The Destructive, Useful, Unethical Presumption of Bigotry, Part I: California’s Anti-School Discipline Law

Last year, in September, California became the first state to prohibit by law the suspension of students for “willful defiance” unless the activities involved were certified by the school superintendent as meeting the specific standards enumerated in the law, all of them very serious, most of them already crimes. What was the rationale behind Assembly Bill 420? Well, it seems African American kids were being disproportionately suspended. They made up about 6 percent of total enrollment, but 19 percent of suspensions for defiance.

According to the Justice Department’s politically motivated embrace of the “disparate impact” approach, any policy that disproportionately affects a minority group adversely is presumptively racist. It couldn’t possibly be true that black students are, as a group, more likely to defy authority, especially the authority of white teachers, right? The fact that pundits, members of the Congressional Black Caucus, MSNBC, Al Sharpton and the President keep hammering on the idea that America is run by a racist cabal, and that the only reason we aren’t getting ready to replace Teddy Roosevelt with Barack Obama on Mount Rushmore is that his wonderful accomplishments have been denied and distorted by white racists, and that our police departments are hunting down and murdering unarmed young black men as the justice system looks the other way—none of this could possibly be feeding anger, frustration, and hate among  among young black students that is translated into willful defiance in class—why would anyone think that?

The law is lunacy. The California state government is endorsing the idea that the schools, especially white teachers, are bigots, and thus the government is reinforcing exactly the emotions and beliefs that feed African American classroom defiance in the first place. Now uncooperative minority students will be able to have their disruptive conduct validated (with disruptive conduct by non-minority students similarly encouraged), treated gently and with understanding, inevitably reducing the educational value of class by allowing more chaos and less discipline, undermining the education of well-behaved students black or white. Meanwhile, toxic behaviors, attitudes and conduct by students that will hamper their prospects of success after school will not attract trigger negative reinforcement.

And when the out-of-school defiant conduct occurs later in response to a lawful command by a police officer?

You might get Michael Brown.

This is such a good plan.

Naturally, it arises from ethically muddled thinking of a sort that is becoming increasingly popular. California Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, (D-Sacramento), who wrote the legislation, justifies it this way:

“We see disproportionate levels of discipline for LGBT-identifying kids, disabled kids, as well as African American kids and Latino kids. I think it has to do with expectations that teachers and administrators have about behavioral norms. In many instances, students may have different expectations of behavioral norms.”

Prof. Steve Mintz, the Ethics Sage, responds to that:

“This is ethical relativism at its worst. We should have a set of values based on what is right and what is wrong behavior. If we can’t even agree on those values, then we’ve already lost the battle and we wind up with a society where anyone can do whatever they want as long as it conforms to one’s personal expectations.”

Let’s call that Reason 1. why the law is bad policy.

Reason 2: Now students know that the consequences of insubordination, impudence and obstinancy are severely limited, in essence giving them approved license to misbehave.

Reason 3: It is now more difficult to discourage such conduct, increasing the likelihood of it becoming an established aspect of a student’s interaction with all authority.

Reason 4: This endorses bias as the accepted and default explanation for minority failure in any setting, discouraging personal accountability.

Reason 5: It makes a conscious choice that it is better to tolerate poor behavior and allow it to become more common and entrenched than to accept the consequences of discouraging it, such as accusations of racial bias.

The California schools had a 15% decline in suspensions last year, which is being applauded as a sign that the law is a “success.” This is exactly the kind of bootstrap reasoning that leads to the conclusion that the Affordable Care Act is a success because more Americans are insured. Tautology does not a success make: yes indeed, making conduct illegal, whether it is not getting health insurance or punishing students who deserve to be punished, does tend to reduce it. Imagine that! Success, honestly measured, is determined by whether the desired results of a policy justify and outweigh its short and long-term costs, including the undesirable results.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, in praising the drop in suspensions, said,

“These numbers show that the work of the department, districts, teachers, parents and students around the state is paying off by keeping more students in school and learning. You can have the best facilities, the best teachers, and the best curriculum in the world, but none of that matters if students are not in school. That’s why we have put so much effort into increasing school attendance and reducing expulsions and suspensions and will continue to do so.”

