Don’t Reward Law-Breaking Office

Civil-rights commissioners rightly objected to President Obama’s proposed budget increase for the lawbreakers at the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, where I used to work (“Civil rights commissioners: Rein in education admin. on ‘unlawful’ bullying, sexual assault policies,” Web, March 4).

As the commissioners note, the Office for Civil Rights has “made up” violations “out of thin air.” It has issued a flood of new rules that drive up schools’ expenses. It has done so without even codifying those rules, and without complying with the Administrative Procedure Act, which requires agencies to give notice of proposed rules and invite the public to comment on them before issuing them.

In its January 2014 Title VI “guidance,” the Department of Education demanded that schools change colorblind disciplinary rules just because more blacks than whites are suspended. But the Supreme Court ruled in Alexander v. Sandoval (2001) that the Title VI statute doesn’t require the elimination of such “disparate impact.” And a 2014 study in the Journal of Criminal Justice criminologists such as John Paul Wright found that higher suspension rates for blacks just reflect higher rates of misconduct among black students, not racism. Ordering schools to eliminate all racial disparities in suspension rates violates a court ruling, People Who Care v. Rockford Bd. of Educ. (1997)