Statement from Tracy McDaniel

Tracy McDanielStatement from Tracy McDaniel 
Principal and Founder 
KIPP Reach College Preparatory,
Oklahoma City, OK 

This month, the Center for Civil Rights Remedies will release a report entitled “Charter Schools, Civil Rights and School Discipline: A Comprehensive Review.” It will draw on data from a report from the Office of Civil Rights on school suspension data from 2011-12. According to the CCR report, KIPP Reach College Preparatory, the middle school I founded in 2002 and still lead, had a suspension rate for black students in 2011-12 of 71 percent. This number is inaccurate, not because of a mistake by the Office of Civil Rights, but because of a reporting error we made at KIPP Reach.

We inaccurately submitted suspension data for 2011-12, and we own this mistake. We were asked to submit two pieces of data for that year: (A) the number of students suspended only once; and (B) the number of students suspended two or more times, which were then added to calculate a third number; (C) the total number of students suspended. We misinterpreted the instructions and inadvertently submitted (C) the total number of students suspended; and (B) the number of students suspended two or more times. This resulted in double counting the students who were suspended two or more times. If we correct for the double counting, KIPP Reach’s suspension rate for black students in 2011-12 would be approximately 45 percent, not 71 percent.

These corrections notwithstanding, in 2012, we determined an annual suspension rate of 45 percent was too high and resolved to change our practice. We hired a counselor beginning in 2012 to better meet the needs of our students and help reduce our suspension rate. Our suspension rates for black students were below 25 percent for the 2014-15 school year, and we are on target to be below 25 percent again this year. We remain committed to keeping our suspension rates below 25 percent moving forward.  

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