The Vancouver School Board’s disappointing decision to hire a chief equity office is a waste of public funds that should be used to educate students and support teachers. The board has failed to understand and/or admit the actual reason for the racial disparities in disciplinary rates in Vancouver schools.
Former President Barack Obama clearly identified the problem in his 2008 speech. “More than half (now upward of 70 percent) of all black children live in single-parent households. Children that grow up without fathers are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime, nine times more likely to drop out of school and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems.” There is a direct correlation between unstable families, chaotic households and single parent homes that transcends race. White students from unstable families have a higher rate of school suspension than black students from two parent homes.
Unfortunately the board has selected the typical bureaucratic CYA solution to placate the state and higher an equity officer. The inequities in discipline are not a result of institutional racism or implicit bias by the left leaning members of the teachers’ union and the school administration, but rather the result of poor behavior from students from unstable families regardless of race. The attempt of urban schools to bring equity in racial disciplinary rates has had the outcome of less safety in schools and more violence against teachers and students. With more chaos in classrooms from disruptive students, the quality of all students’ education is further diminished.
Disparities in discipline are not a problem of racism and bias. It is a problem endemic to unstable homes. If the superintendent and the board really want to improve the education of students in the Vancouver Schools they should insist in the highest standards of scholarship and behavior.