Miami: Student program fails; suspension numbers hidden

Oct 27, 2017, Miami Times: Report: Miami-Dade Schools Hide Suspension Numbers by Shipping Students Off-Campus …Mitchell is one of thousands of students in Miami-Dade who have been sent to a "Student Success Center," a two-year-old program started by the District as an effort to reform discipline and cut down on suspensions. Last year, almost 4,500 students were sent to one of eleven Success Centers, which the district says have helped troubled students without locking them out of classes. But a new report from the nonprofit Power U Center for Social Change casts doubt on those claims. The group surveyed hundreds of students from three high schools and found the vast majority said they got no instruction at the centers and had little constructive to do there; Power U says the centers are actually little more than "warehouses" that detain and deprive students of color of a proper education to help make the district's suspension numbers look better. … The idea for the centers dates to 2014, when the school district found that 14,000 students had been suspended for disciplinary problems. At Mitchell's school alone, suspended students accounted for 13 percent of the total population. Parents protested that harsh discipline, including expulsions and school-based arrests, was depriving mostly minority students of their education. While black students only make up about 21 percent of the student population, they accounted for 46 percent of suspensions that year. … As out-of-school suspensions vanished and thousands went to the centers instead, deputy superintendent Valtena Brown bragged in a Herald op-ed that "it is difficult to dispute [the Success Center's] immediate impact and effectiveness in transforming the student discipline culture."