Racial disparities in school-based disciplinary actions are associated with county-level rates of racial bias

Travis Riddle, Stacey Sinclair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

There are substantial gaps in educational outcomes between black and white students in the United States. Recently, increased attention has focused on differences in the rates at which black and white students are disciplined, finding that black students are more likely to be seen as problematic and more likely to be punished than white students are for the same offense. Although these disparities suggest that racial biases are a contributor, no previous research has shown associations with psychological measurements of bias and disciplinary outcomes. We show that county-level estimates of racial bias, as measured using data from approximately 1.6 million visitors to the Project Implicit website, are associated with racial disciplinary disparities across approximately 96,000 schools in the United States, covering around 32 million white and black students. These associations do not extend to sexuality biases, showing the specificity of the effect. These findings suggest that acknowledging that racial biases and racial disparities in education go hand-in-hand may be an important step in resolving both of these social ills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8255-8260
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume116
Issue number17
DOIs
StatePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

Keywords

  • Education
  • Racial bias
  • Racial disparities
  • School discipline
  • Social psychology

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