• UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    MVB: Gauchos snap 7 match losing streak with emphatic sweep of UCSD on Friday night. RECAP >>>… https://t.co/Cee1KbeXOh
    9 hours 53 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    Women's Tennis: UC Santa Barb. 2, Oregon 5 (Final)
    12 hours 21 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    WBB: Gauchos Face First-Place UC Davis Looking to End Two-Game Skid https://t.co/wRGTYxtxDC
    13 hours 22 min ago
  • ucsantabarbara twitter avatar
    Called “tama” or “tamashii,” the belief in spirits of deceased ancestors goes back centuries. https://t.co/KUJg2oGc7k
    13 hours 47 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    Muno (2 H, 2 R), Corey (3-4, 2 R), Davis (7 IP, 2 ER, 10 K) lead @UCSB_Baseball to 7-4 win in home opener! RECAP >>… https://t.co/I32qmDSuZB
    14 hours 14 min ago
  • ArtsandLectures twitter avatar
    Fascinating! #Sapiens + #HomoDeus author #YuvalNoahHarari predicts humankind’s future: https://t.co/5P25xtpyRQ via… https://t.co/TIAzFchgfI
    14 hours 46 min ago
  • ArtsandLectures twitter avatar
    RT @AshleyyySb: Only on Twitter to continue to absorb all insight and research from @DrSidMukherjee || Stoked to attend his lecture @Artsan
    15 hours 2 min ago
  • brenucsb twitter avatar
    Does location affect how pines react to climate change? Bren PhD student Ian McCullough shares answer #BrenPhDTalks https://t.co/6zVyQetm2t
    15 hours 7 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    Softball: Fifth-Inning Dooms Gauchos in 6-4 Loss to Purdue https://t.co/XWYKVl9UPx
    15 hours 9 min ago
  • UCSB_GradPost twitter avatar
    Register for 2017 Graduate Division Commencement before May 5! https://t.co/IDP1WGLGik #UCSB #ucsbgradpost
    15 hours 15 min ago
  • brenucsb twitter avatar
    Bren PhD student Jessica Perkins' research answers: "What Makes an #LCA Study Influential?" https://t.co/HatfwVTKV4 #BrenPhDTalks
    15 hours 16 min ago
  • brenucsb twitter avatar
    Runsheng Song shares strategies to estimate chemicals' life cycle inventories with little data #BrenPhDTalks https://t.co/gUsRney8nC #LCI
    15 hours 27 min ago
  • brenucsb twitter avatar
    #BrenPhDTalks: Bren PhD student Ying Wang looks at nanomaterial accumulation in soybeans & nitrogen-fixing bacteria https://t.co/85xiy6EmAY
    15 hours 37 min ago
  • brenucsb twitter avatar
    Bren PhD student Yuwei Qin uses US potato production to show how to model marginal production in #LCA https://t.co/jDyW0Fkzbx #BrenPhDTalks
    15 hours 47 min ago
  • brenucsb twitter avatar
    Bren PhD student Chris Heckman's research shows how soil water storage eases #climate change effects https://t.co/cflpEuiAmV #BrenPhDTalks
    15 hours 57 min ago

Rough Discipline, in Black and White

UCSB researcher finds black children twice as likely as white children to receive corporal punishment
Monday, January 25, 2016 - 12:15
Santa Barbara, CA

iStock_000052689966_Large.jpg

Photo Credit: 

annebaek

 In a time when questions of racial inequality once again roil the nation, a UC Santa Barbara researcher has found striking evidence that “some aspects of the ‘bad old days’ are not fully behind us.” Dick Startz, a professor of economics at UCSB, reports in a blog post for the Brookings Institution that black children are twice as likely as white children to receive corporal punishment at school.

Using data from the 2011-12 school year — the most recent available — Startz also found that corporal punishment is most racially disproportionate in the Deep South, with North Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas at the top of the list.

Corporal punishment is banned in 31 states, but only two states, Delaware and Hawaii, report zero cases of corporal punishment. “The numbers are the numbers reported by the school districts or the states to the federal government,” Startz explained. “This isn’t from surveys, this isn’t the feds investigating; this is what schools say they’re doing. One could imagine that they’re underreporting some, but it’s really hard to imagine that they’re deliberately saying they’re doing corporal punishment when they’re not.”

Even more troubling, Startz said, black students receive a disproportionate number of school suspensions. Roughly 15 percent of black students receive out-of-school suspensions in a given year — four times that of white students. For in-school suspensions, black students receive twice as many as white students.

“Suspensions are an actual consequence, and being suspended from school does bad things to you, because you’re not in school,” Startz said. “In terms of social policy corporal punishment is not that frequent. However, out-of-school suspensions, which are very bad, are very common. The patterns look pretty much the same as corporal punishment. They don’t have the same regional distribution, but in terms of racial disproportionality, same thing. And that really is a serious issue.”

Startz expected pushback, and as usual, the Internet provided plenty. The most common comments were that students who were beaten “deserved” it, or it was black teachers doling out the punishment. Neither assertion holds up, he said.

“If you’re at the stage where you’re beating a kid in school, something’s gone wrong,” Startz asserted. “The truth is, I don’t have a scientific opinion as to the causes of why we see these racial disproportionalities, but it’s there and it’s big. I think that indicates something wrong. The science says it’s there; I guess people can disagree as to whether this indicates there’s something wrong or not.”

As it happens, one of Startz’s Ph.D. students is doing research that may shed light on the issue. The student, Adam Wright, has a large set of data that tracked students for several years from kindergarten on. The data come from surveys in which the race of teachers and students is known. Each year the teachers rate the students on personality traits, positive and negative.

“What Wright finds is black students, when they have black teachers, are much less likely to be written off as problems,” Startz said. “It’s basically just boys, and it doesn’t show up for Hispanics, doesn’t show up for whites.

“All these things are really about perception, but it’s very strong evidence, at least, that black teachers perceive discipline differently,” Startz added. “I think that fits with a lot of our intuition that there are certain different cultural things. Nobody’s necessarily suggesting that the white teachers are intending to do anything bad, but that it’s a useful lesson to remember that people seem to perceive things differently.”

Contact Info: 

Jim Logan
(805) 893-3071
jim.logan@ucsb.edu

Topics: