Race-based School discipline?

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GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4111
Race-based School discipline?

Should school discipline be handed out differently depending on your race?

President Barack Obama is backing a controversial campaign by progressives to regulate schools? disciplinary actions so that members of major racial and ethnic groups are penalized at equal rates, regardless of individuals? behavior.

His July 26 executive order established a government panel to promote ?a positive school climate that does not rely on methods that result in disparate use of disciplinary tools.?

?African Americans lack equal access to highly effective teachers and principals, safe schools, and challenging college-preparatory classes, and they disproportionately experience school discipline,? said the order, titled ?White House Initiative On Educational Excellence.?

Because of those causes, the report suggests, ?over a third of African American students do not graduate from high school on time with a regular high school diploma, and only four percent of African American high school graduates interested in college are college-ready across a range of subjects.?

?What this means is that whites and Asians will get suspended for things that blacks don?t get suspended for,? because school officials will try to level punishments despite groups? different infraction rates, predicted Hans Bader, a counsel at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Bader is a former official in the Education Department?s Office for Civil Rights, and has sued and represented school districts and colleges in civil-rights cases.

?It is too bad that the president has chosen to set up a new bureaucracy with a focus on one particular racial group, to the exclusion of all others,? said Roger Clegg, the president of the Center for Equal Opportunity.

?A disproportionate share of crimes are committed by African Americans, and they are disproportionately likely to misbehave in school? [because] more than 7 out of 10 African Americans (72.5 percent) are born out of wedlock? versus fewer than 3 out of 10 whites,? he said in a statement to The Daily Caller. Although ? you won?t see it mentioned in the Executive Order? there is an obvious connection between these [marriage] numbers and how each group is doing educationally, economically, criminally,? he said.

Full article: http://dailycaller.com/2012/07/27/obama-backs-race-based-school-discipline-policies/#ixzz22QEBiBKH

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

I will have to read more about the methodology, but from a first read of the article, it sounds like the policy is actually trying to reduce racial based discipline tactics. If I'm reading the article correctly, minority students currently are more likely to be subjected to harsher punishment for the same infractions, and this order is trying to make schools mindful and accountable for that. In other words, if you start tracking and find that you expelled 85% of African Americans and 25% of Caucasians for the same type of infraction, that needs to be addressed. I think that's what this is going for, in which case I agree with it, teachers and administators do need to be aware of their own biases and try to fix them.

Of course I wouldn't agree if we are not talking apples to apples (i.e. comparing the same infractions.) If it's really just saying that if you suspend 10% of black kids, you have to also suspend 10% of white kids regardless of what they've done wrong, then that would be very poor policy. I have a hard time believing that is what the policy is trying to do, but I'll read more about it and try to figure it out.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4111

"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

Of course I wouldn't agree if we are not talking apples to apples (i.e. comparing the same infractions.) If it's really just saying that if you suspend 10% of black kids, you have to also suspend 10% of white kids regardless of what they've done wrong, then that would be very poor policy. I have a hard time believing that is what the policy is trying to do, but I'll read more about it and try to figure it out.

That is exactly what they are saying.

“What this means is that whites and Asians will get suspended for things that blacks don’t get suspended for,” because school officials will try to level punishments despite groups’ different infraction rates, predicted Hans Bader, a counsel at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Bader is a former official in the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, and has sued and represented school districts and colleges in civil-rights cases.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

I just read the Executive Order, and it definitely doesn't say anything about making quotas of punishment for kids of other races. LOL I think the quota thing is a myth.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/07/26/executive-order-white-house-initiative-educational-excellence-african-am

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

That is exactly what they are saying.

Note that's NOT what the White House said they were doing, that is what Hans Bader of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (a Conservative "Think Tank" lobbyist group) predicted would happen based off of one sentense that says:

(vi)reducing the dropout rate of African American students and helping African American students graduate from high school prepared for college and a career, in part by promoting a positive school climate that does not rely on methods that result in disparate use of disciplinary tools, and by supporting successful and innovative dropout prevention and recovery strategies that better engage African American youths in their learning, help them catch up academically, and provide those who have left the educational system with pathways to reentry;

It doesn't say how they are going to measure or implement that, and it certainly doesn't mention punishment quotas for kids of other races. So again, if this encourages schools to look at their disciplinary measures and if they find that they mete out more harsh punishment to black kids for the same types of disciplinary problems and put a stop to that practice, that's a good thing.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4111

"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

I just read the Executive Order, and it definitely doesn't say anything about making quotas of punishment for kids of other races. LOL I think the quota thing is a myth.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/07/26/executive-order-white-house-initiative-educational-excellence-african-am

So you are saying that if they are required to reduce the dropout of Black students that they are still going to suspend them as punishment the same as they would a white student?

