Statement on the Release of Preliminary School Discipline Data
The following is a joint stakeholder statement on the Illinois State Board of Education’s release of preliminary school discipline data.
July 19, 2018
Yesterday, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) took another step towards understanding our students’ learning environment with the release of preliminary data on school discipline, i.e. expulsions and suspensions. Now that the Illinois Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan has been adopted, we have an opportunity to analyze new data that will help us understand and improve the climate and culture of all schools across our state.
While we know school discipline is one component in understanding school climate and culture, we are hopeful that the data will help illustrate the need for increased supports for schools, rather than to punish schools or school leaders. We look forward to deepening our understanding of the methodology and underlying trends including how different districts are being added to the list. We now have work to do to understand how districts are being added to this list as well as the increasing and decreasing trends of suspensions and expulsions within districts across the state.
Our organizations are committed to working in partnership with ISBE to ensure that school discipline data as well as any other data used for school improvement is grounded in the diverse needs of our school districts. Districts are constantly in a space of trying to prioritize between counselors and teachers as well as many more resources needed for students’ success. We urge our legislature to fully fund the evidence-based model so schools won’t have to make those tough decisions. Together, we can strive to take a proactive, comprehensive approach in keeping kids where they should be– in school.
“This is just the first step in understanding all of the data available to us related to school climate and culture. We look forward to digging deeper into this data and collaborating with school districts and other advocates to make improvements to Illinois’ education system.” –Raul Botello, Co-Executive Director, Communities United
“We recognize the complexities at play in this data. There is more work to be done in understanding this information and how we can continue to strive for ideal learning environments for our students. It will take continued state investment in schools to ensure we have the supports for students that can help them to excel.” –Dr. Sharon Kherat, Superintendent, Peoria School District 150
Signatories to the Statement
Educators for Excellence
Equity First Superintendents
Teach Plus Illinois
Voices of Youth in Chicago Education