How Civil Rights Law Demonizes Teachers

school testingOne of the unexamined dimensions of the history of the School Reform Movement is the role that Civil Rights lawyers played in shaping its guiding assumptions and strategies. I was reminded of this the other day when reading an unpublished manuscript by an Oklahoma City-based teacher named John Thompson, who pointed out that civil rights lawyers typically demonstrated the existence of discrimination by documenting statistical disparities between underrepresented and privileged groups, which is precisely the approach School Reformers used in devising remedies for the achievement, or test score gap, between black and white students.

Reformers looked at statistical disparities between schools in Black and White neighborhoods and inferred that the lower test scores and graduation rates in the former could best be remedied by removing teachers and administrators in the underperforming institutions and replacing them with more skilled people or by closing such schools and replacing them with new schools that had greater flexibility in hiring.

As I read these passages, they struck a chord on multiple levels.

First, I thought of my own research on the evolution of affirmative action and how civil rights leaders and federal officials developed a rationale for it. Affirmative action began when policy makers required employers to do statistical analyses of the percentage of underrepresented groups they hired or enrolled, and based remedial action on those statistics, rather than demonstrated discriminatory intent.

The main agency responsible for enforcing anti-discrimination law in employment, The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission pioneered this approach. When companies complained that underrepresentation of minorities was not the result of intentional discrimination, their complaints were rejected, by both the EEOC and the federal courts, who invoked a doctrine called “disparate impact” (enshrined in a Supreme Court decision Griggs v Duke Power), which stipulated that practices which reinforced historic patterns of discrimination, even when they were neutral in intent, and even in application, were considered discriminatory under federal law, and could be subject to remedies that increased the number of employees from the group in question even if the institutions normal standards for hiring were set aside.

Now let’s move ahead 40 years later. Civil rights lawyers began looking at disparities in achievement between Black and White students through a similar lens, treating such disparities as if they were the product of discrimination. But rather than viewing those disparities as the result of discrimination in criminal justice policy, the housing and employment markets, and access to family wealth, they chose to isolate the school from the depressed neighborhood they were located and put continuous pressure on underperforming schools to do a much better job educating Black and Latino students.

mark naisonOne incidental outcome of the application of disparate impact theory to education was the identification of “bad teachers” and the unions which protected them, as the primary cause of discriminatory outcomes for Black and Latino students. These were factors which policy makers felt they could directly influence, unlike intergenerational poverty and discrimination in housing, employment and criminal justice, and once the schools became isolated from their neighborhood setting as discriminatory institutions, teachers quickly became the main targets of remedial action.

But demonizing teachers was not the only consequence of this style of thinking. Once policy makers began developing statistical models to reliably compare and rate schools, and gauge teacher and administrator performance, they realized that the needed a much more reliable database upon which to do this and that meant increasing the number of standardized tests, applying them across the board to constituencies which had previously been exempted, such as ELL and special needs students, and spending huge amounts of money on software to process the RSI formation and consultants to analyze that information

Both results, the demonization of teachers and the proliferation of testing, took place in New York City under the direction of a well-known civil rights attorney, James Leibman from the faculty of Columbia Law School, who was hired by Chancellor Joel Klein, another lawyer who loved to employ civil rights rhetoric, as the Department of Educations first Accountability Officer. Under Leibman’s direction, the DOE created complex statistical models first to grade schools, and later to evaluate teacher performance, both using criteria that based ratings on complex measures involving variations in student test scores from year to year.

On the basis of the models, which were statistically flawed and often defied common sense, schools were closed and teachers were removed and placed in a much stigmatized reservd pool. The consequence was an increase in the number of tests and huge ratcheting up of stress levels associated with them.

In New York City, for example, every third grader must sit through six straight days of testing for 90 minutes a day. Those who defend this practice still use the language of equity in explaining why they are doing. But quite frankly, the negatives associated with this level of quantification are far exceeding the benefits.

