Oakland Schools to Allow Federal Monitoring of Black Student Discipline

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Oakland Unified School District and the U.S. Department of Education agreed last week to allow for at least five years of federal monitoring as the district attempts to reduce the disproportionately high black student suspension rate, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The resolution, of which the Oakland school board voted 6-0 in favor, concludes an investigation by the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights into whether discipline of black students was harsher and more frequent and harshly than for their white peers.

Data released by the Department of Education in March showed that black students are three-and-a-half times as likely to be suspended or expelled as their white classmates.

Under last week's agreement, federal officials will keep watch on 38 Oakland schools and oversee the district’s five-year plan to address students’ needs by offering mentoring services to at-risk students, providing training for teachers and staff and combatting disciplinary issues without resorting to suspensions.

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