Minority Students Face Harsher Discipline, Fewer Options, New Federal Data Shows
Recently released data collected by U.S. Department Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights during the 2009-2010 found that in comparison to white students, minorities enjoy less access to advanced courses, learn from more inexperienced teachers, and face tougher disciplinary measures. “For many folks in the civil rights movement, it’s not enough to judge schools on the basis of student achievement as measured by test scores. You also need to look at … barriers to achievement that schools are erecting for our students,” said Dianne Piche, senior counsel at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, in an interview with The Huffington Post.
Minnesota District Reach Pact on Antigay Bullying
New York Times
In what may become a model for schools throughout the U.S., Minnesota’s largest school district, Anoka-Hennepin, approved a legal agreement on Monday night that will prevent harassment based on sexual orientation. Under the new agreement, the Department of Education and Department of Justice will monitor the school district for five years. In addition, Anoka-Hennepin must hire a full-time “harassment prevention” official, provide more mental health counseling, identify bullying “hot spots,” and strengthen measures to prevent, detect, and punish bullying based on gender or sexual orientation. The need for such an overhaul stemmed from a series of complaints about the bullying of gay, bisexual, and transgender students, resulting in six separate law suits brought by the victims. The Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Center for Lesbian Rights defended the students, who received a total of $270,000 in compensation under the new agreement.
Student Loans Surpass Auto, Credit Card Debt
Daniel de Vise
A recent report published by economists at the New York Fed shows that student loan debt continues to increase and college graduates struggle to repay their loans well into their thirties. From the second to the third quarter of 2011, student debt increased from $851 billion to $870 billion. In comparison, Americans owe $730 billion in auto insurance and $693 billion in credit card debt. Last fall, President Obama capped monthly loan payments at 10 percent of discretionary income, while challenging colleges to keep costs down and help students manage their debt.
Compiled by Wally McElwain, a Spring 2012 intern at The Leadership Conference Education Fund