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Underreported: Obama administration plan to dismantle local school discipline

Seventy percent of African-American children are born to single mothers. Moreover, children growing up in the African-American community face the peer pressure of gangsta culture: success in school results in ostracism for "acting white."

With such dysfunction in the African-American community one would expect African-American children to have more disciplinary problems than average. And indeed they do: "black students were three and a half times as likely to be suspended or expelled than their white peers".

These problems are certainly difficult: how do you change the culture? Unfortunately, the Obama administration is proposing counterproductive policies that would reduce personal responsibility.

According to the Obama administration, the disparity in discipline is a "civil rights" issue of "equity." The Department of Education is threatening "disparate impact" inquiries on school districts that discipline blacks more than whites or Asians. School districts could only comply by failing to discipline poorly-behaving African-American students; disciplining well-behaving whites to get the numbers up will just result in lawsuits. The consequences would be disastrous. Poorly-behaving African-Americans are most likely to be attending majority-minority schools. The ultimate effect is a wealth transfer from well-behaved African-American students trying to learn to thugs interfering with that process, only adding to the dysfunction of public schools and the African-American community.
[Via Sailer; related at Overlawyered, 2003.]

The Obama administration obsession with disparate impact has led to other counterproductive policy choices because of its unreasonable presumption that disparate impact can only result from illegal discrimination, as we've discussed elsewhere: Jan 2012; Nov 2011; Aug 2011; Jul 2011; Mar 2011.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.