We now face a situation where school reform policies once descrbed as necessary to achieve educational equity and reduce the racial achievement gap have resulted in uncontrolled testing, profit-taking on a grand scale by test companies, and attacks on teacher integrity and collective bargaining rights that have produced the lowest level of teacher morale on record.

mark naisonSuch is the consequence of the misapplication of a once honorable civil rights doctrine to a setting where the most publicized causes of discrimination — teacher apathy and incompetence — are far less significant than environmental factors excluded from the analytical and statistical model, particularly poverty, and societal racism.

The notion that “School Reform is the Civil Rights Cause of the 21st Century” has become a cruel joke to teachers and students who find themselves deluged with unnecessary tests and placed under intolerable stress in the name of educational equity.

Mark Naison
With A Brooklyn Accent 

Comments

  1. Tbejag says

    Interesting take on how a portion of the “blame the teacher” and support the testing industry came to pass.

  2. says

    Nice Article, I especially appreciated the more informative subject matter that I claim from your article, and that is, “such is the consequence of the misapplication of a once honorable civil rights doctrine…”

    “Misapplication” is the devil the details, but stating “…of a once honorable civil rights doctrine…” is a “misapplication” in itself.

    Civil Right abuse is none other than willful retaliation against those who object to abuse of power perpetrated upon them, and it is not “misapplied.” But “misapplication” is how “due process” simulates a false perception of justice to the misinformed proletariat. It is the use of undue influence gained by position as an alleged assumed “trusted official;” who may or may not “swear an oath to uphold the Constitution.” However, upholding the Constitution in context with the 11th amendment cultivates a propensity for corruption and this is stated by the supreme court as a constitutional right, that officials, be removed from the scrutiny of a citizens redress allegations, “even if the official is corrupt.” Our only remedy for personal recovery of damages, or to stop further abuse would be through the courts. I explain later, Bogan v. Scott-Harris discussion on how corruption is “misapplied” as a constitutionally protected right due to the 11th amendment. So attacking categorical examples of civil right abuse, such as “teachers” is a fallacy missing the point, don’t you agree? All civil right abuse can be facially ended, by removing the “inestimable right.” History repeatedly shows that if due process don’t work, people form rebellions and even revolt, to end that abuse. Our Declaration of Independence explains when it ratified the legal manslaughter through war, by killing those who abuse power, where there is “Judicial Tyranny,” “Mock Trials” solely due to an “irrational basis” they called a “right inestimable and formidable to tyrants only.” Today, I believe, this is catching up on the officials who live in utopia, under zero liability that private citizens could not even dream of having. The 11th amendment cultivates corruption, and the proponents declare that protecting the government from the people is necessary calling it the “over-deterrence theory.” That theory contradicts every revolution that ever took place, ultimately making the 11th amendment a coup that took place silently in a diabolically brilliant “misapplication” of despotism, made to look like democracy.

    What is that right of tyrants? Sovereign power and none other! The 11th amendment reinstated Sovereign rule, under our newly formed democracy, after 19 years of officials losing lawsuits for “continued abuse of power,” mainly breaching payments for “war debt contracts,” see Chisholm v. Georgia S. Ct. 1793, opinion Justice James Wilson.

    When you say, “once honorable civil rights doctrine” are you referring to when it was “once honored?” History records that with the exception of slavery, [in context with the 3/5 compromise] could only be, prior to 1795? Before the 11th amendment, this reinstated sovereign immunity [better stated as the “doctrine of immunity] which is, the catalyst of all revolutions.” Arguing that my facts are moot due to slavery, is artful, in that slaves where not considered human beings by the south, but holding for the north let us assume they believe in human rights, and evidence shows they did. That is why paradigm shifts occur! Why they let the south in the Union, God only knows, I am sure it was tax revenue in some way. The next great paradigm shift will be when logical thinking humans recognize the doctrine of immunity, under the guise of the 11th amendment as the “right inestimable and formidable to tyrants.” Oh what a glorious event that will be! The first time it happened was in 1776 and it only lasted 19 years.

