Metro Schools tackles discipline gap

Joins NY, LA and Chicago in action network to reduce discipline disparities

Metro Nashville Public Schools is taking an important step toward greater education equity by joining PASSAGE, a four-city program of action from the Atlantic Philanthropies and the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University.

PASSAGE, which stands for “Positive and Safe Schools Advancing Greater Equity,” is an action and learning network that aims to examine racial and other disparities in school discipline and find ways to move away from punitive, exclusionary approaches that contribute significantly to persistent achievement gaps. Nashville joins New York, Chicago and Los Angeles in this network.

Nationally, African-American students are three and a half times more likely to be suspended or expelled from school than white students, while Latino students are two times as likely. It’s an issue that contributes to the achievement gap among groups of students and one that must be changed for students to achieve.

“We talk a lot about the achievement gap, and we believe the discipline gap is related to it,” said Director of Schools Dr. Jesse Register. “PASSAGE is a way for us to look closely at our own practices and the societal structures involved so we can find ways to improve.”

The work will be achieved through partnerships between the school district and the community, with support from The Atlantic Philanthropies. In Nashville, the Oasis Center will serve as lead partner, working with Metro Schools’ Chief Support Services Officer Tony Majors as the district’s PASSAGE leader.

“This isn’t a study or a committee that will give a list of recommendations to take action two or three years from now,” said Majors. “This is a program of action, and the work to solve this issue has already started.”

Participating cities will also share best practices and positive approaches they have developed through the learning network.

READ the PASSAGE Fact Sheet