Deja Vu: Madison School District Agreement with the US ED Office of Civil Rights

Last October, Madison Superintendent Jen Cheatham signed a resolution agreement with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights regarding OCR’s compliance review of access to advanced coursework by Hispanic and African-American students in the District. The resolution agreement was presented at the December 5, 2016 Instruction Workgroup meeting (agenda item 6.1): http://www.boarddocs.com/wi/mmsd/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=AFL2QH731563 The … Continue reading Deja Vu: Madison School District Agreement with the US ED Office of Civil Rights

Civics: Video captured by a secret police spy plane is now part of a civil rights lawsuit against West Allis police officers

Bruce Vielmetti: A violent arrest of an unarmed man in West Allis — made possible by a secret police spy plane with night vision — is now the subject of a civil rights lawsuit on claims of excessive force. Reynaldo Narvaez, 22, drove away from police early one morning in 2018 and thought he’d lost them … Continue reading Civics: Video captured by a secret police spy plane is now part of a civil rights lawsuit against West Allis police officers

Education Department Civil rights office will return to being a ‘neutral’ agency

Caitlin Emma:: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said she is “returning” the Office for Civil Rights “to its role as a neutral, impartial, investigative agency.” In a July 11 letter to Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, DeVos asserted that the department’s civil rights arm under the Obama administration “had descended into a pattern of overreaching, of setting … Continue reading Education Department Civil rights office will return to being a ‘neutral’ agency

“A good portion of this year was spent working on a book on the relationship between wokeness and civil rights law”

Richard Hanania: That’s a lot of material. When I started writing for a public consumption, I was 35. That means I’d spent two decades thinking about American culture and politics, so I was brimming with insights. Inevitably, I’ve said many of the things I wanted to say, and continuing to write on the topic will … Continue reading “A good portion of this year was spent working on a book on the relationship between wokeness and civil rights law”

Another victory from my efforts to advance civil rights and challenge systemic sexism in higher education

Mark Perry: I was informed last Friday by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) that another of my (now) 231 complaints (probably the most ever filed by a single individual) alleging Title IX violations in higher education has been successfully resolved in my favor. That brings the total number of Title IX … Continue reading Another victory from my efforts to advance civil rights and challenge systemic sexism in higher education

Civics: Left-Libertarian Alliance Introduces House Bill to End Qualified Immunity for Police Officers

Colin Kalmbacher: Former Republican Rep. Justin Amash (L-Mich.) and progressive Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) have joined forces to introduce a bill in the House of Representatives that would eliminate the controversial doctrine of qualified immunity for police officers. “As part of the Civil Rights Act of 1871, Congress allowed individuals to sue state and local officials, including police officers, who violate … Continue reading Civics: Left-Libertarian Alliance Introduces House Bill to End Qualified Immunity for Police Officers

Civics: I’m a Journalist but I Didn’t Fully Realize the Terrible Power of U.S. Border Officials Until They Violated My Rights and Privacy

Seth Harp: In retrospect, I was naive about the kind of agency CBP has become in the Trump era. Though I’ve reported several magazine stories in Mexico, none have been about immigration. Of course, I knew these were the guys putting kids in cages, separating refugee children from their parents, and that Trump’s whole shtick … Continue reading Civics: I’m a Journalist but I Didn’t Fully Realize the Terrible Power of U.S. Border Officials Until They Violated My Rights and Privacy

“The legislation would require the U.S. Department of Education to reveal which schools have been accused of violating students’ civil rights, as well as any corrective actions or other resolutions of its probes”

Annie Waldeman: Under federal law, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Office for Civil Rights is responsible for ensuring equal access to education and investigating allegations of discrimination in the country’s schools and colleges. Families and students can file complaints with the office, which then investigates and determines whether a college or school … Continue reading “The legislation would require the U.S. Department of Education to reveal which schools have been accused of violating students’ civil rights, as well as any corrective actions or other resolutions of its probes”

Madison School District Responds to Civil Rights Investigation

Taylor Kilgore: Jim Bradshaw of the Office for Civil Rights’ Washington D.C. office confirmed in an email that “the process is ongoing.” Greg Jones, president of the NAACP says it is important to know “what the district has done to comply with their agreement with Office for Civil Rights.” “Given the urgency of education outcomes … Continue reading Madison School District Responds to Civil Rights Investigation

District’s At-Large School Board Elections Violate Voting Rights Act, Court Rules

Mark Walsh: A federal appeals court has ruled that the at-large voting system for the school board covering Ferguson, Mo., where the police shooting of an African-American man sparked weeks of racial unrest in 2014, violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The seven-member board of the Ferguson-Florissant school district, which serves all or part … Continue reading District’s At-Large School Board Elections Violate Voting Rights Act, Court Rules

Shutdown of Texas Schools Probe Shows Trump Administration Pullback on Civil Rights

Annie Waldman: Beside a highway in Bryan, Texas, tucked between a motorcycle bar and the county jail, stands a low-slung, sprawling complex with tinted windows, sandstone walls and barbed wire lining parts of its roof. A roadside sign identifies it as the Brazos County Juvenile Justice Center. One Friday afternoon last October, after an incident … Continue reading Shutdown of Texas Schools Probe Shows Trump Administration Pullback on Civil Rights

