Public school suspensions: We were fascinated by an editorial in today's Washington Post.
The editorial discusses a new study about public school suspensions. You haven't heard about this new study, just as you haven't heard a word about Arne Duncan's statement last Monday concerning the large score gains public schools have recorded over the past forty years.
You haven't heard about the new study, or about those test score gains, for two fairly obvious reasons:
First, you haven't heard about these topics because no one actually cares about the kids in our public schools, and certainly not the black kids.
Second, you haven't heard about these topics because the horrible people on our own corporate "cable news" channel prefer to clown around with The Beast. They prefer to "completely speculate" about what Melania Trump may or may not have thought or said back in 2006, when she gave birth to her only child.
So it goes on "liberal" cable! Compared to the joys of discussions like that, public school kids can go hang. They can go hang in the yard!
We offer these as fairly obvious anthropological facts. And of course, "it's all anthropology now," as we've declared on numerous occasions since the start of the year.
That said, let's return to that new study, the one you'll never see discussed on our "liberal" channel.
In part, the study showed what everyone already knew—black kids get suspended from school, and otherwise disciplined, at rates which are disproportionate to their share of the student population.
That said, the study seems to make an additional claim. At the start of today's editorial, the editors offer this:
WASHINGTON POST EDITORIAL (4/7/18): A new report by the Government Accountability Office showing the role that racial bias plays in school discipline could not have come at a more critical time. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is mulling whether to roll back Obama-era policies aimed at curbing racial disparities in discipline. The stark findings of this report should make Ms. DeVos’s decision easy, assuming of course she pays attention to the facts rather than listening to the ideologues pushing for repeal.That passage adds to what we've said above. According to that passage, the study claims that the disproportionate rate of discipline stems from "bias"—that black kids get disciplined at a disproportionate rate "for comparable offenses."
Black students, according to the report released this week by Congress’s nonpartisan watchdog agency, are more often disciplined in school and receive harsher punishments than white students for comparable offenses. Starting as early as preschool, black students experience the brunt of discipline from in-school suspensions to expulsions and school-related arrests. Young black males were most affected, but the pattern of unequal treatment extended to young black females. Particularly hard hit were black students with disabilities.
We would assume that this may be true, though to what extent we don't know. More precisely, we don't know the role that racial bias may play in this matter, as opposed to other possible causes.
For the record, the disproportion in the rates of suspension tends to be quite large. According to the New York Times news report about this new study, for example, "black students were being suspended at three times the rate of their white peers" in 2012.
If that number is accurate, that counts as a very large difference. You never hear about this at your favorite web sites or on your tribal cable news channel because no one actually cares about any of this, or about black kids in geeral.
Nobody cares about black kids! Despite this blatantly obvious fact, modern pseudoliberal culture is heavily built around two goals. We like to pretend that it's still 1955, and that we liberals are the Very Good People fighting against Jim Crow.
In fact, it isn't 1955. Beyond that, we know of no evidence which suggests that we liberals are any better than anyone else.
Despite that, play-acting is required. Hence, the editors' third paragraph:
WASHINGTON POST EDITORIAL (continuing directly): In what was seen as a groundbreaking finding, GAO researchers determined that the disparities could not be explained by poverty levels. Black students were suspended more often than their white peers regardless of the income level of schools studied. “There’s a racial discrimination problem, and that can no longer be disputed,” Daniel J. Losen, of the University of California at Los Angeles’s Civil Rights Project, told the New York Times.Is there "a racial discrimination problem" at play in those disparate suspension rates? We would assume that there probably is.
That said, there's also a "we don't give a flying fig" problem at play in the liberal world. In our view, that problem is put on display in that stirring paragraph, where the editors signal their moral greatness.
What's the problem with that paragraph? As always, thanks for asking!
In that paragraph, the editors somewhat oddly say that the new study "determined that the disparities [in discipline levels] could not be explained by poverty levels." Reading the rest of the paragraph, we'll guess that this is a clearer statement of what they meant:
"The disparities [in discipline levels] could not be explained by income levels." Presumably, that means something like this:
It makes sense to think that kids from lower-income families would get suspended more often. But black kids at all income levels get suspended more often than their white counterparts.
The editors don't explain why they assume that lower-income kids will get suspended more often. We'll only say that something perhaps resembling a "bias" could perhaps be lingering there!
That said, why might it make a type of sense to see black kids getting suspended more often, even when compared to white kids from similar income levels? We'll suggest an answer below.
For now, we'll offer some of our most painful public school achievement data. In this chart, "lower income" means a student who is eligible for federal free or reduced price lunch. "Upper-income" means a student who is ineligible for that program:
Average scores, Grade 8 mathAs Duncan stated in Monday's column, ten points on the Naep scale is often equated, very roughly, to one academic year. With that in mind, that chart includes some of our nation's ugliest test score data.
National public schools, 2015 Naep
White students, higher income: 298.32
White students, lower income: 275.94
Black students, higher income: 273.58
Black students, lower income: 255.82
As you can see, the achievement gaps here are quite large. Most depressingly, lower-income white students slightly outscore higher-income black students! But even among lower-income students, the achievement gaps between the two groups are dismayingly large.
Why do kids get suspended from school? Racial bias could be one answer. But just for once, let's spend as many as ten seconds discussing the actual lives of all too many black kids:
Kids frequently get suspended from school due to behavior which results from unhappiness, frustration, alienation, anger, despair. Those feelings will often stem from a student's inability to handle the academic work.
It's no fun to be the 10-year-old kid who's way behind in school. Such beautiful kids will actually cry from their unhappiness and their frustration. We've seen it with our own eyes!
It's no fun to be confused; to get bad grades; to be overwhelmed, day after day, by your classroom's academic demands; to be worried about repeating a grade.
Especially in schools which don't accommodate this type of despair, low-achieving kids will "act out" more often in school. It shouldn't be surprising to see higher discipline rates among lower-achieving kids, even where family incomes match. In general, a higher-achieving low-income kid will be less unhappy in school.
Except at this site, you've never seen the horrible data we've posted above. There's an obvious reason for that—except for their utility as a way to exhibit moral preening, no one actually cares about the lives or the interests of black kids.
No one cares about the challenges thrown at these kids. We liberals like to preen and posture, but that tends to be where it ends.
As a nation, what should we do to address those gruesome achievement gaps? You will never see that question addressed on the corporate liberal cable we pseudos enjoy so much.
When you see that question addressed in print, you'll typically encounter work derived from tribal script, not from real experience. To cite one recent example, we'll be told that this school is "segregated:"
Student population, Public School A"That school is segregated," we'll be told. Then: "Oh, what a good boy am I!"
White kids: 38 percent
Black kids: 24 percent
Hispanic kids: 24 percent
Asian-American kids: 8 percent
Other: 6 percent
In today's editorial, the editors were letting us know that, in the face of all the racism in our schools, they are among The Very Good People who will rise up to complain.
At least they're willing to fake it! On MSNBC, our horrible heroes discuss Melania, The Sex and The Chase. Dragged to the ground by their corporate culture, they will discuss nothing else.
We're the ones who enable their dreck. As Aristotle said long ago, it's all anthropology now!