Experts slam DOJ letter telling schools to implement race-based punishmentsPosted: January 11, 2014
The Daily Caller‘s Robby Soave reports: Education experts decried a new memo from the Departments of Justice and Education that instructs public schools throughout the country to cease punishing disruptive students if they fall into certain racial categories, such as black or Hispanic.
“It’s ridiculous to assign quotas for discipline based on race…If we did that, for one thing, we’d have to believe that Asian students are severely under-disciplined.”
The letter, released on Wednesday, states that it is a violation of federal law for schools to punish certain races more than others, even if those punishments stem from completely neutral rules. For example, equal numbers of black students and white students should be punished for tardiness, even if black students are more often tardy than white students.
Here is the relevant section of the letter:
“Schools also violate Federal law when they evenhandedly implement facially neutral policies and practices that, although not adopted with the intent to discriminate, nonetheless have an unjustified effect of discriminating against students on the basis of race.
Examples of policies that can raise disparate impact concerns include policies that impose mandatory suspension, expulsion, or citation (e.g., ticketing or other fines or summonses) upon any student who commits a specified offense — such as being tardy to class, being in possession of a cellular phone, being found insubordinate, acting out, or not wearing the proper school uniform.”
The Daily Caller asked several education experts to weigh in on the letter’s recommendations; all three raised serious concerns about the ramifications of changing school disciplinary procedures to engineer equal outcomes across the races.
Joy Pullmann, managing editor of School Reform News, told TheDC that any notion of equal racial discipline is obviously flawed.
“It’s ridiculous to assign quotas for discipline based on race,” she said. “If we did that, for one thing, we’d have to believe that Asian students are severely under-disciplined.”
Andrew Coulson, director of the Center for Educational Freedom at the Cato Institute, said the letter’s policies, if implemented, would actually harm black children, by making the classrooms they inhabit “more chaotic.”
“The kinds [of kids] who just want to be free to learn in peace, who are not disruptive, have their education injured by the disruptive kids who remain in the classroom,” Coulson told TheDC. “And since African American kids are more often assigned to schools like that, they’ll be the ones most hurt.”
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