ON-Lion Letter
"In 2010-2011, more than 48,000 Wisconsin students were suspended," begins an April report from the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (WPRI) by its research director Michael Ford.  "The disruptive behavior leading to these suspensions is detrimental to teachers, school cultures, and ultimately, student learning.

"Reducing suspension rates in Wisconsin school districts with high numbers of disruptive pupils can substantially increase achievement levels in those districts," Ford continues in The Impact of Disruptive Students in Wisconsin School Districts.  "An analysis of suspension rates in Wisconsin shows that decreasing those rates by five percentage points would yield an almost five percentage point increase in math proficiency, and a three and one-half percentage point increase in reading proficiency on the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam.

"In other words," he concludes, "reducing disruptive behavior can yield substantial achievement gains for Wisconsin pupils."

The report recommends "supporting and strengthening ongoing efforts to instruct teachers on how to deal with problem students" and "state efforts to bring evidence-supported strategies for disruptive students to Wisconsin schools.  In addition, strategies should be pursued to ensure that chronically disruptive pupils are permanently removed from regular classrooms, perhaps with an increased use of virtual schools."

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee substantially supports WPRI.
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