Prior problem behaviors do not account for the racial suspension gap


At the end of 2018, Obama-era disciplinary guidance aimed at reducing the use of suspensions in schools (especially for minorities and students with disabilities) was revoked by the U.S. Department of Education. A key piece of research supporting the decision was based on the analyses of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Cohort (9899) (ECLS-K) which showed that the racial suspension gap was not really about race but resulted from the differential behavior exhibited by Black and White students. We reanalyzed the public-use ECLS-K and provide syntax for our analyses to show that the findings were primarily due to sample selection bias. Several alternative model specifications are tested and continue to show the persistence of the race-based suspension gaps regardless of model or measure used.

Educational Researcher, 49, 493-502. doi: 10.108015388220.2019.1707682