And what if the opportunities for all the students to learn is decisively reduced by a classroom atmosphere in which disrespect and disruptions are commonplace? What if the students who defy teachers’ authority learn the false lesson that such conduct is acceptable, or that teachers, and, in the future, employers, police and other authority figures will be tarred as racists and bigots if they react negatively to such behavior? I pulled my son out of pubic high school after he informed me that a third to a half of every class period was devoted to getting disruptive and disrespectful students, most of the African Americans, to settle down, stop talking, and sit down.

Using the presumption of bigotry to explain unwelcome statistics helps neither minorities not whites. It just generates deceptively comforting statistics at an unacceptable cost.

 

71 thoughts on “The Destructive, Useful, Unethical Presumption of Bigotry, Part I: California’s Anti-School Discipline Law

  1. I believe there are some schools in FL who are adopting similar policies — although not dictated by legislation. The goal, as I have heard it put forth in Florida at least, is to keep students in school, educate them, and have them graduate. Otherwise, continued discipline will lead to permanent suspensions, and high school drop outs have a much higher rate of committing serious crimes, ending up in prison, etc.

    Whether or not these suspensions are motivated by racial animus, lack of sensitivity, etc., is important and should be discussed, but I personally would endorse attempts at reducing school suspensions and trying to educate as many of our kids as possible here in the US. Because right now, kids are being kicked out left, right, and center — as early as Kindergarten.

    http://www.addictinginfo.org/2015/01/06/shouldnt-it-worry-us-that-schools-begin-suspending-black-kids-at-4-years-old/

    • Making a law, however, is an idiotic way to deal with the problem. If kids disrupt the education of others, and many do, then they need to be taken out of class. This was school policy for many decades—you know, back when the system worked.

      • I went to craptastic (see, e.g., my use of the fake word craptastic) public schools. I think it’s a fantasy to ever think they worked well in the inner cities or rural areas. Unless this is Leave it to Beaver or Father Knows Best fantasy land, public schools have only ever been good in affluent areas.

        I do think that poor education is more noticeable now because the rust belt has virtually disappeared. Kids without family money or brains have the options of going into the military (assuming they get in) or minimum-wage jobs — not a good paying industrial job.

        Deery –this could have been one of our lunch topics today!

        • I think that’s a comforting fiction. There are dozens of factors that explain why schools have gotten worse across the board, from the strength of teachers unions to popular culture and TV, to litigation making schools wary of asserting control, to the loss of the high end of female teaching candidates, to the collapse of two-parent families, to the requirement of multilingual schools, to restrictions on kicking out disruptive kids, to the Sixties’ undermining respect for adult authority, to recreational drugs and the sexual revolution, to the decline of reading as recreation. Come on.

          • I think the expectation now that all students should graduate from high school, and preferably go on to college has also affected the make up of the student body. Graduation rates, and literacy rates have actually gone way up in the past 50+ years or so. But before, even a high school drop out could conceivably make a living wage and support a family. That way of life is long gone now. That means students who aren’t as well suited for academic instruction now must stay in school.

            But that doesn’t explain or excuse such high suspension rates in elementary and even preschool. Quite frankly, suspension has absolutely no place in preschool and kindergarten. If the problem is that deep, major intervention should be used, not kicking them out of school. I’m not sure at that age what kind of lesson a child that age gets from a suspension.

              • I went to some decent, even good public schools in poor rural areas. I had some very good teachers, mostly OK teachers, and a few bad teachers. I was allowed to learn a lot and did well in some very competitive universities and programs. When I moved to a wealthy suburban school system half way through high school, they assumed I would be incredibly behind and unable to compete well in their classes. Wrong, they were the ones who were behind. They had a lot more money to spend (their band uniforms weren’t 70 years old and had the name of the right school on them), but they probably less learning going on. The difference is that in the rural district, teachers demanded order and we had discipline. You didn’t talk back to a teacher. You didn’t ignore a teacher. You didn’t dare do such a thing to the vice-principal or the principal. Our teachers had respect because they demanded respect and parents of delinquents couldn’t intimidate the principals, teachers, or school board. There were students who caused problems, but they clustered them into a few classes with intimidating teachers (like the teacher that owned the chainsaw dealership in town) so they didn’t disrupt the learning of everyone else.

                Now, California Assemblyman Roger Dickinson sounds like an incredibly bigoted man. He just said that families of black, hispanic, disabled, and LBGT children have lax moral and behavioral standards and we just have to accept the fact that they don’t teach their children to behave. He is suggesting that “those people” just can’t raise their children right, so we have to just accept the fact that “those people” are incapable of behaving. I know some black, hispanic, LGBT, and disabled people who would be incredibly offended by such an assumption and horrified that this is codified in law.