Federalism And Civil Rights Governance

Jessica Huseman and Annie Waldman The Department of Education has laid out plans to loosen requirements on investigations into civil rights complaints, according to an internal memo sent to staff on June 8 and obtained by ProPublica. Under the Obama administration, the department’s office for civil rights applied an expansive approach to investigations. Individual complaints … Continue reading Federalism And Civil Rights Governance

Asians With “Very Familiar Profiles”: How Princeton’s Admissions Officers Talk About Race

A trove of documents created during a federal investigation into Princeton University offers an unprecedented glimpse at how elite college admissions officers talk about race. Outsiders have long debated how the secretive Ivy League admissions system considers the race of its applicants. Within the schools, such discussions form one of the most closely guarded elements … Continue reading Asians With “Very Familiar Profiles”: How Princeton’s Admissions Officers Talk About Race

Seven Baltimore Police officers indicted on federal racketeering charges

Justin Fenton and Kevin Rector: Seven Baltimore police officers who served in a high-profile gun unit were indicted Wednesday on federal racketeering charges — allegations that throw into question scores of cases aimed at getting weapons off the streets. The officers are accused of shaking down citizens, filing false court paperwork and making fraudulent overtime … Continue reading Seven Baltimore Police officers indicted on federal racketeering charges

Gov. Abbott threatens to pull out of refugee program over Syrian refugees to consternation of civil rights workers, student refugees

Sarah Phillips The state of Texas recently threatened to pull out of the federal refugee resettlement program over security concerns related to Syrian refugees, a move that the Texas Civil Rights Project has condemned as furthering suffering of populations of the world. On Sept. 21, Gov. Greg Abbott’s office announced its intention to withdraw from … Continue reading Gov. Abbott threatens to pull out of refugee program over Syrian refugees to consternation of civil rights workers, student refugees

Why We Should Teach About the FBI’s War on the Civil Rights Movement

Ursula Wolfe-Rocco: This month marks the 45th anniversary of a dramatic moment in U.S. history. On March 8, 1971—while Muhammad Ali was fighting Joe Frazier at Madison Square Garden, and as millions sat glued to their TVs watching the bout unfold—a group of peace activists broke into an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, and stole … Continue reading Why We Should Teach About the FBI’s War on the Civil Rights Movement

Dershowitz And Others Decry Attack On Student Rights

Jacob Gershman: group of law professors are accusing the civil rights office of the U.S. Education Department of taking “unlawful actions” that have led to “pervasive and severe infringements” of speech rights and due-process protections on college campuses. An open letter signed by Harvard University professor Alan Dershowitz and 20 other legal scholars blasts a … Continue reading Dershowitz And Others Decry Attack On Student Rights

Civil Rights Overreach Quotas for college prep courses?

Wall Street Journal:

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said last week that the Obama Administration will ramp up investigations of civil rights infractions in school districts, which might sound well and good. What it means in practice, however, is that his Office of Civil Rights (OCR) will revert to the Clinton Administration policy of equating statistical disparity with discrimination, which is troubling.
OCR oversees Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination by race, color or national origin in public schools and colleges that receive federal funding. In a speech last week, Mr. Duncan said that “in the last decade”–that’s short for the Bush years–“the Office for Civil Rights has not been as vigilant as it should have been in combating racial and gender discrimination.” He cited statistics showing that white students are more likely than their black peers to take Advanced Placement classes and less likely to be expelled from school.
Therefore, Mr. Duncan said, OCR “will collect and monitor data on equity.” He added that the department will also conduct compliance reviews “to ensure that all students have equal access to educational opportunities” and to determine “whether districts and schools are disciplining students without regard to skin color.”

Consultant: Madison schools should use its mission to recruit minority teachers

Pat Schneider:

The Madison Metropolitan School District has an image problem with teachers of color, says a consultant who recommends using the district’s mission of creating an environment where all students thrive to recruit a more diverse workforce.
The number of minority teachers in the district, while growing, is not keeping pace with the growing proportion of minority students, consultant Monica Rosen told Madison School Board members Monday.
“You’ll never catch up at the rate you’re going. I think there needs to be something more aggressive,” said Rosen, a partner in the national firm Cross & Joftus.
The gap between the number of students of color and the number of teachers of color has been brought into sharp focus as the school district works to close a persistent academic achievement gap between students of color and their white classmates.
A leader in the African-American community in November filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, charging that the district was discriminating against people of color in its hiring.
And nearly all the school district personnel interviewed as part of Cross & Joftus’ review mentioned their own concerns about the lack of diversity among school district staff, Rosen reported.

