Lesson NOT learned
Race-based quotas for discipline led to violent chaos in St. Paul schools, so Minnesota’s Department of Human Rights decided to double down on program statewide.
In a breathtaking abuse of power with grave implications, Minnesota’s Department of Human Rights claims that 43 school districts and charter schools are disciplining black and Native American students above their proportion of the student population. These racial ‘disparities,’ it says, are caused by racially discriminatory teachers and school policies, not differences in student misconduct.
A sea change in discipline is coming to Minnesota’s public schools. Expect increased violence, brazen challenges to teachers’ authority, and a chaotic environment where learning is an uphill battle. Teachers who try to exert control will find their hands tied, and some kids—no longer accountable for their behavior—will feel free to provoke mischief and mayhem.
What’s driving this destructive revolution? The Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR). The department has targeted 43 school districts and charter schools around the state, claiming they are disciplining black and Native American students and students with disabilities at a rate that exceeds their proportion of the student population.
The department charges that these racial “disparities” are caused by racially discriminatory teachers and school policies, not differences in student misconduct. It has threatened that—unless school officials radically change their discipline policies and out-of-school suspension practices in ways that reduce statistical differences—MDHR will take them to court.
Under this pressure, as of early September, 37 districts and charters—from the Bloomington and Robbinsdale Public Schools to out-state districts like Winona and Cass Lake-Bena—have capitulated and signed such agreements. (Together, the 43 targeted districts and charters enroll 40 percent of the students in the state, including 68 percent of all black students and 55 percent of all Native American students.) The department has issued administrative charges against two districts “that did not want to work with MDHR” for “violating” the Minnesota Human Rights Act. The policy of grounding school discipline in racial quotas has had disastrous consequences virtually everywhere it’s been tried. It has provoked classroom disorder and violence and undermined effective education in cities from Los Angeles to New York City.
MDHR steadfastly ignores the mounting evidence that race-based discipline policies produce disorder and undermine learning. That’s because its crusade is driven—not by facts or the requirements of law—but by a political ideology. That ideology holds that students of widely different socio-economic and family backgrounds, as groups, all misbehave in school at exactly the same rate. Based on this premise, the department attributes any significant group disparities to racist teachers and discipline practices, by default.
MDHR’s claim that teachers’ racial bigotry is harming black and Native American students and blighting their life chances is scandalous if true, defamatory if false.
The department’s overarching goal in its crusade appears to be to impose its race-focused ideology by fiat on all public schools across Minnesota, without the need to convince legislators to change the law. Through threats of litigation and bad publicity, it is strong-arming districts to dilute their approach to discipline in ways that will likely become the new standard that all Minnesota schools must embrace to avoid being dragged into court.
MDHR’s campaign for race-based discipline
MDHR began its campaign in response to expectations that the federal government will soon back off on enforcing Obama-era race-based discipline policies. However, the department’s decision to use state human right law as a vehicle to compel schools to adopt race-focused discipline practices appears to be virtually unprecedented in the nation.
MDHR launched its initiative in Fall 2017, sending letters to 43 school districts and charter schools. Through these letters and other forms of department communications, MDHR declared that schools across Minnesota have three kinds of statistical group discipline differentials that it alleges violate the Minnesota Human Rights Act. The department summarized the situation this way:
- State-wide, “students of color,” who make up 31 percent of the school population, receive 66 percent of suspensions and expulsions.
- Students with disabilities, at 14 percent, receive 43 percent of suspensions and expulsions.
- Fifty-five percent of suspensions and expulsions are for “subjective” infractions, such as disruptive conduct, threat/intimidation and verbal abuse, while 45 percent are for “objective” infractions, such as fighting and possession of weapons. The department maintains, without evidence, that thislevel of subjective offenses—which involves teacher discretion—is a function of racial bias on the part of teachers and school administrators.
On its first page, MDHR’s letter stated that the targeted school district or charter’s discipline disparities—which it listed—“may” violate the Minnesota Human Rights Act. Later in the letter, however, the department declared it “believes” the district or charter is in fact violating the Act. MDHR added that it “is willing to forego” an investigation or administrative charges if the district or charter “agrees to negotiate a settlement agreement.”
School officials who received the letter might well ask how any investigation conducted by the department could be fair, since it had already concluded that a statistical gap, in and of itself, is proof of unfair, discriminatory practices.
