1 THE EVOLUTION OF EDUCATIONAL POLICY AND ITS INTENT IN THE UNITED STATES: FROM THE WAR ON POVERTY TO THE WAR ON BLACKS by OAKLEY RAMPRASHAD BA, Cornell University, 2016 A GRADUATING PAPER SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF EDUCATION in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Society, Culture, and Politics in Education) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA December, 2017 © Oakley Ramprashad, 2017 2 Table of Contents: I. Introduction…………………………………………………………………………………....4 II. The lead up to Brown and the Civil Rights Act..…....…………………………..7 a. Redlining, Restrictive Covenants, and Separate but (Un)Equal…..7 b. Brown v. The Board of Education and the Civil Rights Act of 1964..................................................................................................................11 III. The Great Society Programs…………………………………………………………..15 a. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965…………….16 b. The AIR Study…………………………………………………………………………...19 c. Federalism and White Flight…………………………………………………….24 IV. Ronald Reagan……………………………………………………………………………….26 a. The Education Consolidation and Improvement Act of 1981……30 b. A Nation at Risk………………………………………………………………………..35 c. Dropouts, Delinquency, Isolation, and the Age of Zero Tolerance…………………………………………………………………………………36 d. Reaganomics…………………………………………………………………………….44 V. The Era of Mass Incarceration……………………………………………………….47 a. The War on Drugs: a War on Blacks………………………………………….48 b. The War on Crime: Reaffirming a War on Blacks………………….…..53 VI. Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………………..55 VII. Works Cited…………………………………………………………………………………...58 3 List of Figures: Ø Fig 1: Federal Title I Spending (1966-1980) in 2017 Dollars………………18 Ø Fig 2: Pre and Post Homework Helper Grade Achievement Level (elementary Age Children)………………………………………………………………….21 Ø Fig 3: Pre and Post Homework Helper Grade Achievement Level (High School Age Tutors)……………………………………………………………………………...22 Ø Fig 4: Federal Title I Spending (1980-1988) in 2017 Dollars……………...33 Ø Fig 5: Title 1 Spending in Michigan (1980-1988) in 2017 Dollars……….34 Ø Fig 6: High School Status Completion Rates 18-24 year olds between 1972-1990…………………………………………………………………………………………..36 Ø Fig 7: Number of High School Graduates in Michigan (1980-1990)……..38 Ø Fig 8: Michigan High School Staff Numbers (1980-1987)…………………….43 Ø Figure 9: African-American Unemployment Rate (1972-2000)…………..46 4 I. Introduction The United States of America claims to be the land of the free, the home of the brave, and a place where all men are created equal. Yet the land of the free has the highest incarceration rate in the world.1 These high levels of incarceration are a recent phenomenon, with the number of incarcerated people in the US rising from roughly 300,000 in 1980 to over roughly 1.5 million people today.2 This period of a greater than 500 per cent increase in the prison population over forty years has come to be known by many scholars as the era of Mass Incarceration.3 This paper does not set out to discuss the Mass Incarceration phenomenon as it pertains to the present. Many scholars have already done so, providing compelling evidence as to how the long term effects of the War on Drugs policies during the administration of Ronald Reagan, as well as the War on Crime policies of the Bill Clinton administration, accounted for the rise in the incarceration rate of minorities that continues to this day.4 Instead this paper sets out to examine another factor that contributed to the environment in which those policies ‘successfully’ incarcerated such a significant proportion of underrepresented minorities, especially men. This 1 I would like to acknowledge the gendered nature of that slogan, as well as the gendered landscape within which I will be working. This paper will exclusively deal with incarceration as it pertains to the African American male population. 2 “Key Statistics: Prisoners.” Bureau of Justice Statistics, Accessed December 13, 2017. www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=kfdetail&iid=488. 3 According to census data, the United States population was at 226.5 million people in 1980 with the projected number being 308.7 million in 2020. This is a roughly 26 per cent increase, which of course is dramatically less than the percentage increase in the prison population, demonstrating that population increase cannot be an explanation for the prison population increase. Census data taken from, “A Look at the 1940 Census.” United States Census Bureau, accessed December 13, 2017, www.census.gov/newsroom/cspan/1940census/CSPAN_1940slides.pdf. 4 See Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (New Press, 2012). and James Forman Jr., “Racial critiques of mass incarceration: Beyond the new Jim Corw,” NYUL Rev. 87, (2012): accessed December 13, 2017, heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/nylr87&div=5&g_sent=1&casa_token=&collection=journals. 