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Using Data

Data can be a powerful tool in exploring and challenging the school-to-prison pipeline. Obtaining and making sense of data can be a challenge. Here are some resources that can make that job easier.

TIPS FOR USING CIVIL RIGHTS DATA

RECENT DATA TRENDS

REPORTS AND ANALYSIS

Nationwide Discipline Data

The Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) is collected and posted online by the U.S. Department of Education every two years. All schools receiving federal funding, including charter schools, are required to report school discipline data on the use of suspensions, expulsions, corporal punishment, expulsion, referrals to law enforcement, and school-related arrests. In November 2023, the US Education Department released the CRDC for the 2020-21school year and launched a new website, https://civilrightsdata.ed.gov/

Special Education Discipline Data Every year, the US Department of Education collects data about the experiences of students receiving special education services. State-level discipline data can be found here. In addition, every state is required to determine whether there is "significant disproportionality" by race in the administration of school discipline. The most recent list of districts flagged can be found here.

Requesting Data

To obtain the latest federal data for your school, district or charter, use the tools on the CRDC website or submit a request to your district or charter using your state's open records law. We have developed this template for requesting discipline and enrollment data. Information about state open records law can be found here. Take the template, substitute the name of your state’s open records or right to know law  and any other relevant specifics (such as deadlines imposed by law and a request for a fee waiver), and file it. Here is an example of a response we received from a Pennsylvania district for data on one middle school.  

State Discipline Data

Some state education departments publish discipline data online. Sites vary in sophistication from simple spreadsheets to search tools (e.g., California's Data Quest, Massachusetts' School and District Profiles, and Maryland's Student Arrest Data Collection and Staff and Student Publications portal). Typically, state data is collected annually. It is typically more current, but less comprehensive, than the federal CRDC, and some states continue to struggle with reporting the proper data required by law (e.g. Louisiana's Policing Data GapHawaii's Inaccurate Restraint Data).

Several states (and the City of New York) have adopted laws requiring the collection and reporting of discipline data. 

Using Data as an Advocate

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