Posted by Curt on 25 March, 2018 at 4:33 pm. 5 comments already!


The Trump administration plans this summer to scrap a controversial Obama-era discipline rule forced on schools to close racial gaps in suspensions and arrests but that critics say pressures educators to turn a blind eye to escalating bad behavior.

The federal directive, issued jointly in 2014 by the US departments of Education and Justice, warned public school districts receiving federal funding — including New York City — that they could face investigation and funding cuts if they fail to reduce statistical “disparities” in discipline by race. On average, the administration noted, black students are suspended at three times the rate of their white peers.

The directive also discourages student arrests and holds districts liable for the actions of “school resource officers … or other law enforcement personnel.”

The one-size-fits-all federal policy, which recommends group counseling sessions and other alternatives to traditional discipline, has been foisted on several hundred school districts serving millions of students through investigations and threats of investigation that have continued into the Trump administration. More than 300 school districts remain under federal scrutiny, including NYC schools.

“The scope of it is breathtaking,” said Max Eden, an education policy expert and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

He says surveys show schools serving predominantly minority students have been hit hardest by the resulting breakdown in discipline, with violence and chaos mushrooming out of control in urban districts.

After Mayor de Blasio adopted the more lenient school-discipline standards in early 2015, including the recommended “restorative justice” counseling, “more schools saw fighting, disrespect, drugs, gang activity,” Eden said.

While NYC school suspensions are down, crime has spiked in the city’s public schools, including major crimes such as robbery and arson, new NYPD data show. The current academic year has seen the first school murder in more than 20 years — a stabbing at a Bronx high school — and the first time a gun was fired inside a school in more than 15 years. What’s more, new state Education Department data reveal there were more rapes and other sex crimes at NYC public schools during the 2017-2018 school year than any year since 2007.

Studies show that more than 50 other urban school districts across the country have seen similar flare-ups in violent behavior since softening their discipline codes. Large shares of teachers now say they feel unsafe, as more and more students physically attack faculty and staff, according to school-climate and teacher surveys from dozens of districts, including Buffalo, Syracuse, Philadelphia and Denver.

Last week, a delegation of parents, teachers, students, police and at least one school board member from Baltimore shared horror stories with US Education Department staffers about how the federal guidelines have handcuffed administrators and police from disciplining violent bullies.

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