There was a theory advanced and turned into policies by the Obama administration that claimed that unconscious bias must be the cause for impacts that negatively affected certain groups of people, and by showing negative impacts, one could conclude that illegal bias must be at play.
So, for a made-up example, if Hispanics were not approved for home loans at the same rate as Asians, it must be because loan officers had a bias against Hispanics, even though race was not something that was to be considered in the loan approval process. Using race would be illegal.
So let’s say that in my example, Hispanics defaulted on their home loans at a greater rate than Asians. It would be illegal to “discriminate” against Hispanics either individually or as a group. Using objective criteria to assess borrowers individually would not be a defense against disparate outcomes (higher denial rates to Hispanics, in this example). Under the Obama rules, a bank would have to approve the same percentage of loans to Hispanic borrowers, knowing that a higher percentage of these loans were likely to default. So what would banks do? Either raise rates for everyone because of higher defaults, or make fewer loans to everyone to avoid a higher default rate among a certain subset.
We can all agree that racism is wrong, but racism in America is rare. The Left wants to make racism the #1 issue facing America, so they need some quasi-scientific argument which disparate outcomes provides. But that doesn’t make it true that disparate outcomes must be caused by racism. What Rep. Clark is arguing, and the Globe is supporting by reporting her false charges of racism against the study cited by DeVos, is that questioning the scientific basis of disparate outcome analysis is racist.
A link to the study used by DeVos and attacked by Rep. Clark is here: https://www.usnews.com/news/education-news/articles/2019-03-28/the-controversial-race-research-devos-used-to-revoke-school-discipline-guidance
Rep. Clark called for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to resign because DeVos wants teachers to be able to discipline students without interference from the Federal government. Clark wrongly calls this study “racist.” What the study does is debunk that racism is the cause for higher rates of discipline of minority students in school. The study controlled for past poor student behavior and basically said that students who are disciplined are likely to be repeat offenders.
This issue is important because the Florida school shooting occurred in an atmosphere where school administrators were wary of disciplining or suspending students because they feared their discipline statistics would reflect negatively on their school. Federal policies were trying to influence local school decision-making, another problem with the Obama-era rules. Their solution was to let students get away with bad behavior, a policy we should undue under President Trump. That is what DeVos is trying to do.
Teachers should have the freedom to control their classroom. If a student is being disruptive, it shouldn’t matter their race, religion, or gender. After a couple of warnings, the student goes down to the principal’s office and eventually either learns to control him or herself or gets removed from the classroom. Keep issues of race out of the debate and let local schools handle internal discipline matters.
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