On November 6, 2014 the Henrico, County, VA School District issued Discipline Update discussing recent reductions in public school suspensions.The report showed that out-of-school suspensions were reduced from 10,161 in 2009-10 to 6,538 in 2013-14.The report revealed the standard situation where reductions in suspensions were accompanied by increased relative differences in suspension rates.Such pattern can be derived from information on the fifth page of the report (counting the cover), which shows that the total number of suspensions were reduced by 33% for African Americans and 40% for whites.That means that, absent dramatic changes in student racial composition, the relative difference in suspension rates would have increased.
In order to know whether the reduction was accompanied by an increase or decrease in the strength of the forces causing African American and white rates to differ (according to the method described in “Race and Mortality Revisited” and the Supreme Court brief, one would need to know the actual rates of the groups before and after the reduction.While the report states that African Americans were 4.9 times as likely[i] as students of other races to be suspended, but does not give the actually rates.See the Argument Section I.B of the Supreme Court brief.
The report does appear to indicate that the strength of the forces causing the suspension rates of students with disabilities (SWD) and without disabilities (non-SWD) to differ decreased to an unknown degree between the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years.The report states that in 2012-13 SWD) were 4.67 times as likely to be suspended for 10+ days as non-SWD.It also states that in 2013-14, SWD comprised 8% of total students and 24.8% of suspended students and that SWD were 3 times as likely to be suspended as non-SWD.Possibly the 3 multiplier is based on the fact that 24.8 is approximately 3 times 8.But those figures actually mean that the SWD rate was 3.79 times the non-SWD rates.
Still, inasmuch as the ratio declined from 4.67 to 3.79 during a period of overall declines (which is contrary to the usual pattern) one can infer that the forces causing the suspensions rates of SWD and non-SWD to differ decline somewhat. But without the actual rates, it is not possible to appraise the size of the decline.
[i] The report states “4.9 times more likely,” but I assume it means “as likely.” See the Times Higher subpage of the Vignettes page.