Sunday, July 29, 2012

Barack Banishes Disparate School Discipline

Disparate impact is a term that the left has used many times to circumvent equal rights. Liberal legislatures and Progressive Supreme Courts bought the concept, and tended to find that wherever a minority group was “under-represented” it was the right of the government to bring the numbers into line. Four or five decades ago, the concept actually had a semi-legitimate foundation because it was used to correct past institutional racial discrimination.

Racial healer Barack Obama has now weighed in on the subject in a rather odd and topsy-turvy way. He has determined that minorities (mostly black) are unfairly over-represented in one area—school discipline. According to The One, “African Americans lack equal access to highly effective teachers and principals, safe schools, and challenging college-preparatory classes, and they disproportionately experience school discipline.” Because blacks are over-represented in disciplinary matters, it couldn't possibly be because they over-perform in the area of bad behavior. It's the same old liberal nostrum voiced by one of the hoods in West Side Story: “We're depraved on accounta we're deprived.”

I will ignore for the moment that one of the biggest reasons blacks are denied those benefits is the lack of school choice, something liberals mightily oppose. Another reason is the breakdown of the black family which tends to produce single mothers, no responsible fathers around to help, high illegitimacy rates, gang membership to replace the non-existent family unit and a plethora of other social pathologies. Problems in the schools tend to reflect the same problems outside the schools. That leads to high crime rates among black young people, both outside of and inside the schools. It's not a “black thing.” Urban whites are rapidly catching up, but in the middle-class or affluent suburbs, black misbehavior with the resulting discipline is almost indistinguishable from white.

The simple fact remains. Blacks in urban schools are disciplined in far larger numbers and percentages of the total school population. There is a disparate impact. But concurrence is not causation, and courts have increasingly held that disparate impact can no longer stand as the sole reason for imposing quotas or other leveling processes. In order to satisfy the current legal test, disparate impact must be the result of genuinely unfair and discriminatory practices either intentionally or grossly negligently put in place by the institutions where the disparate impact occurs. That was the case years or decades ago. Today multiple factors result in the disparate impact, but institutional discrimination is not among them.

None of this has stopped Barack Obama from issuing another one of his infamous executive orders. To establish equality of outcome rather than equal treatment, he has ordered that a government panel be created to promote “a positive school climate that does not rely on methods that result in disparate use of disciplinary tools.” Simply put, that means until the number of whites and Asians disciplined is mathematically proportional to the number of blacks and Hispanics disciplined, either discipline of the former groups must be reduced or those of the latter increased, regardless of the facts in each individual case.

Hans Bader, a counsel at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, had this to say about the executive order: “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.” Bader previously held multiple positions in the Education Department's Civil Rights office.

As if this weren't bad enough, the executive order also includes the creation of a President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. That would be a noble goal if it included doing all the things actually necessary to raise the levels of black educational accomplishment and good behavior in school. But it's just a cover for more affirmative action-like bureaucracy. It won't solve any of the problems I mentioned above. But it will ensure the perpetuation of black students as a favored “victim group.” The Commission will simply be another home for government employees to suck up taxpayer money and throw more taxpayer money at useless and unrealistic projects.

Attorney General Eric Holder claimed that “we’ve often seen that students of color, students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and students with special needs are disproportionately likely to be suspended or expelled.” So the rules and methods must be changed to “help” black students. Holder claims to be a lawyer, but he cites no evidence or precedent to support his conclusions. Except, of course, the “disparate impact” which we have already said exists. Why it exists is the bone of contention. And when all is said and done, the “why” for Obama and Holder is, as always, racism.


Joel Farnham said...

I guess now, that if the kid is black, he gets a free pass, at least until the numbers come up.

AndrewPrice said...

This is the same thing they do with crime, they look for statistical differences without ever considering why those statistics might differ. The assumption is always that disparity = racism, when the truth is that in most cases, disparity = different opportunities.

Unknown said...

Joel: That's pretty much it.

Tennessee Jed said...

maybe I would be oversimplifying things, but this administration's track record, despite claiming to be "unificators" on matters of race, have proven to be just the opposite. I can't help but be reminded of the film 48 hours (or perhaps it's sequel.) In one scene, Eddie Murphy's character wades into a cowboy bar of white "racists." He fires off a gun, and since he is pretending to be a cop loudly exclaims: "There's a new sheriff in town!" That's how I feel about Obama and a lot of the race panderers who support him. They aren't really looking for equality. They want pay-back.

Unknown said...

Andrew: And we should probably throw in disparity = failure to grasp what opportunities there are. S--t happens, but those who want a better life don't wallow it and blame others for their plight.

Unknown said...

