Persistently Harsh Punishments Amid Efforts to Reform: Using Tools From Social Psychology to Counteract Racial Bias in School Disciplinary Decisions

Simone Ispa-Landa*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

In response to concerns about overly harsh and racially inequitable school discipline, schools have introduced disciplinary reforms. However, even in schools where these reformative programs are present, many students continue to be subject to developmentally inappropriate discipline and striking racial gaps in disciplinary outcomes persist. Teachers’ implicit racial bias likely contributes to racial disparities in school discipline. In this article, I highlight two social psychological skills—perspective-taking and individuating—that have been found to reduce the effects of implicit bias in nonschool settings. I suggest that if developed in educators, these social psychological skills could also help reduce racial disparities in school discipline. I discuss implications for future research and policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)384-390
Number of pages7
JournalEducational Researcher
Volume47
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018

Keywords

  • disparities
  • equity
  • ethnicity
  • qualitative research
  • race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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