Thursday, July 24, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Politics versus education in Obama administration

sowell column sig

By
From page A9 | January 19, 2014 |

Anyone who has still not yet understood the utter cynicism of the Obama administration in general, and Attorney General Eric Holder in particular, should look at the Justice Department’s latest interventions in education.

If there is one thing that people all across the ideological spectrum should be able to agree on, it is that better education is desperately needed by black youngsters, especially in the ghettoes. For most, it is their one chance for a better life.

Among the few bright spots in a generally dismal picture of the education of black students are those successful charter schools or voucher schools to which many black parents try to get their children admitted. Some of these schools have not only reached but exceeded national norms, even when located in neighborhoods where the regular public schools lag far behind.

Where admission to these schools is by a lottery, the cheers and tears that follow announcements of who has been admitted – and, by implication, who will be forced to continue in the regular public schools – tell the story better than words can.

When the state of Louisiana decided to greatly expand the number of schools available to students by parental choice, rather than by the rigidities of the usual public school system, Attorney General Holder’s Justice Department objected on grounds that this was at cross-purposes with the federal government’s racial integration goals for the schools.

In short, Louisiana’s attempt to improve the education of children is subordinated by Holder to the federal government’s attempt to mix and match black and white students.

If we have learned nothing else after decades of socially divisive and educationally futile racial busing, it should be obvious that seating black kids next to white kids is neither necessary nor sufficient to get them a better education.

The truly despicable intervention by Attorney General Holder is his warning to schools against discipline policies that result in a higher proportion of minority students than white students being punished.

This racial body count method of determining whether there is discrimination by the schools might make sense if we were certain that there could be no differences in behavior that would explain the differences in punishment. But does any sane adult really believe that there cannot be any difference between the behavior of black boys and Asian girls, for example?

There is a lot of make-believe when it comes to racial issues, whether out of squeamishness, political correctness or expediency. There is also a lot of deliberate racial polarization, and attempts to promote a sense of grievance and fear among black voters, in order to keep their votes in the Democrats’ column.

What makes this playing politics with school discipline so unconscionable is that a lack of discipline is one of the crushing handicaps in many ghetto schools. If 10 percent of the students in a classroom are disruptive, disrespectful and violent, the chances of teaching the other 90 percent effectively are very low.

Yet, in the words of the New York Times, “The Obama administration speaks out against zero tolerance discipline.” It quotes Attorney General Holder and says that he was “on the mark” when he said that a “routine school disciplinary infraction should land a student in the principal’s office, not in a police precinct.”

In other words, Eric Holder, sitting in Washington, knows better than the thousands of people who run public schools across the country what kinds of sanctions are necessary to preserve some semblance of order in the classrooms, so that hoodlums do not make the education of their classmates impossible.

Like The New York Times, Attorney General Holder has made this an issue of “The Civil Rights of Children.” More important, the implied threat of federal lawsuits based on racial body count among students who have been disciplined means that hoodlums in the classroom seem to have a friend in Washington.

But even the hoodlums can end up worse off, if lax discipline in the school lets them continue on in a way of life that usually ends up inside prison walls. Nevertheless, if all this means black votes for the Democrats, that may well be the bottom line for Holder and the Obama administration.

Thomas Sowell is an author, economist and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 3 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • G-ManJanuary 19, 2014 - 8:31 am

    Nothing rangles..Sorry Charlie..a Liberal Progressive like a Conservative Black Man...it goes against their sensibilities their jaundiced view of the human condition...one needs only look the The educational rankings of the United States in the world to see how spot on Mr Sowell is.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Teach5thJanuary 19, 2014 - 9:32 am

    Any other issue (except where it involves Obama and his administration) the teachers' unions would be up in arms that someone was telling them how to teach/run a school. Unfortunately, to the detriment of all the students, we are being told not to "punish" students, despite their behaviors, based on the color of their skin. Isn't this what's known as racial discrimination, and isn't that.what Holder is saying he's trying to eliminate? Can you spell h-y-p-o-c-r-i-t-e???

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • G-ManJanuary 19, 2014 - 10:23 am

    Have an easier time spelling impeach and prosecute...not that it matters since it seems only 10% of my posts make it past the Post Police and DR..I've been a shining example of civility these past few weeks..how about a break...

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

 
Artists with trowels transform highway wall

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 4 Comments | Gallery

 
 
County court employees rally against cuts, furloughs

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3, 7 Comments | Gallery

 
Crews to begin Vacaville slurry seal street project

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A3

2nd candidate eyes Vacaville mayoral run

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Bertani schedules town hall meet

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3, 5 Comments

 
Vacaville police arrest fugitive Dezmon Frazier

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4, 6 Comments

 
Sesame Street USO tour visits Travis

By Staff Sgt. Christopher Carranza | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: July 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Weather for July 24, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B10

 
Fairfield police log: July 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Suisun City police log: July 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Suisun City police log: July 21, 2013

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Suisun City police log: July 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Fairfield police log: July 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

.

US / World

Lawsuit tests racial policy at California prisons

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 4 Comments

 
Honduran families deported back to a bleak future

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 2 Comments

Lockdown lifted at Little Rock Air Force Base

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
US pushes for truce as Gaza battle rages

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Casualty numbers raise questions about Gaza war

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
40 bodies from jet solemnly returned to Dutch soil

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

Watch out for Bobby Jindal

By Jay Ambrose | From Page: A7

 
Rick Perry’s contradiction

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
Editorial Cartoons for July 24, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Good men lost due to Bergdahl

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
Is Logue tripping over words?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7

 
.

Living

Today in History for July 24, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: July 24, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes for July 24, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
I resent my husband for not defending me to his mother

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

CBS event marks civil rights anniversary

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
4-day Comic Con festival kicks off in San Diego

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Filmmaker Michael Moore’s divorce is finalized

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 3 Comments

 
CBS says Colbert keeping CBS’ ‘Late Show’ in NYC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

.

Sports

Pence drives in 3, Giants beat Phillies 3-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Cespedes hits 2 HRs, A’s hold off Astros 9-7

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Big innings fuels 16-1 Expos victory in Area 1 opener

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Raiders start to arrive for start of camp

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1, 1 Comment

Tight end Vernon Davis arrives at 49ers training camp

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Testimony ends in trial over $2B Clippers sale

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Playful Pole wins Tour stage, as Nibali marches on

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
4 Cities to meet with USOC about 2024

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Mavericks’ Felton pleads guilty in NYC gun case

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Chiefs, running back Jamaal Charles reach deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Seattle’s Sidney Rice announces his retirement

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Broncos owner giving up control due to Alzheimer’s

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

.

Business

Stopping deadly oil train fires: New rules planned

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
US economy, though sluggish, may now be sturdier

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

GM issues 6 more safety recalls

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Obituaries

Joseph Ross Smith Jr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Shirley T. ‘Mac’ McFadden

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 5 Comments

Mary Bell Scrivner Sanders

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Arturo Montenegro

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A5

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9