Baltimore City Schools Suspensions Decrease

There was an article on today stating that Baltimore City Public Schools saw a significant drop in suspensions last year. The suspension rate dropped 12.5%, which is a significant amount.

Knowing Baltimore City, I am suspicious of this statistic. I suspect that the drop in suspensions has more to do with being in compliance with NCLB (No Child Left Behind), but Dr. Andres Alonso, Baltimore City School Chief, said that the change is a result of his policy to discourage suspensions for non-violent offenses. His reasoning is that students who are suspended tend to drop out of school at a higher rate than those that are not suspended. Fair enough. However, I suspect that the correlation may not be directly tied to the statistics. If fewer students are suspended, don’t be surprised to see that the statistics later show that the drop-out rate increased with students who have not been suspended.

The most striking part of this article, on the other hand, is not so much the decrease in percentage terms, but the raw numbers. Suspensions dropped by more than 2000. 2000!!! That’s two-thousand. That means 11 fewer suspensions per day last year than in the previous year.

Let’s look at some more numbers. There are 180 days in the school year. Last year there were 14,649 suspensions in Baltimore City Schools. Holy City-Stat, Batman! That averages to 81 suspensions PER DAY!!!

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But it was better last year than the previous year. In the previous year there were 16,752 suspensions. That’s sixteen thousand…never mind. Anyway, that averages to 93 suspensions per day.

And the best part? City School officials are bragging that it is a lot better than in the 2003-04 school year when there were 26,295 suspensions. I cannot fathom that many suspensions. And again, this averages to 146 suspensions PER DAY. I would imagine that Baltimore City Public schools would need an entire army of suspension personnel just to keep track of this.

No wonder O’Malley and Dixon fought for billions of dollars in school funding. They need all that money to track the thousands of kids that they kick out of school every year.

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