Darien Top 10 of 2013: No. 1 — Special education

David DesRoches, via a kind reader:

Darien’s issues have highlighted a special education flaw that exists across the state and nation. The question over what is appropriate has drawn a deep divide among residents. Parents from several states and Connecticut towns have contacted The Times, saying that Darien’s problems happen everywhere, and in most cases, the problems are worse.
Sue Gamm, the Chicago attorney hired by the Board of Education to investigate how deep the special education problems went, told The Darien Times that her work in town was the most difficult job in her 40-plus year career. Gamm formerly was a top administrator for Chicago Public Schools and a division director for the U.S. Office of Civil Rights. She has performed similar duties in more than 50 school districts across the United States.
John Verre, the man charged with overhauling Darien’s special education program, has also noted the difficult challenge Darien presents.
“Darien is a particularly challenging combination of problems,” Verre told The Times shortly after he was hired in October. “It compares to the most challenging situation I’ve ever found.”
A number of people have resigned from their top-earning positions, including the schools’ superintendent, Steve Falcone, along with Matt Byrnes, a former assistant superintendent, Dick Huot, the finance director, and Antoinette Fornshell, the literacy coordinator. Most recently, one of the people who has been consistently named as having contributed to the illegal special education program, Liz Wesolowski, announced to fellow staff members she was leaving Darien for a position with Shelton Public Schools.
Fornshell and Wesolowski played key roles in the implementation of the district’s SRBI program, which Gamm criticized for its lack of data and poor implementation due to staff being poorly trained. There was also no manual for SRBI, which is an intervention program designed to give children extra help if they fall behind in their class work. It’s intended to prevent children from needing more expensive special education services, but critics say it is more often used to delay providing special ed to children with legally-defined disabilities.

Feds investigating Durham school suspension rates

Jane Porter:

The federal government has begun investigating a complaint that Durham Public Schools suspends black and disabled students at disproportionately high rates, a group that filed the complaint said Thursday.
Advocates for Children’s Services, a project of Legal Aid of North Carolina, and the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the Civil Rights Project of UCLA filed the complaint against DPS in April with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.
In the 2009-2010 school year, 14.1 percent of black students were suspended while 3.3 percent of white students were; 17 percent of disabled students were suspended while 8.4 percent of non-disabled students were, according to the complaint.
It describes the experiences of two students identified only as “N.B.” and “T.H.” Both are black and both spent years in DPS; both were suspended from school repeatedly.
“N.B.,” a 17-year-old student diagnosed with several mental health issues, wasn’t evaluated for her eligibility for special education and related services by DPS until she was well into high school. “T.H.” has been diagnosed with behavioral disabilities; instead of addressing those issues which the complaint says contributed to his falling behind in school, “(his school) responded punitively with out-of-school suspension.”

Quality teachers count in the classroom

Esther Cepeda:

Every few months, a handful of education reform advocates push the idea that the public education system’s woes could be fixed if only there were more black or Hispanic teachers in classrooms.
You’ll surely hear this in the wake of the U.S. Department of Education’s alarming data, published last week by the Office of Civil Rights, showing that though Hispanic and black students represent 45 percent of public school populations, they account for 56 percent of students expelled under zero-tolerance school discipline policies.
Worse, black students are three and a half times more likely to be suspended or expelled than white peers, and more than 70 percent of students involved in school-related arrests or referred to law enforcement are Hispanic or African-American.

The Wrong Approach to Discipline

The New York Times:

Distressing new federal data on the disciplinary treatment of black students adds urgency to investigations into the treatment of minority children in a dozen school districts around the country by the Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Education. The agency, which is negotiating policies with some of these districts, needs to push for procedures that keep children in school.
The new 2009-10 federal data, drawn from more than 72,000 schools, serving about 85 percent of the nation’s students, covers a range of issues, including student discipline and retention.
Black students made up only 18 percent of those in the sample but 35 percent of those suspended one time and 39 percent of all expulsions. Blacks, in general, are three-and-a-half times as likely to be suspended or expelled than their white peers, and more than 70 percent of the students who were involved in arrests or referred to law enforcement agencies were black or Hispanic.

Settlement of Somali harassment complaints in Minn. schools to require reporting; School Silences ‘Kids For Christ’

Associated Press:

A Minnesota school district must report to the federal government any future allegations of harassment against Somali students as part of a tentative agreement to end a civil rights investigation, the district’s superintendent said Monday.
St. Cloud Superintendent Bruce Watkins said all but the final details of the agreement had been reached with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. The deal up for board approval Thursday night requires that the district make its schools more welcoming to Somalis; it finds that the district broke no federal rules in handling previous incidents, Watkins said.

Todd Starnes:

An Oklahoma school district is facing a lawsuit for allegedly forbidding organizers of a Christian club from promoting events on campus.
“This is a simple matter of a school district targeting a Christian organization,” said Matt Sharp, an attorney representing the “Kids for Christ,” a community-led Christian group suing the Owasso Public Schools.

Discipline rate of black students in Del., elsewhere is probed

Nichole Dobo:

The U.S. Department of Education’s office of civil rights is investigating whether black male students are punished disproportionately in the Christina School District in Wilmington and Newark, one of five districts nationwide under scrutiny for its discipline record.
Federal investigators are in the process of visiting all of Christina’s schools and have requested detailed discipline data for at least the last two academic years.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan first mentioned districts were being investigated at a conference in late September hosted by the Department of Education’s civil rights office and the Department of Justice’s civil rights division. Besides Delaware, the school districts under review are in New York, North Carolina, Utah and Minnesota.

