November 23, 2013
Department of Education civil rights investigators descend on a West Texas school
By Lee Cary
Recently, U.S. Department of Education officials visited a West Texas town to investigate its public schools.
The investigators were from the Education Department's (DoED) Office for Civil Rights (OCR).
"The mission of the Office for Civil Rights is to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the nation through vigorous enforcement of civil rights."
The DoED Secretary is Arne Duncan - former CEO of the Chicago Public Schools, a basketball buddy of then Illinois Senator Barack Obama in Chicago, and the federal official featured in a Washington Post November 16, 2013 article:
"U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told a group of state schools superintendents Friday that he found it 'fascinating' that some of the opposition to the Common Core State Standards has come from 'white suburban moms who - all of a sudden - their child isn't as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn't quite as good as they thought they were.'"
Common Core State Standards have been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia. They've not been adopted by Texas. But, there is a struggle underway in the state concerning another Common Core-type progressive-driven initiative. More on that ahead.
Meanwhile, the political temperature in Texas is heating up in preparation for the 2014 midterm elections as operatives for the progressive campaign called Battleground Texas link-up with Obamacare Navigators to lay the groundwork to promote Democrat election victories across the state. James O'Keefe's third, and most recent, video chronicles coordination between the Navigators and Battleground Texas operatives
Now, back to West Texas - the reddest part of a red state - and why Duncan's Civil Rights investigators visited Lubbock, Texas.The day before teams of OCR personnel came to a Lubbock high school all the students' home phones received an audio message addressed to parents from the school's administration. The message stated that their child may be called out of class, selected at random, to be interviewed by representatives of the DoED. No reason was given for the interviews.
The next day, approximately 40 students, divided into two groups, were summoned to a room where two ORC personnel awaited them. In separate 30-minute interview sessions, the ORC officials queried the students about race relations in their school, particularly as it applies to the school's disciplinary policies and practices.
No school administrator or teacher was present during the interviews - just the students and the ORC interview teams.
One group was largely made up of white and Hispanic students, while the other was largely African-American.
When a local radio station called the school district's communications office to inquire, the reporter was told it was a "routine procedure." The reporter didn't probe further.
But a source with firsthand knowledge of the event stated that the DoED claimed to be following up on "three-year old data" that indicated that some students may have been subjected to racially-biased disciplinary action in the district.
Here's a non-verbatim account of some of the questions that the ORC investigators asked the students:
What are your school's policies on discipline?When asked why the school district granted OCR-access to students without either parents or local school officials being present, a spokesperson in the office of a Texas State House member who represents the area said, "They [the school district] get a lot of money from the federal government."
How do teachers discipline?
Are some teachers stricter than other teachers?
What are their (the stricter teachers) names?
Do police officers help enforce discipline?
Drugs and fighting - how many offenses can a student have?
What is the majority race of this school?
Do teachers treat that group (the majority race) differently?
Do teachers treat that group (the majority) better?
Is one class/group/race in lower or higher academic levels of classes?
Concerning Pre-AP (advanced placement) and AP classes -is there a majority race in either of those levels?
When you get into trouble who do you go - to the principal or to the police?
No district administrators or spokespersons were available to comment to this writer, nor did any return phone calls.
Here's a description concerning the OCR's activities:
"We serve student populations facing discrimination and the advocates and institutions promoting systemic solutions to civil rights problems. An important responsibility is resolving complaints of discrimination. Agency-initiated cases, typically called compliance reviews, permit OCR to target resources on compliance problems that appear particularly acute. OCR also provides technical assistance to help institutions achieve voluntary compliance with the civil rights laws that OCR enforces. An important part of OCR's technical assistance is partnerships designed to develop creative approaches to preventing and addressing discrimination."
So, to summarize, the OCR conducted a "compliance review" in a West Texas independent school district based on three-year old data as, at the same time, Battleground Texas ramps up in the state and Obamacare navigators are exposed as partisan operatives.
Also, this happens as a battle continues within the Texas State Board of Education concerning a controversial, public school curriculum called CSCOPE, which, according to FOX News, "has been likened to the Lone Star State's own version of the controversial national Common Core Standards."
It makes you wonder: Is the timing of the OCR's visit to West Texas school district merely coincidental to the partisan battles underway in the state? Or part of it. In short, was this a DoED "fishing expedition," as a persosn familiar with the school's student interracial-relations suggests?