How will they determine if there is a disparate use of punishment? -- By seeing if the same percentage of black kids and white kids are suspended, regardless of what they have done wrong.

(vi) reducing the dropout rate of African American students and helping African American students graduate from high school prepared for college and a career, in part by promoting a positive school climate that does not rely on methods that result in disparate use of disciplinary tools, and by supporting successful and innovative dropout prevention and recovery strategies that better engage African American youths in their learning, help them catch up academically, and provide those who have left the educational system with pathways to reentry;

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

So you are saying that if they are required to reduce the dropout of Black students that they are still going to suspend them as punishment the same as they would a white student?

How will they determine if there is a disparate use of punishment? -- By seeing if the same percentage of black kids and white kids are suspended, regardless of what they have done wrong.

That seriously seems like jumping to wild conclusions based on very little information.

Also, it would be really silly to determine disparate use of punishment by seeing if the same percentage of black kids and white kids are suspended regardless of what they have done wrong. That's just bad methodology. Wink

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

sounds expensive and redundant and overreaching while also leaving out other minorities that may experience similar discrimination.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4111

"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

That seriously seems like jumping to wild conclusions based on very little information.

Also, it would be really silly to determine disparate use of punishment by seeing if the same percentage of black kids and white kids are suspended regardless of what they have done wrong. That's just bad methodology. Wink

But that is how they did it in MD applying the same type of policy.

The progressives campaign for race-based discipline policies also won a victory in Maryland July 24.

The state?s board of education established a policy demanding that each racial or ethnic group receive roughly proportional level of school penalties, regardless of the behavior by members of each group.

The board?s decision requires that ?the state?s 24 school systems track data to ensure that minority and special education students are not unduly affected by suspensions, expulsions and other disciplinary measures,? said a July 25 Washington Post report.

?Disparities would have to be reduced within a year and eliminated within three years,? according to the Post.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/07/27/obama-backs-race-based-school-discipline-policies/#ixzz22Qg4fCVE

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1533

I need to read a lot more about this, but it really feels like a policy that is set up to fail

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4099

"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

I will have to read more about the methodology, but from a first read of the article, it sounds like the policy is actually trying to reduce racial based discipline tactics. If I'm reading the article correctly, minority students currently are more likely to be subjected to harsher punishment for the same infractions, and this order is trying to make schools mindful and accountable for that. In other words, if you start tracking and find that you expelled 85% of African Americans and 25% of Caucasians for the same type of infraction, that needs to be addressed. I think that's what this is going for, in which case I agree with it, teachers and administators do need to be aware of their own biases and try to fix them.

Agreed! This is intended more to try to stop the "schoolhouse to jailhouse" phenomenon among African-Americans and Hispanics, rather than to subject whites & Asians to the same rate of punishments. And it sounds like that is exactly what they did do in Maryland, I see no mention of quotas or that other ethnic groups will be punished for things that African-Americans aren't being punished for just to bring up their discipline rates. I see nothing like that in the article from the Washington Post, which I've copied here since I had to sign up to read beyond the second page.

BALTIMORE — The State Board of Education overwhelmingly approved regulations Tuesday intended to cut back on suspensions, keep students in class and create a less-punitive culture in public schools.

The changes place Maryland among states and school systems at the forefront of a national movement to rethink how students in trouble are punished and whether too many are suspended and expelled for offenses that could be handled in other ways.


But the Maryland action goes further than most initiatives, requiring that the state’s 24 school systems track data to ensure that minority and special education students are not unduly affected by suspensions, expulsions and other disciplinary measures. Disparities would have to be reduced within a year and eliminated within three years.

“It could well be the largest governmental unit that has made this strong a commitment to addressing racial disparities in discipline,” said Russell Skiba, a professor at Indiana University who does research on race and discipline. He called the action “a tremendous step forward.”