    First, the “misapplication” is the “fundamentally misconstruing” of human rights, to civil rights when it is assumed only to affect selected individuals. So let us not refer to “fundamentally misconstruing” reality and call it “misapplication,” as if it is a mere inconvenience. To non-victims, it may seem that way. I state this not to be argumentative but my personal experience, as a victim of human right abuse, per our constitution, has led me to a rational basis, far from irrational personal opinion that seems to dictate civil right issues, as you say the basis are “misapplied.” I am waiting for a rational argument that would end my frustration, and cause me to embarrassingly go into hiding for what can be “misapplied” as delusions of grandeur, pointing to a “holy grail” doctrine of immunity, that if reversed, would restore the rights of citizens to have his day in court, with “MEANINGFUL redress.” “Judges’ refusal to consider evidence and psychologist reports denies due process right to “meaningful hearing” ARMSTRONG V.MANGO, 380 US 545, 552; 85 S.Ct.1187 (1965). Nothing has changed since 1965, other than the courts are denying meaningful due process. As you state, the “misapplication of civil rights doctrine, has “consequences.” The popular opinions in common law precedence I read would have humans believe a fallacy that there must be some class based animus, only in regards to humans who have undergone disparate treatment that has been overt. So those non “class based” are subjected to dehumanizing stigma and have no “representation.” However, this is changing see “Enquist v. Oregon S. Ct. “class-of-one.”

    This “disparate treatment doctrine” actually belongs, “in the land of the blind, where the one eyed man is king.” I do not particularly acquiesce to this willful ignorance of facts. I think it may be by design to position those who segregate humans by class, to an area that would not frustrate the agenda’s of political parties that one prefers over the others. If there is a conspiracy, could it be perpetrated by the disinformation by dis-educating, even very intelligent individuals? It isn’t a slippery slope to induce that those who ignore the use of fallacy to deceive and logic to recognize deception, not out of ignorance, but because logic in the USA is not a mandatory course of study, and yes as you say, “consequences” of cause and affect, devastate one human at a time, and groups are more evident? Do not ignore the individual, because that is the basis of our constitution! I am not suggesting all citizens should have a full understanding of the seemingly complicated square of oppositions, but a strong understanding of fallacy, more than a semester in study taught incrementally for 12 years, at least. No graduate degree should be void a few semesters of more intense study. If we are giving degrees to people who cannot discern fallacy, what a tragedy, you’d end up with Republicans fighting Democrats [visa versa,] perhaps! The wool would no longer be pulled over the majority of voters eyes. I make this argument about logic, because I am not able to find one layman who knows that sovereign power, was reinstated allowing abuse of power, exactly the cause of action that caused the civil war, and all other revolutions that ever existed. Professors offer no studies of this, as if I speak of delusional non existing perceptions. However, the basis is facially plausible within the 11th amendment, in context with court interpretation, and its introduction 2 days following Chisholm v. Georgia. History is recorded during the invention, following the dark ages, of the intellectual property holders treatise on the “doctrine of immunity;” see Bartolus of Sassoferrato 14th century. Consider, the 11th amendment, “doctrine of immunity” as dogmatic and archaic granting immunity for human right abuse not equally as absurd as the “flat world theory, but more violently devastating! Flat world theory was of no significance to Jews and Heretics being barbequed for speech contrary to their beliefs! Immunity gave the right to the kings court to burn humans for witchcraft.

    History shows that German citizens allowed the rise of Hitler with the doctrine of Immunity, and in 1945, Jurgen Brohmer, Proffesor of University of Saarland, Germany, Author of “State Immunity and the Violation of Human Rights,” cites that, “Germany adhered to the absolute doctrine until 1945. That is, the Germans who were not hung in Nuremburg for war crimes that ended this doctrine. In his book, he also states, “The former communist states, however, by and large remained principle defenders of the absolute doctrine of immunity (citations to USSR. . .and their allies) (pg 20).”

    Consider the benefits of deterring corruption, the opposite of the “over-deterrence” argument that contradicts the perception as stated by our forefathers, that it is necessary for the people to be protected from abusive government, and not the contrary that over-deterrence, protects the government from the people. Put it to popular scrutiny and vote! Maybe I am wrong and the people want the government to be able to abuse under the 11th amendment! I didn’t invent this mandate for a paradigm shift! Unlike others who point this out, it is politically incorrect, and perhaps political suicide to express this ultimate attack. That is what is so appealing to me, it is revolutionary, but without the necessity for Bloodshed! Call it the “Bloodless Revolution” if you will.

