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From Occam's Razor to "Occam's Racist:" NYT Dumbfounded by Higher Suspension Rate of Black Students
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August 24, 2015, 07:06 PM
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Who could have guessed?

Breaking news in the New York Times:

Analysis Finds Higher Expulsion Rates for Black Students

By MOTOKO RICH AUG. 24, 2015

With the Obama administration focused on reducing the number of suspensions, expulsions and arrests in public schools, a new analysis of federal data identifies districts in 13 Southern states where black students are suspended or expelled at rates overwhelmingly higher than white children.

The analysis, which will be formally released Tuesday by the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania, focused on states where more than half of all the suspensions and expulsions of black students nationwide occurred. While black students represented just under a quarter of public school students in these states, they made up nearly half of all suspensions and expulsions.

In some districts, the gaps were even more striking: in 132 Southern school districts, for example, black students were suspended at rates five times their representation in the student population, or higher.

Nationwide, according to the 2011 Obama Administration study “Homicide Trends in the United States, 1980-2008,” blacks were almost eight times more likely to be homicide offenders.

But, of course, noticing patterns and looking for simple explanations runs afoul of that dominant rule of 21st Century thought: Occam’s Racist.

In recent years, civil rights groups such as the Advancement Project and legal advocacy organizations including the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. and Texas Appleseed have focused on reducing arrests and other severe disciplinary actions in schools.

Last year, the Obama administration issued guidelines advising schools to create more positive climates, set clear expectations and consequences for students, and ensure equity in discipline.

Still, “I am actually shocked that there is not more outrage,” said Shaun R. Harper, associate professor of education at the University of Pennsylvania and the executive director of the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education who was a co-author of the analysis. …

Blacks were suspended or expelled at rates higher than their representation in the student body in every one of the 13 states analyzed.

And that consistency proves that this has to be caused solely by white racism! What else could it be?
“We want policy makers, parents and everybody to understand that any degree of disproportionality is in need of redress and response,” Mr. Harper said. The analysis did not look at suspension or expulsion rates for other racial minorities.
What with the high cost of computing these days, who can afford the computer CPU cycles needed to add rows to your Excel spreadsheet to show how often Asian students get suspended?
… In addition to missing out on in-school learning time, students who are expelled or suspended are more likely to have later contact with the juvenile justice system than similar students who are not removed from school, studies have shown.

Some school districts have already begun to shift their policies to focus more on using counseling and trying to prevent or redefine problem behavior in the first place.

Mr. Harper said that education schools should focus more on raising awareness about racial disparities and prepare teachers to cope with tense situations without harsh discipline.

“This is at least partly attributed to people having these racist assumptions about black kids,” Mr. Harper said. “We argue that too little happens in schools of education to raise consciousness about that.”

Let me just quote the last line of the article again:
“We argue that too little happens in schools of education to raise consciousness about that.”
The last 60 years didn’t happen.

[Comment at Unz.com.]