Betsy DeVos Will Make It Easier for Black Students to Be Expelled

Betsy Devos might not have had much experience in education before helming the Department of Education, but you’ve got to admit that she’s been working extra hard since taking the position… to make the lives of students who aren’t rich, white, straight, cisgender and Christian like her much more difficult. Next up on DeVos’s agenda: rescinding guidelines that keep African American students in school and out of trouble.

During Barack Obama’s time in the White House, he and his Department of Education noticed a disturbing trend: black male students are disproportionately disciplined – four times as often – as their white counterparts despite breaking school rules at similar rates [see the research.] What’s worse, the resulting suspensions and expulsions correlated with the same kids getting arrested down the road.

So the DoE aimed for a course correction. If black boys were being unfairly targeted for behavior that would be overlooked by white kids and it set them down a bad path, perhaps the admin could nudge public schools to give additional consideration to their potentially discriminatory handling of students of color.

Obama instituted guidelines that gave principals and teachers alternate suggestions for disciplining that reengages students rather than simply enforcing the idea that they’re bad and unwanted. The president’s team framed it as a civil rights issue because the biases that occur in schools have proven effects on the racial disparities that extend in adulthood.

Apparently, DeVos and her crew are not fans of having these guidelines available to schools. After all, if public school administrators want to disproportionately punish black students, who is DeVos to stand in their way? Whatever you do, don’t reflect on the harms of institutional racism!

The worst part is that DoE is making this change in the name of “safety.” A commission that convened in early 2018 to consider the rash of school shootings has predictably come up empty on any gun policy recommendations aside from some helpful tips for teachers who choose to pack heat at work.

Instead, sources told the Washington Post that the group decided something must be done about coddling problem students with intervention programs because it supposedly “allow[s] bad behavior to fester, setting the stage for violent acts.” Completely ignoring the fact that, overwhelmingly, school shooters are white, they decided that revoking Obama’s guidelines would improve safety.

Oh go figure that a team of Trump’s people feels more secure with fewer brown-skinned kids on campus. Look, Obama’s guidelines aren’t strict rules – dangerous teenagers of all races can and should be removed from schools, so to construe Obama’s suggestions as harmful is preposterous. Rather than addressing the actual problem at hand, these conservatives have put the blame on an inconsequential (to school shootings, anyway) idea that they wanted to get rid of anyway.

Alas, it’s hardly the first time DeVos has gone after civil rights in schools. Earlier this year, she stripped back the investigation procedures for schools accused of civil rights infractions, dismissing claims twice as fast as previous DoEs.

We still have a long way to go toward eliminating the school-to-prison pipeline, particularly for black males. By revoking these guidelines, DeVos is ensuring the previous administration’s work to chip away at this problem will vanish and racial disparity will prevail.

 

61 comments

Dot A
Dot A17 days ago

The only command that will help our world is that we begin to love one another. The alternative is doom. Whenever we allow injustice to people we are failing. The world cannot benefit nor prosper when we harbor negative ideas towards others. Eventually, that negativity circles back to its origins. This applies to all forms of life, including our educational systems. Only when we offer support, guidance, encouragement and human kindness will our systems function for good. Whenever we fail others, the system fails. This truth stands accurate for our educational systems as well as any other. And education includes how we conduct ourselves in any relationship, beginning at home. If we have a poor attitude towards anyone just on such superficial things such as gender, flesh tone, genetic inheritance, or any qualities which a child is born with, we have failed our human race. Indeed. Just look around at the unnecessary suffering because of such ignorance. Just look at our DoE. Failing our humanity.

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Chad A
Chad A21 days ago

Thank you.

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Anna R
Anna R22 days ago

thank you for the update

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Amparo Fabiana C
Amparo Fabiana C23 days ago

Unbelievable, enslaved in the prison system. Two more years. Hang in there.

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danii p
danii p26 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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danii p
danii p26 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Joan E
Joan E26 days ago

DeVos is the one who needs to be expelled. As comedian Emo Phillips once said, "If you want to expel me, you're going to have to eat me first."

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Don Z
Don Z28 days ago

If the kid misbehaves, the kid gets punished. No free pass just because they are black.

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Janet B
Janet B29 days ago

Thanks

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Izorie I
Izorie Irvin29 days ago

Nonsense, this is very sad yet true, and even more Nonsense Continues...and even sadder this will go on until the end of time....

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