Obama Backs Race-Based School Discipline Policies

Neil Munro, The Daily Caller, July 27, 2012

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.”

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“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.

The order created a “President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans.” {snip}

The progressive’s 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.

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