March 6, 2012

"Black students, especially boys, face much harsher discipline in public schools than other students..."

"... according to new data from the Department of Education."
One in five black boys and more than one in 10 black girls received an out-of-school suspension. Over all, black students were three and a half times as likely to be suspended or expelled than their white peers.

And in districts that reported expulsions under zero-tolerance policies, Hispanic and black students represent 45 percent of the student body, but 56 percent of those expelled under such policies.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan characterized these findings as a "civil rights" problem, a violation of "the principle of equity at the heart of the American promise." But what is the real problem here? Is it believed that the teachers are racially prejudiced? Are there "white" (or middle class) standards of behavior that are used unfairly to judge and punish black children? Are there female standards of behavior that are used to judge boys?

These are very uncomfortable and disturbing statistics, and the solutions are far from clear. But certainly, you can't even out the numbers by going after white kids. There needs to be one set of rules and individuals must be treated as individuals, based on what they did. That's a "principle of equity" that cannot be abandoned.

But there are some subtleties here. For example, I suspect that teachers notice boy misbehavior and overlook the things girls do. I saw some outright sex discrimination in one class here in Madison, where the boys were all stamped as bad and disciplined as a group. The boys did act up in a way that annoyed the teacher. They bonded in a way the teacher perceived as ganglike, with their own culture and slang. Meanwhile, the girls had their culture, but it involved signals and looks, and things that perhaps the teacher saw as sweet and harmless and reasonably allied with the educational effort.

Also, here in liberal Madison, I was always astounded to attend an assembly and see the teachers singling out black kids for discipline. Didn't the teachers worry about how bad that looked? Presumably, they saw misbehavior, but something is seriously wrong, and the adults are responsible for conditions at school. You need discipline, but discipline has to work, and it shouldn't be sending a negative message to the rest of the children who see what is happening and draw their own conclusions.

One solution is to develop charter schools with different models of learning that are responsive to the needs of children who succumb to misbehavior in traditional schools. Here in Madison, there's the proposal for the Madison Prep school, but it has faced opposition. Teachers unions want unionized teachers. The ACLU will litigate if it's an all-boys school. Read the whole story at the link.

102 comments:

cubanbob said...

is the bulk of the discipline issues among black kids occuring in inner city schools or in black middle class schools?

AJ Lynch said...

The article seems to assume that the rates of misbehavior are exactly uniform across all races. Is that a sound assumption?

Lyssa said...

Show me a study with similar findings after controling for marital status of parents, and I'll be impressed.

Sorun said...

I suspect that black kids are disproportionately victims of bad parenting.

Lyssa said...

My little sister is a teacher in an "inner-city" high school, and she's told me that there's considerable pressure to "cap" the suspension-rates of black students. She's also required to set minimum grades (i.e., no 0's, even if the kid doesn't do a lick of work).

It's awesome.

Freeman Hunt said...

Reminds me of the spin it so women are better principle.

Tim said...

Ok, I read the article.

Not impressed.

If one had time to delve into the data and deconstruct what is exactly going on, I suspect one would find that the rates of misbehavior closely correlate with the rates of punishment; that rates of family dysfunction correlate with rates of misbehavior; that rates of academic achievement (or lack thereof) correlate with an absence of higher level courses; that rates of inexperienced teachers correlate with teacher-union negotiated contracts allowing experienced teachers to get the f^ck out of piss-poor, failing schools in sh!tty neighborhoods serving broken families living in public housing projects.

In other words, I suspect the report on the report is confirmation bias as to why we need to airlift more cash into urban school districts and enable the trial bar to sue such districts for cash settlements.

But that's just a guess...

Maybe there's a wikileaks email between a teachers' union rep and an ignorant minion on the PTA that would expose all this.

Curious George said...

It's this kinda of gymnastics that has made MPS the biggest shithole in the US.

prairie wind said...

Questioning authority is not something teachers like. I don't think kids question authority because of their race but because of their experience. Is there a reason that black kids might question authority more than white kids? The proportion of black men who are in prison might give us a clue. How many of these kids know someone in prison or released from prison? That just has to affect how authority figures are perceived.

traditionalguy said...

Being Male in public is threatening enough, but also being black male puts female teachers of white cultural values into a confrontation with these students. The students opt to use confrontation with teacher as their way to get attention.

The winner is usually the teachers.

Do we really want the teachers to lose?

Ann Althouse said...

"She's also required to set minimum grades (i.e., no 0's, even if the kid doesn't do a lick of work)."

At my law school, we used to have numerical grades, from 65 to 95. 70 was a pass. But if someone handed in a blank exam book, he couldn't be given less than 65. This was so one teacher couldn't wreck a GPA too much. If you could give a 0 (or a 10 or a 20), and 77 was the required average or you'd have to leave school, then one teacher could force a student out of school.

Quayle said...

The piece doesn't give enough information for us to validate Duncan's conclusion that this is a civil rights issue.