5 paper will discuss education and educational funding, and the role that the reduction of federal educational funding played in creating an environment in which the era of Mass Incarceration could begin.5 To do this, I examine four periods of US political and educational history. First, I look at the years leading up to the landmark 1954 Supreme Court case, Brown v. The Board of Education of Topeka (which I will from now on refer to as Brown), and the 1964 signing of the Civil Rights Act.6 These marked significant achievements in the quest for racial equality as desegregation and discrimination on the basis of race was deemed illegal. The years leading up to them, however, were scarred by extreme racial segregation in almost all facets of life. While in its extreme form this segregation was located primarily in the South, segregated life still affected African-Americans living in the northern states. For the purposes of this paper I will focus on housing and education segregation. Next, I examine the Great Society Policies of Lyndon B. Johnson, and the continued push for civil rights and racial equality post-Brown. President Johnson’s policies represented a conscious and concerted effort to enact some type of affirmative action, especially in the arena of education, and included the enactment and implementation of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, which gave extra funding to low-income and disadvantaged schools, among other things. 5 Arguments supporting this claim have been made in such works as, Ansley T. Erickson, Making the Unequal Metropolis: School Desegregation and Its Limits (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017). 6 Legal Information Institute: Cornell Law School, “Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka,” Cornell Law School, accessed December 13, 2017, www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/347/483.and Singed into law by President, “Civil Rights Act of 1964,” Public Law 88 (1964): 6. 6 The movement in the direction of racial equality, especially in the context of education, was short-lived. The third time frame that is the focus of this paper begins with the election of President Ronald Reagan, who ushered in a federal agenda aimed at decreasing federal responsibility and funding for education and other social benefits.7 As I will explore in the context of his conservative ideology Reagan believed the federal government was providing too much funding for education. More than that, his policies revealed that he fully understood that already disadvantaged minorities would be disproportionately (further) disadvantaged by the de-funding. The effects of these educational cutbacks were far reaching and—coupled with a bad economy—resulted in large numbers of young African-American men out of school and without a job, leaving them especially vulnerable to the racist and predatory policies of the War on Drugs and War on Crime. In the final section of this paper, I examine the time period that ran concurrently with the Reagan administration and continued after it, tracing the effects of his policies during the era of Mass Incarceration. This was a time in which young, under-educated and unemployed, African-American men turned to the sale of drugs or other illegal activities in order to survive. Coupled with police practices that targeted their communities in particular ways, Mass Incarceration politics and policies have created untold violence and virtually insurmountable barriers to racial equality for large percentages of the US population. This paper ultimately sets out to show that this low quality education in low-income neighborhoods and general feelings of 7 Richard S. Williamson, “A New Federalism: Proposals and Achievements of President Reagan’s First Three Years,” The Journal of Federalism 16, no. 1 (1986): 11, accessed December 13, 2017, academic.oup.com/publius/article/16/1/11/1819419. 7 alienation among young African-American men by their schools were a result of the educational policies of the Reagan Administration, and contributed to the creation of an outcast marginalized group that has been the victim of Mass Incarceration policies. II. The lead up to Brown and the Civil Rights Act The history of the United States is stained with the subjugation and oppression of all minorities, but in particular African-Americans. Although slavery ended with the conclusion of the Civil War and the ratifying of the Thirteenth Amendment, Jim Crow laws maintained the status quo of segregation and white supremacy up until the beginning of the Civil Rights movements in the 1950s. Of the many racist policies of the time, two practices are of particular importance to the discussion of schooling. The first of these practices was known as Redlining or Red Line Mortgages. The second was known as Restrictive Covenants. These two practices worked together to create ‘ghettos’ all over the US, but primarily in large cities. By restricting where African-Americans could live (through Redlining and Restrictive Covenants) and segregating schools (the segregation of schools had been deemed acceptable due to the Supreme Court case Plessy v. Ferguson), African-Americans’ lives were in many ways confined to the neighborhoods they lived in. a. Redlining, Restrictive Covenants, and Separate but (Un)Equal Redlining was a practice that took place all over the United States but some of the clearest examples took place in major cities with large and quickly growing 8 African-American populations, such as Detroit, Chicago, and Baltimore. This population growth in the beginning of the twentieth century was a result of out-migration from the southern states. Known as the Great Migration, this period was marked by the noticeable establishment of large African-American communities in major northern Cities.8 These large African-American communities, once established, were solidified through the practices of Redlining and Restrictive