years ago

    I hate to say it, but this will probably increase school segregation.

    Replies

    • Manuel 5 years ago5 years ago

      I'm curious. Why do you say that? In a District that is majority minority, most schools are already segregated because many "white" parents do not send their kids to public schools. In one instance that I know of, they even formed their own charter school to avoid sending their kids to the local school. And then there is the segregation created by housing availability. The problem is that this "new" policy is reactive, not proactive. The … Read More

      I’m curious. Why do you say that? In a District that is majority minority, most schools are already segregated because many “white” parents do not send their kids to public schools. In one instance that I know of, they even formed their own charter school to avoid sending their kids to the local school. And then there is the segregation created by housing availability.

      The problem is that this “new” policy is reactive, not proactive. The media mentions that 26% of the suspendees are black while being only 9% of the District’s population. What the media doesn’t tell us is which schools are doing the most suspensions and on what grounds. It doesn’t tell us if these are repeat suspensions. It doesn’t tell us if it is a high, middle or elementary school. In other words, it’s just a number describing a complex problem.

      OTOH, suspensions are not given willy-nilly. There is a whole process a school must follow for a suspension to take place. Why has no analysis of that record been done to identify better ways of managing this?

      I think the answer is resources. It takes personnel to do the intervention needed to stop the problem from getting worse as the student goes from elementary to middle to high school. Based on anecdotal information, the majority of the troublemakers start small and graduate to bigger and bigger things. But there is no money to fund intervention counselors at the high schools and much less at the elementaries.

      I guess it is easier to say “the system” oppresses the minorities and, therefore, we have to take away the punishments, such as school suspensions, that “the system” uses against those who speak truth to power. If it only were that simple.

      • navigio 5 years ago5 years ago

        Well, segregation can happen on grounds other than ethnicity or race as well. And I agree that 'segregation' has already largely happened there, though LAUSD is not unique in that. Anyway, the reason I say this is one of the primary factors for families making a decision between public and private or between different public schools is the perception of safety and classroom discipline environment (I would even argue that this can in many cases completely … Read More

        Well, segregation can happen on grounds other than ethnicity or race as well. And I agree that ‘segregation’ has already largely happened there, though LAUSD is not unique in that.

        Anyway, the reason I say this is one of the primary factors for families making a decision between public and private or between different public schools is the perception of safety and classroom discipline environment (I would even argue that this can in many cases completely trump ‘academics’, though they are obviously not always entirely independent).

        Even the perception that teachers now have less control over the ability to discipline their students will drive people away, and those will be people for whom discipline is a priority. Perhaps even more importantly, I think it will also drive teachers away from schools with bigger discipline problems (again, that has already happened to some extent). One of the very real impacts of the recent years of budget cuts has been a precipitous decline in pupil services and site-level administrative support in a way that has pushed all control and responsibility onto teachers, often at the expense of their ability to teach (anecdotally this has even been accompanied by an increase in the inclusion of students with higher needs–ironically, sometimes a function of nothing more than increasing segregation, but to be sure, it is not uncommon to have middle school students with criminal records, and sadly, their own teachers may not even know that).

        To be clear, I am not saying keeping kids in schools is not important–I think it is. However, that does not mean people will not react to that in a way that has a different and even unintended consequences.

        I’ve always found it instructive to notice that in discussions about suspension, a low rate of suspension has one group of parents claiming that represents a successful academic environment, while another uses the same data to claim we are not disciplining severely enough.

        • CarolineSF 5 years ago5 years ago

          I see that too, Navigio. Presumably when it's parents, that view is colored by their own experiences. Manuel, I'm a Northern Californian but have been spending time at my in-laws' in West L.A. since the early '80s -- a formerly middle-class neighborhood that's now quite upscale. The local schools (Canfield, Castle Heights) were really abandoned by the middle class then, but that seems to have changed and neighbors have gone back to them. They have banners … Read More

          I see that too, Navigio. Presumably when it’s parents, that view is colored by their own experiences.

          Manuel, I’m a Northern Californian but have been spending time at my in-laws’ in West L.A. since the early ’80s — a formerly middle-class neighborhood that’s now quite upscale. The local schools (Canfield, Castle Heights) were really abandoned by the middle class then, but that seems to have changed and neighbors have gone back to them. They have banners outside now boasting of their 800+ and 900+ APIs. I’m guessing that they’re quite segregated but haven’t researched them.