Milwaukee Public Schools targeted in complaint over instruction of English as second language

Georgia Pabst:

Milwaukee Public Schools is not complying with civil rights law in effectively teaching English to Spanish-speaking students, according to a federal complaint filed by the League of United Latin American Citizens of Wisconsin.
The complaint, filed at the Office of Civil Rights in the U. S. Department of Education office in Chicago, claims MPS and the Milwaukee School Board are not complying with the Civil Rights Act.
The district receives federal funds for teaching English to students who speak another language, and the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that school districts must help such students overcome language barriers so they can succeed in all of their classes, said Darryl Morin, state director of LULAC.
“LULAC of Wisconsin has serious concerns regarding the education theory, programming and resources allocated to these efforts at MPS,” he said.
Morin said MPS has used uncertified and unqualified teachers in the program.
The U.S. Department of Education confirmed that its Office of Civil Rights has received the complaint. Jim Bradshaw, a spokesman for the department in Washington, D.C., said the office is evaluating the complaint to determine whether an investigation is appropriate. The evaluation process should take about a month, he said.
MPS spokeswoman Roseann St. Aubin said district officials can’t comment because they just received the complaint Tuesday and have not reviewed it.

Given Half A Chance: Black Males in Public Schools are Driven to Drop Out

The Schott Foundation for Public Education:

50+ Years Post Brown v. Board of Education, Schott Foundation Report Reveals that States and Districts Fail to Educate the Majority of Male Black Students
The release of the 2008 Schott Foundation Report entitled “Given Half a Chance: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education for Black Males,” details the disturbing reality of America’s national racial achievement gap. State-by-state data demonstrate that districts with large Black enrollments educate their White, non-Hispanic peers, but fail to educate the majority of their Black male students.

Individual state reports (Wisconsin):

This section includes United States Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics state and district data for Black and White male students for states in which there are districts listed in the preceding section and for those districts themselves. Data are also included from the United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights 2004 Elementary and Secondary School Survey concerning Special Education, Gifted and Talented and Discipline reports; National Assessment of Educational Progress; and Advanced Placement.

Tammerlin Drummond has more.

Thomas Jefferson High School Governance Investigation

Matthew Barakat: Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares is launching an investigation into one of the state’s most prestigious high schools, acting on complaints that students there weren’t properly recognized for their achievements on a standardized test. Miyares said at a news conference Wednesday that his Office of Civil Rights is investigating the Thomas Jefferson High … Continue reading Thomas Jefferson High School Governance Investigation

The Biggest Enemy of Campus Due Process from the Obama Years Is Back

KC Johnson: ‘One of the most sweeping bipartisan judicial rejections of an administration’s policy in decades,” commentator David French recently noted, involved the Obama administration using Title IX to undermine due process on American college campuses. The administration’s record, French wrote, “has been rejected by judges across the ideological spectrum and has cost universities millions.” Given this … Continue reading The Biggest Enemy of Campus Due Process from the Obama Years Is Back

Commentary on the Taxpayer Supported Milwaukee Public Schools

Jordan Morales: Switching now to MPS, we see that according to the Department of Public Instruction’s 2018-19 Report Card, 71% of Black or African-American students had a “Below Basic” score in mathematics. Indeed, only 10% of Black students had either a proficient or advanced understanding of mathematics. Meanwhile, only 30% of white students scored “Below … Continue reading Commentary on the Taxpayer Supported Milwaukee Public Schools

Gifted Education in Massachusetts: A Practice and Policy Review

Dana Ansel: Last year, the Massachusetts Legislature decided that the time had come to understand the state of education that gifted students receive in Massachusetts. They issued a mandate for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to review the policy and practices of education in public schools for gifted students as well as for … Continue reading Gifted Education in Massachusetts: A Practice and Policy Review

Wake County schools: OCR closes investigation into student discipline

T Keung Hui : The federal government has agreed to close its long-running investigation into how the Wake County school system handles school discipline, following changes that have reduced how many students are suspended. In 2010, the state NAACP and several other groups filed a federal civil rights complaint accusing the Wake school system of … Continue reading Wake County schools: OCR closes investigation into student discipline

Madison School District vows to do better for African-American students

Kelly Meyerhofer: The Madison School District’s new long-term plan looks vaguely similar to its predecessor, a strategic framework produced in 2013. Two of three overarching goals share similar language. The third goal, however, stands out from its 2013 counterpart by explicitly vowing to do better for African-American students. Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham said she attended nearly … Continue reading Madison School District vows to do better for African-American students

Due Process, Federalism And American Colleges

http://freebeacon.com/culture/no-touching/Bruce Fleming Think that’s scary? What happens next is even worse. Following guidelines from the Obama administration Office of Civil Rights, you will likely be denied representation by a lawyer, forbidden from presenting exonerating evidence or asking questions of your accuser (who will invariably be referred to as the “victim” or the “survivor”), be subject … Continue reading Due Process, Federalism And American Colleges

Civics: a history of FBI cointelpro

James Bovard: The history of the FBI provides perhaps the best guide to the abuses that may be now occurring. From 1956 to 1971, the FBI carried out “a secret war against those citizens it considers threats to the established order,” a 1976 Senate report noted. The FBI’s Operation COINTELPRO involved thousands of covert operations to incite street warfare between … Continue reading Civics: a history of FBI cointelpro