Just a few things we'd need to know to determine whether the student's were receiving disparate treatment because of skin color:

1. What were the facts of each underlying infraction.

2. What race were the administrators that invoked the suspensions or expulsions

3. What economic level where the students?

4. In schools that didn't offer calculus, how many students wanted to or were prepared to take the class, that weren't able to.

Ann Althouse said...

We have a letter system now, with 4 points for an A and 0 for an F, so it's no longer an issue.

Ann Althouse said...

"Do we really want the teachers to lose?"

We want the teachers to adopt approaches to discipline and education that work. Blaming children is not a long-term strategy.

Petunia said...

Nice misleading headline, NYT, which isn't surprising. More accurate to say that they're SUBJECTED to discipline more often because, for whatever reason, they misbehave more often.

Of course Arne Duncan immediately jumps to the racism conclusion. Maybe that's part of the problem, and maybe it isn't. But immediately to characterize this as a "civil rights" issue...give me a break.

Patrick said...

"Also, here in liberal Madison, I was always astounded to attend an assembly and see the teachers singling out black kids for discipline. Didn't the teachers worry about how bad that looked?"

Your normally very clear and precise writing doesn't give us much to go on here. It's not at all clear how they were singled out. Were they called out in the assembly for past behavior or for something they did during the assembly. It's very easy to imagine behavior that must be called out during the assembly (e.g. disruption), and the malefactors ought be given no quarter merely because they are black. What was happening?

Sorun said...

Making any kind of connection between black boys' discipline problems at school and flash mob violence would be completely racist.

Same with any connection to imprisonment rates.

Quayle said...

We want the teachers to adopt approaches to discipline and education that work

The real crux of the problem is can teachers overcome the obstacles and problems created by dysfunctional families, as was suggested above, and if so, how?

EDH said...

Might the numbers correlate with the absence of a father in the home?

Just guessing.

Rumpletweezer said...

There are some things that simply MUST be true. Any difference between one race and another CANNOT be true. Evidence that suggests such a thing will be discarded.

wyo sis said...

As a teacher my experience is just the opposite. Teachers are very reluctant to discipline a minority student for fear of being called racist. Male teachers are reluctant to discipline female students for fear of being accused of rape. Teachers are reluctant to touch students for fear of being called molesters.
Students are very savvy about this.

Henry said...

I have multiple reactions. This study is embarassingly flawed, yet there are facts in it that should make anyone that cares about education very angry.

1) First the obvious, as multiple people have already made it: This study is controlled how? Speaking of controls, how do minorities in Catholic schools compare? I imagine the data is harder to obtain. How about public charter schools?

2) Zero-tolerance policies are wrong. They are a mechanical substitute for giving principals and teachers disciplinary autonomy. They should be abandoned.

3) What? From the article: Black students with disabilities constituted 21 percent of the total, but 44 percent of those with disabilities subject to mechanical restraints, like being strapped down. You have students in public schools being strapped down? What is that about?

4) Since we now know that public schools are racist (in liberal terms), are liberals going to rethink their hostility to charter schools and voucher programs?

Flawed as it is, this study is an indictment of public education, especially the big-city urban model of it.

Sorun said...

We want the teachers to adopt approaches to discipline and education that work. Blaming children is not a long-term strategy.

Humans know how to do child discipline. We've been raising children for a long time. An education professional might suggest that some new method should be developed. That'd be ridiculous.

Blaming the child is not the right approach. Blaming the parent (and their culture) is exactly the right approach.

SGT Ted said...

This is an attempt to get the Feds via the Justice Department, under a racist Attorney General who has a problem with white people, to insert themselves and take control of Public schools using "discrimination" as the excuse.

I am not buying it. Any of it. I bet we're being lied to big time about some aspect of the punishments that shows they aren't discriminatory at all, like prior offenses or the attitude of the student when confronted by his actions.

Renee said...

Fathers.

Does the data also look is their father is active in the boy's life.


As for Charters, they choose who they keep. They have the power to remove problem students in ways public schools can't.

Jay said...

but 44 percent of those with disabilities subject to mechanical restraints, like being strapped down.

Hahahahahaha!

Turn your kids over to the government schools (but remember, the teachers are salt of the earth workers!) and this is what you get!

I'm shocked!

prairie wind said...

Might the numbers correlate with the absence of a father in the home?

We should also look at why there are so many missing dads. Some are in prison for possessing marijuana, some are out of prison. If the single moms live in public housing and would like the dad back in the house, if he's a felon they will have to leave public housing. If he can't find a job, they can't afford other housing. Something has to be done to fix this, and nothing will be done until more people are aware of incarceration rates.

Again, it has nothing to do with skin color. It has to do with life circumstances.

Jay said...

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan characterized these findings as a "civil rights" problem, a violation of "the principle of equity at the heart of the American promise."

Of course.

When you've got a hammer, everything is a nail.

It must be so nice to have such a simplistic view of the world.

Hagar said...