          Ben Austin of Parent Revolution in L.A. posted commentaries a few years ago praising his local school, Warner Avenue Elementary, as the kind of school all LAUSD schools should be. I did look it up then — it was almost all white and Asian and had only a tiny percentage of free/reduced-lunch students. I believe it has since become a charter.

          Of everything you hear about LAUSD, school segregation just doesn’t get much ink. That’s kind of surprising. But it does seem like the lore that white families all go private is changing — but the schools are apparently pretty segregated, and with big disparities between the haves and the have-nots.

          • navigio 5 years ago5 years ago

            yeah, im surprised at the lack of coverage of (re-)segregation. i guess the problem is people arent comfortable with the truth. Canfield is 65% white and more importantly, their average parent education level is almost college graduate. That's almost unheard of in an 'urban' public school. Castle Heights is not as extreme, but close (at least in comparison to most of the rest of LAUSD). Im surprised at the warner ave comment. That school is almost … Read More

            yeah, im surprised at the lack of coverage of (re-)segregation. i guess the problem is people arent comfortable with the truth. Canfield is 65% white and more importantly, their average parent education level is almost college graduate. That’s almost unheard of in an ‘urban’ public school. Castle Heights is not as extreme, but close (at least in comparison to most of the rest of LAUSD).
            Im surprised at the warner ave comment. That school is almost in bel aire, and is almost 90% white/asian. maybe ben austin was trying to say what he wished LAUSD’s demographics were? whoops?

            anyway, LAUSD is a curious case because it is such a diverse area and there is a LOT of money there. There are public schools that have unbelievable resources and are even so ‘local’ that you could almost consider them private schools (there are cases of parents buying the entire school laptops and ipads, for example).

            I do think the nature of segregation is changing somewhat in that it might be less racial than it has been historically. To be fair, I think a large part of what has historically been racial segregation was not necessarily a direct result of race conflict, but more ‘learning environment’ concerns, which in some areas can have a very high correlation with race. That said, there is still a lot of racial segregation too.

            My favorite segregation anecdote from my own 26 school district is two elementary schools separated by maybe 4 miles. One in which 85% of the kids have a parent who went to college. The other where 70% of the kids dont have a parent who even finished high school. The racial makeup of the former is barely over 50% white, so clearly something other than race is going on (though the other is essentially 0% white). However, former is located in a city that is over 80% white, while the latter is in a city that is about 50% white (and probably closer to 20% in the direct neighborhood).

            its not really comfortable to talk about this stuff because it feels wrong to put so much emphasis on race. If there is any benefit to our changing demographics it is that perhaps only now will people finally realize how much impact different societal circumstances can have on the apparent success of schools, irrespective of race. Of course, there will still be resistance, because there is a lot of money to be made by making people think our standardized testing is telling some kind of valid story and all our re-hashed programs and strategies exist to rectify the problems highlighted by that story.

            One of my favorite graphs is one i made of 2011 CA ELA CST results by grade and PEL:

            http://goo.gl/E3yju

            gulp.

          • el 5 years ago5 years ago

            Interesting chart, navigio. I've wondered about shifting some of our attention of "extra money" away from free lunch status and towards parental education level. I suspect it tracks "needy" kids - in this case, kids needing extra educational resources - better. In particular, it tracks with my sense that kids who have ever been ELL or free lunch, even if by high school they have exited those classifications, probably always need some extra assistance, especially with … Read More

            Interesting chart, navigio.

            I’ve wondered about shifting some of our attention of “extra money” away from free lunch status and towards parental education level. I suspect it tracks “needy” kids – in this case, kids needing extra educational resources – better. In particular, it tracks with my sense that kids who have ever been ELL or free lunch, even if by high school they have exited those classifications, probably always need some extra assistance, especially with college readiness and college applications, and with afterschool help for the upper grades.

          • Manuel 5 years ago5 years ago

            Caroline, I am familiar with the area you speak about as I spent 10 years as a parent in one of the magnets based at the local high school, Hamilton. I also spent 10 years as a parent at Warner (work permit). The segregation that Navigio speaks of has been blatant. Warner parents would send their kids to Emerson MS at most for the 6th grade and then transfer them to the elite schools they favored. … Read More

            Caroline, I am familiar with the area you speak about as I spent 10 years as a parent in one of the magnets based at the local high school, Hamilton. I also spent 10 years as a parent at Warner (work permit).