Finds Fairfax “failed to provide” a free appropriate education to 1000s of kids

Asta Nomani: “This is a victory for every parent,” said Oettinger. “In 2020, we knew that the actions that FCPS was taking were in noncompliance with IDEA. We are now vindicated, and every parents should contact FCPS to make sure that every child receives COMPENSATORY EDUCATION and other services that meet their needs.”  The key … Continue reading Finds Fairfax “failed to provide” a free appropriate education to 1000s of kids

Notes on taxpayer supported censorship: DHS edition

Jana Winter In response to a request from Peters for more information, DHS said that it had “expanded its evaluation of online activity as part of efforts to assess and prevent acts of violence, in ways that ensure robust protections for Americans’ privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties,” according to the Senate report. But the … Continue reading Notes on taxpayer supported censorship: DHS edition

Student Family Climate

Ian Rowe In 1966, the U.S. Office of Education commissioned the landmark survey “Equality of Educational Opportunity” to study the “lack of availability of equal educational opportunities for individuals by reason of race, color, religion, or national origin in public educational institutions.” James Coleman, who led the study, was a noted sociologist and civil-rights advocate … Continue reading Student Family Climate

Free Speech And Cancel Culture at the DC area law schools

David Lat: The nation’s capital is also the latest front in the law-school culture wars. Two law schools in D.C., American University Washington College of Law and the George Washington University Law School, have experienced free speech and cancel culture controversies in the past week. Here’s what’s going at American University (“AU”), per Karen Sloan … Continue reading Free Speech And Cancel Culture at the DC area law schools

Civics: The secret police: Cops built a shadowy surveillance machine in Minnesota after George Floyd’s murder

Tate Ryan-Mosley & Sam Richards: Law enforcement agencies in Minnesota have been carrying out a secretive, long-running surveillance program targeting civil rights activists and journalists in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd in May 2020. Run under a consortium known as Operation Safety Net, the program was set up a year ago, ostensibly … Continue reading Civics: The secret police: Cops built a shadowy surveillance machine in Minnesota after George Floyd’s murder

This MLK Day, Remember How The FBI Targeted Him

Tristan Justice: Except the agency wasn’t dedicated to protecting MLK. In fact, the peaceful pioneer of 20th-century civil rights was targeted by the law enforcement agency as a domestic enemy. The FBI once told King in a letter to kill himself. King, the FBI wrote in a memo highlighted by a new documentary out last fall, was “the … Continue reading This MLK Day, Remember How The FBI Targeted Him

Civics: Hong Kong pro-democracy Stand News closes after police raids condemned by U.N., Germany

Edmond Ng and James Pomfret: Hong Kong pro-democracy media outlet Stand News shut down on Wednesday after police raided its office, froze its assets and arrested senior staff on suspected “seditious publication” offences in the latest crackdown on the city’s media. The raid raises more concerns about press freedom in the former British colony, which … Continue reading Civics: Hong Kong pro-democracy Stand News closes after police raids condemned by U.N., Germany

Renaming Madison Memorial High school to Vel Phillips

Elizabeth Beyer: “Folks are ready to change, it’s to what extent that we’re discussing tonight,” board president Ali Muldrow said. A committee of community members charged with the task of renaming the high school brought their suggestion before a board committee at the beginning of November after a five-month deliberation process. The committee whittled a … Continue reading Renaming Madison Memorial High school to Vel Phillips

Lawfare, K-12 Governance and Parents; using FOIA

Chuck Ross: House Republicans are requesting information from U.S. attorneys’ offices regarding their involvement with the Biden administration’s effort to monitor school board meetings for potential acts of domestic terrorism. Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee sent letters to all 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices Monday asking for information about discussions authorized by Attorney General Merrick … Continue reading Lawfare, K-12 Governance and Parents; using FOIA

Parents sue over policies that segregate students and chill speech.

Wall Street Journal: “Nearly seven decades of Supreme Court precedent have made two things clear: Public schools cannot segregate students by race, and students do not abandon their First Amendment rights at the schoolhouse gate,” says the suit filed in federal court Tuesday afternoon by the nonprofit Parents Defending Education. The suit says Wellesley Public … Continue reading Parents sue over policies that segregate students and chill speech.

Civics: Lawfare, Citizen Activism and taxpayer funded schools

Bradley Thompson: Garland’s letter is a moral, political, and constitutional abomination. To say there are serious problems with the Attorney General’s Orwellian letter would be an understatement. The letter asserts, for instance, that “there has been a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.” It … Continue reading Civics: Lawfare, Citizen Activism and taxpayer funded schools

Federal Education School Safety Notes

Hans Bader: The highlighted passages were highlighted by Professor Russell Skiba, in an attachment to his May 28, 2021 2:25 AM email to Carolyn Seugling of the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights and James Eichner of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The Education Department sought out Skiba’s advice. Skiba notes that the School Safety Commission report is … Continue reading Federal Education School Safety Notes

Notes and Commentary on Free Speech at Princeton

John Londregan and Sergiu Klainerman: The video/site includes a two-minute discourse in which classics professor Dan-el Padilla Peraltacharacterizes free speech as a “privilege,” rather than a right, and in which he disparages the speech of others with whom he disagrees as “masculine-ized bravado.” Padilla Peralta goes on to extol “free speech and intellectual discourse that is … Continue reading Notes and Commentary on Free Speech at Princeton

“the only remedy of past discrimination is present discrimination.”

