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How Will We Close the Achievement Gap if We Don’t Close the Discipline Gap?

July 13, 2021

While student suspensions have decreased slightly in recent years, there still are too many kids losing valuable school days, especially students of color who are suspended at much higher rates. Studies show that students in schools with higher suspension rates experience negative short- and long-term impacts on their education and are more likely to be arrested and incarcerated as adults.

Learn4Life has a very low suspension rate of just 0.2 percent in our California schools for the 2019-20 school year. Compare that with the suspension rate of 2.5 percent reported by California schools, and 4.2 percent by Dashboard Alternative School Status schools that serve high-risk students.

While the percentages sound small, other schools in the state enforced 233,753 suspensions during the 2019-20 school year. Even though the Learn4Life student population mostly comprises at-risk youths, only 49 out of 29,052 were suspended in the same school year.

Learn4Life incorporates restorative justice which based on respect, responsibility, relationship-building and relationship-repairing. The schools use mediation and consensus rather than punishment, allowing students to take responsibility for their actions, understand the consequences and have an opportunity to redeem themselves.