MDHR did not explain in its letter how demographic differentials in school discipline statistics violate the Human Rights Act, in its judgment. Nor did it explain what measure it had used to determine how many suspensions of black, Native American or disabled students are “too many.”
To justify its accusations of illegality, the department merely asserted—without evidence and without citing legal precedent—that “disparate outcomes are denying educational access and negatively impacting educational outcomes” for black, Native American and disabled students “under the Act.”
MDHR’s letter raised countless questions, beyond whether differences in discipline rates for demographic groups do, in fact, violate the law.
For example, is the department asserting that a school’s discipline rates must conform to strict racial quotas? (Clearly, this is the safest course to follow for school officials who wish to avoid drawing MDHR’s attention.) If the law does allow some flexibility, on what grounds does it do so? Why is any racial imbalance tolerable if demographic gaps are illegal?
Likewise, if it’s clear as a school year progresses that “too many” black students have been suspended, must administrators suspend fewer of them going forward, regardless of what they have done? Or should officials handle the imbalance—and the threat of MDHR retaliation—by finding ways to suspend more white or Asian students to ensure racial balance?
Must racial discipline ratios be the same for schools in high-poverty areas and those in middle-class areas? Or is there some allowance for a district or charter with many low-socioeconomic students?
MDHR shrouded its crusade for race-based discipline policies in secrecy. It declined to make public either the letters or the identity of the districts and charters targeted. As a result, parents and other citizens were unable to comment or to examine the data that allegedly exposed their teachers as racists until their local school administrators were cowed into signing a “settlement agreement” with MDHR, and a radical new approach to discipline was a fait accompli.
MDHR’s claims are flawed
Black and Native American disparities
Contrary to MDHR’s claim, the Minnesota Human Rights Act does not confer rights on demographic groups. It prohibits discrimination in education against individuals, and provides that individual students and their parents can request an investigation if they believe discrimination has occurred at school.
Paradoxically, by encouraging—indeed, compelling—Minnesota schools to treat students differently in discipline matters based on their skin color, MDHR actually appears to be promoting violation of both federal law and our state’s Human Rights Act.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit explained why a race-based approach to school discipline— which views students not as individuals but as members of racial groups—violates federal law, in its unanimous 1997 decision in People Who Care v. Rock-ford Board of Education. In the words of the court:
“Racial disciplinary quotas violate equity in its root sense. They entail either systematically overpunishing the innocent or systematically underpunishing the guilty. They place race at war with justice.”
Like federal law, the Minnesota Human Rights Act prohibits schools from treating a student differently on the basis of his or her race, sex or other protected characteristics. The law bars schools from dealing with black students one way on discipline matters, and white and Asian students another.
Yet this is precisely what MDHR is pushing schools to do. It is instructing them to find ways to reduce suspensions, not for all students, but for those of certain skin colors. As part of its campaign, the department has formed a statewide committee of school district representatives and others whose purpose is to “create best practices for reducing suspension and expulsion rates for students of color, American Indian students, and students with disabilities (emphasis added).”
The selection devices this committee identifies will be chosen to affect the racial and ethnic composition of the students that a school disciplines. As such, these “best practices” will require deliberate discrimination.
In a recent article in the Texas Review of Law & Politics, U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner Gail Heriot explains why actions of this kind violate the law.
“If… in moving towards its goal and expected outcome, [a school’s] employees end up consciously or unconsciously doing exactly what the law forbids—doling out discipline on the basis of a student’s race or ethnicity—it will be in violation of the law, not in some sort of heightened compliance with it owing to its efforts to respond to disparate impact,” she wrote.
Here’s another problem: MDHR’s primary mission under Minnesota law is to enforce the state’s Human Rights Act. But the department’s stance that the law requires demographic discipline quotas creates glaring logical inconsistencies in its enforcement of the act.
Consider this: In Minnesota schools, boys are involved in about 73 percent of disciplinary actions (suspensions and expulsions) and girls about 27 percent. The discipline rate for white students is about twice that of Asian/Pacific Islander students, according to the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) website. Nationally, white boys are suspended at more than twice the rate of Asian/Pacific Islander boys.