The new regulations require local school boards to adopt a rehabilitative philosophy toward discipline and teach students positive behavior. Zero-tolerance policies with automatic consequences would be banned, and long-term suspensions and expulsions are referred to as a last resort.

Board President James H. DeGraffenreidt Jr. said after Tuesday’s vote that Maryland’s main accomplishment was to bring student learning and disciplinary consequences into the same conversation, moving away from the get-tough climate that took hold in schools nationally after the Columbine massacre in Colorado in 1999.

“We have taken the best thinking from around the state and turned out something that is workable for our local districts to implement,” he said. The new regulations — adopted in a 10 to 0 vote with two board members absent — represent “a common-sense change.”

In a report citing data and research studies, the board said its intent was to meet the needs of all students. “No student comes to school ‘perfect’ academically or behaviorally,” the document says. “We do not throw away the imperfect or difficult children.”

The regulations approved Tuesday establish new definitions of suspension — what is short, what is long — and new timetables for rulings and appeals so that fewer students languish out of school. They require that when students are suspended, they must be provided with classwork and a school-based liaison to contact.

In broad terms, the changes are intended to cut back out-of-school suspensions for nonviolent offenses such as disrespect and insubordination and provide more fairness and support for students who are removed.

The board’s report said 54 percent of out-of-school suspensions in Maryland arise from nonviolent offenses. But it stopped short of stepping into the question of when schools may suspend students. “The superintendents and local boards asked that we leave the imposition of appropriate discipline in their hands,” the report says. “We agree.”

The effort to reform disciplinary procedures, unveiled in January, followed nearly two years of study and deliberation on student discipline, intensified by local cases including the 2011 suicide of a 15-year-old football player, Nick Stuban, in Virginia.

Over the months, panels of educators, advocates, students and others testified. Hundreds of written comments were submitted.

Not everyone embraced the outcome. Carl Roberts, executive director of the Public School Superintendents’ Association of Maryland, said more analysis is needed and more input from principals and administrators. “You need to take your time and thoroughly analyze the data,” he said.

Other objections were voiced in written comments from educators and parents concerned about “good students” who endure classroom disruption and may benefit by the absence of classmates who get in trouble.

The board responded in its report, saying that suspended students are at risk of dropping out — and that ensuring graduation for all “adds to the health and wealth of the state of Maryland and improves the global competitiveness of this country.”

Several Maryland advocates lauded the changes but said they hoped for efforts to provide instruction for suspended students — even online teaching or Saturday school alternatives.

Still, the requirement that suspended students be given their schoolwork will make a “huge difference” in some parts of the state, said Nicole Joseph, a lawyer with the Maryland Disability Law Center.

Particularly on racial disparities, “Maryland’s proposal is on the cutting edge,” said Judith A. Browne Dianis, co-director of the Advancement Project, a civil rights group involved in discipline issues nationally.

With Tuesday’s vote, the discipline regulations are considered “published” but require a state review and a 30-day period for additional public comment. The board will then vote on final adoption.

The board has also asked that a best-practices work group be convened to discuss promising approaches. Said DeGraffenreidt: “We’re trying to avoid being prescriptive and build on the good work that is going on in a variety of school districts across the state.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/maryland-education-board-gives-preliminary-approval-to-student-discipline-reforms/2012/07/24/gJQAKivs6W_story.html

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

Gloria
Here is the actual document from the Maryland Board of Education. I admit I haven't read it all, but I did skim it all, and I couldn't find any mention of imposing any sort of quotas or punishing white kids for no reason. They did talk a lot about their methods, and yes, by "disparate" they are looking at higher rates of suspension for minorities and special ed students for the same "offenses" as compared to other students, and in turn the negative impact that suspension has on students. Their approach involves trying more positive discipline (rewarding good behavior) for all students, reducing out of school suspensions for non-violent offenses for all students, and providing resources to suspended students (such as ongoing homework) for students of all races. The racial part is just tracking the apples to apples comparisons to ensure that students aren't being punished more harshly because of race.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

I really do not know enough information to know exactly what is happening, but I believe the punishment for blacks and whites should be equal.

I do think though, that the teacher needs to have control of the classroom. If the child is being disruptive and the teacher is not able to remove that child from the class, then not only is the disruptive child not learning, but neither are any of the other students.

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