Will the U.S. Department of Education back pedal on another key education civil rights action of the Obama administration?
As the agency reversed Obama-era civil rights policies—those related to issues like sexual assault, systemic investigations, and transgender students—policy watchers have wondered if it will next withdraw or alter 2014 guidance on racial disparities in school discipline.
That guidance, which was long anticipated by civil rights groups before it was released, put schools on notice that discipline rates that are disproportionately high for students in one race could trigger a civil rights investigation, even if the school’s policies weren’t written with discriminatory intent. For example, if a school suspends black students at higher rates than their peers, federal officials might explore data to see if they are facing harsher punishments for the same rule violations compared to their peers.
Supporters of that move said it would help to slow the so-called “school-to-prison pipeline,” a term they use to describe overly punitive discipline policies that research links to negative outcomes for students.
But critics said the guidance amounted to putting “racial quotas” on school discipline and that it had a chilling effect, causing schools to avoid disciplining students for some behaviors.
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has regularly criticized the Obama administration’s aggressive approach to civil rights enforcement, referring to it as “the era of rule by letter.”
Now, DeVos plans to hire an outspoken critic of the discipline guidance to work in the the department’s office of general counsel, according to a Politico report. That reported hire, Hans Bader, previously served as a senior attorney for the Competitive Enterprise Insitute. He’s written numerous opinion pieces and letters to the editor at major newspapers on the Obama education department’s approach to discipline.
Higher suspension rates for black students “reflect higher rates of misbehavior among blacks, not zero-tolerance policies,” Bader wrote in a 2014 opinion piece in the Daily Caller.
That’s a claim that many school discipline researchers dispute.
Is Bader’s hiring a signal that the discipline guidance will be changed? Michael Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, seems to think so.
NEW YORK, NY (PRWEB) OCTOBER 16, 2017
A recent study by Pew concludes that over 58% of Americans believe racism is a “big problem” in society. H. Richard Milner, a noted researcher and expert on race and education at the University of Pittsburgh says that, “education is the key to addressing inequity and racism in society,” and if we are not, “working in education to combat racism, we are complicit in maintaining inequity and the status quo.” Are educators prepared and willing to take this on? C.M. Rubin (Founder of CMRubinWorld) opened up the conversation on racism and the role of education with Millennials around the globe.
Harmony Siganporia notes, “Any nation that can stomach the principle of caste, which is the most brutal ‘classification’ of human beings based on birth anywhere in the world, cannot help but differentiate, and differentiate repeatedly, on the basis of every parameter society can construct in a desperate and insular bid to separate ‘us’ from ‘them.’” Dominique Dryding believes that until educational institutions, “take the lived experiences of their student bodies seriously and recognize that racism does not only include name calling and physical exclusion, racism in schools and universities will not end.” Guest blogger Salathia Carr writes, “Judgment is very easy to make when you’re not living that way. But, if we force discussions about inequality from the very first history class we take, you cannot avoid it.”
Read the full article here
The Millennial Bloggers are based all over the world. They are innovators in entrepreneurship, journalism, education, entertainment, health and wellbeing and academic scholarship. They are Alusine Barrie, Sajia Darwish, James Kernochan, Kamna Kathuria, Jacob Deleon Navarrete, Reetta Heiskanen, Shay Wright, Isadora Baum, Wilson Carter III, Francisco Hernandez, Erin Farley, Dominique Alyssa Dryding, Harry Glass, Harmony Siganporia and Bonnie Chiu.
The mission of CMRubinWorld is to ask the important questions, share the most innovative ideas and ultimately be a bridge builder between the past and the future of learning.
CMRubinWorld launched in 2010 to explore what kind of education would prepare students to succeed in a rapidly changing globalized world. Its award winning series, The Global Search for Education, is a highly regarded trailblazer in the renaissance of 21st century education, and occupies a widely respected place in the pulse of key issues facing every nation and the collective future of all children. It connects today’s top thought leaders with a diverse global audience of parents, students and educators. Its highly readable platform allows for discourse concerning our highest ideals and the sustainable solutions we must engineer to achieve them. C. M. Rubin has produced hundreds of interviews and articles discussing an extensive array of topics under a singular vision: when it comes to the world of children, there is always more work to be done.
