Students who go to public schools in Oakland, California will no longer have to worry about being suspended if they demonstrate “willful defiance” in class. Examples of willful defiance include swearing at teachers, ignoring instructions, and deliberately disobeying school authorities. Wednesday, the Oakland Unified School District voted to eliminate suspensions because black students are more likely to be kicked out of school than whites.
Oakland is not the first school district in the country to pursue this sort of racial justice. In Minneapolis, school administrators must get approval from the superintendent before suspending students of color. New York City schools are also looking to cut back on the number of black and Hispanic students being suspended for various offenses.
“We’re getting pushed out of schools,” one 15-year-old student told the San Francisco Chronicle. Dan’enicole Williams said that teachers were not willing to understand the reasons behind classroom disobedience. “They never take time out, if someone is sleeping in class, to ask what’s wrong. They don’t care about us.”
Policies like these come straight from the Obama administration, where much has been said about the dangers of zero-tolerance punishments and how they affect minority students. In a speech last year, Attorney General Eric Holder even went as far as to call strict disciplinary policies a form of “segregation.”
Of course, no one on the left is willing to consider the possibility that black and Hispanic students are suspended more often because they actually cause more trouble than their white counterparts. That would be racist! If minorities are being suspended with greater frequency, there must be something wrong with the system. Some liberal organizations have called on teachers and administrators to recognize their “white privilege” when disciplining students of color. Instances of disobedience, disruption, and even violence, they say, should be viewed through a different prism when dealing with black students. “That’s how these students engage in learning,” said one opponent of zero tolerance.
No one should be surprised to see this happening. This is how liberals do business. Both sides agree that people should be treated equally, but only liberals believe we must modify the system until everyone gets the same result. The easiest way to do that? Lower expectations and lower standards. It’s their answer for income inequality, racial disparities in prison, educational outcomes, and even unemployment.
Proponents of private schools, vouchers, and homeschooling need not wait much longer. Democrats are going to be the cause of their own demise. We are only a few years away from a mass public school exodus, and they will have no one to blame but themselves for the mess they’ve made. Unfortunately, that mess is going to have disastrous consequences for society at large.