Public education in America has been in serious trouble for decades and now a new problem has arisen: racial discrimination against black kids by teachers, administrators, and entire districts.
At least that’s the conclusion drawn by some African-American educators, the mainstream media, and the Obama adminstration.
Our schools have long been plagued by declining test scores, graduates who can’t read or cipher, high dropout rates, violence, cheating and sex scandals, and little to nothing has been done to substantively address those issues.
Instead, attention has lately been focused on the scourge of bullying–which has existed for as long as there have been kids–and on the “phenomenon” of unruly and disruptive cherubs being disciplined for being black.
Wisely, the MSM generally doesn’t directly attribute that “phenomenon” to racism since there is no racist intent in disciplining students. The MSM merely implies there is.
In a WaPo article titled, “In Washington Area, African American Students Suspended and Expelled Two to Five Times as Often as Whites,” racism is never cited as the cause behind those figures. WaPo’s Donna St. George simply writes that they create “disparities in discipline that experts say reflect a growing national problem.”
Translation: Schools favor whites over blacks and, to a somewhat lesser degree, over hispanics, and apply disciplinary measures accordingly.
St. George points to one expert, Montgomery County Deputy Superintendent Frieda K. Lacey, who said her district “has trained principals and administrators in new approaches, which include involving a team of administrators in suspension decisions.”
Translation: Lacey and company will intercede on a black student’s behalf after he or she creates mayhem in a school.
Lacey also noted that ”Nearly 6 percent of black students were suspended or expelled from school last year,” comparing that percentage with the 1.2 percent of white students.
Just in case St. George’s readers missed the racial import of Lacey’s comparison, a clarification is provided: Lacey “pointed to one unsettling statistic: 71 percent of suspensions for insubordination . . . were handed out to black students. African Americans make up 21 percent of students in Montgomery’s schools.” (http://wapo.st/rZDadf)
Translation: Black kids are being discriminated against en masse with expulsions, suspensions, and other disciplinary measures because they are black and not because they tend to be unruly and incapable of being disciplined short of getting rid of them.
WaPo’s African-American adjunct, The Root, takes a more straightforward approach to the issue.
In “Black Boys: We See Them Differently,” The Root agrees that ”there remains a huge gap in how discipline is metted [sic] out.”
The Root references an upper middle class African-American couple who were terrified their young son would “receive less attention, harsher punishment and lower marks in school than their white counterparts, from kindergarten through college.” (http://wapo.st/vv9vJm)
The absurdity of that fear is only exceeded by the view that in twenty-first America a child who doesn’t create chaos in a classroom, who doesn’t badmouth his teacher, who doesn’t think he is entitled to special treatment because of his race, who cooperates in his education, will be neglected or become the object of arbitrary discrimination.
Have African-Americans even noticed they are represented far beyond their 13% of the population in influential positions, political representation, television commercials, starring movie and TV roles, and corporate boardrooms?
Are African-Americans unaware an African-American holds the office of presidency of the United States?
For years, America has been engaged in affirmative actions to compensate–and over-compensate–blacks for any past inequities, prejudice, and discriminatory practices. Are we now to believe that schools, hotbeds of liberalism under the direction of the leftist National Education Association, are acting contrary to long-established principle and punishing black children unfairly?
Or does the unsocial and intractable insubordination of some black kids merit their school suspensions and expulsions?
The following is offered not as irrefutable evidence that attempting to teach African-American students is a challenge few people can successfully overcome but rather anecdotal proof that, in some cases, it is futile.
Chistopher Jackson, a caring, dedicated, and articulate teacher taught at an unidentified ”predominantly black high school in a southeastern state” and writes of his experience in “What Is It Like to Teach Black Students?” (http://bit.ly/qPQ0n)
Suffice to say, Mr. Jackson’s first-hand details are enlightening on the topic of why black kids are disciplined so often in America’s schools. More importantly, he doesn’t blame them as much as he attributes their behavior to parental–not school–neglect and disinterest.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who was educated all his life in elite institutions and who never spent a day teaching in public schools, and the Justice Department’s Eric Holder, who never met a racist policy he didn’t endorse and implement, are well prepared to affix blame.
Unsurprisingly, last summer Duncan and Holder jointly launched the Supportive School Discipline Initiative, “a collaborative project between the Departments of Justice and Education that will address the ‘school-to-prison pipeline’ and the disciplinary policies and practices that can push students out of school and into the justice system. The initiative aims to support good discipline practices.”
Great idea, so far. Then came the threats.
Toward the presumed lofty goal of improving education, Duncan and Holder presented no specific proposals except to address “inappropriate school discipline” involving “the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights’ work to increase and enhance the school discipline data available through the Civil Rights Data Collection . . . to ensure disciplinary policies support students and are administered in a non-discriminatory manner.” (http://1.usa.gov/nbkBhn)
Translation: The federal government will employ the force of Civil Rights laws to pressure schools and teachers into accepting rather than correcting harmful and negative black student conduct.
Secretary Duncan and AG Holder should be suspended until they read Christopher Jackson’s article, especially Jackson’s conclusion: “I have been in parent-teacher conferences that broke my heart: the child
pleading with his parents to take him out of school; the parents convinced their child’s fears are groundless. If you love your child, show her you care.”
Caring begins with setting parameters, establishing rules to live by, showing you expect your child to abide by normal standards, not by schools or government telling him or her they will excuse and cover for them.