In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the educational and civil rights of people with autism and other disabilities.
The long-awaited report from the Trump Administration’s school safety commission is being met by a chorus of criticism from the California education community, with state officials and representatives for school administrators joining youth advocates and union leaders in decrying some of the report’s key recommendations.The article quotes Dan Losen, who leads UCLA’s Center for Civil Rights Remedies.
On these fronts, the 180-page report released Tuesday contained few surprises. It strongly recommended rescinding the Obama administration’s “Rethinking School Discipline” policies issued through the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights in 2014, which emphasized alternatives to suspensions and expulsions and highlighted data showing that students of color and those with disabilities were up to three times as likely as white students to face these punishments, often for similar nonviolent offenses.
Also concerning, say Losen and others, is that the Education Department under DeVos continues to scuttle civil rights investigations that were begun during the Obama years. In June, the investigative news organization ProPublica reported that DeVos’ department ended at least 1,200 investigations that had been ongoing for six months without finding wrongdoing.
While Losen said he has “faith that most educators will continue to address unjustified racial and disability disparities,” he worries that the report could “stiffen the backbones of superintendents and principals who are old-school believers in harsh policies and have resisted the overwhelming research” that they disproportionately hurt minority students.