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School Choice Can Plug “School-to-Prison Pipeline”

Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan recently suggested the best way for schools to cut down on perceived discriminatory student discipline policies — creating an alleged “school-to-prison pipeline” — is for schools to scale back on their disciplinary enforcement.

Horace Cooper of the National Center’s Project 21 black leadership network said that school choice could help alleviate the problem.  As one can expect, this did not go over well with his fellow panelists on the 1/9/14 edition of “NewsOne Now” on the TVOne network.

In particular, host Roland Martin rudely sought to dismiss Horace’s suggestion — claiming that his own past support for school choice and his support for the Holder/Duncan policy means there cannot be a connection between the two.  Horace, however, noted:

If a parent can pick to go to another school — the school that wants to keep you [as opposed to suspend or expel a perceived problem student] — [other schools] may be more responsive and change their policies to keep you.  If they don’t, they need to go out of business.

Horace added that school systems don’t need to be as responsive right now because they are often the only option available to many families.  Horace said:

The public school system is a monopoly, and monopolies do not respond well to the interests of parents or students… They are the state.

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