Department of Education Recommends ​Ending Discipline Polities that Protect Children of Color

December 18 – Forbes Magazine

A federal commission headed by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos released a long-awaited school safety report today that recommends, among other things, that the Department of Education abandon Obama-era policies aimed at protecting children of color from excessive discipline in school. The 177-page report says that disciplinary decisions should be left to classroom teachers and local administrators who should not have to follow guidance issued by the federal government….

…Research shows that when students are suspended, expelled or arrested, they are more likely to drop out of school and suffer negative consequences. Critics of discriminatory discipline, including the ACLU, have called it the “school to prison pipeline.”…

…A survey of superintendents found that only 16% had modified their disciplinary practices because of the Obama policy, but of those that made the change, 44% said it resulted in a positive experience and 4.5% said the experience was negative.

Two former Obama administration education secretaries, Arne Duncan and John King, criticized the commission’s report in a statement. “Today’s recommendation to roll back guidance that would protect students from unfair, systemic school discipline is beyond disheartening,” they wrote.

Read the full article here

Note: A report released in October, 2017 found that black students in Missouri were 4 times as likely to be suspended as white students. The report detailed the ways in which black students and students with disabilities are disproportionately suspended, arrested and otherwise disciplined in Missouri schools. See here

Suspensions Are Down In U.S. Schools But Large Racial Gaps Remain

December 17, 2018  – NPR

Students in U.S. schools were less likely to be suspended in 2016 than they were in 2012. But the progress is incremental, and large gaps — by race and by special education status — remain.

The Child Trends analysis highlights findings that when a student disrupts class, a school can disrupt that student’s education — and his or her entire life. Research suggests suspension and expulsion, arrests and referrals to law enforcement, is associated with dropping out of schooland going to jail. All of these consequences happen more frequently to black students, even in preschool.

Black high school students are still twice as likely (12.8 percent) to be suspended as white (6.1 percent) or Hispanic (6.3 percent) high school students.

Read full article here.


Department of Education Proposes Changes to Title IX Narrowing Definition of Sexual Harassment

December 5, 2018

Read the proposed rule: “Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex in Education Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance

Women’s Voices opposes the proposed changes to Title IX. Narrowing the definition of sexual assault and harassment to conduct that is “severe, pervasive and objectively offensive” and requiring victims to be cross-examined by their alleged perpetrators will result in fewer victims coming forward. This rule reduces the schools’ responsibility to protect students and will put girls and women at further risk. We stand with the many colleges and universities, the American Association of University Women, the Women’s Sports Foundation, and others in opposition to these changes to Title IXwhich was created to ensure that girls and women have access to opportunities to help them reach their full potential.

UPDATE ON PROPOSED RULE: The comment period ended January 30, 2019 and The Department of Education has received approximately 100,000 public comments on its proposed new rules for how campuses handle cases of sexual assault. Officials may take months to review the comments and respond. They will likely give schools some lead time before enacting the new regulations, and inevitable legal challenges may bring further delays. That means it could be close to the 2020 election before any new regulations take effect.

Who Was Linda Brown? What has Changed in Last 64 Years?

March 30, 2018  –    The New York Times Race & Civil Rights Reporter discusses what has and hasn’t changed since the Brown v. Board of Education case.  Listen here

Good News! A Child Care Rating System for Missouri

May 12, 2016

The Missouri legislature gave final approval to a bill that would create a rating system to evaluate and improve child care quality.

It’s a move proponents say will pave the way for the state to compete for millions of dollars of federal grants for early childhood education, while giving parents a set of point-scale ratings on how well day cares are performing.      Read more here

St. Louis Apprenticeship in Child Care First in Nation

Advocates in the child-care community have long lamented the dearth of qualified child-care providers, particularly in poorer communities.  A new apprenticeship program is working to address this.  Click here.