Wesley Yang: Some of these measures almost certainly violate the Constitution and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The courts brushed them back in certain cases and will likely continue to do so as challenges emerge. But that we enacted them is a victory for those seeking the drastic expansion of what they call “race-conscious … Continue reading “the only remedy of past discrimination is present discrimination.”

Commentary on federal education practices

Hams Bader: The Biden administration is expected to reinstate the Obama administration’s 2014 school-discipline guidelines, which prodded schools to suspend all racial groups at the same rate, even if there was more misbehavior among students of one race than another. In response to those guidelines, and worried about being investigated by the Education Department, some … Continue reading Commentary on federal education practices

Catherine Lhamon, Obama’s Title IX Enforcer, Just Got Her Old Job Back

Robby Soave: From 2013 to 2017, the task of enforcing Title IX—the federal statute that prohibits sex and gender-based discrimination in public education—fell to Catherine Lhamon, who served as assistant secretary for civil rights within President Barack Obama’s Education Department. Continuing the work of her predecessors, Lhamon’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) compelled colleges and … Continue reading Catherine Lhamon, Obama’s Title IX Enforcer, Just Got Her Old Job Back

Why don’t we treat Asian American history the way we treat Black history?

Michael Eric Dyson: The struggles of the Black American narrative — the arc from slavery to Barack Obama — are celebrated, contested and even sometimes disparaged. But there’s no denying that this narrative is well-known. We all grasp the importance of Black history to the American story, even if we argue over the proper emphasis. … Continue reading Why don’t we treat Asian American history the way we treat Black history?

Civics: Federal Speech Repression

James Bovard: Federal repression got a seal of approval from an organization long renowned for its uncompromising defense of free speech. Scott Michelman, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington D.C. office, told the Post: It’s no question that closing off public spaces, even for a limited time, affects people’s ability to exercise their … Continue reading Civics: Federal Speech Repression

A high school swimming and diving coach at Germantown who compared Black Lives Matter to the Ku Klux Klan fired

Alec Johnson: “Of course I agree with the statement (Black lives matter),” but the Black Lives Matter organization is “not something that I as a conservative can or will ever support,” Damico wrote, adding he compared the group to the KKK.  The comparison is one others such as a New York assemblyman and a sandwich shop … Continue reading A high school swimming and diving coach at Germantown who compared Black Lives Matter to the Ku Klux Klan fired

Civics: The Supreme Court’s Dereliction of Duty on Qualified Immunity

Jay Schweickert: This morning, the Supreme Court denied all of the major cert petitions raising the question of whether qualified immunity should be reconsidered. This is, to put it bluntly, a shocking dereliction of duty. As Cato has argued for years, qualified immunity is an atextual, ahistorical judicial invention, which shields public officials from liability, even when they break … Continue reading Civics: The Supreme Court’s Dereliction of Duty on Qualified Immunity

University to Investigate Lecturer for Reading MLK’s Letter from Birmingham Jail

Christy Clark: The University of California Los Angeles has launched an inquiry into a teacher for reading aloud Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” because the civil rights document includes the n-word. In a department-wide email obtained exclusively by the Washington Free Beacon, UCLA political science chair Michael Chwe and two other department leaders … Continue reading University to Investigate Lecturer for Reading MLK’s Letter from Birmingham Jail

Civics: Police act like laws don’t apply to them because of ‘qualified immunity.’ They’re right.

Patrick Jaicomo and Anya Bidwell: The Supreme Court created qualified immunity in 1982. With that novel invention, the court granted all government officials immunity for violating constitutional and civil rights unless the victims of those violations can show that the rights were “clearly established.” A virtually unlimited protection Although innocuous sounding, the clearly established test … Continue reading Civics: Police act like laws don’t apply to them because of ‘qualified immunity.’ They’re right.

Feds close 1 of 4 cases into UW-Madison’s handling of sexual assault

Kelly Meyerhofer: The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights dismissed a UW-Madison case in November because of the agency’s inability to contact the person who filed the complaint to get information relevant to the investigation, according to a department spokesperson. Federal and university officials declined this week to provide details on the closed … Continue reading Feds close 1 of 4 cases into UW-Madison’s handling of sexual assault

UMN women-only STEM awards come under fire

Jasmine Snow: The University of Minnesota and other universities across the country are under fire with claims of discrimination against men in STEM programs. The Chicago Office for Civil Rights under the U.S. Department of Education opened an investigation into the University last month for possible Title IX violations against men. The investigation comes after … Continue reading UMN women-only STEM awards come under fire

With Apologies to Orwell, We’ve Gone Way Past 1984

Dorian Lynskey: Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World used to be seen as mutually exclusive dystopias. In 1984, however, while Neil Postman was writing Amusing Ourselves to Death, Aldous Huxley’s biographer Sybille Bedford came to a different conclusion, describing the choice as a false binary: “We have entered the age of mixed tyrannies.” By this … Continue reading With Apologies to Orwell, We’ve Gone Way Past 1984

Advanced learning opportunities and Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district

Christina Gomez Schmidt: Why is this a problem? Earlier this year, the Wisconsin State Journal editorial board highlighted a concerning outflux of students from the Madison Metropolitan School District. Safety concerns might be partly to blame. But a glaring absence of consistent academic challenge in the typical school day no doubt contributes. Despite common knowledge … Continue reading Advanced learning opportunities and Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district

Civics: Dallas Has Now Lost 82 Cases Against Robert Groden. Someone Call Guinness.

