By Guy Page
A bill under review by the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday seeks more data on whether Vermont schools unfairly discipline racial minorities. Sponsors want this information to “understand what strategies are effective and to encourage the adoption of these strategies at the local level.”
S.16, sponsored by Sens. Richard Sears, D-Bennington, and Kesha Ram, D-Chittenden, would create the School Discipline Advisory Council “to collect and analyze data regarding school discipline in Vermont public and approved independent schools.” It notes that nationally “Black students (representing approximately 15 percent of the U.S. student population) are suspended and expelled at a rate two times greater than white students (representing approximately 50 percent of the U.S. student population).”
According to Kickboard.com, national gender and racial differences on school discipline are striking. Boys are almost five times more likely to be suspended or expelled. Black children account for 50% of preschool suspensions, but just 15% of the Pre-K student population. Educators list these alternatives to expulsion and suspension:
Mini-courses or skill modules
Coordinated behavior plans
Senate Education also will receive an update
Senate Education also will receive an update on Act 1 of 2019, “ethnic and social equity studies standards for public schools.” Witnesses will include Amanda Garces, Director of Policy, Education and Outreach, Vermont Human Rights Commission, and Mark Hage, Vice Chair, Ethnic Studies and Social Equity Working Group.
Read more of Guy Page’s reports. Vermont Daily is sponsored by True North Media.