    Politics has been jokingly analogized as, “poli” defined as “many” and “tics” defined as “blood sucking leaches.” Thus, it is common knowledge that Lawyers and Politicos use a bit of deception in order for their position to be won in a hurried venue such as a court hearing panel or 20 minute speech, but logic is the key to deterring those who relying on fallacy! They would be tar and feathered! Thus political factions see to it that the study of logic would be excluded as “mandatory” “essential” teaching hid from the populace, another abuse of power of a “dummied down” electorate. Let us say to increase proletariat-“ism” if you will. However, “Justice for all” is excluded when the study of logic is not viewed as essential for proletariat to discern cogency and soundness; of any “so called” “doctrine.”

    So what are “civil rights” really? It is the right of a civilian to be free from government retaliatory discrimination without rational basis, when similarly situated individuals enjoy the same right without retaliation! In the United States, out of the other side of the Supreme courts “forked tongue” they proclaim as affective as an “opiate for the masses” meaningless poetry like, “Governmental “action designed to retaliate against and chill political expression strikes at the heart of the First Amendment.” Gibson v. United States, 781 F.2d 1334, 1338 (9th Cir.1986),” so what! What did Bogan say about the “First Amendment?”

    One who has not suffered as a victim, has no idea of what retaliation for speech can do to a man or woman, who rely on the premises in the Constitution, that are barred by the Supreme Court somehow. Last week Obama somewhat spilled the beans from the holy grail, threatening the Supreme Court with rhetoric touching on my thesis, stating, “who is the supreme court but a bunch of un elected individuals, alluding to “sovereign power.” Obama could claim a Pulitzer outing our system for what it is, our future could hinge on the outcome of national healthcare, before I can profess this fact of sovereign power that is synonymous with a dictatorship, as Obama tongue in cheek alludes to. They might even replace Lincolns place on the penny with Obama!

    Non-victims can only glean from Justices and activists who recite poetry, that does not point to the “right inestimable and formidable to tyrants,” very poetic prose itself I might add! Since the beginning of time, Herodotus points to the Persians trying to understand their alleged barbarianism, while his statesmen fellow Greeks display the first account of “Stockholm syndrome” he called “Medism.” Spartacus, for instance, “objected to abuse of power, and was punished before he could end Roman Sovereign abuse of power over humans.” Copernicus contradicted Papal decree when he argued with empirical data that the earth was no the center of the universe. However, we know that he had to recant his position, by retaliatory officials who also believed witches floated and innocent accused criminals would drown proving innocence. Similarly over-deterrence theory, absurd as it is, remains unanswered, and virtually not understood, by keeping it out of public debate! That is very telling, why is something that affects civil rights, not a part of civil right reform debate?

    Copernicus is a model of the elements of civil right abuse most common in the USA today. Retaliatory abuse on a person for speaking contradictory to the “band wagon” fallacy that rules the day continues from the dark ages! I pose the question, why? I also provide the answer. The answer is evident in the forcing of the “Doctrine of Immunity” upon civil right abuse victims, barring them from “meaningful redress of grievance,” another “misapplication” of the cause of action in the Declaration of Independence referred to as “judicial tyranny and mock trials.” Simply ending this doctrine, narrows the playing field, and after a few years of culling and overcrowded courts, officials who can behave themselves, will seek office, and the sociopaths that gravitate to a constitutional right to influence peddle corruption, free from “liability” will revert back to private sector white collar crime and go to prison! I find after 4 years of activism resulting from issues of “abuse of power” harming my family as a crime victim denied due process under the “crime victims bill of rights.” Those acting “under the color of official right” that I have personally experienced, as a business owner or a citizen who suffered harmful retaliation, on several occasions for constitutionally protected redress. Particularly for expressing truthful matters revealing official negligence causing a correctible danger to public safety. I was shocked and amazed that at the hands of certain officials who could use their positions to make fraud and deceit seem palatable, as if no one was watching! This is a sign of “standard operating procedure” of a “Monell v. City of New York” unconstitutional policy that abrogates immunity for municipalities only.