Jim Schutze: It’s sort of remarkable, is it not, almost as if they have a small research team somewhere in the city attorney’s office. Twice a year someone tells them, “Scour the books for something Groden isn’t doing wrong so we can charge him with it and get ourselves kicked out of court again.” Kizzia … Continue reading Civics: Dallas Has Now Lost 82 Cases Against Robert Groden. Someone Call Guinness.

Fordham hopes free-speech lawsuit will fade as last plaintiff graduates

Hannah Adely: The last of four students who sued Fordham University over the denial of a Palestinian rights club will graduate this month, but the court battle is not over. Sophomore Veer Shetty has asked to join the two-year old lawsuit, and the university is going to court on Wednesday to try to stop him. … Continue reading Fordham hopes free-speech lawsuit will fade as last plaintiff graduates

The Reckoning of Morris Dees and the Southern Poverty Law Center

Bob Moser: In the days since the stunning dismissal of Morris Dees, the co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, on March 14th, I’ve been thinking about the jokes my S.P.L.C. colleagues and I used to tell to keep ourselves sane. Walking to lunch past the center’s Maya Lin–designed memorial to civil-rights martyrs, we’d cast … Continue reading The Reckoning of Morris Dees and the Southern Poverty Law Center

Civics: “I do have a very serious problem as a lawyer with the wholesale charging of people without an investigation”

Brian Doherty: From the start, lawyers and others pointed out that it was very unlikely indeed that all the arrested had committed any crimes at all, and that the initial $1 million bond for all of them charged with a blanket crime of “engaging in organized criminal activity” seemed unreasonably punitive. The police strove in … Continue reading Civics: “I do have a very serious problem as a lawyer with the wholesale charging of people without an investigation”

Spotlight on Due Process 2018

the fire: Colleges and universities across the country are failing to afford their students due process and fundamental fairness in their disciplinary proceedings. These institutions investigate and punish offenses ranging from vandalism and housing violations to felonious acts of sexual assault, handling many cases that are arguably better left to courts and law enforcement. But … Continue reading Spotlight on Due Process 2018

20 years ago…. Mutually Destructive Tendencies in K-12 and College Education

Chester E. Finn, Jr. President, Fordham Foundation Academic Questions, Spring 1998e: What’s going on in the college curriculum cannot be laid entirely at the doorstep of the K-12 system. Indeed, as Allan Bloom figured out a decade or more ago, it has as much to do with our educational culture, indeed with our culture per … Continue reading 20 years ago…. Mutually Destructive Tendencies in K-12 and College Education

Homeland Security’s Massive New Database Will Include Face Recognition, DNA, and Peoples’ “Non-Obvious Relationships”

Jennifer Lynch: The records DHS plans to include in HART will chill and deter people from exercising their First Amendment protected rights to speak, assemble, and associate. Data like face recognition makes it possible to identify and track people in real time, including at lawful political protests and other gatherings. Other data DHS is planning … Continue reading Homeland Security’s Massive New Database Will Include Face Recognition, DNA, and Peoples’ “Non-Obvious Relationships”

Ed Department investigating anti-male discrimination at Yale

Toni Airaksinen: The U.S. Department of Education has launched a Title IX investigation into Yale University amid allegations that the institution offers educational programs and scholarship opportunities that exclude men. According to a letter dated April 26, the department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is investigating seven Yale initiatives, including the Yale Women Faculty Forum, … Continue reading Ed Department investigating anti-male discrimination at Yale

Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner Promised a Criminal Justice Revolution. He’s Exceeding Expectations

Shaun King: When lifelong civil rights attorney Larry Krasner was elected in a landslide this past November to become the new district attorney of Philadelphia, to say that his fans and supporters had high hopes would be an understatement. Anything less than a complete revolution that tore down the bigoted and patently unfair systems of … Continue reading Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner Promised a Criminal Justice Revolution. He’s Exceeding Expectations

Gloria Reyes enters the Madison School Board race

Amber Walker: Gloria Reyes, deputy mayor for the city of Madison, announced Wednesday that she will challenge Madison School Board vice president Anna Moffit for Seat 1 on the board. Since 2014, Reyes has served as the mayor’s liaison to several city agencies including the Department of Civil Rights, the Madison Police and Fire departments … Continue reading Gloria Reyes enters the Madison School Board race

