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How To Reduce Suspensions (and help boys)

From the Edweek story on Baltimore:


Baltimore recently has gained attention for cutting its dropout rate in half in just three years and actually bringing students back into school. Specifically, Maryland's state department of education reports that the Baltimore district's dropout rate declined from 9.37 percent in the 2006-07 school year to 4.07 percent in 2009-10. Middle school absences have dropped significantly, as well. Suspensions are part of that story.

Three years ago, the school district handed out suspensions liberally to deal with a challenging student population that often performs well below grade level. In the 2006-07 school year, more than one in 10 students (of approximately 84,000 in the district at the time) were suspended from school, missing a total of 106,285 days of school to suspensions, BERC found. That is the equivalent of 590 students missing a full year of school.

Nearly two-thirds of these suspensions were handed down for disrespect, insubordination, disruption, attendance issues, using cellphones in school, and refusing to obey school policies, according to an earlier analysis. These are hardly offenses that threaten school safety, but the missed days threatened the students' chances to succeed in school.

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