It seems to me that the above commenters tend to ignore the effects of public school teachers being 85% or so women, and I would guess 90-95% more or less "white" women.

So, who is most likely not to willingly confirm to the "zero tolerance" policies established by a so constituted bureaucracy?

JHapp said...

My life experience tells me that many black children need to be brought up in that old fashioned culture of traditional family and religion. Unfortunately, the rest of society seems unwilling to sacrifice to make that happen.

JHapp said...

My life experience tells me that many black children need to be brought up in that old fashioned culture of traditional family and religion. Unfortunately, the rest of society seems unwilling to sacrifice to make that happen.

Renee said...

Dads making a difference

http://m.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120305/A_NEWS/203050316/-1/A_NEWS07&template=wapart

"The men - all fathers or relatives of Creekside pupils - are the WatchDOGS (Dads of Great Students), and they are the pioneers of a Lodi Unified effort to increase parent participation in socioeconomically disadvantaged schools, and to provide dads with a closer look at what makes their children's school tick.

"We were always able to get moms to volunteer," Principal Louise Roachford-Gould said. "We haven't been able to get men onto campus. This is an idea to target dads, and bring them on campus. Some of our children don't have dads at home. It's important to have positive male role models."

"Educators say socioeconomically disadvantaged schools, such as these three Lodi Unified schools, often lack parent participation. When parents are not in tune with what their children are doing in school, they are less likely to enforce rules for completing homework or are more timid about talking to teachers or asking for help from school staff, Oakwood Principal Denise Shigematsu said."

Tom Spaulding said...

Another front in the "Wars". More to come, naturally.

Free contraception = War on Women.

Disciplining the behavior of those acting unruly = War on Black Kids.

SGT Ted said...

This is battlespace prep for a power grab, by either Federal court order or executive order.

Just like the contraceptive flap.

MikeR said...

This study is crazy, that article is crazy, and this post is crazy. Can the study really be as bad as the article implied? Did they really take statistics with no attempt to find out why the students were being disciplined? Not one bit of data is mentioned that implies that black students were disciplined more harshly, for the same offense.

Malpractice.

bagoh20 said...

Look, you know deep down that whatever the solution is, the left will be against it, and prevent it from happening for one reason or another. That's how we got here after half a century of leftist solutions. Every time personal responsibility is needed they rise up like tulips in the spring to coddle with their soft debilitating racism.

My personal doctor and my primary surgeon both just happen to be black men. I doubt very much that they were discipline problems as kids.

The problem is all inside the head and family, and not on the outside with skin or school. It's the culture that tells some minorities that being a bad ass is cool. Some white kids succumb to that too, but they also have a competing identity to follow. One that is responsible and not looked down on by their peers.

Simply put, if you have two kids, one black and one white, who are acting and performing well and identically, they will get dramatically different feedback from their peers and maybe even their own family. Just think of what kind of insult the white kid might get that's anyway close to as powerful as telling the black kid that he's "acting white". Probably the worst insult you can give a black kid. The worst to him and the worst for him.

bagoh20 said...

I suspect that racism, sexism, and income inequality will be all the rage for EXACTLY 8 more months.

Geoff Matthews said...

We know that a disproportionate number of murderers are black (I'm using murder as a standard here because it is the crime that is hardest to fake). Data also suggests that other violent crimes are disproportionately committed by blacks.
If we accept this (and the latter is open to argument), is it hard to accept that school children who are black are more likely to exhibit discipline and behavioral problems?

Lest anyone thinks I'm arguing a biological model to explain this, I'm more inclined to an environmental model (broken homes, indifferent caregivers, poor nutrition, chemical recreation, etc.).

Maguro said...

By a strange coincidence, black males are also (by far) the demographic group most likely to be imprisoned for commiting violent crimed. Must be teh racism again.

TMink said...

It is a civil rights problem. Their mothers deprived them of their right to grow up with a father in a married family. These are the consequences.

That science is settled. This article is just a cover up.

Trey

TMink said...

Prarie Wind asked "Is there a reason that black kids might question authority more than white kids?"

I do not know about questioning authority, but boys growing up without fathers are the best predictor of school problems.

And incarceration.

It is a much, much better predictor than race.

A dirty little secret for you.

Trey

Fernandinande said...

Black adults, male and female, are also punished more often than other adults, but the liberals can't really pull the "therefore white people are bad" act (as in "face harsher punishment" rather then "cause more trouble") with that because the arrest rates match NCVS victimization data. (Actually they DO pull the "white people are bad act" since a lot of people aren't aware of the NCVS data).

Fernandinande said...

Black adults are also punished more often than other adults, but the liberals can't really pull the "therefore white people are bad" act (as in "face harhser punichment" rather than "cause more trouble") with that because the arrest rates match NCVS victimization data. (Actually they DO pull the "white people are bad act" since a lot of people aren't aware of the NCVS data).

Fernandinande said...

