Kirwan Institute Launches Website on School Discipline Disparities

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COLUMBUS, OH – The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, an interdisciplinary research institute at The Ohio State University, launched a new webpage today that explores racialized school discipline disparities and highlights the ways in which implicit racial bias may be contributing to these disparities. Made possible by generous funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the webpage  provides access to a host of materials and resources developed by the Kirwan Institute exploring the connections between implicit bias, school discipline disparities, and the school-to-prison pipeline.

Recognizing education as a critical access point to opportunity, these new materials provide an in-depth look at how K-12 school discipline policies and practices affect students of different races and ethnicities differentially, in the hope of expanding the dialogue about the role implicit racial bias may be playing in the creation of these disparities.  The materials on the webpage add to a growing body of research tracking “student push out”–disciplinary actions such as out-of-school suspensions and expulsions that disrupt the educational trajectory of many youth, particularly students of color, impeding career and workforce development, and increasing the chances of juvenile delinquency.

The Kirwan Institute publishes the nation’s only annual review of emerging research about implicit biases.  “This new webpage will enable the Kirwan Institute to broadly disseminate those State of the Science : Implicit Bias Reviews along with these new materials and others to come,” said Sharon Davies, Executive Director of the Kirwan Institute.  “We hope that individuals and organizations will use these materials to learn more about the ways in which unconscious biases can unwittingly affect our judgments of others, and to adopt strategies to protect against their harmful effects,” Davies said.

Building on its earlier work, the Kirwan Institute is using its new webpage, kirwaninstitute.osu.edu/school-discipline/, to release a number of new publications about implicit bias and school discipline decision making, including:  a special report exploring the connection between implicit bias and the education realm; a policy brief examining various interventions that school systems across the country have put into place to reduce racialized discipline disparities and student push out; several issue briefs probing various aspects of school discipline policy; a short video introducing audiences to implicit bias research ; a communications and social media toolkit; the 2013 and 2014 issues of the State of the Science: Implicit Bias Review;  and a complete (audio and visual) recording of a webinar on implicit bias that Kirwan conducted in May 2014 in partnership with the Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio.

“The materials on this webpage highlight how subtle, unconscious racial biases can be activated in school disciplinary situations and unfortunately contribute to racially disparate outcomes,” said Cheryl Staats, Kirwan Institute Research Associate .  “We seek to help eliminate these disparities by raising awareness of this research and its implications in K-12 education,” Staats said.

All of the materials related to the Kirwan Institute’s School Discipline work can be found by visiting kirwaninstitute.osu.edu/school-discipline/. For more information on implicit bias please visit kirwaninstitute.osu.edu/implicit-bias-review. Visiting kirwaninstitute.osu.edu or searching “Kirwan Institute” on Facebook and Twitter will yield additional events, articles, and updates.