NPR’s news program, PBS NewsHour, recently broadcast a show that focused on the recent release of the U. S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights findings that show, among other things, the following:

  • African-American students are 3 ½ times more likely to be suspended or expelled than white students
  • 70% of students arrested or referred to law enforcement for disciplinary problems are black or Latino
  • schools with a high number of black and Hispanics are less likely to offer calculus
  • in those schools that offer calculus, Hispanics may make up 20% of the student body, but  only 10% of the calculus students are Hispanic
  • Of the students surveyed, 44% were black and Hispanics, but they were 26% of the students identified in gifted-and-talented programs

Featured guests, including Education Secretary Arne Duncan, explained these findings and their implications:

  • The high number of suspensions and expulsions “show that we’re really not providing equal educational opportunity.”
  • Disciplinary alternatives should be implemented to reduce the disproportionate suspensions.
  • Zero-tolerance policies may need some revamping.