…in the Obama administration’s war on education.
The DoJ and the Department of Education have sent out another of their Dear Colleague letters, this time concerning the disparate impact of punishing minority students in our public schools. Investor’s Business Daily summarized the letter,
Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan Wednesday issued “recommendations” urging schools to find ways to avoid suspending or expelling students who act out. …
The two Cabinet members argued that suspensions deny minority students time in the classroom….
And suspensions of “majority” students don’t have the same effect? No, that’s not Eric Holder’s and Arne Duncan’s argument. They argued in their 32 pg letter that “minority” students get the treatment disproportionately—disparately. Never mind that these students misbehave…disparately.
The danger of applying this pernicious and racist disparate impact meme is clearly identified by Commissioner Gail Heriot of the United States Commission on Civil Rights in her remarks on the Commission’s School Discipline and Disparate Impact report:
There are two sides to the “disparate impact” coin. Secretary Duncan focuses only upon the fact that, as a group, African-American students are suspended and expelled more often than other students. By failing to consider the other side of the coin—that African-American students may be disproportionately victimized by disorderly classrooms—his policy could easily end up doing more harm than good to the very group he is attempting to help.
Indeed. This disparate impact policy on school discipline will have a disparate impact on minority students’ ability to get an education in a classroom full of disparate impact-protected misbehavers. All while carefully ignoring the underlying causes of one group having a higher misbehavior rate than another group.
More, a footnote in Heriot’s remarks also hints at the fundamental lawlessness of the Obama administration [emphasis added]:
4 [page 98 of the report, the same page as the portion of Heriot’s remarks quoted above] I agree with Commissioner Gaziano that Title VI simply does not permit the Department of Education to proceed against schools on a disparate impact theory and that the Department’s regulation nonetheless adopting that theory, 34 CFR sec. 100.3, is therefore unauthorized by law. It requires actual discrimination. See Section 601 (Title VI) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 USC sec. 2000d (No person shall “on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance”). See also Alexander v Sandoval, 532 US 275 (2001). I also agree with Commissioner Gaziano that the problem with disparate impact analysis is not simply that it goes beyond what Congress authorized in Title VI; it actually contradicts Title VI. If one group receives more school discipline than another because (for whatever reason) its members violated more school rules than the other, race-conscious efforts to alter the “disparate impact” are usually themselves discriminatory.
Sadly, this phase, in addition to denying minority students access to their education, is also another example of the unconscious racism of the Left.