OAKLAND -- The Oakland school board will wait to vote on a plan to reduce the suspensions of the city's African-American schoolchildren.
The school board decided Wednesday night it needed more time to discuss the proposed agreement, or "voluntary resolution," which would be made with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. In the spring, the education department began investigating whether the district disciplined its black students more harshly than its white students. If the school district and department of education reach an agreement, the federal investigation would come to a halt.
Board member Gary Yee said it was important to have the necessary community backing for the plan -- "so that we don't, 10 years from now, end up having the same meeting again."
The draft document identifies 38 schools -- including all of the middle and high schools -- with the greatest disparities, but all schools would eventually be included in the resolution. Under the plan, each school would adopt a strategy to avoid out-of-school suspensions.
A report from the UCLA's Civil Rights Project found that about one in five of Oakland's black students was suspended at least once during the 2009-10 year, compared to 3 percent of white and Asian children. The study found similar disparities statewide.
Read Katy Murphy's Oakland schools blog at www.IBAbuzz.com/education.