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National Alliance Statement on GAO Report Examining Discipline in D.C. Charter Schools

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools today released the following statement regarding a new Government Accountability Office report examining disciplinary rates in D.C. charter schools:

“We are heartened that D.C. public charter schools have cut their expulsion rate by two-thirds and the rate of out-of-school suspensions has decreased by about 20 percent since 2011. By increasing transparency surrounding discipline practices – such as requiring all schools to post discipline information on the DC Public Charter School Board (PCSB) website, and by analyzing monthly data to look for trends and alert schools when they are an outlier for disciplinary practices – DC PCSB has been able to ensure more students stay in school and receive a high-quality education.

“However, there’s much more work to be done. School discipline is an issue that affects charter and district schools alike, and we can never accept when certain student populations – including students of color and students with disabilities – are disproportionately affected.

“Recognizing this, charter schools across the country are taking innovative approaches to changing discipline practices. Many are on display in this suite of discipline resources from the National Charter School Resource Center, developed with the help of charter school leaders.

“We know that out-of-school suspensions and expulsions can be devastating, and that being in a supportive classroom environment greatly increases a student’s chances of moving to the next grade, graduating, and having a healthy academic and personal life. We have worked hard to adjust our practices, and today discipline rates at charter schools are lower than at their neighboring district schools. We will continue to address this critical area – our students are depending on it.”