3. Out-of-school Suspension to Improve the Teaching and Learning Environment
Certainly suspending disruptive children might improve teaching conditions by relieving some of the teacher's burden and stress. Yet the question posed by the data is not as simple as how to respond to a few difficult students generating most of the behavior problems. Rather, the observed “unduplicated” rates of suspension are on average 28 per cent of the enrollment of Black males attending middle school.
While some students undoubtedly need a more restrictive educational setting, the need for such interventions on a case-by-case basis does not justify the high rates. If suspending large numbers of disruptive students out-of-school, with no guarantee of adult supervision, helped improve instruction and the learning environment, better academic results should be expected. But the research indicates that this is not the case. As stated above, research on the frequent use of school suspension has indicated that, after controlling for race and poverty, higher rates of out-of-school suspension correlate with lower achievement scores (Skiba & Rausch, 2006) or showed no academic benefits (Fabelo et al., 2011).
*394 Moreover, qualitative researchers have documented how the same student can behave very differently in different classrooms (Harry & Klingner, 2006). Disruptions tend to increase or decrease with the skill of the teacher in providing engaging instruction and in managing the classroom, As engagement goes up, misbehavior and suspensions tend to go down (Osher et al., 2010). Many teachers say they would like help improving these areas.(Kratochwill, n.d.). Researchers also find a strong connection between effective classroom management and improved educational outcomes. And these skills can be learned and developed (Green, 2010). According to the American Psychological Association: “When applied correctly, effective classroom management principles can work across all subject areas and all developmental levels .... They can be expected to promote students' self-regulation, reduce the incidence of misbehavior, and increase student productivity” (Kratochwill, n.d.).