July 31, 2012

New from Hans Bader

Yeah, this will work out just dandy: Maryland Board of Education seeks racial quotas in school discipline.

This proposed rule violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution by pressuring schools to discipline students based on their race, rather than their individual conduct and the content of their character. That is at odds with court rulings like the federal appeals court ruling in People Who Care v. Rockford Board of Education, 111 F.3d 528, 534 (7th Cir. 1997), which forbid both racial-balancing, and quotas, in school discipline.

Crimes and infractions are not evenly distributed among racial groups, as the Supreme Court noted in United States v. Armstrong, 517 U.S. 456 (1996). As that 8-to-1 Supreme Court ruling emphasized, there is no legal “presumption that people of all races commit all types of crimes” at the same rate, since such a presumption is “contradicted by” real world data. For example, “more than 90% of” convicted cocaine traffickers “were black” in 1994, while “93.4% of convicted LSD dealers were white.” Crime rates are higher in some ethnic groups than others.

But the Board of Education seems to have forgotten that reality in proposing a rule that would require school systems to discipline and suspend students in numbers roughly in proportion to their racial percentage of the student body, and require school systems that currently don’t do so to implement plans to eliminate any racially “disproportionate impact” over a three-year period. Thus, it is imposing quotas in all but name.

This is, simply, a recipe for disaster for schools. As Bader notes in the article, teachers and administrators will be skittish to discipline, say, black students but may be more inclined to administer severe discipline to a white or Asian student that would have gotten a black student a mere warning. All in the name of "proportion."


Posted by Felix at July 31, 2012 12:47 PM | TrackBack

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