No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. - Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964
from Rochester Public Schools Strategic Plan http://bit.ly/1NWybmo
Each individual has value and purpose.
Its is our responsibility to provide a community where each individual feels welcomed, respected, included, and safe.
We will not:from United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights OCR Docket # 05-10-5003 pp. 9 - 11 http://1.usa.gov/1MgKZlk
Allow behaviors that limit our possibilities.
Allow behaviors that diminish the value of any person.
With regard to black male students in particular, the data showed that 9,052 disciplinary incidents in the 2013-2014 school year involved male students, and that 3,503, or 38.7%, of these incidents involved black male students. Data further showed that male students received 577 out-of-school suspensions, and that black male students received 232, or 40.2%, of these out-of-school suspensions and that male students received 1,077 in-school suspensions and that black male students received 453, or 42.1%, of these in-school suspensions. As black male students represented 1,179 of 8,696 male students enrolled in the District, or 13.6%, the data showed that black male students were disproportionately represented to a statistically significant degree in the proportion of male students who were disciplined, suspended out-of-school, and suspended in-school during the 2013-2014 school year.
With regard to black female students in particular, the data showed that 2,964 disciplinary incidents in the 2013-2014 school year involved female students, and that 1,203, or 40.6%, of these incidents involved black female students. Data further showed that female students received 183 out-of-school suspensions, and that black female students received 81, or 44.3%, of these out-of-school suspensions and that female students received 330 in-school suspensions and that black female students received 146, or 44.2%, of these in-school suspensions. As black female students represented 1,129 of 8,193 female students enrolled in the District, or 13.8%, the data showed that black female students were dispropor-tionately represented to a statistically significant degree in the proportion of female students who were disciplined, suspended out-of-school, and suspended in-school during the 2013-2014 school year.
For the 2011-2012 school year, disciplinary data similarly showed that black students were disproportionately represented to a statistically significant degree in the proportions of students who were disciplined, and who were suspended in-school and out-of-school in each middle and high school in the District. Black students represented 12.5% of the enrolled students, but were the subject of 5,089, or 34.9%, of the 14,569 disciplinary incidents in the District, and received 780, or 40.0%, of the 1,948 in-school suspensions and 388, or 43.2%, of the 898 out-of-school suspensions.
The District expelled six students in 2013-2014: three white students, two black students, and one multi-racial student; the District expelled five students in 2011-2012: three white students, and two black students.
With respect to law enforcement, the District advised OCR that it did not maintain data on police referrals that were made by District schools. Accordingly, OCR contacted the local police and obtained reports compiled by the local police documenting calls received by the local police from District schools during the 2011-2012 school year. The data showed that black students were the subject of approximately 50% of police referrals made by District personnel, that approximately one-third of the police referrals involved disorderly conduct citations, and that black students were the subject of nearly three-fourths of the referrals involving disorderly conduct citations.
In addition to the discipline sanctions outlined above, when compared with their enrollment proportion, black students were disproportionately given other discipline sanctions, including detentions, parent contact, restitution, and lunchroom suspensions; the only four sanctions listed for which black students were not disproportionately sanctioned were sanctions given on fewer than 12 occasions (as compared to 3,641 detentions and 2003 lunchroom suspensions). Data also showed that, compared with their enrollment proportions, black students were disproportionately sanctioned for 46 of the 50 types of misconduct, including misconduct that could be characterized as subjective, such as insubordination, disrespect, and disorderly behavior.
The district released the findings of a compliance review with the Office for Civil Rights, finding no evidence of intentional discrimination or wrongdoing by Rochester Public Schools. http://bit.ly/1WVK4i9Let's just say OCR agreed to find no evidence of intentional discrimination or wrongdoing after RPS agreed to try and stop discriminating and doing wrong. Read carefully what the district touts in its 09/02/15 press release and what the Dept of Ed OCR says in its 09/09/15 summary.
Prior to the conclusion of OCR’s investigation and compliance determinations under Title VI, and before OCR had evaluated whether, for example, the disparities in imposition in discipline were or were not legally justified, the District expressed interest in voluntarily resolving the review with an Agreement. Accordingly, OCR is not making compliance determinations under Title VI. On September 1, 2015, the District signed the enclosed Agreement that is designed, when fully implemented, to resolve the issues in the compliance review. The provisions of the Agreement are aligned with OCR’s compliance concerns regarding the specific civil rights issues examined in the review. http://1.usa.gov/1MgKZlkWhat the district says OCR did not find was what OCR stopped short of looking for because the district cut a deal. Despite the district's public statement, it's not for nuthin', that "[a]s part of the agreement, the OCR will continue to monitor Rochester Public Schools for the next three school years."
Not to put too fine a point on it, but ISD 535 is coming up short in complying with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
RPS and OCR have have partnered since 2010 when the district was selected to gather and review data. On Sept. 1, the compliance review concluded and found areas for improvement. http://bit.ly/1WVK4i9RPS "partnered" with OCR in much the same way one might "partner" with the IRS after being "selected to gather and review data" for a tax audit; or as one might "partner" with a patrol officer after being "selected to gather and review data" from a breathalyzer.
