Racial Equity Resource Guide


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Can “De-Biasing” Strategies Help to Reduce Racial Disparities in School Discipline?

Author: Johanna Wald


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In Johanna Wald’s essay, “Can ‘De-Biasing’ Strategies Help to Reduce Racial Disparities in School Discipline?” she summarizes the findings from various studies that suggest that implicit racial bias contributes to the differential treatment of children of color – particularly Black boys – in school settings. The studies she mentions in her report include research done by Indiana Professor Russell Skiba about the racial disparities in school exclusion rates and a study performed by Gregory and Weinstein that found that a higher percentage of African American students’ office referrals were for “defiance” than White students. Wald also explains the IAT (Implicit Association Test) as the most commonly used measure of implicit bias as indicated by the research literature.

At the end of the essay, Wald summarizes the research of leading implicit bias scholar, Patricia Devine of the University of Wisconsin and the three conditions Devine indicates need to be in place for individuals to successfully “de-bias” as well as the “toolkit” of five strategies that Devine and her colleagues developed to serve as a “multi-faceted prejudice habit breaking” intervention.

In her closing, Wald concludes that while the research supports interventions aimed at reducing implicit racial bias among educators, those strategies only address a piece of the crisis that has come to be known as the “school-to-prison pipeline.” Wald goes on to suggest that this is in fact a larger social issue that demands a comprehensive response crossing over myriad systems and requiring legal, legislative, practice and policy reforms aimed at structures, institutions and individuals.




Related Organizations

The Equity Project at Indiana University

The Equity Project at Indiana University is a consortium of projects dedicated to providing high quality data to educational decision-makers in order to better understand and address issues regarding educational equity and bridge the gap between research and practice.


Tagged with: Organization Alliance, Research For Action, Education, Indiana

Related Resources

Discipline Disparities: Myths & Facts

This fact sheet provided by The Equity Project at Indiana University describes many of the most common claims about disciplinary disparities and what research actually says about them.


Tagged with: Research for Action, Racial Healing, Education, Articles

Eliminating Excessive and Unfair Exclusionary Discipline in Schools Policy Recommendations for Reducing Disparities

Created by the Discipline Disparities Research to Practice Collaborative and the Equity Project at Indiana University, this resource explores key policy recommendations to reduce disparities in school discipline.


Tagged with: Research for Action, Racial Healing, Addressing Laws, Policy and Justice, Education, Articles, Select Papers / Booklets

New and Developing Research on Disparities in Discipline

This brief describes findings from efforts by the Equity Project at Indiana University and new research from the Discipline Disparities Collaborative.


Tagged with: Research for Action, Racial Healing, Addressing Laws, Policy and Justice, Education, Articles

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