              • I don’t. If you have a kid who literally throws a screaming temper tantrum for a half hour every day, making it impossible to teach the other kids for the duration, suspension seems like an appropriate intermediate step before expulsion. Not for their benefit, but for the benefit of every other student. Currently, you can’t do either with students like that.

                I think school’s should have the option of kicking out students that require one or more full time dedicated (working with NO other students) adults to supervise. Resources are not infinite, and schools are not the place to treat someone with a severe psychological disorder. The current system does not allow students with special needs to ever be kicked out, no matter how severe those special needs are and how inadequate schools are for dealing with them.

                • I don’t. If you have a kid who literally throws a screaming temper tantrum for a half hour every day, making it impossible to teach the other kids for the duration, suspension seems like an appropriate intermediate step before expulsion. Not for their benefit, but for the benefit of every other student. Currently, you can’t do either with students like that.

                  There is ISS(in-school suspension) where the student is removed from the classroom. There is reassignment to an alternative school where teachers and staff are trained to deal with students with emotional problems. There is counseling, and IEP. Suspension should be an extraordinary last step, not the first step for someone who cannot control their class and students.

                • To be fair, such high levels of protection may be higher than the laws as written actually demand, but that’s the current interpretation in my local school district.

        • “Unless this is Leave it to Beaver or Father Knows Best fantasy land, public schools have only ever been good in affluent areas.”

          Nonsense.

          Public schools have been good anywhere Personal relationship and Personal discipline existed. My high school, simultaneously known as the school where all the expelled students and trouble makers were sent or “incarcerated” (it was so bad that our high school had a Police Substation in it) also happened to be known as the school with the greatest academic achievement.

          This happened because:

          1) Even though at 3000-3500 students strong, it was really organized like a cluster of high schools – Groups of about 500-600 students were all assigned the same cluster of teachers for ALL four years. With some exceptions, especially in electives, whoever taught you the Freshman version of a particular subject also taught you the Senior version of that particular subject.

          This personal relationship with the teachers was an incredible boost – it helped with discipline as well because teachers knew which kids were going to do what. One of my closest friends and class clowns who often was separated from class for being a cut up wrote on the chalkboard on day one of our Junior Year “Welcome to Hell, population you”. The teacher walked in, saw the board, with no hesitation, told my friend to sit in the hallway.

          There were other clusters too, that really did have some honest to goodness thugs in them, but for the most part, discipline was readily maintained because the teachers KNEW the students.

          2) The teachers were CONSUMMATE professionals. When I say profession, I mean they PROFESSED to be teachers. There was no doubt each of our teachers were there to teach and were much less concerned with what their Union was pushing, or much less concerned with angling for a new pay raise. I don’t get that attitude from teachers anymore who are more content with following the dictates of central planners and more concerned with getting better benefits.

          3) Our teachers were given relatively free hands in disciplining us. Because they were allowed to discipline us and OFTEN, there never became a need for severe discipline. I do recall at one point one of the math teachers broke her meter stick over one guy’s back…but he deserved it and he knew it.

          4) The parents cared less about their children’s sensitivities and more about their children’s focus on learning.

          None of those aspects required affluence.

    • The very headline being linked to here is dumb. No, black students are not being suspended. Individuals are being suspended. Black students who are trying to freaking learn and can’t because some dullard next to them won’t shut up are not being adversely affected. They are being positively affected.

      Even if a level-headed assessment of some sort (I suspect the invisible hand of lazy teachers who hate the disciplinarian part of their jobs behind much of this) revealed a need to curb suspensions as the best policy…only a knee-jerk statist would whine for some kind of state law. Individual schools are set up to be able to deal with problems like this on their own, assuming that they care about things like education and results. Parents are supposed to be able to get involved and lobby for their kids’ schools to make small-scale changes (more study hall, etc.) This just smacks of leftists wanting to fix disciplinary problems the same way they fix poverty- by making the government do something about it so that they can ignore the problem while still feeling good about themselves.