Black adults are also punished more often than other adults, but the liberals can't really pull the "therefore white people are bad" act (as in "face harhser punichment" rather than "cause more trouble") with that because the arrest rates match NCVS victimization data. (Actually they DO pull the "white people are bad act" since a lot of people aren't aware of the NCVS data).

prairie wind said...

Italians used to be big crime figures during Prohibition. After liquor was legalized, the Italians managed to bring their crime rates down. Funny, that.

Fernandinande said...

Black adults are also punished more often than other adults, but the liberals can't really pull the "therefore white people are bad" act (as in "face harhser punichment" rather than "cause more trouble") with that because the arrest rates match NCVS victimization data. (Actually they DO pull the "white people are bad act" since a lot of people aren't aware of the NCVS data).

Cedarford said...

One in five black boys and more than one in 10 black girls received an out-of-school suspension. Over all, black students were three and a half times as likely to be suspended or expelled than their white peers.

==============
One could say there is a real problem if we had evidence that outside school, then after graduation...the criminal or thug misbehavior pattern of black males was substantially different and less.
THEN the " we done be 'scriminated against!" argument would have more credibility.

But young black males have a staggering juvenile crime problem outside school, then as young adults, a staggeringly high crime rate compared to Asian or white male youth.

Seems to me to have roots in nature, culture, dysfunctional parents the schools can do nothing about.

My big concern is liberal teachers that believe they run afoul of PC if they discipline to many young black males and do nothing...or worse..single out and punish whites and Asians basically doing nothing to disrupt education so the numbers will not show black thugs are "disproportionately" disciplined.

Fernandinande said...

Black adults are also punished more often than other adults, but the liberals can't really pull the "therefore white people are bad" act (as in "face harhser punichment" rather than "cause more trouble") with that because the arrest rates match NCVS victimization data. (Actually they DO pull the "white people are bad act" since a lot of people aren't aware of the NCVS data).

prairie wind said...

A dirty little secret for you.

C'mon, Trey. Did you even read what I wrote?

TMink said...

prarie wind wrote: "It has to do with life circumstances."

I would view that as parental choices. I agree that for the kids these are circumstances as they have no influence on whether their mom and dad were married and their dad was active in their life.

But the word "circumstance" does not do justice with the genocide being practiced by black parents. And no leader will touch this third rail. Certainly not the race pimps like Jackson or Sharpton.

Not taking issue with you prarie wind, but your posts have sent me off on tangents this morning!

Trey

prairie wind said...

Fernandinande, you made a good point. Several times, in fact.

Henry said...

Renee wrote As for Charters, they choose who they keep. They have the power to remove problem students in ways public schools can't.

The poor public schools are forced to use zero-tolerance policies to move minority students into prison. Is that what you meant to write?

Charter schools have a charter. That means every one is unique. Some charter schools are specifically set up to deal with high-risk students. Your "as for Charters" blanket statement is ignorant.

lemondog said...

In the past month local news stations have aired several incidents of students out of control. In one a student was shown attacking the teacher.

Common inner city school student behavior or just an exploited outlier?

Shocking Video Shows Philadelphia School Violence and Chaos

TMink said...

Yes pal, I read it, I just disagreed with a word! My frustration at the topic must have come out and felt like it was frustration with you, I am sorry, that was not my intent. Please accept my appology, I will work on being more clear when I am pissed off!

Carry on.

Trey

Quayle said...

Again, it has nothing to do with skin color. It has to do with life circumstances.

But let's look at how we help create those life circumstances.

I posit that a merciful society protects the weak and succors the poor.

And I have concluded that in most social policies, the American left is going to have to decide and answer for whether the society it envisioned and has created protects the weak and poor among us.

As a volunteer pro bono attorney working on family law cases, I can tell you that our society now approves of behaviors that, while they may be manageable by a rich upper-west-sider or an educated Georgetown law student (like say, not marrying or having children as single parents) are utterly devastating the poor and uneducated.

Let me give you another micro-example of what I am trying to suggest. Many Mormons I know would tell you that they are happy to voluntarily comply with the Church's teaching to not drink, not because they believe in "daemon liquor" or any innate wrong with drinking, but because they stand in solidarity and equality to the weak among them that can't drink without being an alcoholic and falling apart.

In our broader social policies, do we help the weak or poor or underprivileged by maintaining the social and moral structures that help them stay away from devastating problems?

Or do we say "I can do it and handle the side-effects fine, and too bad, it's their problem if they can't handle it without their life being ruined."

One way is merciful, the other is selfish and self centered.

I believe the prophets in the bible call it "grinding the face of the poor."

Roux said...

Maybe the black students misbehave more than white students.

prairie wind said...

Trey: :-)

Yeah, a lot of frustration around this topic.

Henry's point about zero tolerance is excellent. Too bad the public schools don't see it that way. Idiots.

Real American said...

certainly, these new findings, regardless of how misleading they are, will be used to justify even more unneeded federal intervention into public schooling.

PatCA said...