By MDHR’s logic, these disparities must be due, not to actual differences in student misconduct, but to teacher bias against boys and white students. Yet MDHR does not blame the male/ female and white/Asian discipline gaps on teacher bias, condemn them as violations of the Human Rights Act, or insist that schools change their policies to eliminate them. On the contrary, it passes over them in silence.
Why? In part, because acknowledging these disparities would require MDHR to admit that discipline gaps can have causes that are wholly unrelated to discriminatory teachers and school practices. Often, demographic differentials are rooted in socioeconomic and family risk factors beyond schools’ control, as social science research makes abundantly clear.
One gap of this kind involves chronic absenteeism, defined in Minnesota as missing 10 percent or more of school days. In 2015-16, the chronic absenteeism rate was 37 percent for Native American students and 25 percent for black students, but only 13 percent and 10 percent for white and Asian students, respectively.
Likewise, out-of-wedlock birth rates and poverty rates in Minnesota are far higher for African-Americans and Native Americans than for whites and Asians. And at the national level, young black males between the ages of 14 and 17 commit homicide at 10 times the rate of whites and Hispanics of the same age.
Like the gaps just described, Minnesota’s racial discipline differentials are best explained by socioeconomic causes and family risk factors. In 2014, a ground-breaking study by J.P. Wright and colleagues in the Journal of Criminal Justice found this to be true nation-wide. Using the largest sample of school-aged children in the nation, the authors concluded that teacher bias plays no role in the racial discipline gap, which is “completely accounted for by a measure of the prior problem behavior of the student.”
The credibility of MDHR’s claims on the role of teacher bias is further undermined by the fact that schools with black principals and mainly black teachers are just as likely to have a large racial discipline gap as schools with white principals and mainly white teachers, according to social science research.
The department claims suspension and expulsion rates for black and Native American students in Minnesota significantly exceed national rates. But this is not the case, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR).
According to OCR, in 2011-12, nationally, 20 percent of black male and 12 percent of black female students were suspended, on average. In Minnesota, these figures were lower—19 percent and 10 percent, respectively. Nationally, 13 percent of American Indian/Pacific Islander boys were suspended and 7 percent of girls were suspended, on average. In Minnesota, the numbers were 16 percent and 10 percent. Nationally, 6 percent of white boys and 2 percent of white girls were suspended, on average. In Minnesota, the figures were 4 percent and 1 percent.
The difference between black and white discipline rates seen here are repeated in virtually every state in the nation. Clearly. there is nothing unique about Minnesota’s racial discipline gap.
Students with disabilities disparities
Another discipline gap that MDHR attributes to teacher bias involves students with disabilities, who are suspended at about twice the rate of those without disabilities. This violates the Human Rights Act, according to the department.
A disparity of this kind might initially strike some Minnesotans as unfair, since the term “disability” suggests dyslexia, blindness or similar impediments to learning.
In fact, however, students with disabilities include those with “emotional and behavioral” disorders (EBD). Students with this diagnosis exhibit “physically or verbally abusive behavior,” “impulsive or violent, destructive, or intimidating behavior” and/or “behaviors that are threatening to others or excessively antagonistic,” according to the Minnesota Department of Education.
EBD students are precisely those one would expect to cause trouble in the classroom, and thus to have higher discipline rates. How does this reflect bias on the part of teachers?
Subjective violation disparities
Finally, MDHR claims that school districts and charters violate the Human Rights Act if too many of their suspensions are for “subjective” discretionary infractions, such as disorderly conduct, harassment and bullying. According to its website, the department “found that the majority of reasoning behind the assignment of suspensions and expulsions were [sic] subjective and thus showed bias.”
How many is “too many?” MDHR says only that the statewide breakdown of 55 percent subjective, 45 percent objective is illegally discriminatory. These numbers appear wholly arbitrary, and the department has given no indication of what it would regard as passing legal muster.
If black and Native American students commit more objective infractions (such as fighting and possession of weapons) than their peers—as seems likely— logic suggests they are also more likely to commit “subjective” offenses. But MDHR has not released statistics on these racial breakdowns.
As a side note, it is interesting to observe that MDHR’s skepticism about the credibility of teachers’ reports on subjective offenses is an abrupt about- face from its position in the past. For example, in 2014, Commissioner Kevin Lindsey helped lead the charge for legislative passage of the Safe and Supportive Schools Act, Minnesota’s comprehensive anti-bullying law.
