On February 12, 2015, Connecticut Voices for Children issued a report title Keeping Kids in Class: School Discipline in Connecticut, 2008-2013, discussing recent decreases in arrests, suspensions and expulsions in Connecticut public schools and changes in demographic differences in rates of experiencing these outcomes.In the main, the report found that reductions in the above outcomes were accompanied by increased relative differences in rates of experiencing those outcomes by race/ethnicity or special education status.
The report noted, for example:
• Page 6:“In 2013, black students werearrested at 4.7 times the rate of white students, up from 3.6 times the rate in 2011(page 6).
• Page 7:“Special education students were arrested at 3.0 times the rate of general education students in 2013, up from2.7 times the rate in 2011.”
• Page 12:“Black students were 4.9 times more likely [[i]] to be expelled than white students,up from 4.2 times more likelyin 2011.
• Page 13:“In 2013, special education students were 1.8 times more likely to be expelled than general educationstudents, an increase from 2011, where they were 1.5 times more likely to be expelled.”
There were a few exceptions from the pattern of increasing relative differences in rates of experiencing the outcome examined, though nothing remarkable on its own.
At some point I may discuss some of the data with respect to the point underlying the structure of Table 1 the main Discipline Disparities page.The point involves the problematic nature of analyses of outcome rates for what I will term “interim outcomes” until I think of a better usage.It involves the same situation that would arise if one tried to analyze disparities in rates at which students received F grades and disparities in rates at which they receive D grades.Analyses of disparities in receipt of grades can be valid, but the analyses of disparities in rates of receipt of D grades cannot, save when combined with an analysis of F grades (that is, in terms of rates of receiving D or F).The same holds with respect to analyses of differences in rates of experiencing fair and poor health.One can reasonably analyze disparities in rates of rates of experiencing fair or poor health (i.e., the two combined), as in fact is often done (though not necessarily through a sound approach, as discussed, for example, on the Reporting Heterogeneity subpage of the Measuring Health Disparities and the “Illogical Premises and Unfounded Inferences” section of the "Race and Mortality Revisited").One can also reasonably analyze disparities in rate of experiencing poor health.But one cannot reasonably analyze disparities in rates of experiencing fair health.Similarly, one may reasonably analyze disparities in rates of falling above or below certain proficiency levels – basic level, proficient level, advanced level – as is often done (though never soundly, as discussed on the Educational Disparities page and its subpages). But one cannot reasonably analyze rates of falling within the proficient category.
Discipline disparities analyses are the only kinds of analyses where I have noticed separate treatment of disparities in interim outcomes, which commonly include analyses of disparities in out-of-school suspensions (OSS) separate from expulsions and analyses of in-school suspensions (ISS) apart from OSS and expulsions.The only sound categories for analyses would be (a) expulsions alone, (b) expulsions and OSS, (c) expulsions, OSS, and ISS.
[i] The report commonly employs the “times more likely” usage that I criticize on the Times Higher subpage of the Vignettes page.