K-12 EDUCATION: Certain Groups of Students Attend Alternative Schools in Greater Proportions Than They Do Other Schools

A new report from the Government Accountability Office documents overrepresentation of Black boys and boys with disabilities in alternative schools— that is, schools with a disciplinary or at-risk focus—compared to their share in the broader educational landscape. These children are especially overrepresented at schools with an explicit disciplinary focus. As children in alternative schools are among the most vulnerable, and because these schools are less likely to have critical support staff (social workers, nurses, and counselors), the report elevates the role of student-experienced trauma in shaping children’s educational outcomes. Finally, state-level data in the report suggest that just 0.11% of Maine’s school population is enrolled in alternative schools, compared with 0.95% nationwide.