Far from dismissing bullying as a “subjective” offense—likely to be tainted by teacher bias—Lindsey emphasized the importance of preventing bullying of every kind. “Every student deserves to be free of harassment, intimidation and bullying in all its forms,” he declared on MDHR’s website. Now, the department is pushing schools to dial back bullying-related discipline (especially for black and Native American students) to conform to racial discipline quotas.
Flaws in the data
MDHR’s accusations of racism against Minnesota educators appear even more inexcusable when analysis makes clear the data the department relied on do not support its claims.
MDHR drew these data from the Discipline Incident Reporting System (DIRS), maintained by MDE. It has described the data it used to identify targeted school districts and charters as “public data.”
The limited scope of the data—which school districts and charters submit to MDE—makes it impossible to draw the connections between demographic suspension rates and teacher bias that MDHR has.
Two limitations in DIRS data are most problematic:
First, MDHR claims that a district or charter violates the law when too many of its suspensions are for “subjective” discretionary infractions.
In fact, it’s impossible, using public DIRS data, to link the students suspended—including their race—with the kind of offense they committed, either objective or subjective. As a result, there’s no way to determine the demographic breakdown of the students involved in infractions of any kind.
Second, public DIRS data include no information about a suspended student’s disciplinary history. This is a crucial omission, because MDHR insists it does not seek not to prohibit suspensions, but merely to ensure a school district uses them as a last resort, after exploring “alternative” measures.
But DIRS does not reveal whether a student misbehaved once—or 10 times—before receiving a suspension. Nor does it indicate how many times that student was given the chance for a “restorative conversation” before a suspension was handed down as a last resort.
As a result, many of the suspensions MDHR assumes were racially motivated were likely “warranted” by its own criteria.
The conclusion is unavoidable: MDHR has made irresponsible—indeed, defamatory—claims that Minnesota teachers are racially biased, without the data to back them up. Its speculation that teachers punish black and Native American students more harshly than white students for the same offense is utterly baseless.
Given this fact, it is troubling to learn that many targeted school districts and charters have agreed to seriously dilute their discipline policies to fend off MDHR’s threats of litigation.
For example, the Bloomington Public Schools’ new “Discipline Plan” commits it to reduce out-of-school suspensions for objective infractions, such as assault, arson and possession of weapons or illegal drugs, from 159 (the 2016-17 figure) to 50 by 2020-21, a 69 percent decline.
Its goal is to reduce suspensions for “subjective” offenses, such as disruptive conduct and threat/intimidation, from 132 (the 2016-17 figure) to 30 in 2020- 21, a 77 percent decline. Targets may be revised when 2017-18 data become available.
MDHR is strong-arming school districts into adopting costly and disruptive discipline policy changes
As of early September 2018, 37 school districts and charter schools had signed an agreement with MDHR to adopt race-based discipline policies. In some cases, details are still being worked out.
The agreements differ in a number of respects, but all create incentives to sweep student infractions under the rug to make a school’s racial numbers “look good.” Many also create burdensome new obligations and reporting requirements that amount to unfunded mandates, and some require districts to work with costly outside anti-racism consultants.
In general, the agreements appear to place entire responsibility for reducing the discipline gap and improving student behavior on teachers and school officials. They ask for and expect nothing in terms of improved behavior from students and their parents. While stressing students’ right to respect, they are generally silent about teachers’ corresponding right to respect, orderly classrooms and safe working conditions.
Most of the agreements include the following themes:
First, schools must replace traditional discipline policies with a therapeutic, “non-punitive” approach like “restorative justice” or Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), a behavior-modification program that focuses on talk therapy and mediation.
Second, schools must implement “professional development” training to eliminate teachers’ and staff members’ supposed racial biases and to build so-called “cultural competency.”
For example, the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan school district’s agreement commits it to provide “implicit bias” and “cultural proficiency” training for teachers, and to review “student curriculum, pedagogy and academic offerings with an equity lens to ensure inclusivity.”
(A question: Where “cultural competency” is concerned, what happens if a school district determines that black students are culturally disposed to “shout out” in class, whereas Asian students are not? Should black students who continually interrupt the teacher get a pass, while Asian students are disciplined for the same thing?)
