In a move meant to bring more so-called racial justice to California schools, the Assembly voted this week 58-17 to bar public schools from suspending or expelling students from kindergarten to the eighth grade even if they “disrupt school activities or otherwise willfully defy the valid authority of supervisors, teachers, administrators, or school officials.” The bill now moves back to the Senate for a final vote before moving to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk.
The bill would not only affect typical public school but also charter schools.
California Democrats are eager to pass legislation along these lines after a 2018 U.S. Government Accountability Office report “found that black students, boys, and students with disabilities were disproportionately disciplined in K-12 schools. They found this was the case regardless of the type of disciplinary action, poverty at the school level, or type of public school the students attended.”
These are true facts, perhaps, but what goes unanswered is whether or not the students in question are actually violating the rules at a similarly disproportionate level. If the answer is yes, then we have no problem. Or, at least, we have a different problem than the term “racial injustice” would encapsulate. If the answer is no, then perhaps legislation like this is warranted.
But the answer’s not no.
In her searing take-down of the report earlier this year, researcher Gail Heriot found that the government was masking much of the available data:
Perhaps the most insupportable finding in the report is this: Students of color as a whole, as well as by individual racial group, do not commit more disciplinable offenses than their white peers. The report provides no evidence to support this sweeping assertion and there is abundant evidence to the contrary.
Not the least of that evidence comes from teachers. When one looks at aggregate statistics concerning which students are sent to the principal’s office by their teachers, there are strong differences. Denying those differences amounts to an accusation that teachers are getting it not just wrong, but very wrong. It is a slap in the face to teachers.
At a time when we should be doing everything possible to support teachers and bring more good people into the profession, it seems we’re doing the exact opposite. Not only are we turning classrooms into incubators of indoctrination and standardized testing, not only are we taking away teachers’ freedom to creatively use their skills as educators, but we’re sitting back and calling them racists for enforcing disciplinary actions against the students who are there to do anything but learn.
This won’t end well, but we’re sure Democrats will be back with another brilliant solution once their created catastrophe comes back to haunt us all.