The Children Left Behind Project is a collaboration of the Indiana Youth Services Association and the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy, funded by the Lilly Endowment. The purpose is to share data on the use and effect of school suspension and expulsion with policymakers, educators, and community members in order to create a meaningful dialogue about suspension, expulsion, and their alternatives.
Our goals in disseminating these data are twofold:
1. To open a statewide dialogue concerning the best methods for promoting and maintaining a safe and productive learning climate in Indiana schools.
2. To initiate and maintain a forum for discussion between those in the juvenile justice system and Indiana's educational system to ensure that methods chosen for maintaining order in our schools do not jeopardize the potential of young people or the overall safety of communities.
There is no question that data about school discipline can be controversial, a matter about which reasonable people can disagree. It is our hope to open a dialogue among policy-makers and educators about the best methods for maintaining safety and productivity in Indiana's schools. Further, should it be determined that change is necessary, we believe that reform must absolutely respect two fundamental principles:
- Indiana's schools have a right and responsibility to apply methods that are effective in maintaining a climate that is as free as possible of disruptions to student learning.
- Best practice suggests, and No Child Left Behind mandates, that all educational practices employed in schools must maximize the opportunity to learn for all children, regardless of their background.