War on standards

The war on standards: Illiterate teachers edition

Featured image I missed this story at the time, but earlier this year the New York Times reported that the New York Board of Regents eliminated a requirement that aspiring teachers in the state pass a literacy test to become certified. The Board eliminated the requirement because Black and Hispanic candidates for teaching jobs passed the literacy test at significantly lower rates than white candidates. In lieu of passing the literary test, »

Bourgeois norms in black history, Robert Woodson’s take

Featured image I wrote here about an op-ed by professors Amy Wax and Larry Alexander in which the authors praised America’s 1950s “bourgeois culture.” Though acknowledging the existence of “racial discrimination, limited sex roles, and pockets of anti-Semitism” in that culture, they insisted that the modern “loss of bourgeois habits has seriously impeded the progress of disadvantaged groups.” Wax and Alexander described the habits they extolled this way: Get married before you »

The war on standards, mock trial edition

Featured image Mark Graber is a distinguished law professor at the University of Maryland. Until very recently, he coached the school’s mock trial team, leading it to the national championship in (or around) 2008. Until very recently, his daughter Abigail Graber assisted him. She’s an attorney in Washington, D.C. who clerked for a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and served on the Yale Law Journal. On »

The war on standards — shoot the messenger edition

Featured image We have written about the war on standards. Most of the time, this war takes the form of attempts to bulldoze standards of conduct and achievement that stand in the way of equal distribution of society’s benefits and prizes to Blacks. Usually the standards are specific, as are the potential consequences of falling short. A certain test score must be attained to qualify for a job. A criminal law, if »

After big losses, Marilyn Mosby looks at trying to change the rules

Featured image Have you noticed that when sensible, neutral, and longstanding rules and policies don’t produce the racial outcomes desired by the left, it calls for changing those rules and policies? Plagued by a lack of solid family structure and constructive role models, young Black students as a class behave more poorly than White students and thus are disciplined more often. The solution? Change the disciplinary rules and tolerate disciplinary breakdowns — »

Sen. Cotton responds to latest HUD overreach

Featured image We’ve discussed how the Obama administration, through disparate impact theory, seeks to coerce employers into the assuming the risk of hiring criminals. It does so by arguing that African-Americans are overrepresented among ex-cons, and thus that excluding applicants based on criminal records has a disparate impact on this group. So far, to my knowledge, this approach has yielded little if any success in court. However, it may well be that »

Civil Rights Commissioner warned Minneapolis against quota discipline [UPDATED WITH LINK]

Featured image Last week, Scott and I wrote about an article by Katherine Kersten regarding the ruinous impact on schools in the Twin Cities of racial “equity” in school discipline. As Kersten demonstrated, the attempt to reduce the number of disciplinary actions against minority school children, on the theory that they are disproportionately disciplined, has helped turn some schools in the Twin Cities into war zones. Peter Kirsanow, a member of the »

Refuting Kersten, Onion style

Featured image My friend Kathy Kersten wrote the devastating column featured in the Star Tribune this past Sunday on disorder in the St. Paul public schools following from the directives of the Obama administration. Kathy’s column was published as “The school safety debate: Mollycoddle no more.” I drew attention to Kathy’s column in “Kersten’s discipline.” Paul reviewed the column at length in “The war on standards in Twin Cities schools.” Yesterday the »

The war on standards: gifted student programs edition [UPDATED]

Featured image The Washington Post reports that the Montgomery County school district (which covers an affluent suburban county just outside of Washington, D.C.) is concerned about racial disparities in its “gifted student” programs. A report it commissioned found marked disparities by race and ethnicity in enrollment and acceptance rates, with white and Asian students faring much better than their black and Hispanic counterparts. The report notes, for example, that enrollment in the »

The war on standards in Twin Cities schools

Featured image I hope you read Katherine Kersten’s article, presented yesterday by Scott, about the impact of “equity” in disciplinary action on schools in the Twin Cities. As Kersten explains, “equity” in this context isn’t about fairness — that is, the same rules for everyone. Rather, it means that “if one group’s outcomes on social measures are not identical to all of the others’, the cause is presumed to be discrimination and »

Federal overreach and the war on standards

Featured image The Justice Department has instructed local courts throughout America about how to treat people who violate local ordinances. DOJ has already sued Ferguson, Missouri for allegedly violating citizens rights by virtue of its treatment of people who run afoul of local rules and refuse to pay the resulting fines. Now, Vanita Gupta, head of DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, has sent a warning letter that, in her words, “articulate[s] a set »

Stats on police shootings undercut “Black Lives Matter” narrative

Featured image The Washington Post reports that police officers fatally shot 965 people this year. One can’t draw any important conclusions from these numbers alone, since they don’t tell us anything about the circumstances and/or justification for the police conduct. However, the Post presents some additional information. It says that cases in which white officers killed unarmed black men represent less than 4 percent of fatal police shootings. This statistic doesn’t quantify »

Ominibus bill rewards Department of Education overreach

Featured image On Friday, the House will vote on the year-end omnibus spending bill, formally known as the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016. As Heritage Action says, the bill should have been an opportunity for conservatives to reassert their prerogatives on a host of important issues, ranging from appropriate spending levels to substantive action on refugee resettlement, executive amnesty, Planned Parenthood, and many more. Instead, the omnibus spending bill falls far short »

Ed Meese denounces the rush to pass sentencing reform

Featured image Ed Meese was Attorney General of the United States when the nation finally said “enough” to crime and to the lenient sentencing by federal judges that was helping to fuel it. This was the beginning of reforms, most notably in the form of mandatory minimum sentencing, that led to a 50 percent reduction in crime. Naturally, then, Meese is concerned about the attempt of a “gang” of bipartisan Senators to »

Judiciary committee goes through the motions in hearing on major sentencing reform

Featured image This afternoon, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015. Echoing what many have said, Chairman Grassley called this legislation “the most significant criminal justice reform legislation in a generation.” Yet, the Committee saw fit to hold only three hours of hearings on it. Moreover, the hearings took place on the Monday after a long recess, a nearly unprecedented move by the »

The war on standards makes major headway in New York City

Featured image Bob McManus of the New York Post wonders whether Demetrius Blackwell, who shot NYPD officer Brian Moore dead, would have been on the street with his gun had the old stop-and-frisk policies, which Mayor de Blasio eliminated, been in effect. Chances are that Blackwell, a reckless hard core thug, would have been, but we will never know for sure. More broadly, McManus wonders about the consequences of what he calls »

DEA adminstrator balks at Obama-Holder’s latest attack on standards

Featured image As befits an administration that exalts leftist politics over law enforcement, the Obama administration has been plagued by several “revolts” by its law enforcement arms. When President Obama nominated Debo Adegbile, who led an ideologically-based defense campaign for a convicted cop killer, the FBI Agents Association balked. When Attorney General Holder came out in favor of legislation that would drastically cut back on mandatory minimum sentences for drug pushers, the »