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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Founded in 1996 by former Harvard professors Gary Orfield and Christopher Edley, Jr., the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles is now co-directed by Orfield and Patricia Gándara, professors at UCLA. Its mission is to create a new generation of research in social science and law, on the critical issues of civil rights and equal opportunity for racial and ethnic groups in the United States. It has commissioned more than 400 studies, published 14 books and issued numerous reports from authors at universities and research centers across the country. The U.S. Supreme Court, in its 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger decision upholding affirmative action, and in Justice Breyer’s dissent (joined by three other Justices) to its 2007 Parents Involved in Community Schools decision, cited the Civil Rights Project’s research.

Disabling Inequity: The Urgent Need for Race-Conscious Resource Remedies

(2021)

Among the most critical pre-pandemic inequities that have not received sufficient attention is the fact that many districts are not meeting their legal and moral obligation to educate students with disabilities, which must include providing needed mental health services, behavioral supports and educationally sound interventions by well qualified staff. This report reveals serious pre-existing conditions of inadequate support that are likely to be exacerbated by the current pandemic, summarizes the pandemic’s disparate impact, which is resulting in greater losses of instructional time amidst increasing experiences of trauma, and argues for additional post-pandemic steps to ensure that all students with disabilities needing supports and services must receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to have those needs met, and that they are not excluded because of behaviors caused by their disability.

Cover page of The Striking Outlier: The Persistent, Painful and Problematic Practice of Corporal Punishment in Schools

The Striking Outlier: The Persistent, Painful and Problematic Practice of Corporal Punishment in Schools

(2019)

This report examines only the data (students populations and paddling incidents) from schools where corporal punishment is used. The report relies on data from the U.S. Department of Education's Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), primarily from the 2013-14 school year. In schools where corporal punishment is practiced, black students and students with disabilities are more likely to be struck than white students and those without disabilities.

Cover page of The Unequal Impact of Suspension on the Opportunity to Learn in CA

The Unequal Impact of Suspension on the Opportunity to Learn in CA

(2018)

In 2016-17, schoolchildren in California lost an estimated 763,690 days of instruction time, a figure based on the combined total of 381,845 in-school suspensions (ISS) and out-of-school suspensions (OSS). This is an updated report on CA suspension practice.

Cover page of The High Cost Of Harsh Discipline And Its Disparate Impact

The High Cost Of Harsh Discipline And Its Disparate Impact

(2016)

School suspension rates have been rising since the early 1970s, especially for children of color. One body of research has demonstrated that suspension from school is harmful to students, as it increases the risk of retention and school dropout. Another has demonstrated that school dropouts impose huge social costs on their states and localities, due to lost wages and taxes, increased crime, higher welfare costs, and poorer health. Although it is estimated that reducing school suspension rates in Texas would save the state up to $1 billion in social costs, only one study to date has linked these two bodies of research. The current study addresses some of the limitations of that study by (1) estimating a stronger causal model of the effects suspension has on dropping out of school, (2) calculating a more comprehensive set of the social costs associated with dropping out, and (3) estimating the cost of school suspensions in Florida and California, and for the U.S. as a whole. The results show that suspensions in 10th grade alone produced more than 67,000 dropouts in the U.S. and generated social costs to the nation of more than $35 billion. These results are undoubtedly conservative, since the California and U.S. estimates were limited to 10th-grade students, while the Florida estimates were limited to 9th-grade students. Thus, they did not capture the effects of suspensions in earlier grades.

Cover page of Charter Schools, Civil Rights and School Discipline: A Comprehensive Review

Charter Schools, Civil Rights and School Discipline: A Comprehensive Review

(2016)

This report, along with the companion spreadsheet, provides the first comprehensive description ever compiled of charter school discipline. In 2011-12, every one of the nation’s 95,000 public schools was required to report its school discipline data, including charter schools. This analysis, which includes more than 5,250 charter schools, focuses on out-of-school suspension rates at the elementary and secondary levels. The report describes the extent to which suspensions meted out by charter schools for each major racial group and for students with disabilities are excessive or disparate.