An educational crisis has struck Minneapolis' public schools: Black students have a tenfold higher chance of suspension or expulsion than white students. And superintendent Bernadeia Johnson wants to "disrupt that in any way that I can."
Her solution: refusing to suspend black and Hispanic students. "The only way I can think [to solve the disparity] is to take those suspensions back to the individuals and try and probe and ask questions," Johnson explained. Johnson will work with the Department of Education, which originally brought the disparity to light. Now, Johnson will have to review every potential suspension of a non-white, non-Asian student. "Changing the trajectory for our students of color is a moral and ethical imperative, and our actions must be drastically different to achieve our goal of closing the achievement gap by 2020," Johnson stated.
Black and Hispanic students in Minneapolis represent 60.3 percent of the student body. Just 15 percent of teachers are non-white. This has led to pressure to oust some white teachers in favor of minority teachers. But Minnesota has some of the highest-performing students in the nation: Overall, 70 percent of fourth-graders read at or above grade level, as opposed to 34 percent of students nationally; for eighth-graders, 82 percent of students score above grade level, as opposed to 43 percent nationally. The big problem: Black and Hispanic students score extraordinarily low when compared to white students. Is that because the teachers somehow teach better to white and Asian students? Or is the problem with the students?
The students in Minnesota are not an exception. Male black, Hispanic and Native-American students in every state in America lead male students of other ethnicities in suspensions. That's not due to some inherent disadvantage attached to race, of course. It's because black, Hispanic and Native-American children are disproportionately likely to live with single mothers. And children living with single mothers misbehave more often than those living with fathers. A study from Great Britain of 14,000 children showed that children were twice as likely to manifest behavioral problems by the age of 7 than those raised by their natural parents. Those numbers continue to diverge as children grow older.
But instead of dealing with the obvious problem, the government insists that the problem, somehow, lies in the strictness of the Minneapolis public schools. That's inane. School discipline in Asia far outstrips discipline in the United States. Unsurprisingly, school performance in Asia far outstrips school performance in the United States.
The left in America believes that overlooking actual solutions in favor of happy talk about institutional racism helps minority students. It achieves precisely the opposite, making light of misbehavior and destroying the chances for better education for those who seek to gain it.
The achievement gap will never be closed, so long as school districts across the country punish good students, reward bad ones and let political correctness trump educational necessity.