  2. The rate of suspensions have actually risen quite a bit in the last few decades. More than doubled, in fact, thanks in a large part to the ‘zero-tolerance” policies that school systems were so fond of for quite a long time. http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Education/2013/0331/School-suspensions-Does-racial-bias-feed-the-school-to-prison-pipeline Things which used to get a kid sent to the principal’s office for a stern talking-to now merit suspensions. And kids fall further and further behind on their education, and school districts miss out on money that they could have received.

    There have been many highlights on this very site about how ridiculous and out of control suspensions have gotten for many schools. I think taking steps to decrease school suspensions is a good idea, though it should be approached in a holistic manner. Obviously you have to come with alternatives to suspension, but I think many schools have already done so, like “restorative justice”, such as making graffiti artists clean up bathrooms, offering mediation for two kids fighting, and so forth. It’s too easy to kick kids out of school, and much harder to keep them in. I see nothing wrong with seeking alternatives to what should be one of the last resorts.

    • No-tolerance is unrelated to disruptive and defiant conduct. Completely. Sure, you want to keep kids in school. Saying you can’t get rid of students who make teaching impossible, however, is achieving that goal at the cost of education itself.

      • Why are you assuming that the kids are being disruptive and defiant? Isn’t it just as easy to presume that the teachers are being lazy?

        • I am not aware of any no-tolerance defiance policyies…though such would also eliminate any claims of unfair rule application. No-tolerance, as it has been examined on this site, involve “possession or use of illicit drugs or weapons. Students, and sometimes staff, parents, and other visitors, who possess a banned item for any reason are always (if the policy is followed) to be punished.”

          • This is an example of a zero-tolerance policy at an elementary school: http://eliot-gusd-ca.schoolloop.com/zerotolerance

            …Each student will follow these simple rules or risk being expelled. The following rules will be enforced at Gilroy Unified School District as part of the Zero Tolerance Policy:
            1.Acts or threats of violence, including fights, will result in suspension and/or possible expulsion. Any student who engages in any violent act will be given 5 days of suspension for the first offense and may be recommended for expulsion for the first incident depending on the degree and severity of the incident. All second offenses WILL result in a recommendation for expulsion.
            2.Any student who threatens any staff members in any manner will be subject to expulsion.
            3.Any student who participates in an incident that threatens the safety of others will also be recommended for expulsion.
            4.Possession of any weapon or dangerous object will automatically result in recommendation for expulsion.
            5.It is each student’s responsibility to report any weapons, dangerous objects, or possible incidents that could compromise the safety of the school. If any student has knowledge of any situation that could lead to violence, they must report to school staff immediately.
            6.Only the official Gilroy Unified School District hat can be worn. NO other hat, hairnet, or other head coverings are allowed.
            7.Writing of any type is not permitted (except for name) on notebooks, backpacks, folders, books and personal belongings. Any items with writing on them will be confiscated and returned to parent.
            8.Gang related apparel, bandannas, jewelry, hats, chains are not permitted. Clothing that by color, arrangement, trademark or symbol denotes membership in a gang or grooming that denotes gang activity is not permitted. Apparel or jewelry promoting drugs, alcohol, or obscene vulgar, or questionable messages is not allowed.
            9.Any violation of dress requirements, which the school official suspects is symbolic of gang affiliation or behavior, will be reported to the police.
            10.Pants must be able to be worn at the waist without a belt so that underwear is not exposed. Sagging pants will not be allowed. Clothing that exposes the midsection or underclothing is not acceptable.
            11.Tagging or graffiti is not permitted and will result in suspension, expulsion, arrest and loss of driving privilege.

            As you can see, it encompasses more than just weapons and drugs. And some of it is just pure judgment call and quite arbitrary.

              • “Willful defiance” is a very broad, almost meaningless category, but some of those things, like dress code violations that commonly fall under the willful defiance category (refusal to take off a “forbidden” hat or refusing to hike up pants) would also fall under the zero-tolerance policy as shown above.

                  • Defiance *should* be pretty specific, but in practice, as the articles I have linked to have documented, it covers a huge amount of ground…which is part of the problem and the cause of the movement for reform.

                    One rather heartbreaking anecdote I read was about school which had a strict dress code of black shoes only for students. Well, one student was too poor to afford black shoes, so his mother tried to color his red shoes in with a sharpie, but she missed some spots. He was suspended for willful defiance-dress code violation. Just disheartening.

                    • You can’t pass a law against stupidity. That’s NOT defiance. So because some fool teachers punish students for non-existant defiance, we pass a law to prevent punishment for actual defiance? Tell me how that makes sense to you.