Tennessee: And in many cases, they want payback for things that didn't even happen to them, like reparations for slavery. Since Lyndon Johnson launched the War on Poverty, trillions have been thrown at the minority communities, and the result has been worse conditions than before. There was a solid black middle class and healthy black families before the liberals decided that they knew best and that blacks weren't capable of running their own lives. In many, many ways, we are more segregated and more at odds racially today under Barack Obama than we were under Dwight Eisenhower.

Joel Farnham said...

Off Topic,

Do you think Drudge is trying to scare us? Or is there some effort that is going on that we don't know about?

The headlines that guns might be regulated, the homeland security ramping up because for the election. The notion that drones are going to be flying around, just to keep us "safe".

Unknown said...

Joel: I don't know what Drudge's motivations are. I've seen the same hysterics being demonstrated on several right-wing blogs.

There is a always a grain of truth behind a panic. If Obama and the statists could grab all our guns tomorrow, they would (or at least they might try). But the UN Treaty on Small Arms will have about as much affect on America as the Saturnian Conventions on Interplanetary Warfare.

If he could institute martial law, suspend the Constitution, and rule by fiat, he would. But quite simply, he can't. He could issue an executive order declaring himself dictator and president for life today, and all it would get him is impeached, removed from office, and probably put in jail where he belongs.

The drone stories again prove that liberals honor the Fourth Amendment more in the breach than in the observance. I have my own objections to broad use of drone surveillance within America's borders, but I don't think it would ever get as bad as the Big Brother doomsayers would have us believe.

All of that said, perhaps Drudge just needs to take a deep breath, go out and talk to ordinary citizens, police and our military. That would give him perspective. What Obama wants to do is a long way from what he could ever possibly actually accomplish. He lives in a socialist dream-world, and he's going to find out how much power he really has when we kick his ass out of the White House in November.

Drudge may simply be picking up the most egregious of the headlines in the blogosphere in order to increase readership. Hysteria is always more interesting than hard news. I'm not saying "it can't happen here," I'm simply saying "it won't happen here," despite the wannabe autocrat's sincerest desires.

rlaWTX said...

I saw this article the other day - unbelievable!!!
I'd say he was pandering for votes, but TOTUS has the "black vote" majority locked in. So, WHY? I really do NOT understand their thought processes (or whatever set of calculations imitates thought).

Tennessee Jed said...

Vis-a-vis the Drudge headline, he isn't "dredging" anything up. He is just reporting from Scalia's interview today. Now he may have taken the most sensational part, but that is what he does.

Patriot said...

Henceforth, I will be filling suit for disparate impact against the Washngton there are not enough white players on the team. Blacks are 12% of the population yet 90% of players on the team. Obviously there is racial discrimination beng practiced here.

Unknown said...

Patriot: I was thinking exactly the same thing about the L.A. Lakers. LOL

Individualist said...

This is such an irony.....

One of the reasons that poor minority males are disciplined is that they have no fathers at home and it is difficult for their mothers to control them. The lack of being disciplined means that they keep doing more and more things wrong because their is no punishment growing up.

So when they become adolescents what do liberals do. They tell them that when they are punished for doing something wrong it is because school officials are racist. So they end up becoming even more undisciplined because now not only is their no discipline at home but none at school.

They then start law breaking (the next step for someone brought up not to respect authority) and this escalates. They are coddled by the DA afraid to be seen as arresting more minorities than whites. This escalates until the kill someone in the street and then society has no choice but to put them on death row.

The irony is had the school paddled the kid when he was 12 for graffitti or beating up students for lunch money the kid may have been fearful of authority, learned respect for the law and gotten themselves out of poverty.

I actually think liberals want minorities to experience the former lifestyle. They want them to fail at school and become dependent and useless to socieity so that they can be controlled and used to promote their agendas. I just don't buy their false arguments aboiut how they care..... not when you can see the results of their actions and they refuse to ackonwledge it.

Unknown said...

Indi: All of those factors you listed play major roles in creating the expectancy that you should be rewarded for doing nothing and never punished for doing something wrong. In the urban schools the only thing they learn how to do is how to game the system. And as I said, it's not "a black thing." Given the same circumstances, you would get the same results regardless of race of color.

BevfromNYC said...

On a related topic - This Op/Ed piece appeared in the NYT today titled "Is Algebra Necessary". The premise is that more students will graduate if they don't have to take all those unnecessary math (algebra/geometry) courses and will get into college if they don't count math scores in the acceptance process.

Ugh, it makes my brain hurt. So basically, the writer is opining that if we lower the standard of scholarship more kids can go to college - well, yeah, welcome to Idiocracy!

Unknown said...

Bev: They've already dumbed-down education so badly that today's college courses (other than the really kooky ones) remind me of my junior high school curriculum. I remember struggling through algebra, trig and calculus. It amazed me how many times I've actually had practical use for those disciplines in a life lived far away from mathematics. If they keep this up, PhD's won't be able to read their own diplomas.

