WASHINGTON, D.C. – A recent poll conducted by Education Next is revealing some interesting public attitudes about federal directives that force schools to treat black and Hispanic students differently than whites.
In recent years, the Obama administration has forced large metropolitan school districts like the Los Angeles Unified School District to rework suspension and student discipline policies to counter the trend of black and Hispanic students serving more suspensions than whites. Several districts that complied with Obama’s demands and removed “willful defiance” as grounds for suspension have received repeated complaints from parents, teachers and students that unruly students now remain in school, and are causing chaos in the classroom.
“I was terrified and bullied by a fourth-grade student,” a teacher in a Los Angeles Unified School District school recently noted on the Los Angeles Times website, according to the New York Post. “The black student told me to ‘Back off, b—h.’ I told him to go to the office and he said, ‘No, b—h, and no one can make me.’ ”
“We now have a ‘restorative justice’ counselor, but we still have the same problems. Kids aren’t even suspended for fights or drugs,” another teacher wrote.
Data from the 2015 Education Next Poll show the vast majority of the public, in virtually all demographics, believe the federal policies are misguided.
Answering the question “Do you support or oppose federal policies that prevent schools from expelling or suspending black and Hispanic students at higher rates than other students?” 51 percent of respondents from the general public opposed the idea. Only 21 percent supported the idea, and 29 percent did not support or oppose, according to the education site.
Among parents, 54 percent opposed, while that figure was nearly 60 percent for teachers. Opposition was even higher among Republicans, at 62 percent, but more Democrats were also in opposition than in support, at 42 percent and 29 percent, respectively.
When broken down by race, 44 percent of Hispanics opposed the federal policies and 31 percent supported them. African Americans were the only demographic showing more support than opposition. Forty-one percent of blacks support Obama’s race-based suspension policy, while 23 percent opposed, according to the data.
Education Next also asked: “Do you support or oppose school district polices that prevent schools from expelling or suspending black and Hispanic students at higher rates than other students?”
The results were similar, though more folks opposed.
A mere 19 percent of the general public support race-based suspension polices, while that percentage was 20 for parents, 18 for teachers, 36 for African Americans, 24 for Hispanics, 13 for Republicans and 24 percent for Democrats. Opposition stood at 50 percent for the general public, 49 percent of parents, 57 percent of teachers, 35 percent of blacks, 43 percent of Hispanics, 59 percent of Republicans and 43 percent for Democrats.
The federal race-based anti-suspension school discipline policies are promoted by a radical group called the Pacific Education Group, which receives six figures from school districts around the country to promote the idea that the public school system is racist and stacked against minorities.
PEG has worked to implement “racial justice” reforms that offer therapy sessions and “restorative justice” sessions centered on how educators’ unconscious “white privilege” is contributing to a “white supremacist system,” EAGnews and the New York Post reports.
According to the Post:
After spending millions on restorative justice and “courageous conversations about race” training, Portland public schools have seen their students only grow more violent.
After a black high-school boy repeatedly punched his teacher in the face, sending her to the emergency room, the teacher, who is white, was advised by the assistant principal not to press charges. The administrator lectured her about how hard it is for young black men to overcome a criminal record.
Worse, she was told she should examine what role she, “as a white woman” holding unconscious racial biases, played in the attack, according to the Willamette (Oregon) Week.
Madison, Wisconsin schools also implemented the race-based school discipline policies that reduce suspensions, with similar results. The district spent $1.6 million on a new Behavior Education Plan based on the PEG/government model last school year, but the vast majority of teachers don’t believe it’s working.
In a survey released by the Madison Teachers Inc. union last spring, 87 percent of the district’s educators believe the new plan has made school violence problems worse by keeping the bad actors on campus.
“The MTI board asked the school board to address a number of survey findings, including inadequate consequences of behavior, insufficient numbers of staff to support students with significant behavior needs, insufficient training of staff and instructional time lost to disruptive behavior,” the Cap Times reported.