It’s sad that so many kids’ educations are being sacrificed on this altar.
For years, St. Paul school leaders have assumed — as equity ideology dictates — that differences in discipline rates are the result, not of higher rates of misconduct by black students, but of the racism of teachers and administrators, who are believed to unfairly target black students.
Most suspensions involve “largely subjective” student behaviors such as “defiance, disrespect and disruption,” St. Paul superintendent Valeria Silva told the Star Tribune in 2012. To prevent bias, teachers must learn “a true appreciation” of their students’ cultural “differences” and how these can “impact interactions in the classroom,” she said.
Since 2010, the district has spent almost $2 million on “white privilege” and “cultural competency” training for teachers. In addition, it has shelled out millions of dollars for “positive behavior” training, an anti-suspension behavior modification program.
Despite these efforts, the district’s racial discipline gap has remained stubbornly wide. So several years ago, St. Paul school leaders adopted what must have seemed a foolproof way to eliminate statistical disparities. They lowered behavior standards and, in many cases, essentially abandoned meaningful penalties.
You can guess the result.