                    • I wonder if the mother had ever been to the school with her child or talked to the teachers or administrators? Her solution is noble and a good try, but gosh, I wonder if she ever talked to them… probably would have kept some feckless minimalist Union teacher from being terrified of not blindly following school codes longer than our constitution and therefore making a stupid discipline decision.

                      Personal relationships in education are EVERYTHING.

                    • I think the problem is when you are that poor, you are just trying to keep your head above water. I know that many think the parents are disengaged from the school or don’t care, but when you are working two or three minimum wage jobs just to make rent and keep the lights on, you don’t have time to go to the school. When you don’t have transportation, and getting to the school requires a 45 minute bus ride, not to mention the time spent trying to make connections, you simply don’t have time. It isn’t a matter of not caring, it is a matter of immediate priorities. It is extraordinarily expensive and time-consuming to be poor in America.

                    • I know that many think the parents are disengaged from the school or don’t care, but when you are working two or three minimum wage jobs just to make rent and keep the lights on, you don’t have time to go to the school

                      And what is their excuse for not getting a better job? I mean, it is not as if in they are on active duty in the military (crossing the Atlantic just to go to our child’s school is a bit impractical). To hear Obama defenders tell it, the economy is wonderful.

                    • I find it rather difficult to believe that even the poorest of parent can’t manage to make it to their children’s school at least once a semester. Of course, despite your implication, I also doubt that there are that many people struggling with precisey the impossible scenario you lay out. Let’s be less hyperbolic. A 45 minute bus ride means that kid is the first to be picked up on the route… Not living 45 minutes away from the school. Come now.

                      But even then, a parent that cares can make at least one trip per semester if only to get a phone or email address of a teacher.

                      Of course now you’ll just inform us of the millions and millions of American parents that have no access to cars, emails, phones, or smoke signals that wonder if they get dinner the next evening because of the 4 jobs they are holding down.

                    • I find it rather difficult to believe that even the poorest of parent can’t manage to make it to their children’s school at least once a semester. Of course, despite your implication, I also doubt that there are that many people struggling with precisey the impossible scenario you lay out. Let’s be less hyperbolic. A 45 minute bus ride means that kid is the first to be picked up on the route… Not living 45 minutes away from the school. Come now.

                      But even then, a parent that cares can make at least one trip per semester if only to get a phone or email address of a teacher.

                      Of course now you’ll just inform us of the millions and millions of American parents that have no access to cars, emails, phones, or smoke signals that wonder if they get dinner the next evening because of the 4 jobs they are holding down.

                      We are talking about parents so poor they can’t afford to buy their kids the shoes they need to avoid getting suspended. Once again, poverty, dire poverty, exists in America. Just because you don’t see it, and can’t imagine the challenges associated with it, does not mean that they aren’t there. It sounds like the typical failure of imagination and empathy.

                      As far as the 45 minute bus ride, that’s not for the kid, that’s the parent having to take public transportation to get to the kids school. For someone juggling two or three jobs, other children, and other responsibilities, and given the short window during the day teachers and administrators are available for conferences, it can be a very difficult, if not impossible task to try to meet them in person for many poor parents.

                    • Tripe.

                      “We are talking about parents so poor they can’t afford to buy their kids the shoes they need to avoid getting suspended. Once again, poverty, dire poverty, exists in America.”

                      Yeah, got it. It does. Not nearly as epidemic as you’d have us believe, no matter how many times you say it.

                      “Just because you don’t see it, and can’t imagine the challenges associated with it, does not mean that they aren’t there. It sounds like the typical failure of imagination and empathy.”

                      Yeah, we’ll leave that Well Poisoning alone. Nice try, but it only reemphasizes your inability to see past your biases.

                      “As far as the 45 minute bus ride, that’s not for the kid, that’s the parent having to take public transportation to get to the kids school.”

                      Making the grueling, hazard wrought trek to your child’s school can be made once a semester, that is to say . I don’t care how busy a schedule is. There’s no amount of statistical or logical manipulation you can commit to show otherwise.

                      At just under .07% of one person’s year…that’s once a semester, for 3 hours each time (ample time to include this Herculean Odyssey across the travails of urban America & meet with a teacher for an hour), yeah. Get real deery. At some point a parent doesn’t care enough to take the right steps to foster the minimal relationship with the right people so their kid doesn’t get busted for white shoes.