This is one of those social science studies designed for a specific outcome: in this case, an allegation of racism--and no doubt an application for a huge grant to correct that problem.

What about the behavior of other races, like Asians? As always, they are omitted from the study because they wreck the White racism paradigm.

Yes, it's crazy. It's Orwellian. And it's dooming an entire generation of kids.

prairie wind said...

Quayle, I like what you wrote.

In our broader social policies, do we help the weak or poor or underprivileged by maintaining the social and moral structures that help them stay away from devastating problems?

I'm not real sure what you are suggesting. I would like to see us help the weak and poor by maintaining the social and moral structures--absolutely.

The legal structures such as prohibiting recreational drugs don't seem to have aided those social and moral structures, though. In fact, those laws have resulted in a thriving criminal underculture.

cubanbob said...

has anyone seem to notice that level of social pathologies has vastly increased since LBJ's Great Society programs?

virgil xenophon said...

Not mentioned here--yet--is the fact that the dysfunctional values of the black "underclass" are lionized and championed unceasingly in oh-so-many-ways by hollywood, in music, TV., etc. This 24/7/365 "immersion effect" does immense damage to vulnerable black youth in their formative years by sending ALL the wrong sociocultural messages. And people are shocked, SHOCKED by the social/academic dysfunctions exhibited by black students?

prairie wind said...

cubanbob, the bad stuff always increases when the federal government gets involved where they aren't supposed to be. I have noticed that.

bagoh20 said...

If blacks could have somehow skipped the 60 - 90s I think they would be much better off. Well, maybe that goes for all of us.

bagoh20 said...

"has anyone seem to notice that level of social pathologies has vastly increased since LBJ's Great Society programs?".

30 years ago you never heard of a pedophile, today, apparently, almost everyone is one. I blame fluoridated water.

Renee said...

Charter schools receive their funds solely from a tax base.

Can we have charter police departments and fire departments also, if I don't like these public services?

prairie wind said...

I blame fluoridated water.

Could be the vaccines.

edutcher said...

Maybe the teachers want the black kids to succeed, so they jump on anything bad early.

Also, maybe the black kids act up more - fire draws fire, after all.

bagoh20 said...

If blacks could have somehow skipped the 60 - 90s I think they would be much better off. Well, maybe that goes for all of us.

Goes without saying.

JHapp said...

My life experience tells me that many black children need to be brought up in that old fashioned culture of traditional family and religion.

I've seen a lot of white kids that would benefit from it, too.

rcommal said...

"We were always able to get moms to volunteer," Principal Louise Roachford-Gould said. "We haven't been able to get men onto campus. This is an idea to target dads, and bring them on campus. Some of our children don't have dads at home. It's important to have positive male role models."

I don't question that it would be a good idea for there to be more positive male role models. Nor do I question that it's easier to get moms to volunteer than dads (or women than men) in the schools, for a variety of reasons, some simple and some complex, some obvious and some not-so-obvious.

That said, I also think that mixed messages are given to men on this topic. I'm not sure how conducive the school environment--most especially at the pre-k to 6, maybe even to 8, levels. Sports might be one thing, but other than that, the situation can be fraught. I think men volunteering in the lower grades especially can face some risks which women do not. Prudent people take this into account.

My in-laws' family business is a large, certified pre-school/kindergarten/day-care/summer camp operation. It is quite literally decades old, quite professional and experienced. The whole family has participated in it, and in some cases the kids there are the children, or even grandchildren, of alumni. Yet even in these times, arguably less hysterical than in the '80s and '90s (think McMartin, Amirault, etc. etc.), you will never find my father-in-law, who always helped out even when he was still an active engineer but since retiring works pretty much full-time in the business, alone with a child or even in certain areas if only other family members are present. The same goes for my husband, when we are out there. It is simply too risky--even though there has never been an incident.

I used to be on the board of directors of a private preschool/day care where I live (even president for a couple of years). I can tell you that it was not at all uncommon for parents to have questions about the presence of a male, simply because he was male, without regard to what he was or was not doing. For a while there was a male employee, who was excellent--and the kids loved him, especially the boys and especially those kids, boys and girls, who did not have a father in their home, and there were many. There was never any problem, but I can tell you there were many more questions about him, simply because he was male, than other workers. And in fact, procedures and job duties were modified to accommodate his presence when he was there so as to maintain the appearance of the actuality of his being beyond reproach (which he was, always).

[I could give other examples from real life, but I'll stop there.]

These factors are a part of reality of climate which must be acknowledged, and it's part of why it's a knotty part of the situation with which we are faced. More male presence is indubitably needed, yet there are disincentives for more males to get involved (again, especially at the levels to which I alluded). My understanding from the many teachers I know--mostly female, of course--is that the same challenges exist in public schools as well. Obviously, I can't speak for ALL schools and EVERYONE'S experience, but I still think this factor is worth considering.

AJ Lynch said...

