“OCR’s mission is to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence through vigorous enforcement of civil rights in our nation’s schools.” – Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.
Betsy DeVos, the U.S. Secretary of Education, is making a complete mockery of civil rights.DeVos recently appointed Candice Jackson, 39, as the acting head of the Department’s Office for Civil Rights. Jackson opposes affirmative action saying the policy “promotes” racial discrimination and she once claimed she was discriminated against for being white.
Jackson, like DeVos, has limited experience in civil rights law and they either don’t understand – or don’t care – about the true mission of civil rights as DeVos continues to use her high-profile position to dismantle anything that resembles social justice in education.
A report by ProPublica explains Jackson’s position on race and education.
As an undergraduate studying calculus at Stanford University in the mid-1990s, Candice Jackson “gravitated” toward a section of the class that provided students with extra help on challenging problems, she wrote in a student publication. Then she learned that the section was reserved for minority students.
“I am especially disappointed that the University encourages these and other discriminatory programs,” she wrote in the Stanford Review. “We need to allow each person to define his or her own achievements instead of assuming competence or incompetence based on race.”
So if Jackson opposes affirmative action and feels she has been wronged by a racially flawed education system because she is white, how will Jackson objectively oversee cases where students of color or teachers of color feel they have been discriminated against because they are Black?
And why would DeVos appoint a woman to head the Office of Civil Rights – even temporarily – if she didn’t support Jackson’s premise that affirmative action fosters racial discrimination?
“We need to allow each person to define his or her own achievements instead of assuming competence or incompetence based on race,” Jackson wrote as a student.
“As with most liberal solutions to a problem, giving special assistance to minority students is a band-aid solution to a deep problem,” she wrote. “No one, least of all the minority student, is well served by receiving special treatment based on race or ethnicity.”
Jackson’s position on race in America doesn’t square with the department’s mission on civil rights.
“OCR’s mission is to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence through vigorous enforcement of civil rights in our nation’s schools,” according to the department’s official website.
Liliana Garces, co-director of the Center for Education and Civil Rights at Pennsylvania State University, told NBC News: “I am deeply troubled that someone who has held an idea of reverse discrimination will be holding this role.”
“The idea of reverse racism equates being conscious of race with racial discrimination,” Garces said. “Statements about reverse discrimination reflect a particular ideology that is detrimental to how we go about addressing racial inequality.”
DeVos’ appointment of Jackson further reveals the Trump administration’s goal to dismantle civil rights and social justice policies put in place by the Obama administration to protect citizens of color from racial bias.
This is a deeply troubling pattern. We’re witnessing Trump methodically rolling back longstanding civil rights policies and, day by day, taking America backward.
It’s hard to watch.
What do you think?