The only organization dedicated solely to helping state boards advance equity and excellence in public education.

Education Leaders Report   |   August 2015Volume 1, No. 2
Advancing School Discipline Reform


Exclusionary discipline practices such as suspensions and expulsion aim to create orderly, safe classrooms, but there is little evidence they actually work. Moreover, students of color and those with disabilities experience such school discipline more often than their peers. American Institutes for Research analysts Greta Colombi and David Osher explore the research on punitive school discipline and zero-tolerance policies, their effects on student achievement and engagement, and a range of more effective disciplinary strategies that should supplant them. “Punitive discipline has increasingly been used as a quick fix to what often is a chronic, long-term problem,” Colombi and Osher write, an approach that has created more problems. Zero-tolerance policies often do not improve school climate: Suspended students are more likely to struggle academically, drop out of school, commit violent crimes, and enter the juvenile justice system. State policymakers can advance school discipline reform and improve school climate, say Colombi and Osher. State boards of education can work with state agencies to develop policies and support practices that strengthen the data collection, analysis, and stakeholder collaboration needed for such reform.


Advancing School Discipline Reform




Related Content

Featured Items

State Strategies to Advance Digital Equity

By spearheading efforts to collect data, collaborate with partners, buy digital devices and infrastructure, and reimagine effective technology use, several states have made strides toward digital equity in schools.

States Build Support for Students Who Are Homeless

Several states are leveraging $800 million under the American Rescue Plan’s Homeless Children and Youth Program to better address the short- and long-term needs of students experiencing homelessness.
Indiana State Capitol Building on a Beautiful Day. Image credit: iStock i

Seven Questions to Ask about Leveraging American Rescue Plan Funds

This NASBE analysis highlights questions state boards can ask to help frame ongoing conversations to discern the impact of federal COVID-19 relief funds.

Upcoming Events

From the States