A regional branch of the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights late last month entered into a resolution agreement with the Milwaukee public school system that requires schools to assess whether there are racial disproportions among students being disciplined and, if so, to “consider steps that can be taken to eliminate the disproportion to the maximum extent possible.”
Conservatives have been urging the Education Department to withdraw the Obama-era “guidance” letter that encourages this kind of quota-setting, because of both legal and policy defects in it. In brief, any “disparate impact” approach to civil-rights enforcement is legally dubious in this context, particularly one that pushes so hard for racial quotas; and as a policy matter, the result will inevitably be a failure to discipline students who ought to be disciplined, meaning less learning (especially for, ironically, black students) and more physical assaults (for students and teachers). This latest agreement — probably entered into by local bureaucrats who like the guidance and preferred not to touch base with the Trump administration’s appointees in Washington — is another reason why the sooner the withdrawal, the better. Read more here and here.