                      Of course, leave alone that the entire dress code sounds stupid to begin with, that’s what they have to deal with trapped in what sounds to me like a centralist/bureaucratic nightmare.

                      “For someone juggling two or three jobs, other children, and other responsibilities, and given the short window during the day teachers and administrators are available for conferences, it can be a very difficult, if not impossible task to try to meet them in person for many poor parents.”

                      Nonsense; .07% of the entire year. Did you know schools have entire evenings and days set aside for just these purposes? Before school even begins! A parent can get a teacher & principal’s phone number and email address. Miraculous even. Took us less than 10 minutes and we were on our way home. Been in communication with the teachers ever since.

                      Phenomenal.

                      Oh right. I forgot there are some 800 million parents here in America that don’t have access to a phone, internet, car, bus, smoke signal, or any other method of communication/transportation, or if they do, it’s only after they have to wade through trials and tribulations to make it to the school.

                      Cherry picking the worst case scenario DOESN’T make it so for all.

                      I’ve seen some pretty hard cases for people who do have to swing multiple jobs and not one of them doesn’t have the kind of relationship with their employer that doesn’t allow for a brief 3-4 hours off one day to go talk about the future of their children with their teachers. And that is Texas, you know, where your type of people think we grind our labor force into pulp to squeeze out every last ounce of sweat from them. Nah…the only people I do know who can’t get concessions from their bosses tend to be jerk offs who don’t care about their kids anyway.

                    • So strange. You do realize lottery winners Especially the multimillionaire kind) compose an infinitesimally tiny portion of people who pass inherited wealth on to their children, correct? Here is some additional reading if you like: http://www.demos.org/blog/1/21/14/reality-wealthy-inherit-ungodly-sums-money.

                      As far as the rich getting richer, quite honestly, any data graph of wealth over the last 50 years will tell you the same thing. All the gains in productivity in the labor force have gone to the rich. Poor and middle-class incomes have stagnated, while wealth has boomed at the far right of the graph. That is actually pretty indisputable, though the hows and whys of it are up for debate.

                  • Ah yes, the forgiving, benevolent employers who don’t even grant their employees sick leave, who put up weekly and daily rotating schedules that make it impossible to even predict when you might have time off, and do not grant vacation or personal leave? Those employers? Please. You make it more and more obvious you have not a clue the challenges that working class and poor people face in the modern American economy. Your ignorance on this subject is as clear as day. But I’m sure in your world, everything is just fine. Continue on. http://jonah.eastern.edu/ccgps/?p=3455

                    • And the way to keep people in poverty is to reinforce the bad habits and toxic behaviors that got them there, and make sure they are passed down to their kids. Right?

                      Sick leave is nice. If the choice is between having sick leave for employees or no business at all, the latter is the best choice, and a business should have the right to make it. I run my own business:if I don’t work, I don’t make any money. Vacations too. Am I self-oppressed, deery?

                  • “Safety laws are nice. If the choice is between safety and no business, then safety has to go.”

                    If you are sick, and unable to perform, then you have the choice of not going on. The “luxury” of being a business owner is that you can’t fire yourself. If you want to go on vacation, you go on vacation. People who work for others do not have that flexibility, and are at the whims of their employer.

                    And the way to keep people in poverty is to reinforce the bad habits and toxic behaviors that got them there, and make sure they are passed down to their kids. Right?

                    The biggest correlation to being rich is not brains, or conscientiousness, or great work ethic, it’s being born to rich parents. People pass down their wealth to their children, who pass it to their children, and so on. “Boot-strapping” for the most part, is an enduring American myth, of which their are fewer and fewer examples, mostly due to design and institutional barriers of the type that you and Tex steadily insist on denying do not exist. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/16/equal-opportunity-our-national-myth/?_r=0

                    • The biggest correlation to being rich is not brains, or conscientiousness, or great work ethic, it’s being born to rich parents.

                      This is certainly not true. According to Jack Marshall , “most multi-million dollar lottery winners have no money left after five years”. This means that even if the rich parents manage to have money left by the time they can pass it to their children, most children who inherit wealth have no money left after five years. (That also belies the idea that the rich are getting richer.)