            The segregation that Navigio speaks of has been blatant. Warner parents would send their kids to Emerson MS at most for the 6th grade and then transfer them to the elite schools they favored. I have a friend whose daughter attended Emerson for a year but could not handle the lack of discipline and conflict so the kid was transferred to a Catholic school. I know of others who had problem kids who did not get the level of support they wanted at their public school and off they went to Catholic school.

            Warner Ave parents established a booster club in the late 80s or thereabouts to “improve” their school during the days of busing. To reduce the number of bused kids, they recruited the children of the nearest biggest employer. Those kids pumped up the scores, which promptly caused a surge on enrollment by people “out of service area.” The principal was admonished for admitting too many students with work permits. The school became overcrowded (it actually serves two areas since the other school, smack in the middle of Bel Air, got closed due to white flight). The amount of money fund-raised was ridiculous (nearly $500k, officially, with a lot of classroom contributions unreported) and spent on the usual: computer lab, coach, aides, etc. In short, it was/is a private school whose staff and site is funded by the public. It is still not yet a charter probably because the District does not mess with it.

            Ben Austin lives in Warner’s area but as far as I know his kids are too small to attend (maybe by now his eldest is in, I just don’t know). But interestingly, Austin has been meeting secretly with some parents at Emerson, I am told, in a plot to pull the trigger on Emerson even though Emerson is currently going through the process to become an “affiliated charter.” Given that funding will change to the detriment of charter, I’ve also been told that this is being done “on principle.” I guess that means they want to be “free from oppression.”

            Castle Heights parents have followed the Warner model: set up their own foundation and installed an after-school program independent of LAUSD (in fact, it is run by the same organization that runs Warner’s). Through this 501(c)(3), they pay for the same things the Warner parents pay: aides, computer lab, science and art teachers, etc. And they only ask $800 per child. Castle Heights (43% white, 31% Latino, 18% black, 8% Asian) is not as segregated as Warner (80% white, 4% Latino, 2% black, 14% Asian), according to their 2012-13 enrollment. Their 2011-12 APIs are 897 for Castle Heights and 959 for Warner.

            Are their APIs a reflection of the education level of their parents? For Castle Heights, we get from the School Demographics Characteristics part of the API report (in percentages):

            Not a high school graduate 4
            High school graduate 11
            Some college 29
            College graduate 29
            Graduate school 28

            For Warner Ave we get:

            Not a high school graduate 0
            High school graduate 2
            Some college 8
            College graduate 28
            Graduate school 61

            Causation vs Correlation? Can we quibble on that? Of course, it would be easy to determine which one if we had access to parental income. But that’s not necessary with these numbers.

            But what has this to do with suspensions? A lot. Both Castle Heights and Warner had 2 suspensions in 2011-12 according to DataQuest. Arminta St Elemnetary, a school in the Valley, also had 2. Bright Elementary, a school in a less desirable area of the city, had 8. Interestingly, Weigand Ave Elementary, whose parents just pulled a “trigger” to get rid of the principal, had 0. (LAUSD, as a whole, had 18,888.)

            Much more research needs to be done to find out just where are the suspensions occurring. It is most likely in the secondary schools.

            So let’s take a quick look at a few high schools. According to Data Quest, for the 2011-12 year:

            Van Nuys: 68 expulsions (2,856 census enrollment)
            Francis Poly: 89 (2,977)
            Chatsworth: 100 (2,736)

            Venice: 108 (2,300)
            Hamilton: 70 (3,049)

            Dorsey: 72 (1,416)
            Jefferson: 3 (1,624)
            Crenshaw: 161 (1,466)

            These numbers don’t look too high considering their enrollment.

            How about Granada Hills Charter? we get: 170 suspensions with enrollment of 4,201.

            Let’s take a look at Locke, Green Dot’s conversion high school:
            Locke I: 112 (781)
            Locke II: 344 (811)
            Locke III: 181 (567)
            Locke Tech: 189 (539)

            Keep in mind that a kid who is expelled from a charter probably will go back to LAUSD. So where is the true suspension crisis?

          • CarolineSF 5 years ago5 years ago

            Manuel (sorry, off topic again), are you sure the info about Emerson is current? Parent Revolution was targeting it a few years ago — I believe this was before the statewide parent trigger law passed, when LAUSD had some kind of local law allowing parent triggers — and it appeared to have fizzled due to active opposition in the parent community.

            Thanks for all that other data. VERY interesting.

          • Manuel 5 years ago5 years ago

            I was told that this is going on within the last moth or so. It is as fresh as it can be.