Covenants. Redlining “entail[ed] the denial of credit to low income and minority communities.”9 The term ‘redlining’ came from the actual color assigned to low-income and minority neighborhoods on mortgage, housing, or planning maps. According to the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), there were four main colors green, blue, yellow, and red. 10 Quite literally a red line would be drawn on a map to demarcate where banks and other institutions would not lend or invest.11 Organizations such as the National Association of Real Estate Boards and the FHA were instrumental in the execution of this practice by discouraging lending in urban communities, which had the highest concentration of poor and minority populations.12 The FHA published the Underwriting Manual in 1934, which through 8 James N. Gregory, The southern diaspora: How the great migration of black and white southerners transformed America (North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press, 2006), 15. 9 Robert Mark Silverman, “Redlining in a majority black city?: Mortgage lending and the racial composition of Detroit neighborhoods,” Western Journal of Black studies 29, no. 1 (2005): 531, accessed December 13, 2017, https://search.proquest.com/openview/c3ee44a7b4038f3529415b3368859d8a/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=47709 10 Alexis C Madrigal, “The Racist Housing Policy That Made Your Neighborhood,” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 2014, accessed December 13, 2017, www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/05/the-racist-housing-policy-that-made-your-neighborhood/371439/. 11 “1934–1968: FHA Mortgage Insurance Requirements Utilize Redlining.” Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston, accessed December 13, 2017, www.bostonfairhousing.org/timeline/1934-1968-FHA-Redlining.html. 12 Ibid 531. 9 coded and not-so-coded language demonstrated the racialized nature of mortgage lending at the time: Protection against some adverse influences is obtained by the proper zoning and deed restrictions that prevail in a neighborhood...some adverse influences maybe immediately noticeable while others arise gradually or are destined to occur after a certain number of years… the more important among these adverse influential factors are the ingress of undesirable racial or nationality groups…13 This practice was most evident in the early part of the twentieth century, however its effects would last much longer. These policies in many ways created ‘ghettos’, by confining African-Americans to particular neighborhoods and not allowing them to gain any equity in the property of those neighborhoods. The evidence seems to support that race was a, “significant predictor of mortgage lending,” as was evident in studies conducted in Detroit, Chicago, and parts of Ohio.14 Large-scale mortgage discrimination was coupled with a much more localized practice as well. Restrictive Covenants were agreements written into housing contracts, made possible by laws and values that supported ‘freedom of contract’ among private parties. The agreements followed a similar pattern of: I will sell my house to you on the condition that you never sell it to an African-American. These agreements were made by whole neighborhoods in order to keep them White.15 This practice affected more affluent African-Americans, even more than Redlining. Thomas Sugrue, an urban US historian, made this argument about Detroit, which was one of the cities most affected by this practice: “Although Detroit had a 13 Richard C. Stearns, “Racial Content of FHA Underwriting Practices, 1934-1962,” Memorandum for Jenkins Files 13, (1983): 4-5, Used with permission of the University of Baltimore 14 “Redlining in the Majority Black City?” 532. 15 Thomas J. Sugrue, The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit (Princeton University Press, 2014), 34. 10 stock of well-built if modest homes that blue-collar workers could afford, blacks were systematically shut out of the private real estate market. White real estate brokers shunned black clients and encouraged restrictive covenants and other discriminatory practices that kept blacks out of most of the city’s single-family houses.”16 The practice of including racist restrictive covenants in real estate contracts lasted longer than Redlining in cities such as Detroit, due to the unwillingness of courts to intervene to abolish prejudice in the context of private property.17 Essentially courts upheld the argument that homeowners have every right to protect their property against elements (people) that they found distasteful.18 Local courts in Michigan were overruled on this decision in 1948 when the Supreme Court decided in Shelley v. Kramer that, “private agreements to exclude persons of designated race or color from the use or occupy of real estate for residential purposes…[violated] the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment[.]”19 However despite restrictive covenants being deemed unconstitutional, racial housing segregation persisted throughout the 1950s, 60, and 70s.20 Between 1960 and 1970 a very minimal amount of racial desegregation took place in cities such as Detroit. SMSAs or Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas are segregation scores given to large metropolitan areas, with a higher score meaning higher levels of 16 Ibid 34. 17 Clement S. Vose, Caucasians Only: the Supreme Court, the NAACP, and the Restrictive Covenant Cases (University of California Press., 1973), 1. 