August 12, 2012

Recipe for disaster

On the heels of Maryland's educational head-scratcher regarding "proportionate representation" in school discipline, a school district in Florida is now the target of a federal lawsuit based on the same principle:

A federal civil rights complaint filed Tuesday against Flagler County schools alleges black students are suspended and expelled at a rate far higher than white students.

The Southern Poverty Law Center filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights against Flagler County and four other Florida districts -- Bay, Escambia, Okaloosa and Suwannee.

Black students made up 16 percent of Flagler students but accounted for 31 percent of the in- and out-of-school suspensions in the 2010-2011 school year, the complaint states. Black students accounted for 69 percent of those expelled and 22 percent of those held back a grade.

Flagler Superintendent Janet Valentine said the district will "take it very seriously," but she can't explain the disparities in the discipline rates for white and black students.

I wonder if it ever occurred to Ms. Valentine to ponder if it's because latter are ... more disruptive in school/class? Or, is that just way too anti-politically correct to even suggest?

As Hans Bader noted in his article about Maryland's shenanigans,

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.

It's a wonder why school districts faced with such nonsense complaints don't stand their ground more often, based on such legal precedent. If there's the documentation to back up the statistics and consistency of applied discipline, there should be little to legally fear. Then again, maybe not: the ever-present (and ludicrous) fear of being labeled "racist" by groups like the SPLC and NAACP (among others) can override all rational thought and considerations.

If groups like the SPLC and NAACP are successful in getting schools to implement "proportionate" discipline statistics, it will lead to chaos, frankly. Teachers and adminstrators will be reluctant to discipline minority students out of fear of being called "racist" and/or "increasing the [minority discipline] figures," whereas white students will be disciplined more harshly for even innocuous infractions.

In addition, the SPLC and NAACP are miffed that there aren't sufficient numbers of blacks in gifted and AP classes. While it's certainly easy enough to increase these figures -- just add more black students to these classes -- the practical effect is too often ignored. As in higher education, the concern that black students are successful is of secondary concern; as long as the enrollment numbers are there, "all is good." So, sure, increasing the black enrollment in AP and gifted classes is easy. But what happens if they're in [way] over their heads? Then we have a widening of the achievement gap, which is yet another academic area which is too often addressed by PC means.

Perhaps the Southern Poverty Law Center and the NAACP ought to look at more carefully at this racial disparity (snippet from here) and the role it plays on academic achievement and disruptive behavior.

Posted by Felix at August 12, 2012 03:26 PM | TrackBack

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the world is going to hell as a result of political correctness running wild...

Posted by: cardinals fan at August 12, 2012 05:03 PM