by James C. Sherlock
Earlier I addressed the current method for collecting racial and ethnicity data for civil rights enforcement and found it lacking.
So why do we do it that way? Because we have done it for a long time? The constitutional concerns can’t be wished away, and there are new proofs available in genetic testing databases that the data are wrongly constructed and wrongly answered.
I spent some time in founding and running the nation’s largest military simulation facility in Suffolk, Virginia, in my last assignment for the Navy nearly 30 years ago.
What if we at least test alternatives using modern computer simulation methodologies and see what the results show? Simulations may give better estimates than the current system, or, importantly, show that civil rights concerns may be more efficiently and effectively focused on class rather than race.
The federal government has census and thousands of other databases with all kinds of personal information including race and incomes. I also submit it has far more than it needs if it would consolidate.
If someone privately collects a significant sample size of voluntary participants and goes into federal court with the results of genetic testing compared to the self-declared racial profiles of that same group before the genetic testing, the entire civil rights enforcement enterprise risks being thrown out.
Since such a project can be done, it will be done whether the federal government does it or not. That project could be made relatively attractive by offering free test results for participation and then stripping the results of personal information in the data for simulations.
If the federal government does that work, then it can adjust the laws and regulations to fit the evidence.
The regulations will at some point soon have to define the statistically likely percentages of race and ethnicity that constitute being a member of a protected class, and thus how many members of that protected class exist in a particular situation like a school. Does someone like Barack Obama count as a black man?
I am confident that the results will prove that economic class is a far easier and more meaningful statistic than race for enforcing educational equity. Some racial minorities will be over-represented in the financially disadvantaged class. But then they would be disproportionately served by the remedies.
And perhaps we won’t have to send home those questionnaires that the parents can refuse to fill out, keying some “observer” at school to guess.
We absolutely need to enforce civil rights, and we certainly need better schools, but the sell-by-date is at hand for the basis of civil rights enforcement in schools being the current method of data collection on race and ethnicity.There are currently no comments highlighted.