February 15, 2018

Yolanda Anyon, (303) 871-3657, yanyon@du.edu
Daniel J. Quinn, (517) 203-2940, dquinn@greatlakescenter.org

Review encourages stakeholders take a balanced, cautious approach toward interpreting results from a school discipline reform

EAST LANSING, Mich. (Feb. 15, 2018) — A report from the Fordham Institute attempted to investigate the impact of a student discipline reform in the School District of Philadelphia (SDP). The report concluded that the reform was a failure. However, an academic review of the report released today finds that the actual results of the reform were mixed, with positive trends for students who were earlier suspended being much stronger in magnitude than evidence of negative outcomes for students who were not.

The report, The Academic and Behavioral Consequences of Discipline Policy Reform: Evidence from Philadelphia, was reviewed for the Think Twice think tank review project by Yolanda Anyon, University of Denver, and Kathryn E. Wiley, University of California San Diego. Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center, is funded in part by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

The reform in question eliminated suspensions for certain low-level school misbehaviors. The Fordham report in question looked at district out-of-school suspension rates for students, academic and behavioral outcomes, and racial disparities in suspensions.

Positively, the reviewers applaud the report for its use of advanced statistical methods. However, they find fault with the report's use of causal language, logical fallacies, and overly simplified interpretations within the findings.

Anyon and Wiley conclude that the report seems like an attempt advocate against the reform rather than improving our understanding of a complex policy issue. They write, "Given the Fordham's selective presentation of the original study findings, we do not recommend that policy makers use its conclusions as the basis for policy decisions."

Find the review on the web:

Find the Fordham Institute's report here:

Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), provides the public, policymakers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible by funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

You can also find the review on the NEPC website:

- ### -

Friend on Facebook

Follow on Twitter

The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform.

Visit the Great Lakes Center website at http://www.greatlakescenter.org/