I'm so disgusted with education in general and "higher education" in particular that I think that at age 15, everyone should simply get a PhD certificate so they can go to work and learn something useful, like auto repair.

tryanmax said...

This is potential disaster in a can. And 0bama is working the can-opener. Kids are real big on "fair." (I'm already working to disillusion my 2-year-old of the notion; but it's clearly inborn.) Children will pick up real quick when the same behavior results in different outcomes based on skin color.

If that means Whites and Asians will be expelled for things that Blacks won't, then that is a recipe for ongoing racial tension. And if any of those kids get a chip over it (a very likely possibility), they will be told they are racist. It's not uncommon that if you repeatedly tell a person they are what they are not, they will become that thing just because.

Unknown said...

tryanmax: My kids got over that real early. When they started whining "that's not fair," I simply replied, "I don't have to be fair, I'm your father. End of discussion."

I don't think this executive order can do a lot of damage if we rid ourselves of the Racebaiter-in-Chief. If not, the chaos that is the inner city schools will get even worse, and that's no small accomplishment.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Excellent post, LawHawk!

So basically, it's now okay to be a bully, if you're black.
Thus, Obama has established a bully pulpit. Literally speaking.

BTW, I concur, kids will see right through this idiocy.

"Have you read Michelle Obama's Princeton senior thesis?"

Part of it. I found it odd (but not surprising) that Moochelle was surprised that most other black college students weren't as racist as she is.

She was downright flabbergasted and appeared quite miffed that no one else thought she was on to some eye-opening truth, LOL.

I bet dollars to donuts that if Ann Romney had made such blatantly racist remarks the MSM would be talking about it 24/7 and 25/8.

Yeah, let's discipline based on statistics rather than indiovidual behavior. What could go wrong?

You know, Romney could use this to show how completely out-of-touch and stupid Obama is.

"Obama supports bullying if black kids do it. Obama wants race-based discipline to divide our children."

"Obama says it's unfair that black children misbehae more often and consequently get disciplined dis-proportionately and I agree! This is due, in large part to democrat ideas and black parents having no choice but failed, public schools and failed, public teacher's unions.
So help me make school choice a reality so all kids have better opportunities to excel.
School choice would reduce many of the behavior problems that occur."

I'm Mitt Romney and I approve this message.

Anyhow, it would be hilarious to see yet another Obama meme getting the publicity it deserves and being laughed at while making the donks look bad (not difficult to do but this is like shootin' fish in a barrel with a bunker buster).

Make Obama eat his words and regret going the executive order route to make these problems worse. :^)

Anthony said...

The President's proposal is disasterous. I'm no expert in the field of education, but I mentored troubled kids for two years, have two kids of my own and my mother was a teacher.

In my limited experience, the big problem of troubled kids isn't usually the system, but weak family structures and a lack of expectations at home.

Such students require a lot of attention and no doubt slow down the learning process for those who are coming to school prepared.

School choice will result in a two track system, but that is the best option for all students, both the ones whose families regard schools as opportunities for advancement and those whose families regard schools as babysitting services.

Unknown said...

USSBen: I can't find anything in your post to disagree with. All true.

Unknown said...

Anthony: I blame the system and parents in equal proportion. When I was in the earlier grades, the schools were strictly local and highly responsive to the community. The state had certain broad guidelines that the schools had to follow, but beyond that, performance satisfactory to the parents was the big guideline. If the principals, teachers or superintendents failed, they were fired, and there wasn't the huge unified system for bureaucrats to simply move them to another school where they could continue to fail. If they got fired for poor performance, they had a tough time finding a job in another local school system.

The school board itself was completely under local control. It was a rare thing for an "educator" to sit on the board. It was the school's job to educate, but the board was there to see the results and to leave the methods to the teachers and staff.

Huge school districts, union teachers, state interference and mindless bureaucracies have changed all that. In California, local school taxes derived from property taxes are sent to Sacramento to be redistributed according to "need." As a result, South Central L.A. schools get almost six times as much per pupil as Simi Valley, Beverly Hills or the Las Virgenes students. South Central schools are drug havens and shooting galleries, while the other three are always in the top five statewide on tests and university admissions. The difference, of course, is the community and the caring parents in the latter three.

Conclusions: Throwing money at worthless projects is an exercise in futility. The more centralized the authority, the worse the results. The system can be defeated, but only if the parents and community members are willing to put their hearts, hands and wallets into the effort.

Unknown said...

Anthony: Another facet of the modern community is that parents are afraid of their own children, when they say "no," they feel guilty, and they think that nobody else should ever discipline them (even though they won't do it themselves). God forbid anyone should bruise their delicate egos or cause them to feel less self-esteem. So even in some of the better school systems, teachers and administrators are hesitant to "do what comes naturally" and slap the kids down before their minor infractions become major felonies. In that, I blame the parents, Dr. Spock, and the entire self-esteem movement.

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