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New Data Show Black Students Have Been New Jim Crowed

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by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

New data indicate that Black stigmatization as criminals pervades the nation’s public schools, just as it saturates the larger society. “For teachers and school disciplinarians, just as with street cops and prosecutors, race is the most important factor in who is charged with an offense, and how severe the penalty is.” A doubling of school suspensions and expulsions has occurred since the early Seventies, the same period that brought us mass Black incarceration.

 

New Data Show Black Students Have Been New Jim Crowed

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

More than 70 percent of students arrested or referred to law enforcement for school related incidents were Black or Hispanic – an approximate match to the ethnic composition of the nation’s prisons.”

Newly-released data on the nation’s public schools document what every Black school kid already knows: African American students are far more likely to be suspended or expelled than whites. Most striking, is how closely school discipline data tracks with racial incarceration numbers. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection statistics for the 2009-10 school year, more than 70 percent of students arrested or referred to law enforcement for school related incidents were Black or Hispanic – an approximate match to the ethnic composition of the nation’s prisons.

The school-to-prison pipeline is a much talked about phenomenon, although volume should never be mistaken for clarity. The apparent “tracking” of Blacks and, to a lesser degree, Hispanics, from classrooms to cellblocks, is the direct result of the behaviors of teachers and administrators who perceive and treat Black kids as if they are already criminals – just as cops act on the assumption that Black pedestrians and drivers are probably guilty of…something.

The Department of Education figures have only recently become available, and have yet to be thoroughly sliced and diced. But the raw stats are damning. A Black student is three and a half times more likely to be kicked out of school than her white peer. Students with disabilities, who are disproportionately kids of color, make up only 12 percent of enrollment, but comprise 70 percent of those disciplined by being strapped down or otherwise subjected to physical restraints.

A Black student is three and a half times more likely to be kicked out of school than her white peer.”

The data show that schools that maintain “zero-tolerance” policies are actually less racist in meting out punishment than more free-wheeling systems. That’s because the more rigid disciplinary school regimes give teachers and administrators less discretion for lenience to white kids that misbehave. For teachers and school disciplinarians, just as with street cops and prosecutors, race is the most important factor in who is charged with an offense, and how severe the penalty is.

There would be much more federal information on public schools to study, if the racial data collection had not been halted by the Bush administration in 2006. At the time, Ward Connerly and other Republicans were busy trying to ban governments from keeping information on race, on the theory that racism would disappear as a point of controversy if there were no reliable data to discuss. White privilege would also be relegated to anecdote.

An earlier study of federal data by the Southern Poverty Law Center, published in 2010, showed that suspension rates in U.S. public schools nearly doubled – from 3.7 percent to 6.9 percent – from the early 1970s through 2006. This is also the period when modern mass Black incarceration makes its entrance, following the Black Freedom Movement of the Sixties. On both the streets and school campuses, whites responded to the end of strict apartheid with increased official repression. The New Jim Crow was taking shape.

As reported by educator and BAR contributor Sikivu Hutchinson, in August of last year, a study of Texas schools by the Council of State Governments concluded that Black and Latino students “were disciplined far more harshly than white students who had committed similar offenses” – just as in the adult criminal justice system, where Blacks face harsher penalties at every stage of the process, from arrest through final charges through length and conditions of incarceration. White students were much more likely to get counseling or on-site suspension or detention, rather than kicked out of the building – just as so-called “diversion” programs to keep offenders out of prison are disproportionately awarded to whites.

The disparate discipline was rooted in negative teacher perceptions about Black and Latino students, rather than the actual behavior of the students.”

Black students were more likely to be kicked out of class for making too much noise, showing teachers disrespect, for loitering, or appearing to present a “threat,” according to June, 2000, Indiana University study titled “The Color of Discipline.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center study concluding that “race and gender disparities in suspension were due not to differences in administrative disposition but to differences in the rate of initial referral of black and white students.”

The fault, said the Texas report, lay with teachers and administrators who piled charges on the Black and Latino kids. The disparate discipline was rooted in negative teacher perceptions about Black and Latino students, rather than the actual behavior of the students.

