Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

School Discipline Racialized
National Review ^ | 1/16/14

Posted on 01/16/2014 3:42:42 AM PST by markomalley

The Obama administration is no stranger to trying to micromanage complex, intractable problems from Washington. But using the Civil Rights Act to direct schools’ disciplinary practices might be its most foolhardy idea yet. Beginning in 2010, the Department of Education, led by the occasionally sensible Arne Duncan, announced that it intended to pursue vigorously civil-rights violations in the American school system. That’s led to a number of DOE investigations of various school districts with racially disparate discipline rates.

This, of course, is not surprising: Black and Hispanic students are much more likely to be low achievers, coming from poor homes, often headed by a single parent. The discipline disparities produced by these tragic circumstances are so widespread that the Departments of Justice and Education have now issued a set of national guidelines for school discipline, summarizing “schools’ obligations to avoid and redress racial discrimination in the administration of school discipline” and explaining the departments’ ability to launch civil-rights investigations if they believe schools have failed in their duties.

The feds contend, as an aside, that discrimination in discipline shows up in studies when controlling for poverty and other factors, but the evidence for this contention is ludicrously weak. Federal civil-rights investigators don’t have to publicly disclose the grounds they’ve used to initiate investigations of racial discrimination, but their work so far leans as heavily as the new guidelines do on evidence of disparate statistical impact, rather than on indications of real bias and disparate treatment. They will not admit that they rely on such arbitrary evidence, since there is little statutory justification in the Civil Rights Act for such a disparate-impact case, but the objection is clear enough: Certain minorities are disciplined at higher rates than whites are, so racism must be at work.

When such a simple heuristic is applied, schools will feel even more pressure than they already do to adopt a simple solution: try to discipline all races, regardless of behavior, at the same rate. This might mean arbitrarily increasing rates of punishment for whites or, much more likely, reducing them for blacks and Hispanics, disadvantaging their classmates of all races who’d like peaceful classrooms. Discipline rates for Asian Americans, at half those for whites, are lowest of all — so resolving the Holder-Duncan dilemma means punishing them more, or trying to discipline all students at the rate of a small minority that significantly outstrips most Americans in student achievement. The logical conclusion of this application of the Civil Rights Act is that boys, who are disciplined at far higher rates than girls, are also subject to discrimination, which the federal government ought to address.

Teachers’ unions, which usually object to the idea that anyone else knows what’s best for kids, and bristle even at stronger administrators located within their own schools, have welcomed the edict of a more ideologically sympathetic distant set of much more distant administrators, in Washington, D.C. In large part, attention to school discipline is an opportunity for them to call for more money — smaller classes, more counselors, more social workers — from their own districts’ coffers and the federal government. Some of those investments may even be sensible, though the millions allocated to diversity and sensitivity efforts, of course, are not. School discipline isn’t perfect: Excessive punishment or unruly classrooms — these guidelines could easily encourage the latter — can hold back achievement. But phantom racism should not be the guiding principle of reform, let alone a legal justification for it.

In theory, Eric Holder and Arne Duncan are only asking for an explanation. If a punishment or rule is found to have a disparate impact — with no evidence of racial bias or animus needed – a school merely has to prove that the rule “is necessary to meet an important educational goal.” But with so little evidence needed on the feds’ behalf and the burden of proof placed on schools, it’s not hard to imagine how schools will simply discard challenged rules in favor of other ones, or of less punishment overall, setting policies not by their own needs but by the whims of Washington civil-rights bureaucrats. Indeed, this has already happened in some places: Montgomery County, Md., tossed a rule reducing students’ academic credit for truancy because black students were more likely to be truant.

No one should be surprised by the Obama administration’s zeal for alleging racial discrimination when it isn’t there and asserting central control where it is known to fail. But it is still shocking that the federal government is effectively encouraging schools to judge students on the color of their skin rather than the content of their character.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Government

1 posted on 01/16/2014 3:42:42 AM PST by markomalley
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: markomalley
From 2008...
"[Bill] Ayers and his co-author Michael Klonsky responded to [Arne] Duncan in an article published in Phi Delta Kappan -- a professional journal for education -- describing him as 'the brightest and most dedicated schools leader Chicago has had in memory'"

"The Small Schools Workshop was founded in 1991 at the University of Illinois at Chicago to provide support for teachers who were trying to create new smaller learning environments. Its director is Michael Klonsky, a former professor of education at UIC."

