Dr. Curran’s research focuses on issues of equity in education with a particular focus on the ways that school discipline and safety contribute to racial disparities in educational outcomes. He also has an active body of research that examines early childhood education, particularly in science.
Industry Expertise (1)
Areas of Expertise (4)
Early Childhood Education
School Resource Officers
Children and Poverty
Media Appearances (1)
Cops on campuses are supposed to keep kids safe, but may do more harm than good, study finds
Florida Phoenix online
The accompanying data analysis by F. Chris Curran of the University of Florida Education Policy Research Center examines the relationship between police on campus and long-term affects on student behavior. “The results suggest a need to reconsider whether law enforcement should be present in schools, and, if they are, how they can be implemented in a way that minimizes unnecessary exposure of students to law enforcement and arrests,” Curran says in the analysis.
Exclusionary School Discipline and Delinquent Outcomes: A Meta-AnalysisJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Julie Gerlinger, Samantha Viano, Joseph H Gardella, Benjamin W Fisher, F Chris Curran, Ethan M Higgins
2021 Excluding students from school remains a common form of punishment despite growing critique of the practice. A disparate research base has impeded the ability to make broader assessments on the association between exclusionary discipline (i.e., suspensions and expulsions) and subsequent behavior. This article synthesizes existing empirical evidence (274 effect sizes from 40 primary studies) examining the relationship between exclusionary discipline and delinquent outcomes, including school misconduct/infractions, antisocial behavior, involvement with the justice system, and risky behaviors. This meta-analysis identifies exclusionary discipline as an important and meaningful predictor of increased delinquency.
Kindergarten Cop: A Case Study of How a Coalition Between School Districts and Law Enforcement Led to School Resource Officers in Elementary SchoolsEducational Evaluation and Policy Analysis
Samantha Viano, F Chris Curran, Benjamin W Fisher
2021 Adopting school resource officers (SROs) is a popular response to school shootings. Using the advocacy coalition and multiple streams frameworks, we explore how school districts in one county formed a coalition with the Sheriff’s Department, adopting SROs in elementary schools following the Sandy Hook shooting. We describe how this coalition was bound together by shared beliefs on school safety and the goodness of law enforcement. The implementation activities of SROs related to the beliefs of the coalition, focusing on security and relationship building. The beliefs were not uniformly understood by SROs—many interpreted their role to include student discipline and managing behavior of students with disabilities. The findings show the utility of comparing policy adoption processes with implementation activities.
Do Interactions With School Resource Officers Predict Students’ Likelihood of Being Disciplined and Feelings of Safety? Mixed-Methods Evidence From Two School DistrictsEducational Evaluation and Policy Analysis
F Chris Curran, Samantha Viano, Aaron Kupchik, Benjamin W Fisher
2021 School resource officers (SROs) are common in schools, yet consequences of their presence are poorly understood. This study leveraged mixed-methods data from student surveys and group interviews across 25 schools to examine how the frequency of interactions and trust/comfort between students and SROs relate to disciplinary outcomes and feelings of safety. We found no evidence that, in this context, more frequent interactions or differing trust/comfort with SROs increased disciplinary consequences, perhaps because, as students report, SROs tended to not engage in formal discipline. We found that, although SROs were seen as increasing safety, interactions with SROs may have heightened students’ sense of danger, potentially mitigating any benefit to students’ overall feelings of safety. Implications for use of SROs are discussed.
Reforming School Discipline: Responses by School District Leadership to Revised State Guidelines for Student Codes of ConductEducational Administration Quarterly
F Chris Curran, Maida A Finch
2021 Purpose: Over the past decade, increasing attention to the negative impacts of exclusionary discipline and disparities therein has led many state educational leaders to enact school discipline reforms. This study examined the response by school district leadership to a state’s revision of guidelines for student codes of conduct. Data: This study leveraged longitudinal data on school district codes of conduct from the 2013–2014 to 2015–2016 school years across the state of Maryland. Codes of conduct were coded in an iterative fashion according to a common set of infraction–response combinations. Research Design: Using a pre–post analytic design, this study examined changes in districts’ codified infractions, responses to infractions, and the overall tier of response. Furthermore, the study compared alignment between state guidelines and district codes of conduct while exploring variation in codified discipline across districts.
Estimating the Relationship Between Special Education De-Identification for Emotional Disturbance and Academic and School Discipline Outcomes: Evidence From Wisconsin’s Longitudinal DataEducation and Urban Society
F Chris Curran, Aydin Bal, Peter Goff, Nicholas Mitchell
2021 Students placed in special education programs for emotional and behavioral disorders with emotional disturbance (ED) identification have academic outcomes that lag both students in regular and special education. This issue is especially important for youth attending urban schools. Although prior research has examined students identified as ED, little research has examined how students who experience de-identification fare with regard to academic or behavioral outcomes. To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the relationship between ED de-identification and student outcomes in the United States. The study uses longitudinal, administrative data to estimate the relationship between special education de-identification from ED and both academic and school discipline outcomes. .