The U.S. Department of Education has released startling new findings as part of the Civil Rights Data Collection, which reveals that members of minority communities are subjected to punishment at much greater rates than white students in schools across the country.
The research looked at more than 50 million students and found that black children were four times as likely as white children to be suspended from school during their time as students. They were also twice as likely to get expelled.
The trend can be observed as far back as preschool. They found that black preschoolers were 3.6 times more likely to actually be suspended from school as white preschoolers. Out of the 1,439,188 preschoolers that were a part of the study, 20% were black females. However, that demographic represented 54% of all of the preschool-aged girls who were suspended from school.
Education officials said that the data should lead to further research into how discipline is applied in the classroom. U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. told the Los Angeles Times, “We will not compromise away the civil right of all students to an excellent education.” Discuss
The Obama administration has issued a letter to education officials around the country outlining its policy regarding restroom access and transgender students. According to the AP, the directive—which was written by officials at the Departments of Justice and Education—says that if a student’s parent notifies the school that the student’s gender identity "differs from previous representations or records,” then they should be given access to the restroom of their specified identity.
The statement adds, “As is consistently recognized in civil rights cases, the desire to accommodate others' discomfort cannot justify a policy that singles out and disadvantages a particular class of students.”
Arguments over restroom access have reached the federal level after officials in North Carolina passed a law saying that people can only use public restrooms associated with the gender on their birth certificates. Federal officials said that the policy was in violation of civil rights laws and Title IX, which prohibits gender discrimination. The state is now engaged in a lawsuit with the feds over the policy.
Shortly after the letter was released, officials in Texas also announced that they would fight it, with Gov. Greg Abbot saying on Twitter, “I announced today that Texas is fighting this. Obama can't rewrite the Civil Rights Act. He's not a King.”
In a statement accompanying the new guidance, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said,
There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex. We must ensure that our young people know that whoever they are or wherever they come from, they have the opportunity to get a great education in an environment free from discrimination, harassment and violence.
Schools that go against the federal guidelines could potentially lose millions in federal education funding. Discuss
Using government research—which tracked a group of 15,000 high school sophomores in 2002, and then followed up with them 10 years later—The Atlantic has put together this series of charts that “offers up a statistical picture of young-adult life in the wake of the Great Recession.” The piece compiled some interesting information about American twentysomething life, like home ownership rates (one in five), how many have children (34%), how many got married (28%), how much they earn, information about reaching career goals, how much debt they carry and how education correlates with all of the categories. You can go here to see all of the charts about the “highly educated, highly indebted” generation ... Discuss
When word got out in October of 2012 that then 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai had been shot by the Taliban, it was the first time most of the world had ever heard of her. It seemed strange. What about this girl had so outraged the Taliban that they wanted her dead? We chalked it up to the ongoing senseless brutality of a cruel terrorist organization and wished Malala the best. That was that. Read More