In a press release, the district noted a discrepancy between suspension rates for students of color, meaning some minority groups are suspended at a higher rate. But the district said it will work to eliminate that discrepancy by identifying the reasons behind the disproportionate suspensions. http://bit.ly/1WVK4i9You say, "disproportionately represented to a statistically significant degree"; we say, "discrepancy". You say, "black male students, black female students, black students"; we say, "some minority groups".
A recent home visit to a frequently disciplined black student provided one teacher with an intimate glimpse into how cultural differences — and a corresponding lack of cultural awareness or training — plays a role in the numbers. Lewis says what was considered disruptive in school was simply standard with the student's family. Trying to bridge that gap will be critical moving forward.
"It's really that connection piece and getting to know our students," [Assistant Superintendent] Lewis said." http://bit.ly/1X0Iw1bAre we supposed to feel encouraged that "getting to know our students" gets on the list of things to do. Better the board, administration, staff, and teachers look at themselves: that's kind of the point and the source of the problem. Not "those" students or "their" families, but the board, administration, staff, and teachers who fail to see them as other than "them" and "other" - and worse - would just rather not have "them" in the classroom to look at.
"We are concerned about all of our discipline and student behavior and how we handle it," Munoz said. "Are we concerned about it? Yes, but we're concerned about all of our student behavior. Obviously, we want all of our students to behave well and be in school. We need them in the buildings to learn." http://bit.ly/1N5AftBEssentially, the superintendent is refusing to say "Black lives matter" and is saying "All lives matter" instead. Kolloh Nimley, a program specialist for the Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage's Rochester office, is right to say 'Those numbers here are not about all of our students, they're about black students....'"
Failing to embrace the evidence of racial disparity with some sort of appeal to "color-blindness" obstructs pursuing remedies for that racial disparity. Whether intended or not, that obstruction sustains the institutional racism that produces the racial disparity and further masks and abets the individual racism that persists within the system.
Community forums are tentatively planned for late 2015 or early 2016 to solicit feedback from parents and other stakeholders. Those dialogues are required by the OCR as a way to begin correcting the complicated issue, but Lewis says that race-related topics are frequently discussed at dialogue sessions. http://bit.ly/1X0Iw1bIt sounds as if we are to be reassured that "race-related topics are frequently discussed at dialogue sessions." If "race-related topics" are "frequently discussed at dialogue sessions" shouldn't that suggest to the administration something about "race-related" issues in the district? Do they really want to say to the community, "Hey, no worries, we hear about this sort of thing all the time"?
But the discipline disparities aren't new issues with Rochester Public Schools. http://bit.ly/1X0Iw1b
Indeed these issues are not new - from School Discipline and Disparate Impact: A Briefing Before The United States Commission on Civil Rights Held in Washington, DC (approved October 21, 2011):
While efforts have been undertaken since the 1990s to address the changing face of Rochester, there is still an underlying feeling today, as voiced in the September stakeholders meeting, that “hostility to diversity is present” and that there is a tendency among district members “to blame children and their families.” White parents, parents of color, and newcomer parents expressed the belief that there are some deep-seated prejudices and hostilities within the community but that, for the most part, people know what the appropriate ‘politically correct’ responses are and so do not present these in public. [pp 63-64]Suffice to say, consistent with the findings of this report, the actions taken in response to these findings were reviled, ridiculed, and rebuked by significant portions and members of the community. What remains, however, is this persisting consequence:
At the administrative level, both at the central office and school sites, the lack of diversity clearly impedes the development of new ways of thinking and limits the district’s ability to make use of fresh viewpoints to challenge existing beliefs and practices. When discipline is not applied fairly and consistently, the culture of diversity is undermined. [p 67]
This agreement with the OCR requires frequent updates and annual reporting requirements.
As part of the agreement, the OCR will continue to monitor Rochester Public Schools for the next three school years.Superintendent Michael Munoz says the discipline totals are a concern and will continue to be tracked, but he declined to say whether the figures would be made available publicly in subsequent years. http://bit.ly/1N5AftB
Let's hope the superintendent becomes more inclined to say the figures would be made available to the public in the subsequent years.
During these subsequent years when the district celebrates its efforts to improve - what are they calling it, oh yes - "cultural training and awareness," let us remember to recall the circumstances under which these improvements are being accomplished:
Dear Mr. Muñoz:
If the District fails to implement the Agreement, OCR may initiate administrative enforcement or judicial proceedings to enforce the specific terms and obligations of the Agreement. Before initiating administrative enforcement (34 C.F.R. §§ 100.9, 100.10), or judicial proceedings to enforce the Agreement, OCR shall give the District written notice of the alleged breach and sixty (60) calendar days to cure the alleged breach. http://1.usa.gov/1MgKZlk