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SAN FRANCISCO — Two years ago, a groundbreaking study on lynching documented the brutal mob violence that forced many African Americans to flee the south.
With help from Google, the racial justice group that published the study has transformed Lynchings in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror into an interactive digital platform that combines historical data and personal stories so people can explore one of the darkest passages in the nation’s history.
The goal is to spark a national dialogue about a subject that is too rarely discussed yet is crucial to understanding racism today, says Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative and author of the best-selling book Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption.
Google.org, the Internet giant’s philanthropic arm, also announced it’s giving another $1 million to the Montgomery, Ala.-based Equal Justice Initiative to support its racial justice work. In 2015, Google.org gave $1 million to the Equal Justice Initiative to help fund a national memorial for lynching victims that the Equal Justice Initiative is building on six acres of vacant land in downtown Montgomery and a museum on the country’s racial history planned for the group’s headquarters that was once a slave warehouse.
“We want to change how we think about this era in America,” Stevenson said.
Doria Dee Johnson’s great-grandfather, Anthony Crawford, a father of 13 who started a school for black children and a successful businessman who owned 427 acres of prime cotton land in Abbeville, NC, was lynched in 1916 for cursing a white store owner he believed was trying to cheat him.
Johnson, an activist and PhD candidate in American history at the University of Wisconsin, says the trauma of lynchings created silence. This new digital platform, with its capacity to reach millions, is now helping to break it.
Several months later, I hesitate to offer yet another election postmortem for higher education. Like many of you readers, I have read countless such essays from within and beyond the academy. Some people have argued that the rise of white supremacists (they prefer to be called the “alt-right”) was only to be expected given the proliferation of identity politics in higher education. According those observers, by providing limited space and resources on campuses for the acknowledgment and celebration of various social identity groups that are underrepresented in colleges and universities, as well as marginalized across society, it was only a matter of time before white students would want to assert themselves as well.
The only trouble with that view, as was brilliantly enunciated by Cheryl Harris in 1993 in her discourse on whiteness as property, is that the very idea of whiteness and the racialization of white people over and against all others is the invention of propertied, Protestant Christian, Western European settlers in the Americas. Whiteness was the means of preserving their wealth and status within an ideologically theocratical capitalist system. This argument is disingenuous and ahistorical.
Other commentators, such as Mikki Kendall recently, have noted higher education’s failure to educate its students about race and racism. In that argument, white students are rightfully presented as being allowed to believe in their own merits while at the same time denying the meritorious potential of anyone unlike them — particularly those who are members of racially minoritized groups. Despite first-year orientation diversity sessions and general-education requirements including a plethora of options to expose students to diverse perspectives (but few which present a challenge to normative worldviews), most students leave college with the same assumptions with which they entered: that the dominance and overrepresentation of certain people in college, in leadership and among the ranks of the wealthy and envied is natural and optimal. Most students — not even just white students, necessarily — believe that advancement and opportunity is exclusively a function of merit, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, as noted by legal and educational scholar Lani Guinier.
What I have not yet seen in these electoral postmortems seeking to diagnose how working-class white people in the United States seemingly voted against their own economic interests leading to the election of Donald J. Trump is: 1) an acknowledgment by higher education scholars that it was as much the vote of college-educated, middle-class white men and women that informed this presidential election’s outcomes (see here), and 2) that reality is a result of the decision of historically white colleges and universities to engage a politics of appeasement instead of a true liberal education.
Kendall’s prescient observations reflect the effects of this politics of appeasement, except those who are being appeased are not who some pundits, decrying the excessive political liberalism of the academy, have led us to believe. The greatest strength of an institution lies in its ability to persevere over time, with its most fundamental modus operandi challenged but unchanged. That has never been more true of the institution of American higher education as engendered and still practiced by historically white institutions (HWIs).
As I shared during a talk at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recently, acknowledgment and celebration of diversity were not the primary goals of the student activists of the 1960s through the 1980s, who pushed for ethnic studies departments, student centers and increased recruitment and retention efforts focused on racially minoritized students, faculty members and staff members. No, it was through such avenues that those generations of activists hoped to inspire institutional transformation through the presence of a critical mass of people of color on campuses.