Watch Out, Education! Government Wants to Help Again

15 Aug

I recently read one of the scariest columns I have read in a while.  It discusses the government’s assertion that wherever “disproportional” disciplinary measures are found in our schools, it must be because of racism.  And the government is going to get to the bottom of it.  Led by none other than Arne Duncan himself. 

 This column is quite long, but also quite eye-opening – and maddening.  It is written by Heather MacDonald, a City Journal contributor, and is titled simply “Undisciplined”.  The government action, if followed through on, is bound to set the cause of education of our “underclasses” back even further than it has been pushed back already. 

 I cannot begin to fully excerpt this column, so I just provide the first several paragraphs for you.  Please go and read the full article to see what damage the government is going to do next to our education system.

 http://www.city-journal.org/2012/22_3_school-discipline.html

 First several paragraphs:  [Bolding is mine; content in brackets [ ] is mine]]

 The Obama administration undermines classroom order in pursuit of phantom racism.

In March 2010, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that his department was “going to reinvigorate civil rights enforcement.” .  .  .What was the pervasive racial injustice that led Duncan to present himself as a modern-day [Lyndon] Johnson? Black elementary and high school students are disciplined at a higher rate than whites are. To Duncan, that disparity can mean only one thing: schools are discriminating.

And so the Departments of Education and Justice have launched a campaign against disproportionate minority discipline rates, which show up in virtually every school district with significant numbers of black and Hispanic students. The possibility that students’ behavior, not educators’ racism, drives those rates lies outside the Obama administration’s conceptual universe. But the country will pay a high price for the feds’ blindness, as the cascade of red tape and lawsuits emanating from Washington will depress student achievement and enrich advocates and attorneys for years to come.

This past March, Duncan released some newly gathered national discipline data. The “undeniable truth,” he said, was that the “everyday educational experience for many students of color violates the principle of equity.” The massive media coverage of Duncan’s report trumpeted the discipline disparity—blacks were three and a half times more likely to get suspended or expelled than their white peers—as convincing evidence of widespread discrimination. (The fact that white boys were over two times as likely to be suspended as Asian and Pacific Islander boys was discreetly ignored, though it would seem to imply antiwhite bias as well.)

The Department of Education has launched investigations of at least five school systems because of their disparate black-white discipline rates. The Department of Justice has already put the Barnwell, South Carolina, school district under a costly consent decree, complete with a pricey outside consultant, and is seeking similar control of other districts. The theory behind this school discipline push is what Obama officials and civil rights advocates call the “school-to-prison pipeline.” According to this conceit, harsh discipline practices—above all, suspensions—strip minority students of classroom time, causing them to learn less, drop out of school, and eventually land in prison.

The feds have reached their conclusions, however, without answering the obvious question: Are black students suspended more often because they misbehave more? Arne Duncan, of all people, should be aware of inner-city students’ self-discipline problems, having headed the Chicago school system before becoming secretary of education. Chicago’s minority youth murder one another with abandon. Since 2008, more than 530 people under the age of 21 have been killed in the city, mostly by their peers, according to the Chicago Reporter; virtually all the perpetrators were black or Hispanic. In 2009, the widely publicized beating death of 16-year-old Derrion Albert by his fellow students sent Duncan hurrying back to the Windy City, accompanied by Attorney General Eric Holder, to try to contain the fallout in advance of Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics (see “Chicago’s Real Crime Story,” Winter 2010). Between September 2011 and February 2012, 25 times more black Chicago students than white ones were arrested at school, mostly for battery; black students outnumbered whites by four to one. (In response to the inevitable outcry over the arrest data, a Chicago teacher commented: “I feel bad for kids being arrested, . . . but I feel worse seeing a kid get his head smashed on the floor and almost die. Or a teacher being threatened with his life.”) So when Duncan lamented, upon the release of the 2012 discipline report, that “some of the worst [discipline] discrepancies are in my hometown of Chicago,” one could only ask: What does he expect?

[End of Excerpt]

 The opportunity for the federal government to create mischief in the name of goodness appears to be entirely unlimited.

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