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Turning Schools Into Fight Clubs
4/2/15 | Wall St. Journal
Behind the Headline
Civil Rights Enforcement Gone Haywire
Fall 2014 | Education Next
In the Wall St. Journal, Eva Moskowitz warns that
Many across the country are engaging in a misguided campaign to diminish the school discipline needed to ensure a nurturing and productive learning environment. Leading the pack is New York City, where Mayor Bill de Blasio has proposed a disciplinary code due to take effect this month in the city’s district schools.
Proponents of lax discipline claim it would benefit minority students, who are suspended at higher rates than their white peers. But minority students are also the most likely to suffer the adverse consequences of lax discipline—that is, their education is disrupted by a chaotic school environment or by violence.
Lax discipline won’t strike a blow for civil rights. Instead it will perpetuate the real civil-rights violation—the woeful failure to educate the vast majority of the city’s minority children and prepare them for life’s challenges.
In an article for Education Next, “Civil Rights Enforcement Gone Haywire: The federal government’s new school-discipline policy,” Richard Epstein writes about actions the federal government has takento change the way schools discipline students.
In a “Dear Colleague” letter released last year, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Education (ED) issued guidance for schools on avoiding discrimination against students on the basis of race when administering school disciplinary policies, and warned that if minority students are subject to disciplinary actions at a higher rate than other students, schools could be faulted for civil-rights violations.
– Education Next