Some background on Bill Ayers' SDS comrade, Michael Klonsky
(Chicago Annenberg Challenge-related)

"One of Bill Ayers’ and Bernardine Dohrn’s comrades in the late 60s Students for a Democratic Society was Mike Klonsky. When Dohrn and Ayers moved in one direction toward the violent tactics of the Weather Underground, Klonsky, in the wake of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, dropped the pro-Russian communist politics of his parents and became a committed Maoist. As leader of the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) in 1977 [not to be confused with Communist Party USA. CPML no longer exists, CPUSA formed decades earlier and is still around-ETL], he travelled to Beijing and was toasted by the senior Beijing leadership.

When the crazy left of the 70s died in the 80s, Klonsky went to graduate school in education in Florida and then moved to Chicago.

While driving a cab there he [Michael Klonsky] was recruited by his old friend Bill Ayers to head up a new project called the Small Schools Workshop in 1991. It’s offices were in the Department of Education building at the University of Illinois Chicago Circle Campus where Ayers taught.

In 1995 the newly formed Chicago Annenberg Challenge headed by Ayers and Obama gave the Workshop a grant of $175,000.

The Annenberg Challenge also had its office space in the same building as Ayers Department and the Workshop, rent free courtesy of the University.

In 2008 Klonsky ran a blog on the official Obama campaign website on education policy and “social justice” teaching. When discussion of the Klonsky blog emerged in the blogosphere, it was promptly shut down by the campaign and all of the posts made by Klonsky were removed from the site."

In 1977, the October League was reorganized as the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) [again, not Communist Party USA (CPUSA) -ETL] and former SDS activist Michael Klonsky became party chairman. Also in 1977, Klonsky traveled to China and the CPML was recognized by the Chinese Communist Party as its official sister party in America.


In January 1981, Michael Klonsky resigned as party chairman, and the CPML disbanded that same year.

The previous Red Encyclopedia description of the CPML was incorrectly combined with that of the Communist Party USA (Marxist-Leninist).

From Investor's Business Daily (IBD), August 27, 2008:

"Ayers, now a tenured distinguished professor of education at UIC, works to educate teachers in socialist revolutionary ideology, urging that it be passed on to impressionable students.

One of Ayer's descriptions for a course called 'Improving Learning Environments' says prospective K-12 teachers need to 'be aware of the social and moral universe we inhabit and ... be a teacher capable of hope and struggle, outrage and action, teaching for social justice and liberation.

The Annenberg papers are quite extensive — 132 boxes containing 947 file folders with 70 linear feet of material. They undoubtedly contain more surprises regarding Obama's relationship with Ayers, one of many relationships Obama has sought to hide.'..."

Article: Annenberg Papers: Putting On Ayers?

2 posted on 01/16/2014 3:51:06 AM PST by ETL (ALL (most?) of the Obama-commie connections at my FR Home page:
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: markomalley

the ones whose civil rights are being violated are the kids who cannot receive an education because every class and the entire school experience is disrupted by angry disrespectful lazy malcontents from the victim classes who can now have even more leeway to intimidate and bully school staff and administrators into accommodating their dysfunctional behaviors

I know because my own dd attends exactly such a school

3 posted on 01/16/2014 4:00:35 AM PST by silverleaf (Age takes a toll: Please have exact change)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: metmom


4 posted on 01/16/2014 4:09:38 AM PST by conservatism_IS_compassion ("Liberalism” is a conspiracy against the public by wire-service journalism.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: markomalley

The only solution is to disband the department of education (indoctrination) and force the return of the public school system to the States and Local towns. Nothing else will work. Wherever the Federal government has total power... they rule through corruption and evil manipulation. They must NEVER be trusted again... always questioned... always watched.

5 posted on 01/16/2014 4:11:23 AM PST by LibLieSlayer (FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS! BETTER DEAD THAN RED!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: markomalley

It became so decades ago when local schools accepted text books from satan’s fed.

6 posted on 01/16/2014 4:25:32 AM PST by LibLieSlayer (FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS! BETTER DEAD THAN RED!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: silverleaf

Exactly! The disruptive students come from homes where the adults teach their children that it’s cool to be ill-mannered.

