Counting by Race With School Discipline
The problem with equity-based outcomes in school behavior management.
Under the Biden administration, schools have reimplemented a racial equity-based model to address discipline of students in the classroom. It is a practice that was first implemented under President Barack Obama but was rescinded in 2018 by President Donald Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos. This latest iteration of race-based discipline was disseminated to the public schools through a May letter from the Department of Education (DOE) and Department of (Social) Justice.
Public schools were told to adhere to the Civil Right Act when delving out punishments. “Discrimination in student discipline,” states the letter, “forecloses opportunities for students, pushing them out of the classroom and diverting them from a path to success in school and beyond. Significant disparities by race — beginning as early as preschool — have persisted in the application of student discipline in schools.”
The letter goes on to admit, “While racial disparities in student discipline alone do not violate the law, ensuring compliance with Federal nondiscrimination obligations can involve examining the underlying causes of such disparities” (emphasis added). In other words, it’s not that public schools are in violation of the Civil Rights Act by enforcing school rules, it’s just that it’s not the administration’s favorite buzzword: equitable.
Biden’s DOE would, in fact, like public schools to use “restorative justice” when approaching student discipline in the hopes of mitigating what the Left calls disparate impact.
What is “restorative justice”? It’s essentially talking to the offending student sternly or having them write papers about their feelings. They are still permitted to be in classrooms where they have disrupted learning, threatened teachers or other students, or acted violently toward the same. Do you think they’ll change their behavior as a result? The answer is evident.
What is actually being taught to that student who was being disruptive, abusive, or violent is that there are no consequences for their bad behavior. It is green-lighting a reign of terror that has a more pervasive anti-education effect than any pandemic could inflict. If other students are worried about their safety in the classroom, how can they learn?
This Racial Marxism isn’t new even to the Biden administration. Biden’s leftist education policy expert Kayla Patrick said back in 2021: “In this country, nearly 80 percent of the teachers are white. And sometimes their mindsets are based solely in whiteness. So that means when they come into school, they have predisposed mindsets about who black children are, what they need to wear, and how they need to behave. And so instead of celebrating their identities and cultures, schools often erase them.”
The irony of this situation is that many of the teachers who are having such a difficult time with unmanageable student behavior are black themselves. However, under Racial Marxism, those teachers are being ignored or even accused of being racist because they are supposedly upholding white structural racism.
The DOE even conducted a survey demonstrating that poor student behavior has increased. More teachers have reported breaking up fights, receiving physical/verbal violence, and other disruptive classroom behaviors. Seventy-nine percent of all teachers who answered this survey believe they need more help and support in the disciplining of students.
This newest threat of being accused of racist practices in disciplining students is just one more stressor in an already difficult job, and it doesn’t solve the problem of poor student behavior. So much for more support.
It’s considered racist to ask why black students are disproportionately committing more violations than all other students. Even the DOE’s own data consistently list black students as committers of the most violations. It demonstrates a disparity, but that disparity has little to do with skin color and more to do breaking from positive cultural norms.
Those broken cultural norms are high levels of fatherlessness in black homes, rough neighborhoods, and exposure to violence through social media.
Let’s take this idea of disparity of outcomes a slightly different direction. In political pundit Ben Shapiro’s latest podcast, he describes a school in Manhattan that was accused of racism because there were such a small number of blacks and Latinos admitted. People cried racism. However, when all the facts were in place, a different set of disparities emerged: All students were admitted based on passing an entrance exam, and the vast majority of the students who passed were actually Asian. Shapiro’s point was that the disparities in family structure, emphasis on academics, and support systems for students impacted their ability to pass the entrance exam. Not the color of their skin.
The false flag of racism does not address the behavioral problems and actually hurts the black students it is trying to protect from “discrimination.”
According to Gail L. Heriot, law professor at the University of San Diego Law School: “African American students disproportionately go to school with other African American students. … If teachers fail to keep order in those classrooms out of fear that they will be accused of racism, it is these minority students who will suffer most.”
These kids will suffer because their learning environment will disintegrate, their teacher quality will diminish, and their desire to learn will be quashed. Education is one of the most effective ways to break negative cycles. It sets kids up for success. Giving students a victim mentality and no consequences for negative social behavior is continuing the cycle of hate and raising up a generation of people who cannot function well in the wider society.
By emphasizing equal outcomes instead of equal opportunity, the Biden administration’s Department of Education is denying children actual opportunities to succeed. And that is a travesty.
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