18 Ibid 1. 19 Joe T. Darden, "Black residential segregation since the 1948 Shelley v. Kraemer decision," Journal of Black Studies 25, no. 6 (1995): 680, accessed December 6, 2017, http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/002193479502500603 20 Ibid 681. 11 segregation. Between 1960 and 1970 SMSA scores in the US decreased from 75.4 to 69.5 a decrease of only 5.9 percentage points, significantly less than expected in the wake of the 1948 decision of Shelley v. Kramer.21 Prior to Brown, African-American children in many parts of the country attended officially segregated schools on the ideas put forth in the Supreme Court case Plessy v. Ferguson in 1869 (which I will refer to as Plessy).22 The case itself has to do with railroad cars, but the conclusion reached had a profound impact on all aspects of segregated life. The court decided that segregation was acceptable as long as the facilities provided were equal, which is where the iconic phrase, “separate, but equal” comes from.23 Housing segregation created the conditions for discrimination ostensibly based on class but actually based more profoundly on race that resulted in a need for federal educational subsidies. Thanks to the various housing policies and conclusion of Plessy v. Ferguson, African-Americans were confined to both housing and educational ‘ghettos’. b. Brown v. The Board of Education and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 In deciding the case before them, the Brown Court was guided by a firm conviction as to the value of public education: Today, education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments. Compulsory school attendance laws and the great expenditures for education both demonstrate our recognition of the importance of education to our democratic society. It is required in the 21 Ibid 682. 22 Legal Information Institute: Cornell Law School, “Plessy v. Ferguson,” Cornell Law School, accessed December 13, 2017, https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/163/537 23 Ibid. 12 performance of our most basic public responsibilities, even service in the armed forces. It is the very foundation of good citizenship. Today it is a principal instrument in awakening the child to cultural values, in preparing him for later professional training, and in helping him to adjust normally to his environment. In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms. We come then to the question presented: Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other "tangible" factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities? We believe that it does.24 In the court’s view, separate and equal was not possible. Yet despite this landmark, narrative-altering decision, schools did not suddenly desegregate. For one thing, years of housing discrimination and ghettoization and mandated school segregation made it impossible for desegregation to occur without state intervention. For another, even the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not take the necessary proactive steps to eliminating racial imbalances in schooling that also constituted segregation. The Act stated that: “desegregation means the assignment of students to public schools and within such schools without regard to their race, color, religion, or national origin, but desegregation shall not mean the assignment of students to public schools in order to overcome racial imbalance (emphasis added).”25 Consequently, segregation may have no longer been legal, but the positive state action required for desegregation was not forthcoming. Instead, the weaker concept of ‘school choice’ was introduced into a segregated housing environment as a way of empowering 24 Legal Information Institute: Cornell Law School, “Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka,” Cornell Law School, accessed December 13, 2017, www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/347/483. 25 Singed into law by President, “Civil Rights Act of 1964,” Public Law 88 (1964): 6. [emphasis added] 13 African-Americans to choose to attend previously all-White or mostly-White schools. However, low-income and minority students had no means of traveling to these schools, which often lay outside their racially segregated neighbourhoods, and as a result were forced to stay in their once legally segregated school.26 There were attempts in the late 1960s and even into the early 1970s to combat the racial and racialized effects of redlining and restrictive covenants on the potential for desegregation and meaningful school choice. The case of Green v. County School Board of New Kent County, “tested whether freedom-of-choice plans that did not rely explicitly on race were constitutional[.]”27 The Supreme Court decided that the school system in New Kent County, Virginia had an “affirmative duty” to eliminate discrimination and desegregation and that its existing freedom of choice plan to not fulfill that duty.28 Another example of Supreme Court intervention into the lasting effects of educational segregation was the case Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education in 1971. In the Charlotte-Mecklenburg decision the court examined if, “[t]he past discriminatory conduct of a school board might have contributed to the creation and maintenance of segregated residential patterns which, when coupled with the present use of geographic proximity as the basis for assignment, produced segregated schools.”29 The court was in essence verbalizing what I have argued to this point—that school assignment based on neighborhood, 26 James Forman Jr., “The secret history of school choice: How progressives got there first,” Geo. LJ 93, (2004): 1311, accessed December 13, 2017, http://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/glj93&div=42&id=&page= 27 Ansley T. Erickson, Making the Unequal Metropolis: School Desegregation and Its Limits (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017), 152. 