                      Your comments on this thread have, so far, been fact-free, without citations, and are easily refuted (like the citation I posted in this comment)

                    • So strange. You do realize lottery winners Especially the multimillionaire kind) compose an infinitesimally tiny portion of people who pass inherited wealth on to their children, correct? Here is some additional reading if you like: http://www.demos.org/blog/1/21/14/reality-wealthy-inherit-ungodly-sums-money.

                      As far as the rich getting richer, quite honestly, any data graph of wealth over the last 50 years will tell you the same thing. All the gains in productivity in the labor force have gone to the rich. Poor and middle-class incomes have stagnated, while wealth has boomed at the far right of the graph. That is actually pretty indisputable, though the hows and whys of it are up for debate.

                    • I want to go on vacation all the time. I desperately need one. You know how many I have had since I started ProEthics in 1995? FOUR, and none were even a week long. Yup, my family never has never had even a week-long vacation together, because I can’t leave the business.

                      You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. This is working class hero tripe and its amazing anyone still takes it seriously.

                    • Deery, multimilliondollar lottery winners represent rich people, because, well, they are rich. There is absolutely no reason to believe that their behavior differs from that of other rich people, let alone humanity in general. Jack Marshall certainly never implied it.

                    • Deery, multimilliondollar lottery winners represent rich people, because, well, they are rich. There is absolutely no reason to believe that their behavior differs from that of other rich people, let alone humanity in general.

                      It is a self-selected group of gamblers who are bad at math, received a huge windfall with no preparation for it, and who are an very tiny subset of the group of rich people. I don’t think anyone (except perhaps you) would argue that they are a representational sample.

                    • It is a self-selected group of gamblers who are bad at math, received a huge windfall with no preparation for it, and who are an very tiny subset of the group of rich people.

                      And that makes them more likely to lose all of their money in five years than other rich people because…

                      (By the way, children who inherit wealth effectively get “huge windfall with no preparation for it”)

                    • The lottery is a very good test of the poor discipline, flawed common sense, lack of financial acumen, diligence, and ability to prioritize that underlies a lot of poverty. Its a small group because few win: the percentage of the poor that play is tragically high.

                    • (By the way, children who inherit wealth effectively get “huge windfall with no preparation for it”)

                      No they don’t, unless their parents for some odd reason have been living like poor people all their lives. Rich kids are normally very aware of the windfall coming their way. They usually have managed trusts, and they also have relationships with their parent’s money managers, and other rich relatives, who can guide them though the transition. Many of them have been receiving steadily increasing bequests even before their parents die, which also count as “training wheels” of a sort. It is a very rare kid who gets it all dumped on them with no warning, and no idea what to do with that amount of money, and no one around with no experience with managing that amount of money.

                    • You have a conveniently flexible concept of “rich.” Most upper-middle class kids who inherit wealth don’t have trusts. That’s for the richest of the rich. Middle class kids inherit houses and substantial amounts too. They don’t blow it, and most don’t have trusts.

                    • You have a conveniently flexible concept of “rich.” Most upper-middle class kids who inherit wealth don’t have trusts. That’s for the richest of the rich. Middle class kids inherit houses and substantial amounts too. They don’t blow it, and most don’t have trusts.

                      I did use the word “rich”, not upper-middle class, though I think a lot of what I indicated does apply, albeit on a much smaller scale. But I was comparing the multimillions that Michael talked about with his lottery winners, as compared to the typical experience of someone who comes from generational wealth inheriting those same millions.

                      So people’s choices can lead to wealth or poverty?

                      who would have thought?

                      Choices made for you, that you have no control over, lead to wealth or poverty, often just as much, if not more so, than things you may intentionally choose.

                    • Which brings us back to your original excuse-making for parents for not caring about their children’s behavior in school. You brought poverty into the subject as an excuse for parents who fail to keep track of their children’s education.

                      Now here is the thing. Parents on active military duty would have the greatest challenges to keeping track of their children’s education. (Obviously, there are impracticalities in crossing the Atlantic to attend a PTA meeting) They would have the perfect excuse. So how do they do it? If they do not, why did you not cite this as the most obvious example for an excuse?

                    • Military couples almost always have a stay-at-home spouse who is in charge of the household. The schools are either on base, or very close by. But deployed parents rarely do much at the PTA club I imagine. It really isn’t much of a comparison.

                    • Because at that level of poverty, it usually requires two incomes just to pay rent. The military encourages marriage by subsidizing it. You get more money for marrying and having children. You also get bigger and better housing.