ATTORNEY PLANS TO SUE DISTRICT AFTER STUDENT SUSPENDED FOR NOT STANDING DURING PLEDGE

Matt Dougherty: A Houston civil rights attorney says he is suing the Cy-Fair school district on behalf of his client who claims she was kicked out of school for not standing for the Pledge of Allegiance. India Landry, a Windfern High School senior, says she was in the principal’s office on Monday when the pledge … Continue reading ATTORNEY PLANS TO SUE DISTRICT AFTER STUDENT SUSPENDED FOR NOT STANDING DURING PLEDGE

Betsy DeVos: The Era of Weaponized Title IX in Campus Rape Cases Is Over

Robby Soave: “The era of ‘rule by letter’ is over,” her speech says, referencing the Obama-era Education Department’s infamous “Dear Colleague” letter, which fundamentally changed the way schools handle sexual misconduct issues. “Through intimidation and coercion, the failed system has clearly pushed schools to overreach.” The Dear Colleague letter was released on April 4, 2011, … Continue reading Betsy DeVos: The Era of Weaponized Title IX in Campus Rape Cases Is Over

Justice Dept. to Take On Affirmative Action in College Admissions

Charlie Savage: The Trump administration is preparing to redirect resources of the Justice Department’s civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants, according to a document obtained by The New York Times. The document, an internal announcement to the civil rights division, seeks current … Continue reading Justice Dept. to Take On Affirmative Action in College Admissions

Justice Department to take on affirmative action in college admissions

Charlie Savage: The Trump administration is preparing to redirect resources of the Justice Department’s civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants, according to a document obtained by The New York Times. The document, an internal announcement to the civil rights division, seeks current … Continue reading Justice Department to take on affirmative action in college admissions

American College of Trial Lawyers on campus sexual assault investigations: ‘Under the current system everyone loses.’

American College of Trial Lawyers: ACTL, an organization that “seeks to improve the standards of trial practice, professionalism, ethics, and the administration of justice” and selects only members who have demonstrated “the very highest standards of trial advocacy, ethical conduct, integrity, professionalism and collegiality,” acknowledges that colleges and universities are “in a double bind” when … Continue reading American College of Trial Lawyers on campus sexual assault investigations: ‘Under the current system everyone loses.’

Not So Special Ed PUBLIC SCHOOL PARENTS WITH SPECIAL-ED KIDS OFTEN FIND THEMSELVES SQUARING OFF AGAINST SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND THE TAXPAYER-FUNDED LAWYERS WHO PROTECT THEM.

Mimi Swartz: Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that affects muscle control and, therefore, balance, posture, and coordination. Claire, then as now, was inordinately bright and outgoing, but she couldn’t walk; she used a wheelchair, and while the rest of the kids played during recess, her school thought it best to leave Claire on the … Continue reading Not So Special Ed PUBLIC SCHOOL PARENTS WITH SPECIAL-ED KIDS OFTEN FIND THEMSELVES SQUARING OFF AGAINST SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND THE TAXPAYER-FUNDED LAWYERS WHO PROTECT THEM.

San Diego Police Targets African San Diego Police Targets African American Children for Unlawful DNA Collection

Jamie Williams: Specifically targeting black children for unlawful DNA collection is a gross abuse of technology by law enforcement. But it’s exactly what the San Diego Police Department is doing, according to a lawsuit just filed by the ACLU Foundation of San Diego & Imperial Counties on behalf of one of the families affected. SDPD’s … Continue reading San Diego Police Targets African San Diego Police Targets African American Children for Unlawful DNA Collection

How The U.S. Marshals and Bureau of Prisons Are Trying To Break My Hunger Strike

Martin Gottesfeld: On the 43rd day of my hunger strike I was told the U.S. Marshalls had ordered my transfer to a facility in New York that was better equipped to handle my medical condition. At that point I had gone about four days without any fluids whatsoever and to make my wishes and refusal … Continue reading How The U.S. Marshals and Bureau of Prisons Are Trying To Break My Hunger Strike

1 in 4 U.S. teachers are chronically absent, missing more than 10 days of school

Alejandro Matros More than 1 in 4 of the nation’s full-time teachers are considered chronically absent from school, according to federal data, missing the equivalent of more than two weeks of classes each academic year in what some districts say has become an educational crisis. The U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights estimated this … Continue reading 1 in 4 U.S. teachers are chronically absent, missing more than 10 days of school

Why Are Educators Learning How to Interrogate Their Students?

Douglas Starr: About a year and a half ago, Jessica Schneider was handed a flyer by one of her colleagues in the child-advocacy community. It advertised a training session, offered under the auspices of the Illinois Principals Association (I.P.A.), in how to interrogate students. Specifically, teachers and school administrators would be taught an abbreviated version … Continue reading Why Are Educators Learning How to Interrogate Their Students?

Understanding Student Discipline Practices in Charter Schools: A Research Agenda

Patrick Denice, Betheny Gross, Karega Rausch Fair use of exclusionary discipline is a rising concern in public schools. At issue is whether this type of discipline is disproportionately applied to certain groups of students and whether some charter schools use it more frequently. For the first time, data compiled by the Department of Education’s Office … Continue reading Understanding Student Discipline Practices in Charter Schools: A Research Agenda