HHS or DOJ (one) needs to sponsor manner classes for minority parents, so they can pass along a little civilization to their children.

7 posted on 01/16/2014 4:38:13 AM PST by abclily
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: abclily

As former educator, believe me the state ed Gestapo will be at your door to investigate and comb through your VADIR (violent and disruptive incident report) to nail your ass to the wall if too many minorities were suspended or put into in school suspension. Special education students are another story in terms of number of suspensions and the number of days out they had served.

8 posted on 01/16/2014 6:34:48 AM PST by blaveda
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: markomalley; 2Jedismom; 6amgelsmama; AAABEST; aberaussie; AccountantMom; Aggie Mama; agrace; ...


This ping list is for the “other” articles of interest to homeschoolers about education and public school. This can occasionally be a fairly high volume list. Articles pinged to the Another Reason to Homeschool List will be given the keyword of ARTH. (If I remember. If I forget, please feel free to add it yourself)

The main Homeschool Ping List handles the homeschool-specific articles. I hold both the Homeschool Ping List and the Another Reason to Homeschool Ping list. Please freepmail me to let me know if you would like to be added to or removed from either list, or both.

9 posted on 01/16/2014 6:43:41 AM PST by metmom ( ...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blaveda

I taught in a school in the early 90s that kept class on Martin Luther King Day. There were 1/3 of the number of discipline problems sent to the office that day. The assistant principal said we needed a Rodney King Day also.

10 posted on 01/17/2014 7:34:57 AM PST by abclily
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: markomalley

I think most of us agree there’s a bias against boys in school. So, it’s not so difficult to believe that there are other biases and that sometimes discipline is dealt “unfairly” - for example, the person dealing out discipline could have a bias against tall people or short people or people who dress a certain way or pretty people or “unattractive” people or a certain accent, etc. (I once had a professor who told the whole class that he didn’t like girls with long hair. Guess who was the only girl there with long hair.) ;-)

So, I have no trouble believing that discipline can be dealt unfairly sometimes in some situations. However, instituting what would amount to a “quota system” for discipline would cause bigger problems.

There’s a solution: If we didn’t have a public school system, and all students used private schools, tutors, home-schools, etc., then parents would move their child to a different school if they believed he or she was being treated unfairly. I know, I know, that’s never going to happen. I’m just sayin’.

11 posted on 01/17/2014 10:40:15 PM PST by Tired of Taxes
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: LibLieSlayer
"The only solution is to disband the department of education (indoctrination) and force the return of the public school system to the States and Local towns. Nothing else will work. "

It would be an improvement for a while but before long the school system would be back to where it is today. The reason is that compulsory-use, compulsory-funded, and government owed schooling is **socialist-entitlement and single-payer** schooling.

The fundamental cause of all this failure of the government schools is that it is built upon a foundation of socialist-entitlement. What is the solution?

Answer: Begin the process of privatizing all education. Get the government on every level ( federal, state, and local) out of the education business.

12 posted on 01/18/2014 7:00:51 AM PST by wintertime
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: wintertime

I remember my grandfather was on the School Board for a county in Mississippi and he warned them in 1947 not to accept money for text books from the Feds... it before I was born but I was told about it. The Board thought that he was being ridiculous. As the Fed creeped their grip tighter and tighter around the Board’s neck, they all apologized... but it was too late. Public school was mostly state run when I was growing up... loved school... no problems at all... until High School when the Fed seized all power... it all fell apart.

13 posted on 01/18/2014 7:15:04 AM PST by LibLieSlayer (FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS! BETTER DEAD THAN RED!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: LibLieSlayer

Socialist-entitlement schooling, even if the districts were as small as a suburban subdivision, will eventually cede control to state and then federal control.

The only solution is complete privatization.

If the Founding Fathers could see the monster that government schooling is today they would have banned all government interference in education as part of the federal and state constitutions.

14 posted on 01/18/2014 7:27:22 AM PST by wintertime
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: wintertime

Just keep the unions out of it either way.

15 posted on 01/18/2014 8:51:14 AM PST by LibLieSlayer (FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS! BETTER DEAD THAN RED!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson