Homogeneity and Inequality: School Discipline Inequality and the Role of Racial Composition
Does individual race interact with school racial composition to affect punishment?
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Homogeneity and Inequality
Vol. 95, No. 1, Pp. 55-75
The percent of black students in a school is related to increased odds of suspension/ expulsion, and differential effects of behavior partially mediate these relationships.
Black students may be most likely to experience unequal sanctions on their behavior in racially homogeneous contexts—whether homogeneously black or white.
Compared to a white student, a black student exhibiting similar behavior has 2.04 (p < .0001) greater log odds of being disciplined.
Attending a school with the highest proportion of black students (75–100 percent) appears to significantly increase the odds of experiencing a suspension or expulsion, by about 75 percent, compared to a school with only 0–25 percent black students.
Compared to more homogeneous schools, black students who attend racially mixed schools where black students comprise 25–50 percent of the student body are significantly less likely to experience inequality in school sanctions. In fact, compared to black students who attend majority black schools, these students are 88 percent less likely to be sanctioned for their behavior.
In schools where black students comprise more than 50 percent of the student body, behavior is significantly more likely to lead to an official school sanction such as suspension.
Blacks are more severely punished for their behavior as the percentage of blacks in the school rises.
When SES was controlled for, none of the results change significantly, and the same qualitative interpretations remain.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Behavior, Discipline, Racial Composition, SES, SES Composition
Method of Analysis:
Multinomial Logistic Regression
10th graders in 1990
Unit of Analysis:
The data used for this study comes from the National Educational Longitudinal Survey (NELS:88) for the year 1990 (tenth grade).
The NELS sample was drawn using a two-stage stratified probability sampling design to select a nationally representative sample of students and schools
The analyses draw on a sample of NELS black and white students (n = 8,328) nested in 745 schools.
DV: School disciplinary sanctions is defined as an odds ratio and is measured by three variables: in-school suspension, out-of-school suspension, and expulsion/transfer.
In the NELS survey, study participants were asked how many times in the first half of the current school year that they were: a) put on in-school suspension, b) suspended or put on probation from school, and c) transferred to another school or permanently suspended for disciplinary reasons. Response options were ordinal, with choices of “never,” “1–2 times,” “3–6 times,” “7–9 times,” and “over 10 times.”
Key IVs: Individual race, and the proportion of black students, and percentage of students who receive free or reduced priced lunch.