  3. says

    Nice Article, I especially appreciated the more informative
    subject matter that I claim from your article, and that is, “such is the
    consequence of the misapplication of a once honorable civil rights doctrine…” 

     

    “Misapplication” is the devil the details, but stating “…of
    a once honorable civil rights doctrine…” is a “misapplication” in itself. 

     

     

    First of all, the “misapplication” is the “fundamentally misconstruing”
    of human rights, to civil rights for selected individuals, only found in the USA [perhaps].  So let’s not refer to “fundamentally misconstruing”
    reality and call it “misapplication.”  I
    say this not to be argumentative but my personal experience, as a victim of human
    right abuse, per our constitution, has led to a rational basis, as you state,
    the “misapplication of civil rights doctrine.” 
    The popular opinions in precedence I read would have humans believe a
    fallacy that there must be some class based animus, only in regards to humans
    who have undergone disparate treatment that has been overt. 

     

    This “disparate treatment doctrine” works where, “in the
    land of the blind, the one eyed man is king,” and I do not particularly acquiesce
    to this willful ignorance of facts.  I
    think it may be by design, to point you who segregate humans, by class, to an
    area that would not frustrate the agenda’s of political parties.  If there is a conspiracy, could it be
    perpetrated by the disinformation educating, even very intelligent individuals,
    who ignore fallacy and logic, not out of ignorance, but because logic in the
    USA is not a mandatory course of study, and for good reason.  Politics has been jokingly analogized as, “poli”
    defined as “many” and “tics” defined as “blood sucking leaches.”  Thus, if you want to use a bit of deception in
    order for political parties to gain support of issues that will not withstand scrutiny
    under the use of logic, political factions would see to it that the study of
    logic would be excluded as “mandatory” “essential” from the populace, to
    increase proletariat-“ism” if you will. 
    But “Justice for all” is excluded when the study of logic is not viewed
    as essential for proletariat to discern cogency and soundness; of and “doctrine.” 

     

    So what is “civil rights” really?  One who has not suffered as a victim, has no
    idea but what they can glean from Justices and activists.  I find after 4 years of activism, resulting
    from issues of “abuse of power” by those acting “under the color of official
    right” that I have personally experienced, as a business owner or a citizen who
    suffered harmful retaliation for expressing truthful matters that were a danger
    to public safety at the hands of certain officials who could use their
    positions to make fraud and deceit seem palatable.  Though most responsible, have been fired or
    punished by authorities, the redress process under the First Amendment and 14th
    amendment due process, can only be described in a 200 year old document called
    the “Declaration of Independence.”  I
    only read it a few years ago, but nothing has changed in the “citizen’s desire
    to stop tyranny from depriving them of rights. 
    Rights not alien to the Constitution and for that matter, the magna Charta
    and documents like it!

     

    Having stated that, in closing, I would point you to Macias
    v. Ihde, 219 F.3d 1018, 1028-29 (9th Cir. 2000):  In Macias, id. the district court stated that
    it was arbitrary government denial of services that caused Maria Teresa’s
    murder:

     

    [quote]The
    Appellants contend that the district court “fundamentally
    misconstrued” the

    constitutional
    deprivation at issue in this case. They maintain that the alleged
    constitutional deprivation occurred when the defendants failed to provide Mrs.
    Macias with equal police protection in the months leading up to her death.
    Their brief states: 35

    The
    district court erred in determining that there was insufficient evidence of
    actual causation in part, by misconstruing [the Appellants'] constitutional
    injury as `murder’ rather than `lack of equal protection.’ By so doing, the
    court ignored the evidence that [the Appellees'] arbitrary failure to enforce
    the law caused [Mrs. Macias] to suffer not only her murder on April 15, 1996,
    but the three months of harassment, stalking, and death threats that proceeded it.  [unquote Macias v. Ihde].

