Hope n’ Change: Curing the effect, not the cause.

On Monday the Wall Street Journal reported that the Obama administration is planning on stepping up civil-rights enforcement in the public schools which includes scrutinizing the varying discipline rates between African American and Caucasian students using a model of disparate impact.

“African-American students…  are more than three times as likely to be expelled as their white peers,” Mr. Duncan plans to point out in his speech.

Ms. Ali said the department planned to pursue a number of what are known as “disparate impact cases,” in which districts can be found to have violated civil-rights laws even without deliberate intent.  – via WSJ

This is complete rubbish. Nearly all sociological research has found a direct correlation between poverty and deviant behavior. The difference in discipline rates is not surprising at all then when child poverty rates are taken into account.

This policy will encourage schools to do two things: Discipline white children who are undeserving of such actions and/or abstain from disciplining black children who are. It in no way addresses the root, nor is it in my opinion a civil-rights issue at all, except in some isolated circumstances – deserving local, not federal policing.

In order to correct what the Obama administration is labeling as racism, we need to stop trying to cure the effect (ie. a higher expulsion rate) and find ways to lift these demographics out of poverty – like continuing to reform the welfare system. For example, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996, signed by President Bill Clinton helped drop the US poverty rate from 53.1% in 1995 to 39.8% by 2001.

If we want children to avoid getting into trouble, we need to find policies that help proverty stricken families – particularly single mothers – particularly black single mothers – elevate themselves beyond government programs. This new approach by the Obama White House does no such thing.