                      But outside of the military, when people are trying to survive off of two or three part time jobs that pay minimum or barely above minimum wage, it doesn’t really pay to have a stay at home spouse who doesn’t earn income. At that point you need two people working, if you are married. If unmarried, I suppose you could live together, while one stays at home collecting welfare and the other one works, but that sort of thing is generally frowned upon. 🙂

  3. This is what I would call the right result for the wrong reason. You, Jack Marshall, have at many times posted on the nonsense of zero-tolerance policies resulting in suspensions. As I have noticed, many of these suspensions and expulsions resulted from “creative” interpretation of the rules. (I doubt anyone would think of explicit rules against biting pastries into the shape of handguns.)

    Arguing that we need to do those because the disparate racial impact means that teachers are racist crosses the line, and can only alienate people who are otherwise unsympathetic to zero-tolerance policies. There was absolutely no need to go into the disparate impact debate, unless the authors of this policy had an ulterior motive…

        • Because the cure is painful…better die a slow miserable death that won’t be painful until long after we’re gone, than go through the intense pain of solving the problem now.

          • The school system in a city I lived in was very good at avoiding that. They brought in consultants at least three times to find the reason for their achievement gap between the white and black students. Each expert observed the classes, analyzed tests and grades, and interviewed parents. They each concluded that the problem was with the families of the black students. The families of the white students spent more time helping their children with schoolwork and were more involved making sure their children did their work, studied for tests, got good grades, etc. The conclusions of the experts were rejected each time and the official cause the district stated was that the teachers were racist. The passed rules that teachers had to throw out any question on a test that more than x% of the black students got wrong as racially biased. They ended all essay questions and story problems in math classes. They even instituted every educational fad they could try to narrow the gap, to no avail.

            A friend of mine applied for a job as a teacher at that district. They told her she wasn’t qualified to even be in the classroom with their teachers, much less be a teacher there herself. She was devastated. She had been working as a tutor for a group of black students trying to help them get their grades up and she thought she was friends with the very teachers and principal who just called her dirt. I told her that they did it because she was their worst nightmare. She was an intelligent black woman with a master’s degree in her field. They wouldn’t be able to play the race card if the black students did worse in her class. She received numerous offers from nearby districts that were thrilled to hire her.

            • Do these people not even realize they are playing right into the hands of various white nationalist and white supremacist groups who say that blacks can not make it due to being dumber?

  4. Thanks to reading this, I now have a name for an existing, growing class of increasingly privileged Americans: Golden State Minorities. Equal emphasis on all three words, of course.

    If the Left doesn’t produce a POTUS soon from among one of the publicly educated GSMs from California, then there will have to be a law, or maybe a constitutional amendment, that requires U.S. presidents to be elected from alternating states (Of birth? Of provision of public education? Of residency established after age 35?). States will have to take turns, with one GSM POTUS every 50 turns.

    Sorry, Machusetts: Your asses have been candidates and presidents too often already; no more for you for awhile, like, 200 years minimum. And just to get the whole, superior GSM justice system a boost, let’s go back a few presidents: Asses from Illinois, Texas, Arkansas, and Maine will be ineligible for the next 49, 48, 47 and 46 presidential elections, respectively (Nope: Not gonna let Bush 41 get away with “that!” Not. Gonna. Doit!).

    Hurrah! GSM rule!

  5. All California has done is insure that it’s already overcrowded prisons will have to be ready for another influx of youthful offenders. And, as California lacks the funds for more prisons, it’ll mean more criminals being put back on the streets early and, thus, even more crime to drain more of California’s resources and drive away more of what’s left of its productive citizenry. That means less tax revenue and fewer jobs. There will soon be too many criminals and too few cops to handle them. What law abiding citizens there are can’t help the police, because California discourages private gun ownership. It also hold police as the culprits should they enforce the law on politically “sensitive” groups who vote for the dominant political party. Decent citizens then move out of state, followed by a lot of cops who are tired of being the fall guy for the politicians. Even the farmers start leaving because the state government is afraid that letting them have water will endanger some fish that no one ever heard of before. Then the critical point is reached and the state appeals to the federal government for a bailout because it can no longer meet its inflated payroll and pensions, much less its obligations. And the former kids that couldn’t be disciplined in the classroom have another Ferguson style riot, looting the last surviving Safeway store in California.

    Of course, the Big One might hit California first and spare them all this!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.