A week before the mid-term elections, Arne Duncan and his team have
taken a courageous stand: they’re against bullying children. “Bullying
is a problem that shouldn’t exist,” the Secretary said without a hint of
irony when announcing
a new initiative to define anti-gay bullying as a civil rights
violation. Nobody has anything good to say about schoolyard bullying and
the news that several gay teenagers committed suicide after relentless
teasing and taunting is tragic. But what on earth do Duncan et al. think
they can do about this via civil rights enforcement? OK,
they’ll provide “guidance” and conduct “site visits” and work with local
districts on “improvement plans” and probably threaten to withhold
federal dollars. But here’s a prediction: all of that rigmarole will
yield very little progress on the anti-bullying front. It will, however,
reinforce the compliance mentality of school officials. (Forget student
achievement; better make sure those anti-bullying plans are up to date
lest the investigators appear!) Duncan talks a good game about federal
education policy being “tight-loose” (forceful about results, laid back about means) but we’re still waiting to see signs of loose.

Anti-gay bullying may violate civil rights, Ed. Dept. warns,” by Christina A. Samuels, Politics K-12 Blog, October 26, 2010.

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