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Exploration of changing demographics in a suburban school district: Examining racial disparities in discipline-related metrics

D'Emidio, Betsy (2017) Exploration of changing demographics in a suburban school district: Examining racial disparities in discipline-related metrics. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The overrepresentation of African American students in exclusionary discipline such as out-of-school suspensions and Alternative Education for Disruptive Youth (AEDY) programs is well documented; however, there continues to be a gap in the disciplinary response between the ways African American students are disciplined compared to students of other races (Gregory and Weinstein, 2007). District policies and practices such as zero tolerance mandates hold implications for the racial inequity that still exists in education (Triplett, Allen & Lewis, 2014). The inequitable distribution of disciplinary consequences became evident in Wildcat Pride School District (WPSD) when the district was audited by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) during the 2013-2014 school year. The findings of the audit were that WPSD had an overrepresentation of African American students placed out of school for the purpose of suspensions and AEDY placements. This case study chronicles the suspension rates and placements into AEDY programs of African American students in WPSD from 2000-2015. This exploration of the changing demographics examines the racial disparities that arise through the lens of discipline-related metrics and offers a comparison to similar districts in Southwestern Pennsylvania. In researching the suspension rates and AEDY placement data, specific factors that were thought to have an impact on WPSD’s demographic make-up were considered. These factors include the incorporation of the Ward Home, the merger with Duquesne City School District, and the audit conducted by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. To test this theory, this study used secondary data analysis from documents and archives related to district and community demographics as well as data that is consistent with the discipline-related metrics. Data relating to suspension rates and AEDY placements were collected from WPSD’s student database system and PDE’s Safe Schools Reports. Other data sources include 2000 and 2010 census data as well as documents and artifacts relating to the audit conducted by PDE. Recommendations have been made that are specific to Wildcat Pride School District and address the changing demographic needs of all stakeholders.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
D'Emidio, BetsyBAD56@pitt.eduBAD56
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorTananis,
Committee MemberJill,
Committee MemberCarol,
Date: 14 August 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 23 May 2017
Approval Date: 14 August 2017
Submission Date: 3 July 2017
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 98
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Overrepresentation, African American students, exclusionary discipline, discipline-related metrics, racial disparities
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2017 15:00
Last Modified: 14 Aug 2017 15:00


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