Thursday Reading List: Whither Regulations, Mississippi Finally Desegregates, and How NOT to Teach History Part Deux

Last week the education policy world had a collective tantrum as Congress decided to roll back the Obama administration's school accountability rules. Philissa Cramer of Chalkbeat wants to drag people back from the ledge:

You might think that education officials across the country were scrambling to respond to the changes. But in many of the state education departments that are responsible for turning federal rules into local policies, it’s business as usual ... That’s because the rolled-back regulations — which included some guidelines for how states should help low-performing schools and deal with districts where many students opt out of state tests — were not actually written into the federal education law, known as the Every Student Succeeds Act. Instead, the Obama administration issued them last year in an effort to safeguard its education approach. States are currently locked in a process of translating federal regulations into their own plans.

As I said last week: states that want to keep their high standards will. That said, I'm willing to bet that some states will try to weasel out of older promises.

Speaking of keeping old promises, the city of Cleveland, Mississippi JUST got around to court-ordered desegregation. Aria Bendix of The Atlantic has the story:

School segregation did not end in 1954 with the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision. For the past 52 years, the Cleveland, Mississippi, school district has faced ongoing litigation in response to its racially divided high schools and middle schools. After decades of legal battles and failed integration initiatives, a settlement was finalized Monday, creating a single high school on the historically white Cleveland High campus and a single middle school on the historically black East Side High campus.

Gif LeBron is right. The irony, though, is that while Cleveland, Mississippi dragged its feet for six decades, the rest of the country re-segregated. School integration in this country peaked in 1988, when I was in elementary school. Since then, through the confluence of personal decisions, municipal zoning, housing law, and education policy, our schools are almost as segregated as they were in the 1950s.

Shifting focus to the criminal justice system, Eli Hager of The Marshall Project looks at a little-known "feature" of incarceration in America:

Today, mothers and fathers are billed for their children’s incarceration — in jails, detention centers, court-ordered treatment facilities, training schools or disciplinary camps — by 19 state juvenile-justice agencies, while in at least 28 other states, individual counties can legally do the same, a survey by The Marshall Project shows. Groups of law students, juvenile defense lawyers and others have begun to challenge this payment system, arguing that it is akin to taxing parents for their child’s loss of liberty — and punishing them with debt ... Because these parents are so often from poor communities, even the most aggressive efforts to bill them seldom bring in meaningful revenue.

Hager did an interview on WNYC with Leonard Lopate yesterday, which is worth a listen. This practice is a vestige of decades-old thinking in juvenile justice, which sought to generate more "parent buy-in" for disciplinary practices. The levels of depravity in our criminal justice system never ceases to amaze me.

Also, remember the segment from earlier this week on how NOT to teach the history of American slavery. Well:

On Thursday, March 9, a white Howard University professor opened Frederick Douglass’ slave narrative with the intention of teaching the class about the hardships of slavery, and turned his classroom into a mock slave auction. 

Just ... no.