This morning, Urban Strategies Council released a series of reports about the experience of black boys in the Oakland school district: one on out-of-school suspensions, one on chronic absenteeism, and lastly, an analysis of numerous factors to estimate how many children are on track to graduate high school — beginning in elementary.
There is so much data here that the short story in today’s Tribune (which is long by today’s standards) and blog post can’t do it justice. Each school will receive a data profile to further the district’s African American Male Achievement initiative. These reports were produced in partnership with OUSD as part of the initiative.
Some of the stats that I pulled for the paper on African-American boys in OUSD. The suspension rates are the percentage of individual students that received an out-of-school suspension at least once during a single school year.
- Twenty percent missed 18 or more days of school in 2010-11, making them chronically absent.
- Eleven elementary schools gave no out-of-school suspensions to black boys in 2010-11, and 20 schools suspended 3 percent or less; by contrast, some elementary schools suspended 22 to 35 percent of their black male students that year.
- Middle schools had the highest suspension rates for black boys. Out-of-school suspensions jumped from 12 percent in fifth grade to 31 percent in sixth grade. At West Oakland Middle School, 60 percent of the students received at least one suspension in 2010-11.
- About 38 percent of the suspensions were for defying authority or causing a disruption; 28 percent were for causing, attempting or threatening injury.
Some elementary schools had extremely low suspension rates for black boys — including Lakeview, Santa Fe and Marshall, which are all slated to close in June. So did Sobrante Park Elementary, Franklin Elementary and Fred T. Korematsu Discovery Academy, among others.
There were no middle schools, however, in which fewer than 16 percent of black male students received an out-of-school suspension.
Oakland Tech had the lowest suspension rate for black males of all the high schools — 13 percent — but one of its feeder schools, Claremont Middle, suspended one out of every two of its black boys that year, according to the analysis.
You can find schools with low and high chronic absenteeism rates starting on page 19 of this report. That’s the percentage of students — in this case, black males — who missed 18 days or more of school in 2010-11, excused or unexcused.
Alliance Academy, a middle school on the Elmhurst campus, had one of the highest absenteeism rates (47 percent) and suspension rates (55 percent) of black males in the district. Those two things are related, as I believe being out of school for any reason is included in the absenteeism calculation. That school has undergone major leadership turnover in recent years, which sure can’t help. It’s receiving a federal School Improvement Grant; maybe the influx of resources will turn things around.
No high school had a chronic absenteeism rate of less than 22 percent.
What has your school done to address the issues behind these numbers? What do you think it could do?