A July 8, 2018 article in the Chicago Reporter titled “As school discipline disparities worsen, Illinois has yet to require reforms,” discussed efforts in Illinois since 2014 to reduce racial disparities in school discipline that involved substantial reductions in discipline rates. After noting that between the 2015 and 2017 school years, the number of suspensions had dropped by about one-third, the article stated:
But that progress isn’t happening equally. Discipline rates fell more quickly for white students than black students, making existing disparities worse. An analysis by The Chicago Reporter shows that in 2015, black students were about four and a half times more likely than white students to be suspended or expelled from school. Two years later, they were about six times more likely to be suspended or expelled. (The Reporter looked at students in kindergarten to 12th grade because very few preschool students were suspended and none were expelled.)
Thus, Illinois presents another situation where policies that those implementing them expected to reduce relative racial differences in discipline rates in fact increased those differences (just as predicted in the 2012 Amstat News and 2013 Baltimore Sun articles).
The parenthetical at the end of the quoted material the Chicago Report warrants note. In the Preschool Disparities subpage of the Discipline Disparities page and in “Race and Mortality Revisited,” Society (July/Aug. 2014) (especially the discussion regarding Table 8) I discuss the substantial attention give to seemingly huge racial disparities in preschool suspensions by observers who fail to understand that the relative differences in suspension in preschool tend to be large because suspensions are so rare in preschool. The mistaken perception about the large relative racial differences in preschool suspensions (or the related high proportion blacks make up of suspended preschool students) prompted the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services to issue as Dear Colleague letter furthering that mistaken perception. See my Letter to the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Education (Aug. 24, 2015).