28 Ibid 152. 29 Owen M. Fiss, “The Charlotte-Mecklenburg case: Its significance for northern school desegregation,” The University of Chicago Law Review 38, no. 4 (1971): 700, accessed December 13, 2017, http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/1598869.pdf 14 coupled with racist housing policies, meant that even in a post-Brown world school segregation remained a reality. The court’s decision in this case was to institute a program that would 1) institute a, “massive, long distance transportation program,” and 2) assign students living in the inner city to schools in the suburbs and students living in the suburbs to inner city schools.30 The courts ordered bussing within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district to overcome school and residential segregation. This was a breakthrough against de facto segregation, however as I will discuss shortly, in many cities later cases were argued before the courts that would result in them reverting back to de facto segregation.31 This is not to diminish what was truly a watershed moment in confronting racism in the US. Equality was now written into law, and although in practice it may not have been a reality, there was marked departure from past ways of thinking about race. This was due in large part to Civil Rights activists and African-American lawyers and citizens who started to put pressure on the administration; it was also attributable in part to Lyndon B. Johnson. President Johnson was progressive when it came to race, poverty and education, and had extra motivation from groups lobbying for equality and Civil Rights. Johnson along with fellow educational progressives, such as the man who would be instrumental in the creation and implementation of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Francis Keppel, were not so much responsible for dealing with the racial imbalance among schools 30 Ibid. 702 31 Ibid 152. 15 across the US, but were instrumental in dealing with the funding imbalance among schools across the US.32 III. The Great Society Programs The Great Society Programs were so-called as a result of a speech given by President Johnson at the University of Michigan in 1964, in which he had a very clear message that would inform major policy: For in your time we have the opportunity to move not only toward the rich society and the powerful society, but upward to the great society. The great society rests on abundance and liberty for all. It demands an end to poverty and racial injustice—to which we are totally committed in our time but that is just the beginning. The great society is a place where every child can find knowledge to enrich his mind and enlarge his talents… we must give every child a place to sit and a teacher to learn from. Poverty must not be a bar to learning, and learning must offer an escape from poverty.33 Johnson was a firm believer in the power of education to change one’s socio-economic status and knew education was crucial to his War on Poverty; but he was aware of the difficulty of desegregating schools, and of the achievement gap between White and African-American students. Major documents like the Equality of Educational Opportunity Report (1966), written by James Coleman, a Professor of Social Relations at Johns Hopkins, quite clearly demonstrated the significant achievement gap between races, and its roots. Coleman found that the school facilities were not the issue and there was no difference in innate intelligence 32 Irving Bernstein, Promises kept: John F. Kennedy's new frontier (Oxford University Press, 1991), 245. 33 Lyndon B. Johnson, “Great Society Speech,” Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, (1964): 230. 16 between the races. The largest indicator of achievement was a student’s socioeconomic position.34 Other researchers findings supported Coleman’s conclusions stating, “that children’s ability to learn in school was impaired by the effects of poverty and racial prejudice”; however there were additional findings that not only was achievement affected by a student’s socio-economic background, but that, “catastrophic damage was inflicted on the ego, the self-esteem, and the motivation of the child who lived in a black community such as Harlem.”35 In addition, researchers like James Conant concluded that, even if facilities themselves were not of as high importance, resources, and in particular staff, were crucial to minority student achievement and happiness in school.36 President Johnson understood these issues and concluded that compensatory education or, “intensive, individualized instruction in an encouraging, supportive environment [which require money]—in other words, good education,” was what was necessary to close the achievement gap.37 a. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 One of Johnson’s most important pieces of legislation in his War on Poverty, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was signed into law in 1965. While the Act had many sections, for the purposes of this paper I will examine Title I of the ESEA, which was created with the purpose of, “[providing] all children 34 James S. Coleman, "Equality of educational opportunity," (1966): 20, Accessed December 6, 2017, https://eric.ed.gov/?id=Ed012275 35 Diane Ravitch, The Troubled Crusade: American Education, 1945-1980 (New York, NY: Basic Books, Inc, 1983), 151. 36 Ibid 151. 37 Ibid 153. 17 significant opportunity to receive a fair, equitable, and high-quality education, and to close educational achievement gaps.”38 Demonstrating a deep understanding of the issues affecting minority students, Johnson and ESEA did not simply throw money at an issue with hopes that it would resolve itself.39 The funding was distributed with the goal of making sure low-income and minority students not only achieved academically but also felt secure and cared for while at school. This decision harkened back to the research conducted by Coleman and Conant among others; feeling emotionally and physically cared for while at school was crucial to achievement. To realize this, money was set aside to hire state-licensed and state-certified mental health professionals as well as significant numbers of guidance counsellors who were qualified to “provide mental health services to children and adolescents.”40 38 United States. Elementary And Secondary Education Act of 1965 : H. R. 2362, 89th Cong., 1st Sess., Public Law 89-10. Reports, Bills, Debate and Act. [Washington] :[U.S. Govt. Print. Off.], 1965. 8. 39 Francis Keppel, "The Emerging Partnership of Education and Civil Rights," The Journal of Negro Education 34, no. 3 (1965): 204-208, accessed December 18, 2017, http://www.jstor.org/stable/2294191 40 Ibid 217. 18 Above is a graph of Title I funding (in 2017 dollars) after the signing of the ESEA.41 Although funding amounts varied slightly on an annual basis, there is a clear upward trajectory in the amount of federal educational funding, which resulted from Title I of the ESEA. While this graph does not reflect each local program that was funded, it does give a sense of the influx of federal funding distributed into low-income and minority schools. 41 Graph uses funding numbers taken from The United States, “Education Department Budget History Table: FY 1980—FY 2016 President's Budget .” Budget History Tables, US Department of Education. accessed December 13, 2017, www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/history/index.html. and The United States, The United States Government, Budget of the United States Government, (Washington: 1969-1980) accessed, December 13, 2017, <babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/ls?a=srchls;anyall1=all;q1=budget%20of%20the%20u.s.%20government;field1=title;op3=AND;lmt=ft;yop=before;pdate_end=1980&facet=bothPublishDateRange:%221960-1969%22>. and was created on “ChartGo Create Graphs Online.” ChartGo.com, ChartGo, Web. 16 Aug. 2017. www.chartgo.com/modify.do., inflation was calculated using a CPI inflation calculator at CPI Inflation Calculator. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Web. 16 Aug. 2017. data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl. Figure 1: Federal Title I Spending (1966-1980) in 2017 dollars 19 b. The AIR Study In the wake of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, feedback on its effectiveness was mixed. Initial studies were not encouraging, showing little to no closing of the achievement gap and no significant jump in students’ happiness or satisfaction with their education.42 However, government officials soon realized that those studies were improperly conducted. Poor data collection and poor analysis lead to inconclusive results and an incomplete picture of the effectiveness of the ESEA.43 Legislators then called upon the American Institute for Research (AIR) to conduct a study of the compensatory programs established using Title I funding. In the words of the noted education policy scholar, Milbrey McLaughlin: Through an extensive literature search and follow up site visits, AIR identified a number of potentially successful compensatory programs. Programs with inadequate data were weeded out in the literature screen; field visits eliminated programs that in practice did not conform to program evaluation reports. In this way, the AIR staff uncovered sufficient data to document successful compensatory strategies and to imply that schools are devising new and effective programs for disadvantaged youngsters as legislators had hoped with the passage of ESEA.44 The AIR Study (1968) provided insight into a number of successful compensatory programs across the US. Two in particular, in New York City and Detroit, provide examples of targeted and effective compensatory education programs. 42 Milbrey Wallin McLaughlin, Evaluation and Reform: The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. Title I (Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation, 1974), 82. 43 Ibid 83. 44 Ibid 83. 