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Withdraw the Obama Administration’s ‘Dear Colleague’ Letter on School Discipline

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School safety or racial quotas? Roger Clegg and Hans von Spakovsky write in support of withdrawing the Obama administration’s “Dear Colleague” letter on school discipline:

Threatening lawsuits if the administrators didn’t comply with the “guidance,” the 2014 letter coerced many school systems into adopting illegal racial quotas in their disciplinary decision-making. […]

Certainly, there is no lack of reasons to withdraw the letter, which created both legal and policy problems. Procedurally, it violates both the Congressional Review Act and the Administrative Procedure Act. Substantively, as the WILL letter explains, the Education Department lacks authority to use the “disparate impact” standard in enforcing Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination in programs or activities that receive federal funds. In 2001, the Supreme Court ruled in Alexander v. Sandovalthat Title VI bans only “disparate treatment.” In any event, the letter’s hyper-aggressive approach violates other Supreme Court and lower federal-court decisions, including a ban on racial quotas in school discipline.

As a policy matter, there is overwhelming evidence that Obama-era policies culminating in this “Dear Colleague” letter pushed schools to avoid disciplining students who needed to be disciplined. It made avoiding politically incorrect numbers more important than maintaining school safety.

[Roger Clegg and Hans A. von Spakovsky, “Withdraw the Obama Administration’s Dear Colleague Letter on School Discipline,” National Review, June 15]

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