     

    So,
    as you seem to focus on “misapplication” as a correctable but excusable
    negligence, I see it a malice aforethought, when it is so popularly used to
    controvert justice.  When the rare
    officials who have lost empathy for humanity can use it as “murder by proxy.”  This is especially true when they have an “animus”
    retaliatory motive to “turn a blind eye” and allow the death of a complainant,
    to silence complaints from focusing the light of scrutiny on their bad or
    negligent behavior.  I’m not saying this
    is common, but I have personally seen the lightning or murder by proxy, as a
    pattern of conduct in an elected D.A. 
    John O’Sullivan was murdered by his neighbor, after suing a D.A. The
    neighbor, a “retired sheriff” was favored over O’Sullivan, an immigrant, due to
    his professional status as a colleague in the same profession as the D.A.  Ironically, without any prior knowledge of
    this, I filed a similar suit where our neighbor is recorded on video threatening
    to murder my employees at my place of business, a favored friend of this same
    D.A.  Again, Ironically, we had the same
    Federal Magistrate.  Within the same
    matter of weeks that O’Sullivan was murdered, we filed a request for the
    Federal Courts to grant an injunction to force our county, the same malicious hateful
    D.A. that allowed the murder of O’Sullivan by stigmatizing O’Sullivan and
    denying equal protection thus removing all obstacles to prevent a murder,
    contrary to “rational basis theory.”  The
    Magistrate Judge, who denied O’Sullivan his rights, knowing O’Sullivan was
    murdered by his neighbor, favored the D.A. motions to dismiss, by ignoring our
    claims and objections, thus making way for our neighbor, a “mentally ill
    individual” see public record, psych medical billing exhibit B, to kill us by
    carrying out his witnessed murder threats that granted us a restraining order
    in an “evidentiary hearing” but the D.A., refused to enforce it, perhaps hoping
    that we too would be silenced as murder victims, like the late John O’Sullivan
    of Fiddletown California, a few miles away from us.  We had to move away from our home.  We settled on appeal, with the county, so
    they would not, steal our property, a threat they made if we did not drop the
    appeal.  The Judge who would not bar acts
    that suggested we could be murdered, would simply by court order steal our
    property, and nothing we could do to stop, other than have our silence bought
    through intimidation and coercion. 

     

    Welcome
    to USA!  Sovereign rule under the 11th amendment
    to the Constitution makes our democracy unique in that we get to vote for our “sovereigns”
    and choose who the Constitution under the 11th amendment grants “corrupt
    acts done by officials” a constitutionally protected right.  Don’t take my word for it, it states it inBogan v.

    Scott-Harris U.S. Supreme Court that is upheld by Kaahumanu v. Cnty. of Maui, 315 F.3d 1215, 1220 (9th Cir.
    2003), upheld in Norse v. City of Santa Cruz (9th Cir. – March 12, 2010). 

     

    Which
    leads me to “misapplication” as you put it, which is a basis for district or
    superior court nullification of law?  Bogan
    grants immunity under the 11th amendment for “corrupt” acts by
    officials, and the Justice states in the Opinion that, “even if corrupt…we will
    not tolerate a citizen redressing [a grievance] a wrong that may have been done
    to him.” 

     

    Well
    that overturned the First Amendment right to “redress a grievance” and it never
    made the funny papers.  Not one peep from
    a professor!  So I get frustrated when
    professors expound on sub categories of civil right issues that, according to
    the Supreme Court, will not tolerate a citizen redressing a grievance.  Mind you that when the news is on them, they
    rule on matters, usually remanding it back to a district court who then pays
    off the plaintiff without arguing the cogency of the 11th amendment contradiction
    of the bill of rights, particularly the First Amendment “right to redress.”  An no, the “over-deterrence theory” belongs
    in the “land of the blind where the one eyed man is king!  Thanks for you time!

     

    Pat
    Hamer 

    Founder
    of the Modern Copernicus Project, “ a paradigm shift from the archaic dogma
    presented by the “doctrine of immunity.” 
    If “Par in Parem Imperium Non Habet” is true, then our constitution
    forbids the 11th amendment that originates from this basis and is “misapplied”
    and devastating to liberty and justice for all, non sequitur! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *