Sometimes in a compromise, both sides walk away unhappy.
That’s exactly what would happen if the Trump administration accepts a compromise measure on school discipline policy proposed by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. The proposal is a non-starter, particularly for those who value local control over federal overreach.
Here’s what’s at stake.
In 2014, the Obama administration issued a “Dear Colleague” letter on school safety and student discipline that represented a significant executive overreach. That letter should be rescinded, but some advocacy groups want it to remain in place.
The letter tells schools they may not discipline minority students at higher rates than their peers, even if the school’s policies are “facially neutral” with regard to race.
No reasonable person thinks students should be punished for the color of their skin, and fortunately, federal civil rights laws support common sense here. But this guidance document goes much further. It says the Office for Civil Rights will proactively investigate school districts to root out policies that suspend or expel minority students at higher rates than white students, an effect called “disparate impact.” Even if such discipline is warranted, the letter warns that the Office for Civil Rights will come calling:
Schools … violate federal law when they evenhandedly implement facially neutral policies and practices that, although not adopted with the intent to discriminate, nonetheless have an unjustified effect of discriminating against students on the basis of race.
Advocates of this federal guidance say it’s necessary because of ongoing discrimination against minority students. “The federal government has an important role to play in upholding students’ civil rights and can do so without stifling important local autonomy,” says a recent coalition letter in favor of the guidance.
Read the full story from The Daily Signal
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