Education Justice

Girl in class raising hand

We work on a number of fronts to advocate for policy changes at the state level, as well as the local and school district level to close pathways to dropout and eliminate contact with the criminal legal system. We also work with community organizations, schools, teachers and students from a policy perspective to foster safe and supportive environments where all students can thrive, regardless of race, income, background or Zip code. Here, you will find resources from our formerly named School-to-Prison Pipeline Project, which is still ongoing within the Education Justice Project, as well as information on our fight to achieve equal educational opportunities for all young Texans. As Texas grapples with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, we will post resources and materials to keep the public updated on our efforts to ensure an equitable recovery for K-12 learners. Visit our blog post by Project Director Andrew Hairston to learn more about our Education Justice Project, and check back here as we continue our data-driven research and working hand-in-hand with communities to evolve the project further.


  • 2019 New Laws (86th Legislature): Read more here about two beneficial laws and one concerning law related to schools and the School-to-Prison Pipeline.
  • Governor Abbott Signs HB 674 into Law. HB 674 will prohibit discretionary out-of-school suspensions for Pre-K through 2nd graders. The bill does not impact removals for extremely disruptive behavior or removals for serious offenses that are required by law. It will also permit, not require, each school district to identify student needs and create its own plan to train educators and support students with age-appropriate, research-based methods. Read our fact sheet on the bill. June 2017
  • Helping our Youngest Students Succeed by Ending Suspensions. Texas Appleseed has been working steadily with school districts, communities, partners and other advocates to help change how students are disciplined. We've achieved some great victories that will benefit both students and teachers. Austin ISD's board of trustees passed a suspensions policy Feb. 27, 2017, that will significantly reduce suspensions for Pre-K through 2nd graders, while also providing important training and supports for teachers. Dallas ISD passed a suspensions policy Feb. 23, 2017, which will significantly reduce suspensions for these grade levels as well. Houston ISD was the first in Texas to formally end the use of suspensions for Pre-K through 2nd grade students, which the district passed last year, followed by El Paso ISD.
  • New Report on Discipline in Texas. Dangerous Discipline: How Texas Schools are Relying on Law Enforcement, Courts, and Juvenile Probation to Discipline Students is a report we produced with our partner, Texans Care for Children. It compiles new data on how Texas school districts continue to rely on police officers, juvenile probation, and courts to address low-level, school-based behaviors, despite an ever-growing body of research showing the many ways these methods harm youth. December 2016
  • Texas Appleseed Releases New Report. In Suspended Childhood: An Analysis of Exclusionary Discipline of Texas’ Pre-K and Elementary School Students, Texas Appleseed analyzed data on in-school suspensions, out-of-school suspensions, and placements in disciplinary alternative education programs (DAEPs) for Texas children in pre-kindergarten (Pre-K) through 5th grade. The report was updated with new data in 2017.


  • Texas students can no longer be charged with a crime or face fines for truancy after legislation supported by Texas Appleseed passed in 2015.
  • School-based police officers in Texas school districts with an enrollment of 30,000 or more students must receive youth-focused education and training after legislation supported by Texas Appleseed passed in 2015.
  • Saw a more than 50% drop in the number of Class C tickets issued to school children for minor misbehavior after legislation pushed by Appleseed passed in 2013.
  • Helped end Texas’ school discipline zero tolerance policies by ensuring that schools take into account a student’s mental disabilities and intent before meting out punishment.
  • Advocated for new laws that prohibit expelling students for minor misbehavior, and requires a school to consider a student’s intent and disabilities when considering expulsion, resulting in a 28% drop in the number of students expelled from school in the 2013/2014 school year.

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