In its agreement, the Cass Lake-Bena school district—which has many Native American students—has agreed to “implement yoga and mindfulness strategies and provide Native Drum and Flute Classes providing students a deeper understanding of Indian Cultural Identity.”
Third, schools must rely on faculty and staff to deal with student misconduct, and minimize the use of police officers, known as School Resource Officers (SROs).
For example, the Bloomington school district’s agreement states that “fighting that does not involve physical injury or a weapon” will be “handled by school officials unless SRO is necessary to protect the physical safety of students, school personnel or the public.”
The agreement fails to acknowledge how difficult it can be to predict when fighting will lead to physical injury, and how dangerous it can be to expect a 60-year-old teacher to control a belligerent, 250-pound high school student (or an enraged fourth-grader, for that matter).
Finally, the settlement agreements generally require school districts and charters to participate in a statewide “Diversion Committee”—run by MDHR—that will develop “best practices” for school discipline, as well as “legislative proposals” aimed at reducing suspensions for minority students. The department apparently intends to use this group to create a discipline template to which all Minnesota public schools must conform to avoid future litigation.
The track record of the new approach to discipline
MDHR assures Minnesota educators and citizens that the new, race-based discipline regime it is forcing on the state’s public schools will “help all children succeed.” The department insists its new approach will allow schools to “retain local control,” “maintain safe environments” and “offer alternatives to suspension.”
Yet bountiful evidence makes clear this effort—which substitutes distant bureaucrats’ judgment for that of teachers and school administrators on the front lines—is doomed to failure.
The track record elsewhere
Race-based discipline policies have increased danger and disorder in schools, while failing to meaningfully improve academic performance.
In 2014, for example, the New York attorney general compelled the Syracuse Public Schools to reduce racial disparities in suspensions.
Violence quickly mushroomed out of control. In 2015, a teachers’ union survey found that the district’s teachers and staff felt “helpless” to combat it. Two-thirds of respondents reported worrying about their safety, 57 percent had been threatened, and 36 percent had been physically assaulted—shoved, kicked, head-butted, choked or bitten. Many described daily harassment in the form of crude and abusive language, often racially or sexually charged.
In 2017, after a Syracuse high school student stabbed a teacher twice, the Onandaga County district attorney issued an urgent call for reversal of the 2014 discipline policy changes.
“Teachers tell us that the ‘progressive’ (or ‘positive’ or ‘restorative’) approach” to discipline “just doesn’t work,” writes Max Eden, an expert on school discipline at the New York-based Manhattan Institute.
Eden’s study of New York City schools survey data found that the percentages of teachers and students reporting physical fights, gang activity and drug use spiked sharply after Mayor Bill de Blasio imposed discipline reforms aimed at making it more difficult to suspend students for “disorderly” or “noncompliant” behavior.
Teacher surveys from a dozen cities around the country yield similar findings. In Philadelphia, where suspensions for non-violent classroom behavior were banned in 2012-13, “more than 80 percent of teachers believe that suspensions are valuable for maintaining safety, removing disruptions so other students can learn, sending a signal to parents about their children’s behavior, and helping to ensure that other students follow the rules,” according to Eden. In Oklahoma City, 65 percent of teachers favor more enforcement of traditional discipline.
There is little evidence that reducing suspensions improves minority students’ academic performance, as MDHR claims.
For example, after the Philadelphia public schools banned out-of-school suspensions for low-level “conduct” offenses—such as profanity and failure to observe classroom rules—and cut the length of suspensions for more serious misconduct, the attendance of previously suspended students improved, but their academic achievement did not. “Never- suspended” peers in most schools that reduced suspension rates experienced a decline in academic performance relative to a comparison group.
Likewise, a 2018 study by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty found that academic performance declined in the state’s public schools after PBIS was widely adopted there in order to reduce suspensions.
Eden regularly follows three school districts—Fresno, California, Buffalo, New York, and Oklahoma City—where teachers’ unions maintain an open forum for comments on discipline.
“The same horrible themes run throughout,” he says. These include “principals refusing to manage misbehavior, turning a blind eye to violence, sweeping evidence under the rug, even rationalizing and excusing clear death threats.” In conclusion, says Eden,
“Teachers are telling us that administrators are behaving abominably. It’s almost impos- sible to believe that adults, charged with the care of ournation’s children, could act like this. But given the top-down mandates to reduce disciplinary statistics, this crass negligence is only a rational response to perverted incentives.”
