April 19, 2013
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Releases First Detailed
Data on Student Suspension and Expulsion Rates
Milestone for CALPADS sets baseline for this data collection
SACRAMENTO—About one California student in 20 was suspended from school and one in 1,000 was expelled in the 2011-12 school year, according to data released for the first time using the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS), State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today.
The data show a total of 366,629 students suspended and 9,553 students expelled among the more than six million public school students in California, a suspension rate of 5.7 percent, and an expulsion rate of 0.1 percent.
"Common sense tells us that we cannot teach students who are not in school," Torlakson said. "I hope that parents, teachers, administrators, and students see this information as the starting point for discussions about how to find alternatives to suspension that sustain healthy learning environments while keeping as many students as possible in class."
CALPADS produced data that are disaggregated by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status. The data are also disaggregated by type of violation and type of services students receive, such as English learner, migrant education, or special education services.
A review of the data indicates there are some differences in the rates at which some student groups are suspended. For example, the data show African-American students are 6.5 percent of total enrollment, but make up 19 percent of suspensions. White students are 26 percent of total enrollment, but represent 20 percent of suspensions. Hispanic students are 52 percent of total enrollment, and 54 percent of suspensions.
The California Department of Education is working on several initiatives to address these differences in rates by identifying positive alternatives to suspension and expulsion, as well as developing effective strategies to improve attendance as part of an overarching initiative to keep students in school. The Department has partnered with several organizations to work on these initiatives, including The California Endowment, the California Blue Ribbon Commission on Children in Foster Care, the Region IX Equity Assistance Center at WestEd, and Attendance Works.
Because the 2011-12 data is the first year of suspension and expulsion information extracted from CALPADS, it will serve as a baseline for this data collection. Also, the data and its interpretation will improve over time as districts become more familiar with entering information into CALPADS. The2011-12 CALPADS data cannot be compared to prior year Uniform Management Information and Reporting System (UMIRS) reports.
Caution must be used when interpreting the number of students suspended and expelled, and the number and types of incidents and offenses. This is because some students may have been both suspended or expelled multiple times, and some incidents may be comprised of several different offenses. CALPADS sorts this out by tracking individual students to produce unduplicated numbers to generate more accurate rates, compared to the former UMIRS system.
The 2011-12 suspension and expulsion, as well as truancy reports are available on the California Department of Education's DataQuest. The reports may be viewed by the state, county, district, and school level. Reports on the most serious federal offense are available as part of the persistently dangerous school reporting requirement under the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Reports are also available specifically on California Education Code Section 48900(k) related to defiance, which comprise the majority of student offenses. Downloadable data sheets will be available in about two weeks.