Maybe it's just me but Arne Duncan seems dopey to me. Yet I guess he was smart enough to get this BS printed in the NYT.

Henry said...

Renee wrote: Can we have charter police departments and fire departments also, if I don't like these public services?

Yes. And you do. It is not about "liking" or "not liking". It is about augmentation and specialization.

Look up "Emergency medical services."

While you're at it, look up "Pell grants."

Renee said...

Wow, I didn't there were towns that charters out police and fire departments.

Is everything outsourced in parts of the country? Why even be a 'town'.

The whole idea of being Conservative is local control, to outsource means losing control.

wildswan said...

Here's another disproportion - African-Americans are 12% of the population but 34% of all the abortions. And their birth rate has been below the replacement rate since 2006. Martin Luther King's niece, Alveda King talks about this, calling it genocide. But it is ignored. So very strange.

rcommal said...

Renee, all sorts of things are outsourced at all levels of government and in every department you can think of. And there are also many, many private-public partnerships. There are very few entirely "closed system" operations, if any. Can anyone think of some? Maybe police departments? Even then, I'm not sure...I'll bet they at least use contractors for evaluations or training or something?

Henry said...

Renee wrote "Wow, I didn't there were towns that charters out police and fire departments."

Why, yes there are. Look up Volunteer Fire Departments.

I can give you example after example after example of government bodies that provide certain public goods through indirect legal mechanisms - charters, contracts, regulatory regimes, grants, etc.

Boys and Girls Clubs for example. Some operate in public schools. Some operate in public housing.

Sanitation services.

Water and power utilities.

Arts associations.

I already mentioned emergency management services and pell grants.

The State of Vermont funds the education of many thousands of students through a voucher program that is over 100 years old.

paul a'barge said...

One in five black boys and more than one in 10 black girls received an out-of-school suspension. Over all, black students were three and a half times as likely to be suspended or expelled than their white peers

Probably because they deserved it. Tell it to their parent (deliberately singular).

What nonsense. Althouse is getting ready to vote for Obama ... again.

Sigh.

David said...

Kids get suspended for serious violations. They engage in serious violations in part because they have little or no consequence for minor violations.

We have a school district here that is 45% white, 45% black and the rest "other." Blacks are suspended at a considerably higher rate than white. Their median achievement is also markedly lower.

This has been a topic of discussion here. The teachers and administrators I know say the suspensions are warranted, but that part of the problem is (1) reluctance/failure to discipline minor violations leads to escalation and (2) too many black kids are so bored or disengaged and thus are vulnerable to trouble.

prairie wind said...

Kids get suspended for serious violations.

Well, sorta. Kids can get suspended for serious violations but they can also get suspended because of those crazy zero tolerance rules. Pull a knife in the hallway? Expelled. Carry a knife to cut your apple? Expelled.

Rick67 said...

Warning - yet another "I am a teacher / my spouse is a teacher" comment.

But my wife is a teacher and 98% of her students are African-American. She has one "bad" class which means chronic behavior problems. The others might have individual kids who get into chronic trouble.

There is a movement - directed from the district which it seems to be directed from the state? federal? government - *not* to discipline children so much. It looks bad. All those suspensions and expulsions! So they let kids get away with raw in-your-face disrespect and defiance. Not to mention abusing and bullying their peers.

You know what the result is? The behavior problems start going through the roof. Because kids see, There are no consequences!

I believe in Positive Behavior reinforcement. Special rewards for doing things right or well. But you can't throw out Negative Behavior consequences. If you do then order starts to break down and teachers *cannot teach* because too many kids simply refuse to cooperate.

Don't be too quick to blame this on "bad parenting". I'm middle class with a PhD and my wife and I aren't sure about our own parenting record. Some of these kids come from pretty rough situations. I'll spare you the details and sob stories - but many of them are genuinely tragic.

But I also think it's part of a large phenomenon, how the left is encouraging a culture of "if you have something I want, I can take it; why work for anything when I can get what I want for free; I don't have to follow the rules if I don't want to". I think these kids see this philosophy of life being followed by the ruling class and begin to absorb it themselves.

I have high regard for Ann Althouse, but the comment about "gee, let's just have more charter schools that try different approaches" strikes me not as altogether wrong but rather naive.

You *cannot* let kids misbehave without consequences. You can't. And when we do it poisons everything, for teachers and children both, and cultivates a generation of kids who are not on the way toward becoming responsible adults.

Michael said...

Very touchy topic that is useless to raise except in a way that suggests that whites are all racists. It is not going to go away and it is not going to get better. Our liberal betters' low expectations and their growing sense that they contributed to or even created the problem will make progress impossible. I am completely discouraged by this. Totally. We have fucked it up so badly.

TMink said...

Prarie, we completely agree about idiots. I routinely tell school age kids to never draw a gun at school or bring a play gun to school because they may be expelled.

I have to talk to their parents about what can happen if they punch the bully in the nose as the school will not distinguish between bullying and stopping the bully!

What a sad state!

