Obama Administration's 'Disparate Impact' Policy Draws Criticism
The Obama administration’s new efforts to reduce the overrepresentation of some racial and ethnic groups in school discipline cases came in for criticism at a public briefing before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights .
Obama officials announced last spring that as well as looking for evidence of “different treatment,” or intentional discrimination against students in civil rights enforcement, federal officials also would examine “disparate impact,” disproportionate effects on a particular group by a policy though no intention of discrimination may exist. ( "Duncan Plans to Prod Schools on Civil Rights Laws," March 8, 2010.) Federal officials have said that even with the new focus, an education agency would be found out of compliance only if an equally sound policy would have less of a disparate impact. ( "Obama Administration Targets ‘Disparate Impact’ of Discipline," Oct. 7, 2010.)
Some civil rights lawyers have welcomed the new emphasis, noting that “disparate impact” was neglected under the administration of...
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