In Los Angeles, such race-based perceptions were shared by white, Black and brown faculty, alike, according to a study of the school district. Sikivu Hutchinson reported that “South L.A. schools with significant or majority black faculty and administrators are just as culpable” as their non-white cross town colleagues in disproportionately suspending Blacks – an internalized version of white racism that is reflected on the streets and in the cellblocks where Black cops and prison guards are just as brutal as their white co-workers. When Black life is cheap, everybody behaves accordingly, including Blacks.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan says he hopes the report will be an “eye-opener.” Racism, of course, is able to hide in plain sight because – well, because the racists are the ones in charge. We cannot expect Mr. Duncan to see the light, to propose a radical national program of community control of schools and school budgets, or to call off the Obama administration’s massive school charter privatization campaign. He will, therefore, continue to systematically degrade the public schools so that charters appear to be the only alternative. Duncan and his corporate masters are able to pull off the destruction of American public education by placing the dynamite in the inner cities, where Black children are already stigmatized – New Jim Crowed! – as criminals.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

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Standardized Tests Historic Links to Eugenics & Racism....

Note these key excerpts from Jesse Hagopian’s article Which was posted yesterday March 13 @ CD, BUT Now is posted here @ BAR Today March 14th-  'Occupy Education' Debates the Gates Foundation' [PS: I highly recommend you read the whole article]:

}' Standardized testing entered the public schools in the early 1900s as a way to graft scientific management models used in assembly line production onto the classroom by Taylorists and Eugeniciststhe pseudo scientists that believed intelligence is genetic and that whites were biologically superior to other races or ethnic groups.

 “Looking back to its origins in the eugenics movement, Standardized testing provided the technological apparatus for the functioning of the production model of education….It is no coincidence that I.Q testing, eugenics and standardized testing all become prominent during the same period....”

While these {phony Education reformers} claim to be part of a 21st century civil rights movement for education—advocating policies they insist are specifically designed to close the achievement gap—the standardized tests they demand were designed by RACIST pseudo-scientists of the early 20th century. As NAACP founder W.E.B. DuBois wrote,

 “It was not until I was long out of school- after the WWI that there came the use of the new technique of psychological tests, which were quickly adjusted so as to put Black folk absolutely beyond the possibility of civilization.”

The SAT exam was developed by Carl Bringham—the Army psychologist and RACIST Eugenicist who used WWI data to declare that whites born inside the US were the most intelligent of all peoples and that immigrants were genetically inferior. Contrary to the assertions of corporate education reformers [actually DeFormers].., there is nothing innovative about advocacy for standardized testing; it is merely the repackaging of EUGENICS for the {phony so-called} “post racial” era where it is passé to espouse Racist ideas. American society today—From the PRISONS to the SCHOOLS [or vice-versa]—is dominated by Institutional RACISM! The purpose of standardized tests are the same as they were then: to categorize, sort, and rank Black students, students of color, and working class kids at the bottom, while demonstrating the intellectual superiority of the wealthy and white students who score better on the tests.' {

 

This Explains IT ALL- This Is why these Phony Education reformers [= DeFormers] Insist on these 'standardized' tests- which they can then use as a Hatchet to break inner city public schools, their teachers & their unions! THIS IS NO MISTAKE! One would have thought in the many articles on NCLB / RTTT Education DeForm posted here @ CD & else-where that this info would have talked about & documented clearly [as has Jesse Hagopian's article]. Talk about slyly playing the 'Race-Card'!!! [NOTE: The original {& likely still} intent of these so-called 'standardized' tests - Was NOT to honestly assess where students are in their studies & what areas of study might need to be focused on for improvement. BUT- Rather to so-called 'objectively & scientifically' give the 'inherent seal of achievement' to designated groups {IE: the white & affluent}, while casting other groups {IE: Blacks, Browns & the poor} as social misfits [IE: Inherent Potential CRIMINALS]- inherently lacking in intelligence!!! Thus if that's what these test were originally designed to do from the get-go - there should be NO surprise that it's been shown repeatedly that's exactly what they do!]

 

Part of the reason why Parents of inner-city school kids may-be going along w this phony Education Reform [= DeForm] is 1} Because Obama Is 'The One' who's pushing RTTT [they were far more skeptical of Bush & his NCLB] -2} Inner-city schools have been in crisis, because their communities have been in crisis- due to deliberate neglect for decades! Thus many of these parents are grasping at straws- any-glimmer of 'Hope' ['That you really Can't believe in']- especially if its hyped by Obama! BUT- Before we scold the parents of schools kids in these deprived communities- According to Bruce Dixon the US' 2 main teachers unions have Endorsed Obama AGAIN! - even after 3 yrs of his RTTT's assault on teacher & unions spear-headed by his hatchet-man- Sec of ED Arne {'Katrina was the best thing to ever happen to New Orleans' Public Schools'} Duncan! And even though Duncan & ex-Obama Chief of Staff Rahmbo are currently being sued by the CPS' Teachers [Chicago's CPS is the 3rd largest School system in the US]!



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