No thug left behind

Our friend Katherine Kersten is senior fellow at the Center of the American Experiment, Minnesota’s conservative think tank, at which John Hinderaker serves as president. Kathy is an indefatigable analyst and advocate who has effectively promoted good public policy and opposed bad public policy while breaking major stories illustrating the way we live now.

Most recently, Kathy has turned her attention to the destruction of student discipline in the St. Paul public schools. This destruction has been wrought in the name of “racial equity.” In telling this story, Kathy offers a dystopian case study demonstrating the destructive ideological fevers that power the left generally and the Obama administration in particular.

Kathy’s work on this subject is a companion to the story that Heather Mac Donald has told over and over with respect to law enforcement, as in Heather’s City Journal essay “Statistical evidence not required.” Indeed, our friends at City Journal asked Kathy to expand on the story of the St. Paul public schools for their readers. Kathy’s essay “No thug left behind” is featured in City Journal’s Winter 2017 issue and has just been posted online. Kathy writes:

President Obama’s Department of Education made racial equity in school discipline one of its top priorities. “The undeniable truth is that everyday educational experience for many students of color violates the principle of equity at the heart of the American promise,” according to Arne Duncan, who served as education secretary until early 2016. “It is adult behavior that must change,” Duncan stated repeatedly. “The school-to-prison pipeline must be challenged every day.”

Donald Trump’s Department of Education won’t have to wait to see how this project has played out in the real world. The public schools of St. Paul, Minnesota, are ahead of the curve in the racial-equity crusade. The violence and chaos that racial-equity policies have produced there should sound alarms across the nation about what can be expected by pursuing this course.

Kathy concludes that good intentions impose an extraordinarily high cost on students who can least afford to pay the price:

St. Paul’s experience makes clear that discipline policies rooted in racial-equity ideology lead to disaster. This shouldn’t be surprising, considering that the ideology’s two major premises are seriously flawed. The first premise holds that disparities in school-discipline rates are a product of teachers’ racial bias; the second maintains that teachers’ unjustified and discriminatory targeting of black students gives rise to the school-to-prison pipeline.

Please check out the whole thing here.

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