What About the Kids Who Behave?
A WSJ op ed by Jason Riley on the DOE's report about higher discipline rates for minority kids:
The reaction to studies like this reveals disturbing sensibilities on the left when it comes to education in general and black education in particular. The data were compiled by the Education Department's civil rights office, which probably thinks that it's doing black people a favor by highlighting these racial disparities and pressuring schools to reduce black suspension rates. No thought, it seems, was given to whether this course of action helps or harms those black kids who are in school to learn and not act up.
The Obama administration's sympathies are with the knuckleheads who are disrupting class, not with the kids who are trying to get an education. But is racial parity in disciplinary outcomes more important than school safety? Going easy on the students who behave badly—especially in inner-city schools where the problem is pronounced—is an odd way of advancing black education and closing the learning gap. Black kids already tend to be stuck in dropout factories with the most inexperienced teachers. Must they be consigned to the most violent schools as well?
This is yet another argument for offering ghetto kids alternatives to traditional public schools, and it's another reason why school choice is so popular among the poor. One of the advantages of public charter schools and private schools is that they typically provide safer learning environments. So even if voucher programs in Milwaukee and Washington, D.C., and high-performing charters like KIPP Academy weren't producing higher test scores and graduation rates—even if the academic results were no better than the surrounding neighborhood schools—parents can take comfort in knowing that their children are safer.
- March 10, 2012