How MDHR’s crusade will harm Minnesota
Here in Minnesota, students, teachers and school communities will pay a high price for MDHR’s egregious bureaucratic overreach.
The quality of education will likely decline, especially in low-income neighborhoods. Children who come to school ready to learn will be the biggest victims, as the resulting chaos makes their quest for a decent education more difficult than ever.
Making matters worse, MDHR is targeting the charter schools—like Best Academy in Minneapolis—that many minority or low-income families have chosen in an effort to escape failing city schools. These high-expectations, “beat the odds” charters offer structure, discipline and academic rigor not generally found in other public schools. Now, MDHR is compelling them to dilute the very conduct standards and discipline policies that undergird their success.
Teachers will suffer too. Morale is likely to plummet, early retirements will increase, and recruiting and retaining good teachers will become much more difficult.
We can also expect a surge in costly lawsuits by students and teachers who are injured or harassed. Schools have a duty to protect the children under their care, but MDHR’s new policies are tying their hands as they seek to control school violence and bullying. Federal civil rights lawsuits are possible as well.
Finally (and ironically), schools that change their discipline policies in line with MDHR’s directives will likely see their racial discipline gap increase, rather than decrease.
In 2017, James Scanlan, an attorney based in Washington, D.C., explained this statistical phenomenon in testimony before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. According to Scanlan, while policies that generally relax behavior standards cause the numbers of students of all races who are suspended to decrease, they cause the proportion that black students make up of suspended students to increase.
This is because black students who are disciplined tend to make up a larger proportion of students with multiple suspensions than they make up of students who receive one or more suspensions. As a result, policies that effectively restrict suspensions to only the most serious offenders will tend to increase black students’ proportion of all students disciplined.
MDHR’s fundamental problem
Schools must do two things to ensure an orderly classroom environment that is conducive to learning. They must 1) adopt high standards of conduct, and 2) enforce discipline policies that hold students accountable for their behavior. But this commonsense approach is wholly inconsistent with MDHR’s ideology, which focuses on students’ skin color, not their conduct.
At base, what’s driving MDHR’s power grab is the department’s distorted and inflated vision of its own mission.
MDHR’s leaders aren’t content to enforce the state’s human rights act, as written. They have far more grandiose aspirations. As Commissioner Lindsey declared in an unguarded moment, MDHR’s race-based discipline crusade is intended to do no less than prepare Minnesota for its demographic future.
The department’s “efforts” to reduce statistical differentials in discipline rates, Lindsey said in a press release, “will help build a stronger Minnesota that is ready to embrace the dramatic demographic changes in our near future as our population ages and becomes more diverse.”
Where in Minnesota law is MDHR given authority for social planning of this kind?
The truth is, the department is using claims of teacher racial bias—a defamation for which it can produce no evidence—as a vehicle to press its utopian vision on Minnesota’s children and their families and teachers.
MDHR leaders are well aware that socioeconomic factors play a major role in the racial discipline gap. For example, the department promises in many settlement agreements to help school districts obtain resources from philanthropic and government sources in order to improve their students’ economic and social situation. The resulting “enhanced alignment of government programs and services seeking to assist low-income households and eliminate homelessness may have a positive impact on reducing behaviors that could result in suspension and expulsion,” according to MDHR.
But if this is so, why does the depart- ment blame teacher bigotry—rather than students’ low socioeconomic status—for the racial discipline gap? The truth
is, MDHR needs to attribute the gap to racial discrimination: This is what gives it authority to force its race-based discipline ideology on the children and families of Minnesota.
Long-term, MDHR intends to use its bureaucratic power, its insulation from accountability, and its almost limitless budget and access to the courts to create what it views as a just society. By targeting 43 school districts and charter schools, it intends to strike fear into all the rest—whose leaders will scramble desperately to do whatever it takes to avoid a similar fate.
MDHR is promoting a radical plan to single-handedly turn Minnesota schools upside down in the name of an ideology that has brought havoc across the country, while failing to improve the lot of minority students. This breath-taking abuse of power has grave implications for the academic preparedness and capacity for self-government of our state’s future citizens.