Claims that school discipline is unfairly meted out ignore actual classroom behavior.
Race advocates and the media are greeting a new General Accounting Office report on racial disparities in school discipline as a vindication of Obama administration policies. The GAO found that black students get suspended at nearly three times the rate of white students nationally, a finding consistent with previous analyses. The Obama Education and Justice Departments viewed that disproportion as proof of teacher and principal bias. Administration officials used litigation and the threatened loss of federal funding to force schools to reduce suspensions and expulsions radically in order to eliminate racial disparities in discipline. The GAO report, which implicitly rubberstamps the Obama approach, comes just as Trump education secretary Betsy DeVos is evaluating whether to rescind Obama’s school discipline directives. DeVos should go forward with that rescission: the administration’s policies were fatally flawed, as is the GAO report that attempts to justify them.