[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: The ACLU Strikes Again

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The ACLU Strikes Again

Here's another ACLU hit job courtesy of the Palm Beach Post:

ACLU Sues Palm Beach County School District Over Low Graduation Rates.
More than 71 percent of white students graduated on time in the county, but the number for black students was much lower at 55 percent, according to the school district. The ACLU puts the overall graduation rates much lower.

The three high schools with the highest percentage of black students - Palm Beach Lakes, Glades Central and Boynton Beach - also had the three lowest graduation rates in the county last year.

"If Palm Beach County is not graduating a third or more of its students, it is by definition providing an inadequate education," said Chris Hansen, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU. "Unfortunately, this is just one example of a larger disturbing trend of poor graduation rates across the country."
The county is apparently doing a decent job of graduating non-minorities, but not minorities. Therefore, the county is at fault. I don't get it. I really don't. Discrimination, implies the ACLU? Prove it with more than just graduation rates, I respond.

BTW, some of the comments following the article are just downright nasty (wonder when PB Post will require commenters to register a la Miami Herald).


Blogger Steven said...

Once again ACLU pushes counties like PB to throw the baby out with the bathwater. The clear solution for PB is just to "graduate" minority students and the problem goes away and we get result of the dropping of the value of graduation.

One has to wonder why ACLU isn't suing parents too for graduation rates. In their mind, it can only be the fault of the school. The school can offer the most egalitarian education and services but that doesn't matter. When there is a bad outcome, it must be the "big targets" responsibility.

9:16 AM, March 19, 2008  
Blogger Alex said...

"Prove it with more than graduation rates". That's what lawsuits are for, right? To prove things?

You don't get the gap in graduation rates and you don't have a better explanation (or you have one but don't want to say it). Yet the lawsuit is a "hit job" according to you. A judgment you make based solely on the ACLU being involved, right?

1:54 PM, March 19, 2008  
Blogger Robert said...


I don't really have to say it since it should be quite apparent, but I will anyway to satisfy you're request. Acutally Steve above you said it quite well, but I'll go ahead and throw in my 5 cents.

It's about the environment these kids grow up in. Basically, a majority of single parent households, and/or households where the parents either a) don't give enough of a crap about their kids' education, or b) repeatedly disrespect and blame authority (see Edison High as one example). This is not to say that all kids of single parent households are doomed to have a bad education, but the odds are against them especially if their parents don't emphasize education enough. I have seen many kids from poor single-parent homes succeed in no small part because of their parent's emphasis on values. My wife is a classic example of this.

If the ACLU would have also shown the percentage of minority kids born out of wedlock and/or living in single family homes where kids are left unsupervised for most of the day, and established some relationship between that and the graduation rates, then we would have a more complete picture. But the ACLU is too busy protecting the disadvantaged at any cost. They don't always fall on the wrong side or overlook other important factors, but they do it enough to irritate me to no end.

If Joe Schmoe would have made that lawsuit, I would have said the same thing. Of course the fact that it's the ACLU is not surprising in the least, and does make it that much more juicy for me to point out.

9:13 PM, March 19, 2008  
Blogger Alex said...

The county has the LEGAL reponsibility to give all students an equal education. That doesn't mean giving them equal resources. Some students and school will require more attention and resources, precisely for those reasons you cite and more.

You can say "well, i don't think teh school system should do the job parents are not willing or not able to do". You can say that, but that's not what the law says. The law recognizes that the students in Liberty City don't have the same posibilities that the students in Coral Gables and instead of penalizing them, directs the district to take whatever steps necessary (remedial programs, bettering schools, etc) in order to equalize those inherent disadvantages.

To take your own words, talking in the lawsuit about the rate of single parent households, etc; would have been "quite apparent" (and yet, yo haven't seen the lawsuit, so you don't know if it's mentioned). The spirit of the law and the practices of our school districts already recognizes that. The picture is complete. Trust me nobody in the ACLU or the school district needs to be reminded of the environment these kids grow in. Even the PB superintendent was happy with the lawsuit.

So what to do? The clear solution is not sham graduations. That's the lazy and unethical solution and one that denotes a basic mistrust in humanity from Steven. Plus it amounts to doing nothing for fear it'll be worse. The clear solution is enforcing the laws and practices we already have and give those kids the resorces they need. You worry about the cost? The larger cost down the road will be higher.

11:10 AM, March 20, 2008  
Blogger Robert said...

Point taken, but unless the ACLU has proof that Palm Beach County isn't doing anything to help those schools and students to "catch up", then it just sounds like an excuse to criticize the system. I seriously doubt that Palm Beach County hasn't taken steps such as remedial classes, special programs for kids that are falling behind, etc. Rudy Crew instituted the "School Improvement Zone" a couple of years back in Miami-Dade to specifically help F schools. I don't know if Palm Beach has gone that far (probably not), but I think if the ACLU is going to win their lawsuit, they need evidence that Palm Beach isn't doing much of anything. I guess we'll see.

6:25 PM, March 20, 2008  
Blogger Jonathan said...

I'm sure that many of these students come from disadvantaged home environments. However, there are schools in which poor kids from "bad" environments have performed well, so I think that the schools deserve a lot of the blame for student underperformance here. But suing the public schools is not, IMO, going to accomplish much, just as forced busing and other schemes didn't accomplish much. Throwing money at the schools doesn't help: look at the sorry record of the Washington, DC public schools, which spend more per pupil than do most schools elsewhere. The only thing that will improve school performance is competition, and that won't happen to any significant degree within the public-school system because the teachers' unions will always oppose it. If public schools are capable of major improvement, it will only happen in the face of real competition from private schools.

The ACLU people should support tuition tax credits and other legislative remedies that make it easier for poor parents to send their kids to private schools. But supporting private schools conflicts with the ACLU's anti-privatization and anti-religion biases. So instead they engage in expensive litigation that won't accomplish anything other than to create new, "remedial" spending programs to be administered by the people who are largely responsible for the lousy outcomes that the lawsuits are supposed to cure.

11:42 PM, March 20, 2008  

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