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The Coach’s Team (TCT) offers the best in conservative essays along with articles taken from various internet sites. The victory of Donald Trump has provided a God-sent opportunity to reverse the years of willful damage done our nation by Barack Hussein Obama.
Monday, April 9, 2018
GAO study on racial disparities in school discipline ignores central question
The following article appeared in
Powerline on April 8th
The Government Accounting Office
(GAO) has produced a study
that’s being touted as vindication of Obama administration policies on school
discipline. The study finds that black students get suspended from school at
nearly three times the rate of white students nationally.
Gang members in Chicago
The GAO acknowledges that
“disparities in student discipline. . .may support a finding of discrimination,
but taken alone, do not establish whether unlawful discrimination has
occurred.” However, it’s difficult to read the “Background” portion of the
report (e.g. pages 4-5) without concluding that the GAO tilts strongly towards
the conclusion that the disparities it identifies are likely the result of
Donald demonstrates that the GAO study does not remotely support such a
conclusion. First, “the GAO report ignores the critical question regarding
disciplinary disparities: do black students in fact misbehave more than white
students?” If they do, then naturally they will be disciplined more.
There’s ample reason to believe that
black students do, in fact, misbehave more in school than white and Asian
students. As Mac Donald points out:
[B]lack male teenagers
between the ages of 14 and 17 commit homicide at nearly 10 times the rate of
white male teenagers of the same age (the category “white” in this homicide
data includes most Hispanics; if Hispanics were removed from the white
category, the homicide disparity between blacks and whites would be much
higher). . .Lesser types of juvenile crime also show large racial disparities.
It is fanciful to think that the lack of socialization that produces such
elevated rates of criminal violence would not also affect classroom behavior.
U.S. Civil Rights
Commissioner Gail Heriot shows in a forthcoming report [that] the rate of
chronic truancy (defined as 18 or more unexcused absences) was five times
higher for black elementary school students in California than for white
What underlies the lack of
socialization that produces such pronounced differences in everything from
black and white homicide rates to black and white truancy among males
teenagers? The answer might very well lie in family structure. Yet, the GAO
report makes no effort to control for family structure in looking at different
Second, though the GAO points to
various studies that purport to show discriminatory attitudes (“implicit bias”)
among teachers and staff, it ignores data on actual student behavior. Mac
Donald directs our attention to some of that data:
The Justice and
Education Departments recently released their annual report, “Indicators of
School Crime and Safety.” Black students self-reported being in a physical
fight at school at over twice the rate of white students in 2015—a data point
certainly relevant to the question of racial rates of school discipline.
Gang members in L.A.
Schools that were 50
percent minority or more reported weekly gang activity at nearly ten times the
rate of schools where minorities constituted 5 percent to 20 percent of the
population. Reports of gang violence in schools with less than 5 percent
minority populations were too low to be usable statistically.
disorder in classrooms was reported in schools with at least 50 percent
minority populations at more than five times the rate as in schools with 5
percent to 20 percent minorities. More than four times as many high-minority
schools reported weekly verbal abuse of teachers compared with schools with a
less than 20 percent minority student body. Widespread disorder and teacher abuse
at schools with less than 5 percent minority populations was again too low to
be statistically reliable.
Given these facts, one need hardly
resort to discrimination or “implicit bias” to explain racial disparities in
discipline. Indeed, it would be astonishing if an unbiased disciplinary system
did not produce significant racial disparities in suspension rates.
Third, the idea that teachers are
biased against blacks seems implausible. In many school systems where
disciplinary rates are high, the teachers are mostly black. Are they biased
"Black Stones" gang members, Chicago
The notion that white teachers are
biased also seems far-fetched. Mac Donald reminds us:
Teachers are among the
most liberal professionals in the country. Education school is one long
marinade in white-privilege theory. Yet we’re supposed to believe that once
these social-justice warriors enter the classroom, they are unable to evaluate
their black students fairly. Overcome by prejudice, they see disruption and
defiance where none exists.
The opposite hypothesis
is more likely: teachers strive mightily to avoid removing black children from
classrooms. They do so only after other means of discipline have been
exhausted, and they do so in order to preserve the right of other students to
learn in a safe and orderly environment and to instill a sense of consequences
in students who break the rules.
The Department of Education is
evaluating whether to rescind Obama’s school discipline directives. The GAO
study will be used to argue that the directives should remain in place. For the
reasons Mac Donald presents (not all of which are covered in this post), the
study provides no basis for a rescission and, indeed, has very little to teach
us about the issue.