On July 26, 2012, President Obama signed an executive order backing a controversial campaign to regulate schools’ disciplinary actions so members of racial and ethnic groups are penalized at equal rates, regardless of their behavior. 

The order, entitled “White House Initiative on Educational Excellence,” says, “African Americans lack equal access to highly effective teachers and principals, safe schools, and challenging college-preparatory classes, and they disproportionately experience school discipline.”

The order also establishes a panel whose role will be to ensure, “a positive school climate that does not rely on methods that result in disparate use of disciplinary tools.” 

It’s modeled after the state of Maryland’s new policy, which, according to a recent report in The Washington Post, requires “the state’s 24 school systems track data to ensure that minority and special education students are not unduly affected by suspensions, expulsions and other disciplinary measures.” It further states, “Disparities would have to be reduced within a year and eliminated within three years.” 

It’s important to note that neither the executive order nor the Maryland mandate make mention of a disparity of behavioral actions. They only mention a disparity of punishment. 

Basically, both say punishment levied against any minority or ethnic groups must be equal to that of their majority counterparts – regardless of the violation committed or the frequency upon which either group exhibits behavior that requires punishment. 

Again, the order says, “….they disproportionately experience school discipline.” 

My question is disproportionate to what? 

Current statistics show seven out of 10 African-American children are born out of wedlock. Compare that to three out of 10 Caucasian children born out of wedlock. 

Should we make a law that says Caucasian couples are now required to have children out of wedlock in order to make it more proportionate? 

A 2008 report showed one in 11 African-Americans were incarcerated or on parole or probation versus one in 45 Caucasians. 

Should we start incarcerating Caucasians at a greater rate to narrow the gap? 

Both of those questions are ridiculous, as are the mandates by Maryland and the executive order by the president. 

This philosophy is akin to a man stopping a clock in order to save time. 

The state of Maryland, and President Obama, would be much better served to focus their efforts on actually trying to fix the problem. 

Instead of legislating proportionate levels of punishment why not first try making the behaviors exhibited more proportionate? 

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