Expulsion Rates in Kern County, California Raise Concerns about “Throwaway Kids”

The Center for Public Integrity recently posted a story about throwaway kids--kids that have been expelled by their schools and placed in alternative forms of education--examining the complex balance between discipline and education.
The piece focuses on independent study students, many of whom are required to meet with teachers once a week for four and a half hours and are assigned work to complete, at home, until their next meeting. For many critics, independent study seems like taking a step back.
“You take a kid who has already demonstrated that he’s not being successful in conventional school, and then you impose on him the duty that he’s going to self-study, to me that just seems insane,” said Tim McKinley, an attorney for California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA), a legal aid group.
Another concern is the rate at which minorities are expelled from Kern County, which is eerily similar to disproportionate minority contact in the juvenile justice system. In the 2009-2010 school year, Kern’s Bakersfield High School expelled:

  • 29 percent of black students (15 percent of the high school’s population)
  • 43 percent of Latino students (29 percent of the high school’s population)

Kern County has been named California’s expulsion capitol with expulsion rates four times higher than the California average and seven times higher than the national average. During the 2011-2012 school year--despite a 40 percent drop—the Kern High School district alone expelled 1,096 students which is more than expulsions of all students from all districts in Los Angeles County, a county with nine times the number of students.
Read the full story about throwaway kids on the Ceter for Public Integrity website >>

Avery Klein is a digital and social media intern at Prichard Communications. She is from Springfield, Missouri where she attends Missouri State University and is studying public relations, advertising and promotions, and ethical leadership. She loves traveling, discovering new restaurants, social media and her two darling dogs.

Updated: July 22 2013