Thanks for letting me clarify, the dirty little secret was not for you, you already know it! It is for our culture, the elephant we ignore even as we complain about the strong smell of feces.

Trey

Chip S. said...

How about this solution? Put all the black kids in one set of schools, with all black teachers and administrators. They'll understand the kids' cultural norms about questioning authority. Put all the white kids in another set of schools, with all white teachers and administrators. They'll understand white cultural norms--whatever those are.

Then impose as much discipline as the law allows, and watch learning outcomes improve.

I understand this may have been tried in the distant past, and abandoned for some reason.

Cedarford said...

paul a'barge -

"What nonsense. Althouse is getting ready to vote for Obama ... again."

================
You say that without evidence. I have detected no signals that AA will not give Romney a fair hearing.
And McCain did little to make people in the middle regret their vote for Obama, looking back.

In the last 4 years, McCain showed he was clueless on the economy and supported the bailouts. He opposed winding down the Iraq War, opposes leaving Afghanistan when just another 10 years and 400 billion dollars could give us Victory! McCain has also proposed military action and more wars. Burma, Venezuela, Libya, Somalia, Yemen..And now he wants us to attack Syria while he waits in bloodthirsty anticipation for a big, bloody war with Iran.

holdfast said...

"Zero Tolerance" rules are put in place so dumb bureaucrats don't have to pretend to try to think. Sometimes folks on the right are in favor, like when they think (often correctly) that judges or others are abusing their discretion, but no matter how laudable to goals seem, removing discretion is never a good policy.

A policy which treats an aspirin like a kilo of coke, and a pen knife like a machete makes no sense. Also, ZT policies treat a person who fights back the same as the person who started the fight, which is not only grossly unfair but teaches kids life lessons which are completely ass-backwards.

Richard Dolan said...

"These are very uncomfortable and disturbing statistics, and the solutions are far from clear."

The late Prof. Wm Stuntz (HLS) devoted a lot of attention to similar statistics in the criminal justice system. Among other stats that he discusses is the fact that some 70% of black males who do not finish high school end up in prison. His last book (The Collapse of American Criminal Justice) discusses the many and varied causes for those dismal facts. For those who don't have time to read it, there are many reviews available on the web, as well as a symposium about Stuntz's views conducted at Penn Law in 2011after his death. Well worth a look if you're interested in getting past the cliches abd stereotypes that always abound when a topic like this comes up. (And for those who distrust anything that comes out of Harvard LS, Stuntz was as far from an academic lefty as one could get -- probably the only Christian evangelical to obtain tenure there since the 19th century.)

William said...

Black kids get punished for misbehavior more often than white kids. The explanation for this: teachers are, at best, insensitive to how this looks, or incompetent, or bigoted. The supposition that underlies this explanation is itself extremely prejudiced.

Rick67 said...

@William - Good point which raises this point.

Are we to understand that black teachers don't want classroom discipline? Let me tell you that at my wife's school, black and white teachers work together, and both have to deal with misbehavior. When black teachers can't discipline black children who misbehave - the consequences are no less disastrous. It is in the interest of African-Americans (those who live in say the inner city) to have law and order in their neighborhoods as well as classrooms. It is in their interest to have leaders who help develop "organic competencies" in their community, see http://withintheblackcommunity.blogspot.com/ which offers a unique and desperately needed perspective.

Bruce Hayden said...

I think that a lot of the posters above nailed the main culprit here. "Poor" black culture is just not conducive towards learning to live in a "white" world. And, there is some indications that there is a lot of pressure to not excel in school, because then they wouldn't be sufficiently black.

And, I think that the big reason for this is the breakdown of the Black family, chronicled by Daniel Patrick Moynihan almost 50 years ago.

Blacks have been the primary victims of the War on Poverty and all the succeeding welfare and social programs purportedly designed to benefit them. And, the big way that they have been harmed is that fatherless parenting has been encouraged and subsidized by the big government programs designed to help them.

We are at a point right now where adult males in these poorer Black communities take pride in the number of children that they are able to father with the greatest number of women, that they take no financial, paternal, or moral responsibility for.

Yet, we see from studies on other animals, as well as demographic studies on our own, that adolescent males in particular need strong male discipline and role models if they are to be properly domesticated. And, yes, it helps the girls a lot too to have a closely related male in the household in a male role model position.

So, the lesson that probably should be learned here is that liberal social policies invariably have (to them) unexpected consequences that very often make things far worse for the supposed beneficiaries of those policies and programs.

prairie wind said...

They'll understand the kids' cultural norms about questioning authority.

I did not say that questioning authority is a black cultural norm. I said that so many black kids have had bad experiences with the law that it would be worth seeing if those experiences lead to a loss of trust in authority. The War on Drugs and the War on Poverty have destroyed many families. White kids with the same experiences with the law--SWAT teams serving search warrants in the middle of the night, watching Mom or Dad get handcuffed on the ground, losing a parent to prison for minor infractions--white kids would have the same difficulties. The difference could be that a larger percentage of the black community has been touched by the court system than white.

cathy said...

