Search Results for ‘obama school discipline’

Schools and childhood roundup

School discipline roundup

Schools roundup

Schools roundup

  • Georgia sheriff mass-frisks 900 students at a high school. Is that legal? [Scott Greenfield, Lowering the Bar]
  • Federal judge dismisses “clock boy” discrimination suit against Dallas-area school district [CBS News]
  • Ilya Shapiro on Gloucester County v. G.G., the transgender school bathroom Title IX case [Federalist Society]
  • Social worker on public reaction against Named Person program in Scotland: families “had wanted a single point of contact for parents,” but Scottish government instead created “point of contact about parents” [No2NP campaign, earlier]
  • “In places like New York City, schools have made it more difficult for principals to suspend disruptive or threatening students. The results? Increased violence, drug use, and gang activity, according to the Manhattan Institute’s Max Eden.” [Hans Bader/CEI, Eden paper, related on national policy]
  • Rethink your assumptions about Betsy DeVos’s appointees [Erica L. Green, New York Times] More on appointee Candice Jackson [George Leef, Martin Center, earlier]

Maryland tells schools to stop suspending students for cursing out, disobeying teachers

And so the experiment begins. The politics are pretty interesting, with neither the teachers’ unions nor the voters in places like Baltimore city necessarily thrilled about this development. It’s far more popular with various legal services groups, liberal foundations, and of course the Obama Administration’s Department of Education and Justice Department. [Washington Post, earlier on similar Los Angeles initiative and on the race angle]

New racial school-discipline guidelines, cont’d

My colleague Andrew Coulson:

Over the past several years, University of Rochester professor Joshua Kinsler has explored this question [of racial disparity in school discipline] using uniquely rich datasets. What he finds is that the variation in punishment between the races is largely explained by variation in discipline policies at the school level: black students are more likely to attend very strict schools. …

in order to achieve the administration’s goal of eliminating the racial discipline gap, schools that currently have many disruptive students and strict discipline policies will have to relax those policies.

Which brings us to Kinsler’s most important discovery: easing discipline policies in such schools causes overall student achievement to fall.

Earlier here and here.

DoJ: school discipline must follow disparate-impact standards

The Justice Department and Department of Education have sent out a Dear Colleague letter discouraging schools from pursuing strict discipline policies against student misbehavior, especially against “routine” or “minor” infractions; Education Secretary Arne Duncan cited tardiness and disrespect as examples of the latter. [Christian Science Monitor]

Assuming that the federal government has somehow acquired the legitimate constitutional authority to begin dictating the fine points of disciplinary policy to local schools in the first place — a big if — it might seem at first that much of this is innocuous. Some early coverage, for example, makes it sound as if the letter is mostly aimed at obtaining a reconsideration of zero-tolerance policies, long criticized in this space, as well as the sorts of suspensions and expulsions that are based on far-fetched dangers like finger guns or forbidden hugs.

Unfortunately, there’s much more. The letter represents the culmination of a years-long drive toward imposing tighter Washington oversight on school discipline policies that result in “disparate impact” among racial or other groups. Policies that result in the suspension of differentially more minority kids, or special-ed kids, will now be suspect — even if the rate of underlying behavior is not in fact uniform among every group. (Special-ed kids, for example, include many placed in that category because of emotional and behavioral problems that correlate with a higher likelihood of acting out in misbehavior. Boys misbehave more than girls.)

If the policy helps speed the correction of some overly harsh, mechanical school policies, both under the zero-tolerance rubric and otherwise, it may have some positive side effects. But the disparate-impact premise is a pernicious one that’s sure to create many new problems of its own. [Andrew Coulson, Cato; Scott Johnson, PowerLine]

More: in 2012 Senate testimony, Andrew Coulson pointed out that 1) compared with the alternatives, the use of out-of-school suspensions appears to improve the learning environment for other (non-disciplined) students by protecting them from disruption; 2) zero-tolerance policies were adopted in the first place in part as a defense for administrators against disparate-impact charges. In other words, the new supposed remedy (disparate-impact scrutiny) helped cause the disease to which it is being promoted as the cure. (& welcome Andrew Sullivan, Scott Greenfield, Hans Bader readers; cross-posted at Cato at Liberty)

Feds’ crusade on disproportionate minority school discipline rates

Don’t miss Heather MacDonald’s account at City Journal of one of Washington’s most troubling regulatory initiatives. Legal background:

Unfortunately, the Bush administration failed to rescind the Department of Education’s disparate-impact regulation, guaranteeing that the next Democratic administration would again unleash it upon hapless school districts. Advocates inside and outside the executive branch are now celebrating the resuscitation of disparate impact.

Also includes a sidebar on the feds’ somewhat contrasting “anti-bullying” campaign. More: Hans Bader, plus a letter from him in the Frederick News-Post; update on similar plans by Maryland state board of education; Ted Frank with a link to a fairly horrifying comment at Joanne Jacobs’s site.

Yes, feds need to rethink campus sexual misconduct policies

A series of tweets I did about Thursday’s major announcement on Title IX policy from Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos:

I went on to explain that it all starts with the Department of Education’s OCR (Office for Civil Rights) 2011 Dear Colleague letter, and the further guidance that followed, which I wrote up here.

That’s a quote by Yoffe from a California Law Review article by Jacob Gersen and Jeannie Suk Gersen previously noted in this space here and here.

The courageous Harvard Law professors who called for a rethink of the Obama-era policy — Janet Halley, Elizabeth Bartholet, Jeannie Suk Gersen and Nancy Gertner — were profiled in a recent issue of The Crimson and in earlier coverage in this space here and here.

More coverage of DeVos’s speech and initiative, in which she pledged to use appropriate notice-and-comment methods rather than Dear Colleague guidance to introduce changes (“The era of ‘rule by letter’ is over”): Christina Hoff Sommers/Chronicle of Higher Education, Benjamin Wermund/Politico, Jeannie Suk Gersen/New Yorker, KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor, Jr./WSJ and cases going against universities, Johnson/City Journal, Bret Stephens/NYT (“no campus administrator was going to risk his federal funds for the sake of holding dear the innocence of students accused of rape”), Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, Hans Bader/CEI, Scott Greenfield and more (no basis in law to begin with), Robby Soave/Reason and more.