Thursday, August 21, 2014


From the NYT via Steve:

Black and Latino students have long experienced a pattern of inequality along racial lines in American schools. According to data from the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, black and Latino students are suspended and expelled at much higher rates than white students and attend schools with less-experienced teachers. …

The My Brother’s Keeper initiative will also address the needs of Asian-American and Native American boys.

John E. Deasy, superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, said he was eager to share some successful tactics with other school systems. In Los Angeles, he said the district reduced its annual suspensions from 50,000 in the 2009-2010 school year to 8,000 this past school year, in part because of a new policy eliminating “willful defiance” as a reason for suspension.

This is somewhat off-topic, but I've often wondered, when I read a story about a child punished by a public school for, say, drawing a picture of a gun or some similar trivial transgression of political correctness: was the child punished for the activity in itself, or was he punished for defiant disobedience, willfully doing what the teacher told him not to do?

I'm inclined to think this is an important distinction. I am a sworn enemy of the petty Leftist despotisms enabled by our public schools, and have directly challenged them on my children's behalf at least once. But as I have said before, short of an order to violate the Decalogue outright, I think they should do what their teachers tell them to do. There are several reasons. Children are perhaps not the best judges of when their teachers are actually violating their legal rights, when their instructions are merely frivolous, or when they are really acting in the interests of maintaining an orderly learning environment. This is especially true when their own amour propre is on the line. Children (though not necessarily their parents) should give presumptive deference to the day's authority figure; this is the way one adult keeps a classroom of 20+ young people from turning into that island from Lord of the Flies.

On the other hand, if the punishment really is for the thing itself, well there isn't much a child can do to protect himself from arbitrary and capricious behavior on the part of school officials. That's my job.

Back on topic, though, is this testimony for what "defiance" actually looks like from the demographic at issue. H.T.: the WKSB.

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