New CRDC Findings Reveal Unacceptable Trend of Discriminatory Discipline in Schools Continues

Black students and students with disabilities are subject to disciplinary practices that exclude them from classroom instruction, creating additional barriers to their learning.

Washington, DC – The following statement was released today by Lauren Morando Rhim, Executive Director of the National Council for Special Education in Charter Schools, in response to the latest Civil Rights Data Collection findings:

“These findings confirm the unacceptable trend of black students, especially boys, and students with disabilities being subject to disciplinary practices that exclude them from classroom instruction, thereby creating additional barriers to their learning. In line with the 2014 guidance published by the Department of Education, we must continue to not only track data regarding these practices but also take focused steps towards introducing school and classroom level policies and practices that will provide critical supports to students and teachers that, if implemented with fidelity, can decrease the need to exclude students from opportunities to learn. We are discouraged by the data, but are confident that our community of advocates will reverse these trends through research, communications, and smart policymaking at the federal and local levels.”


Today, the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights released the findings of the 2015-2016 Civil Rights Data Collection. The massive database includes data from 17,337 school districts representing 96,360 schools enrolling 50.6 million students. The CRDC provides invaluable data regarding the status of students' civil rights across the nation and reflect OCR's commitment to ensuring that discussion related to civil rights are informed by data.

As with prior releases, NCSECS will be conducting a secondary analysis of the data set to examine the progress of both traditional public schools and charter schools. However, the data highlights published by the Department provide a somewhat discouraging preview. Most notably:

  • Black or African American students represent 15% of enrollment in public schools, but 31% of referrals to law enforcement or subjected to school-related arrests
  • Black males represent 8% of the population, but 25% of those receiving one or more out of school suspensions and 23% of the expulsions. 
  • Students with disabilities represent 12% of enrollment, but 28% of law enforcement referrals and subjected to school-related arrests, 26% of those receiving one or more out of school suspensions, and 24% of the expulsions.
  • Black or African American students represent 15% of the population, but 27% of the students restrained and 23% of the students secluded.
  • Students with disabilities represent 12% of the population, but 71% of those restrained and 66% of those secluded.

For more information on the NCSECS analysis of CRDC data, visit this NCSECS webpage.



Indianapolis’ Paramount School of Excellence: Supporting Students with Disabilities via its Frameworks

By: Stephanie Lancet

As part of its effort to share best practices with the special education community, The National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools (NCSECS) identified several public charter schools across the country as “Centers for Excellence” and is communicating how each school uniquely leverages its autonomy to benefit students with disabilities. Here is a spotlight on one of them.

Located in Indianapolis, Paramount School of Excellence (Paramount) serves students from Kindergarten to 8th grade. School leaders attribute their success and strong performance on statewide assessments by prioritizing school-wide cohesion, consistency in practice, and clear communication; this is specifically supported by the school’s “Frameworks,” Paramount’s policy and instruction guide designed to support teachers’ practices.  

Reflecting the mission and vision of the school, Paramount’s Frameworks highlights the school’s commitment to true, explicit, intentional inclusion and shapes teachers’ approaches to curriculum, instruction, behavior, school culture, and more. For example, Frameworks enables and encourages general and special education teachers to regularly collaborate, co-plan, co-teach, and receive inclusivity training; this has created a school culture in which all Paramount teachers maintain high expectations and feel responsible for the success of all students, including those with disabilities. Regarding classroom teaching and learning specifically, Frameworks enables and promotes school-wide adoption of individualized instructional practices that benefit all students, such as problem solving and differentiation, as well as regular collection and evaluation of data to appropriately adapt and improve such practices.

Frameworks serves as the backbone for the school and distinctly reflect its commitment to truly inclusive, evidence-based practices. To learn more about Paramount and and its approach to serving students with learning differences, read our full case study here.

In case you missed it, check out our profile on Denver's Cole High School.