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NEWS FLASH: Connecticut Charter Schools outperform public schools…in suspending kindergarten students!

by Jon Pelto from Wait, What

Well, we’ve finally found proof that charter schools do outperform their public school counterparts.

In the percentage of children 6 and under who get suspended from school.

In a stunning story that was posted on the CT Mirror website late today, the CT Mirror’s Jacqueline Rabe examines a new report that revealed that, “at least 1,967 students age 6 and under were suspended last school year – almost all of them black or Hispanic.”

Rabe writes, “According to a report from the Connecticut Department of Education, the number of students suspended is actually higher, but privacy issues restrict the state agency from releasing information that could identify unique student information.”

The CT Mirror goes on to write that after unearthing the data, Connecticut’s new Child Advocate explained, ’That’s a lot of kids… I do not think that [suspension] is an appropriate response’ to students behaving poorly at school.”

Jamey Bell added that, “Excluding such young children from the classroom ‘seems to me a non-educational, non-therapeutic response for those who are way too young to be culpable.”

Most disturbing of all is where the suspensions were taking place. Not only were nearly all the suspensions targeted to low income, minority children, but there was an extraordinary difference between how district schools handle the behavioral problems of little children and how charter schools handle those problems.

While the CT Mirror included a chart listing the total number of suspensions by town, for purposes of comparison, I’ve added the total number of students in the grade range (kindergarten and first grade), which allows for a more appropriate apples to apples comparison to be made.


District or School

Number of Suspensions for children 6 or under

Total number of children 6 or under in district or school

Percentage of suspensions compared to total number of students

Bridgeport Schools




Achievement First – Bridgeport




Hartford Schools




Achievement First – Hartford




New Haven Schools




Achievement First – New Haven

Amistad, Elm City





While data does not reveal whether it is the same children being suspended multiple times, what is clear is that suspension is used far more often in Connecticut’s charter schools.

Readers will recall that Achievement First, Inc. is the charter school management company that was co-founded by Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor.

The CT Mirror story is an absolute must read.

The story includes quotes from Joette Katz, the Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families and Governor Malloy’s criminal justice policy advisory, Michael Lawlor.

Katz tells the CT Mirror, “I was shocked…Clearly when children are being suspended, something else is not being attended to.”

Lawlor said, “These high suspension rates are an indicator of weak leadership…It has to do with the culture in a school…It’s not about the kids at that school. It’s about the policies in those schools.”

The most important conclusion is that something is very, very wrong with the way discipline is being handled at Connecticut’s charter schools.

The Department of Children and Families, the State’s Child Advocate and the State Department of Education must begin an immediate investigation into these practices and they would do well to bring in Connecticut’s Attorney General to determine whether Connecticut laws are being violated.

You can read the full CT Mirror Story here: