The damage done to our educational system by Betsy DeVos may be deep and long-lasting
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has just discovered yet another great way to completely mess up the educational experience in our schools. She has apparently decided that what is really needed to stop school shootings is to go back to the good ol’ days before President Obama and start mistreating and overdisciplining minority students all over again. Yes, I’m serious.
The decision culminates a nearly yearlong effort begun by the Trump administration after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. The deaths of 17 students and staff members on Feb. 14 prompted lawmakers in both parties to demand tougher gun laws, but after a brief flirtation with gun control, President Trump abandoned that focus and instead empowered a school safety commission, led by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
Almost immediately, the commission turned away from guns and instead scrutinized the Obama administration’s school discipline policies, though none of the most high-profile school shootings were perpetrated by black students. The commission’s focus was part of a broader effort to reject the previous administration’s race-conscious education efforts, which have included siding with Asian students suing Harvard to end affirmative action and delaying an Obama-era rule to prevent disproportionate numbers of minority children from being funneled into special education classes.
The commission’s report argues in favor of narrowing a legal avenue for the federal government to combat discrimination in the nation’s schools by rejecting “disparate impact theory,” which holds that seemingly neutral policies can harm certain racial groups. That was the underpinning for the Obama administration’s disciplinary policies.
If you’re confused about how this is supposed to work on the problem of school shootings, I have to admit, so am I.