CSG Midwest

This school year, officials of K-12 public schools in Illinois are revisiting their student-discipline policies in accordance with a new law that aims to reduce the number of students who receive out-of-school suspensions and expulsions.

“The goal is to ensure that this only happens when absolutely necessary,” says Illinois Sen. Kimberly Lightford, the sponsor of SB 100.

Students who receive exclusionary punishments are at a significantly higher risk of falling behind academically, dropping out of school, and coming into contact with the juvenile justice system, according to a 2014 report from The Council of State Governments Justice Center.

For instances in which a student commits minor misconduct, the new Illinois law requires school leaders to use non-exclusionary methods of discipline — such as in-school suspension, detention or loss of privileges — and to exhaust all other methods of intervention before removing the student.

The U.S. Department of Education released its first nationally comprehensive data on chronic absenteeism in June, revealing that about 6.5 million students—or 13 percent of the total student population—were absent at least 15 days during the 2013-2014 school year. The problem is so extensive that in October 2015 the presidential administration launched the Every Student, Every Day initiative to reduce chronic absenteeism by at least 10 percent each year, beginning in the current school year. 

Each year, millions of students are removed from their classrooms for disciplinary reasons, mostly for minor discretionary offenses. Disciplinary removals may be appropriate in situations in which a student poses an immediate safety risk to himself/herself or others on a school campus. But when such removals are administered for minor misconduct, they are often detrimental to students’ academic and behavioral progress. Research, including the groundbreaking Breaking Schools’ Rules study conducted by The Council of State Governments’ Justice Center, demonstrates that exclusionary disciplinary actions increase a student’s likelihood of falling behind academically, dropping out of school, and coming into contact with the juvenile justice system. A disproportionately large percentage of disciplined students are youth of color, students with disabilities, and youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. In response, states across the country are passing legislation that limits the number of students who are removed from school for disciplinary reasons and provides more supportive responses to misbehavior. In 2014, the CSG Justice Center also released the School Discipline Consensus Report, which provides state and local government officials with a comprehensive roadmap for overhauling their approach to school discipline.

The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center released a comprehensive report providing school leaders and state and local government officials more than 60 recommendations for overhauling their approach to school discipline. The recommendations focus on improving conditions for learning for all students and staff, strengthening responses to student’s behavioral health needs, tailoring school-police partnerships, and minimizing students’ involvement with the juvenile justice system.

Since President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a war on poverty in 1964, the rate of young children in poverty has only slightly decreased.
“It is the case that children are more often poor...

Until the 2010-2011 school year, it was difficult to compare a basic measure of educational attainment – the high school graduation rate – across states because every state measured and reported that rate a little differently. In 2005, however, the nation’s governors got together and adopted a uniform way to report graduation rates: the percentage of first-time ninth-graders who earn a diploma in four years. 2010-2011 was the first school year for which (nearly) every state began to report this new rate.

While President Barack Obama’s third State of the Union address Tuesday focused primarily on familiar themes of economic recovery, the president tipped his hat to some new policies that could have a major impact on states, specifically education reform, infrastructure and hydraulic fracturing.

Obama announced a goal to increase the minimum student dropout age to 18 or until they graduate.

”When students don’t walk away from their education, more of them walk the stage to get their diploma,” Obama said. “When students...

Nationally, more than 7,000 students become dropouts every school day. That’s more than 1 million students each year that will not graduate from high school. Only 27 percent of students complete a postsecondary degree, even though 85 percent of students hold a high school diploma, according to 2010 statistics from the U.S. Department of Education. That’s not enough to keep America competitive.

When Barbara Cooper was a teacher, she made sure she knew the parents of her students.  That’s especially important in urban schools, she said, where children have to worry about crime in their neighborhood as much as learning their ABCs. Cooper should know: She taught school for 42 years—35 of them in Memphis City Schools—before she was elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives 14 years ago. But her interest in schools, especially urban schools, remains high.

Fewer than a third of America’s eighth-grade public school students meet the national standard for reading proficiency for their grade level.  This report examines policies to improve adolescent reading skills.