Thursday, December 19, 2019

Post 6600 - School Discipline

Here is something you can use going forward, a rule of thumb:  When someone claims that what they are putting forward is not an opinion but is a fact, nine times out of ten it's an opinion.  There are some naive sorts who are new to the game and are genuinely trying hard to pare all opinion from their writing, or at least key parts of it.  I once was one myself.  It's not impossible.  It's just not very usual, especially among professional writers. If they say it's not an opinion, it's an opinion.

Worse, the opinion they are trying to sell as a fact is usually the key item, the debateable point on which everything else rests.  As in the linked essay, where the paragraph immediately before the declaration that he has not begun to state an opinion assumes that it is the discipline which is at fault. Which is his entire point. He is assuming what he purports to prove.

Not the students, or lead paint, or parents, or how much sleep the kids get, or the previous schools, or drug use, or nutrition, or any of a dozen other possibilities are an explanation.  It's the discipline. There may even be a negative correlation between what is claimed to be not-opinion and the amount of opinion it actually relies on.


RichardJohnson said...

From the link:
Beware of anyone who means to suggest, either implicitly or explicitly, that Black students are more likely to misbehave than their white peers, because bigotry, as always, boasts of an extraordinarily limited bibliography. Such a perception has been disproved time after time.

Gail L. Heriot: Commission on Civil Rights Report Beyond Suspensions Examining School Discipline Policies and Connection to School to Prison Pipeline for Students of Color with Disabilities. (page 5)
My colleagues are not willing to credit the data from teachers. But even self-reported data demonstrate racial differences in aggregate student conduct. The National Center for Education Statistics has asked students in grades 9-12 every other year since at least 1993 whether they have been in a physical fight on school property over the past 12 months. The results have been consistent. Each time, more African American students have reported participation in such a fight than white students.
In 2015, 12.6% of African American students reported being in a fight on school property, as contrasted with 5.6% of white students. Put differently, the African American rate was 125% higher than the white rate. Similarly, in 2013, 12.8% of African American students reported being in a fight on school property and 6.4% of white students did.

There is similarly a racial difference in self-reporting of bringing a gun to school.(page 7)
Among 10th grade boys, 3.0% of whites and 7.9% of African Americans confess to having possessed one in the last 12 months. That means the rate reported for African Americans was 163.3% higher than the rate reported by whites. Similarly, the rate reported by American Indian boys (7.4%) was 146.7% higher than thatfor white boys.954

So much for disproving.

RichardJohnson said...

The NCES link for fights: Indicator 12: Physical Fights on School Property and Anywhere

GraniteDad said...

I knew it was biased from “ostensibly.” Weasally, loaded language meant to direct the audience rather than inform.

Also, “Guilford’s forward-thinking superintendent“ is a fun reveal of where he stands.

Note this was filed under “news” not “opinion.” I don’t mind a good diatribe in an opinion piece.

james said...

Very interesting. I wonder what caused the decline of the rate of fights. I can think of several possibilities, not all benign.