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

Little girl crossing the field in fog. Image credit: iStock i

Gauging School Climate

As school buildings reopen after weeks of pandemic-induced closures, school climate will matter more than ever. State policymakers and education leaders can plan now to create safe, supportive learning environments ready for the return of students and teachers to classrooms. The articles in The Standard provide a roadmap.
Black Lives Matter Protest, Image Credit: iStock i

Statement on the Death of George Floyd and Racial Protests

The social unrest and political upheaval gripping our nation must renew our resolve to act against the systemic, persistent plague of bias and racial injustice that our young people face.
Chairs on desks in empty classroom. Image Credit: iStock i

Preparing Facilities for Students’ Return in the Wake of COVID-19

To reopen schools, they need to be clean and safe for students, educators, and staff. What state leaders need to consider as they issue guidance for schools.

Upcoming Events

From the States

  • Measures of SEL and School Climate in California

    CORE Districts plumb the possibilities of using holistic measures to improve schools.

  • Kansas State Board Confronts Youth Vaping

    The usage of vaping products among middle school students has increased at alarming rates. Federal and state policymakers are addressing this crisis, including in Kansas, where the state board of education acted quickly to engage stakeholders on curbing youth vaping.