AASA, CDF Release Survey Outlining Superintendent Views on School Discipline


James Minichello
703-774-6953 (cell)

Alexandria, Va. – (July 31, 2014) – AASA, The School Superintendents Association, and the Children’s Defense Fund released today a comprehensive report to determine the state of district-wide school discipline policies and practices.

This year, the Obama Administration has focused district leaders on reducing the use of out-of-school suspension in school districts and this survey attempts to understand how and why students are suspended and the barriers to reducing suspension rates. The survey is part of a larger project through the partnership of AASA and CDF to assist superintendents find solutions to these challenges and improve school climates for all children.

The report, titled “School Discipline in the Eyes of School Superintendents,” generated responses from 500 superintendents nationwide and includes recommendations for school district leaders and school discipline reform advocates seeking opportunities to improve school discipline policies and practices at the local level. The report examined superintendents’ rationale for using out-of-school suspension, the effects of using exclusionary discipline, the infractions account for the greatest number of suspensions in districts, and the perceived barriers to policies that reduce suspension and expulsion.


Key findings included:


· Half of the superintendents surveyed reported that reducing out-of-school suspensions (OSS) and expulsions is important or very important to their leadership agendas.

· More than 70 percent of superintendents indicated that their states have laws or regulations requiring OSS or expulsion for certain infractions, limiting the discretion of district and school staff.

· When asked what would have the greatest effect in reducing school suspension rates in the district, the most common response from superintendents was greater parental involvement followed by building conflict resolution skills and character education.

· Nearly three-quarters of superintendents believe teachers are likely to oppose efforts to limit out of school suspension in the district.

· Sixty-five percent of districts partner with individuals or organizations outside the school to improve school discipline policy. Urban districts were much more likely than suburban and rural districts to engage with outside partners and agencies to improve their school discipline practices.

“Addressing school discipline policies is a critical issue as we advance our work in educating the total child in our schools,” said Daniel A. Domenech, AASA executive director. “We are grateful to collaborate with the Children’s Defense Fund in order to create a positive impact in school districts across the country in the area of school discipline policies and practices.”

Access a copy of “School Discipline in the Eyes of School Superintendents” by clicking on the link provided. For specific questions about the report, contact Bryan Joffe, AASA project director, at bjoffe@aasa.org or Sasha Pudelski, AASA assistant director, policy and advocacy, at spudelski@aasa.org.


About AASA
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 10,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA advocates for the highest quality public education for all students, and develops and supports school system leaders.