Models of Success, Teacher Quality and Student Disciplinary Infraction: A Critical Analysis of Chicago’s Urban Preparatory Academies and Harlem Children’s Zone

John A. Williams, III, Greg Wiggan

Abstract


School discipline disparities in U.S. education is accompanied by a litany of literature that focuses on African Americans in low-performing urban schools (Civil Right Project, 2000; Losen, 2011; Mendez & Knoff, 2003; Skiba, Michael, Nardo & Peterson, 2002; Wilson, 2014). Public K-12 institutions in the U.S. report that African Americans are suspended at three-times the rate of White students (23% for African Americans as compared to 7% for Whites). Furthermore, the most recent Civil Rights Discipline Collection report (Office of Civil Rights, 2014) indicates that students who receive one suspension have a much greater chance of being suspended multiple times, ultimately leading to expulsion and or involvement in the juvenile justice system (Allen & White-Smith, 2014; Gregory, 1995; Office of Civil Rights, 2014; Pane & Rocco, 2014). A significant amount of research focuses on public education institutions’ dismal outcomes in this area (Skiba et al., 2002; Office of Civil Rights, 2014; Wilson, 2014), without examining charter schools to determine if discipline disparities are endemic in them as well. This study examined two urban, high achieving charter schools. Urban Preparatory Academies in Chicago and Harlem Children’s Zone in New York. The school characteristics are assessed through critical race theory to better understand the relationship between teacher quality and student discipline. The findings of the study indicate that while both schools had similar student demographics, lower rates of discipline infractions were reported in the individual campuses that employed a higher number of qualified teachers. These findings have implications for teacher preparation and urban education.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5296/jei.v2i2.9788

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Journal of Educational Issues  ISSN 2377-2263

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