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This Just In: GAO Discovers that Schools Suspension Rates for Black Males are Disproportionately High

April 6, 2018

Diane Ravitch wrote a post yesterday describing the findings of a GAO study team who determined that the suspension rates for young black males is disproportionately high. Quoting from a Politico post, Ms. Ravitch writes:

KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THE GAO’S SCHOOL DISCIPLINE REPORT: The GAO released fresh evidence Wednesday that black students, boys and students with disabilities are all disproportionately disciplined in the nation’s public schools. The report, based on data from the 2013-14 school year, comes as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos mulls a repeal of Obama-era discipline guidance aimed at curbing such disparities. The numbers in the report are jarring. Black students by far bear the brunt of every type of discipline – from in-school suspensions to expulsions and school-related arrests. For example: While black students accounted for 15.5 percent of all public school students, they represented about 39 percent of students suspended from school.

Ms. Ravitch then lists a series of takeaways from the Politico article, each one underscoring that the guidelines put in place by the Obama administration were necessary and should be sustained. But the GOP, who blames the Obama administration for everything, will not be persuaded. Indeed, as noted in earlier posts, leading GOP Senators including Marco Rubio preposterously blamed the shooting at Parkland on these guidelines that had nothing to do with the shooter in that case.

In an article by Thomas Edsall titled “The Contract with Authoritarianism” he notes the authoritarian mindset is based on the “strict father” model of the family. That model would insist that punishment be swift and even handed with no heed whatsoever to a student’s background. The “nurturant parent” model, in contrast, would look deeply at the causes and conditions that resulted in the misbehavior and find the root causes.

It is clear that our country has embraced the strict father model because it is SEEMINGLY cheap and efficient… but a closer examination indicates that it is neither since prison costs more than the counseling and early interventions that a nurturant parent would value. But in the closed minds of authoritarians, data makes no difference.

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