So the teachers need to be aware of black cultural values? What are those? That they are more social and like to joke around and talk out in class? That's about all I can think of, and I can see where that doesn't work out well. Funny, that schools that cater to black discipline problems usually end up being very disciplined like almost military academies.

Alex said...

A single one of our liberal "friends" to weigh in on the rampant racism of Wisconsin schools?

Alex said...

Oh I know! Walker's budget cuts have led white teachers to be racist to black kids!

When all you have is a hammer...

Ctmom4 said...

I agree that women teachers have difficulty handling boys. My oldest son's third grade teacher referred evry boy in the class for ADD testing. Every single one. She just didn't want to be bothered with them.

Fen said...

Fathers. Does the data also look is their father is active in the boy's life.

Sidebet that the majority of these kids have the same daddy - the State.

Fen said...

bagoh20: I suspect that racism, sexism, and income inequality will be all the rage for EXACTLY 8 more months.

And afterward, the rage will be all about the homeless.

And the MSM will start telling us just how bad the economy really is.

And the liberals lecturing us about Sara Fluke will be calling for the gangrape of the First Lady.

DADvocate said...

As others have pointed out, the assumption that behavior is the same across races is absurd. How do they explain the higher imprisonment rate of adult blacks? Is that all racism also?

There are significant differences in the dominant cultures of blacks, whites, Asians, Hispanics and other groups in America. If not, why do we "celebrate" diversity?

That said, I don't doubt for a minute there is some bias. I've seen it based on race and I've seen it based on gender. In my observation, which is supported by the report, the bias against boys is stronger than the racial bias. Like Ann, I've had my kids' teachers exonerate entire classes of girls while convicting all the boys. When I confronted the teacher about this, she gave me the "To being with..." crap and that I'm not a teach, so I don't know what it's like, etc. She was an idiot, which, unfortunately, isn't too uncommon in teachers.

We need to toss them all out and start over. Some are good enough to earn their way back in, many aren't.

Lyle said...

This seems to mirror the disproportionate number of arrests made of black men.

This is so because of lived culture.

Blue@9 said...

What difference does it make? It's not like the education establishment is going to blame the kids or the teachers, but rather "the system" and "typical conservative racists."

Unknown said...

"""In our broader social policies, do we help the weak or poor or underprivileged by maintaining the social and moral structures that help them stay away from devastating problems?"""

One thing that has not been brought up is that various interests groups (ACLU, etc.) have forced change in schools regarding discipline. As always, these seem to be well meaning. However, I have read about the 10 percent of children that make a school room chaos and, sadly make impossible learning by the 90 percent. I think this relates to the above point.

Also, we hear so much about bullying in school. If teachers and administrators were truly in charge how could there be bullying? The poor kids that are non-aggressive must feel like they are in prison and there are no guards around to protect them.

If we are ever to make our schools effective again for inner city children we may need to triage out the children who are toxic to order and learning so that a larger part of the survivable kids can be saved.

Carnifex said...

I hate to be the racist on the board, but I will point out that it is NOT liberal policies that are the problem.

First we need to agree on some things. Number one being that the school environment is not as stable as it was even 10 years ago.
Ipods, laptops, cellphones, just start the chaos. Add in cliques, gangs, clubs. Clothes, and race to top it off. In the best school system teachers vie for the attention of the students while in class. Outside the classroom, add in tv, movies, and just hanging with friends, make for poor study habits. Poor study habits make for poor students.

So we have, a mixture of good to bad students in most schools. As others have stated ZT policies add to he perception of a problem. Recall a story last week where a 4th grader drew a picture of a gun. The authorities were so horrified, they arrested the girls father, and stripped searched him.

But here is where the tire meets the road...look at the major liberal cities in the country, and their school situation. Portland/Seattle, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, San Francisco, Austin, New york City.

All liberal cities. But they do not have near the same problem of school discipline. Why? What is the difference? Do I have to spell it out? Detroit schools are so bad that more than 50% of its graduates are illiterate. And it ain't because whitey is holding a brother down. In fact, Detroit is made up almost entirely of black people. And that's the way they want it. When Michigan moved to take control of this disaster of a school system, the city authorities cried "RACISM!"

I would posit that Seattle or San Fran. is even more liberal than Chicago, or Detroit, but they don't have near the problem that the "chocolate cities" have.

There is a big problem in black America, and it won't be solved by white liberals.

Gene said...

Prairie Wind: Italians used to be big crime figures during Prohibition. After liquor was legalized, the Italians managed to bring their crime rates down.

This is true. We could bring the time rate down to zero if we legalized robbery, rape and assault too.

Doug1 said...

Given what I've read about the often chaotic nature of classroom behavior in majority black inner city schools, if anything I'd guess the rate of disciplining black students is less than their rate of disrupting class, hitting other students, and so on.