This was posted by Politico Morning Education.

I don’t know which outrages me more:

1) the administration’s efforts to link the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to the Obama guidelines that sought to reduce disparate punishment based on race. As Politico points out, there is no evidence to connect the Obama guidelines with the shooting.

2) the statement that Betsy DeVos opened every meeting yesterday with an acknowledgement of the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination, and the suggestion that she was engaged in fulfilling his life’s work. What Chutzpah! She has been trying to slash the budget of the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights and appointed a woman to run it who is opposed to its mission.

Politico writes:

KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THE GAO’S SCHOOL DISCIPLINE REPORT: The GAO released fresh evidence Wednesday that black students, boys and students with disabilities are all disproportionately disciplined in the nation’s public schools. The report, based on data from the 2013-14 school year, comes as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos mulls a repeal of Obama-era discipline guidance aimed at curbing such disparities. The numbers in the report are jarring. Black students by far bear the brunt of every type of discipline – from in-school suspensions to expulsions and school-related arrests. For example: While black students accounted for 15.5 percent of all public school students, they represented about 39 percent of students suspended from school. Here are some of the key takeaways:

– Boys overall were more often disciplined than girls, but the pattern of disproportionate discipline affected both black boys and black girls – the only racial group for which both sexes were disproportionately disciplined in every way: In-school and out-of-school suspensions, expulsion, corporal punishment, referral to law enforcement and school-related arrests.

– Minority students with disabilities are hit especially hard. Nearly a quarter – 23 percent – of black students with disabilities were suspended from school. More than 20 percent of American Indian and Alaskan Native students with disabilities were suspended from school. More than 25 percent of students who identify as two or more races and have disabilities were suspended.

– Poverty is a factor: The GAO found that when there were greater percentages of low-income students in a school, there were generally significantly higher rates of all types of discipline. But black students, boys and students with disabilities were still disciplined disproportionately, regardless of the level of school poverty. And, as was the case in every type of school, black students bore the brunt of it. In high-poverty schools, they were overrepresented by nearly 25 percentage points in suspensions from school, according to the report.

– The disparities can be a drag on the economy . The GAO report notes that research has shown that students who are suspended from school are less likely to graduate on time and more likely to drop out and become involved in the juvenile justice system. “The effects of certain discipline events, such as dropping out, can linger throughout an individual’s lifetime and lead to individual and societal costs,” the report said. It pointed to one study of California youth that estimated that students who dropped out of high school because of suspensions would cost the state about $2.7 billion. Another study the GAO referenced estimated that Florida high school students who drop out earn about $200,000 less over their lifetimes.

MEANWHILE AT ED: DeVos is considering scrapping Obama-era school discipline guidance meant to curb racial disparities. The secretary on Wednesday heard from both supporters and opponents of the guidance, according to meeting participants from two separate closed-press listening sessions. Nathan Bailey, a department spokesman, said that no policy decision has been made on the guidance. He added that the department has held 11 other listening sessions on the topic. Wednesday’s discussions were the first in which DeVos has taken part, Bailey said.

– DeVos opened each of the meetings by noting the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and highlighting the continued need to achieve the full realization of his life’s work, the department said. “She discussed the clear problem, revealed both in the data and in the stories told, of disparate treatment in discipline,” according to a department readout. “She welcomed the participants to share their perspectives on how to best protect all students’ civil rights and promote positive school climates, and asked how the current approach is helping or hurting those efforts.” Mel Leonor has the full story.

– View details about the meeting and participants here. In a statement after the meeting, the department said: “At the request of many of the participants, the sessions were closed to the press to protect the identities of participants who fear retaliation, are in active litigation or shared deeply personal stories involving family members and/or minors. Each session took place in the Secretary’s Conference Room to foster a candid exchange between the Secretary and stakeholders who presented varying perspectives on how school discipline policies should or should not change.”

– Repeal of the guidance has been under consideration for months, but interest in it was renewed following the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 dead. Some congressional Republicans have said the Obama-era school discipline policies contributed to law enforcement’s failure to identify and stop the school shooter. The White House targeted the guidance for repeal in its school safety plan – making it a key focus of the school safety commission created by President Donald Trump and chaired by DeVos. But as POLITICO reported last month, there’s no evidence to suggest that those policies had anything to do with the massacre in Parkland.

– The GAO report provides evidence that the guidance should remain in place, said Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), the ranking member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee. Scott and Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, requested the GAO investigate school discipline. The report “dispels claims that racially disproportionate rates of discipline are based solely on income,” Scott said in a statement. “This report underscores the need to combat these gross disparities by strengthening, not rescinding, the 2014 Discipline Guidance Package, which recommends specific strategies to reduce the disparities without jeopardizing school safety.”