20 The first of these was the Homework Helper Program of New York City.45 This program aimed to assist students of all ages in low-income and minority neighborhoods by having high school age students tutor and assist elementary school age children.46 Children in this program lived in the Lower East Side of New York City, an area where, “one-third of the housing was classified in 1964 as substandard,” and where, “[t]he median family income at the time was an estimated $69 a week.”47 Over the course of the study it was clear a number of objectives were being reached. The first objective was to get effective tutors. This was done by paying the tutors, which not only motivated them to be effective but also allowed them to supplement their family’s income. They could make as much as thirty five dollars a month tutoring after school.48 The second objective was to raise the achievement level of the elementary school children. Standardized tests were given to the children before and after participating in the program and there were noticeable improvements:49 45 American Institutes for Research, David Graham Hawkridge, Albert B. Chalupsky, and A. Oscar H. Roberts, A study of selected exemplary programs for the education of disadvantaged children (Office of Program Planning and Evaluation, 1968), 133. 46 Ibid 133. 47 Ibid 133. 48 Ibid 135. 49 Ibid 143. 21 While those tutored were not reaching the national norm for their perspective grade levels over the course of one year the students were making significant strides towards closing the achievement gap. This graph quantifiably demonstrates the positives of individualized and targeted compensatory education by showing increased achieved grade level for students in the program, and the way in which schooling/education mitigated the worst of segregation. What was so significant about this program was not just that it had a positive effect on the achievement of elementary school age children. The study also showed that it also had positive effects on the tutors. Like the studies of children in the program, tutors were also separated into groups, with Group A being the group of tutors and Group B being the control group of high school age children who were Figure 2: Pre and Post Homework Helper grade achievement level (elementary age children). Reprinted with permission from AIR 22 not tutoring. “[I]n the seven months of tutoring between testings, the experimental sample [Group A] averaged 3.4 years of achievement as measured by the Iowa Test, while the control sample [Group B] gained 1.7 years on average.”50 This meant that not only were the tutoring groups approaching the national norm, as the tutored groups were, the high school students who tutored were passing the national norm as a result of teaching or tutoring others:51 The Home Work Helper Program was very successful in helping to close the achievement gap between African-American students in low-income 50 Ibid 146. 51 Ibid 147. Figure 3: Pre and Post Homework Helper grade achievement level (high school age Tutors). Reprinted with Permission from AIR 23 neighbourhoods and the national norm. While this New York City program was more focused on academics, there was a program in Detroit that ran concurrently that also focused on academics but more so placed an emphasis on the social-emotional aspects of education and schooling that affected low-income and minority students. In 1968 the Communication Skills Center (CSC) Project in Detroit had nearly 3,000 children enrolled, 80-85 per cent of which were African-American.52 The center focused on finding the underlying reasons for reading deficiencies, again harkening back to Conant and Coleman who believed low socio-economic background affected student’s self-esteem and that there were no African-American-White differences in innate intelligence: Remedial reading therapy at the CSC centers began with diagnoses of the pupils’ reading deficiencies. Following this, pupils were placed in small classes (six to ten pupils per class) for instruction. Using a variety of specialized remedial reading materials and equipment, CSC teachers strove to individualize instruction to meet each pupil’s needs. Children whose reading disabilities appeared to be related to underlying problems of personal or social maladjustment were referred to the social therapist or to the psychologist for further diagnosis and counselling (emphasis added).53 A large emphasis was placed on the importance of counsellors and their place in education. During the school year studied, roughly 300 pupils went to see a counsellor for at least one individual counselling session.54 This concern for the emotional well-being of the students, just as much as for their academic well-being, contributed to significant improvements in their school classrooms. At the end of 52 Ibid 284. 53 Ibid 285. 54 Ibid 286. 24 the school year a questionnaire was given to the regular classroom teachers of 144 randomly selected CSC students. “The majority [of them]…showed noticeable signs of improvement in attitudes and behavior in their regular school classrooms.”55 This is a significant finding, because it shows a change in views towards school. No longer was there a sense of alienation among African-American children, and their background perhaps did not have as large of a negative impact on their school life. These positive attitudes towards school were especially prevalent in the upper grades, according to the questionnaire.56 Like the Home Work Helper Program, the CSC Program required funding. It was estimated that the cost of the CSC Program was $264 per pupil, which in 2017 would equate to just over $1,800 dollars.57 That is not a small number; in 2014 the US was spending just over $12,000 per pupil, so an additional 15 per cent was being spent on each pupil in this Detroit program and that extra funding was dependent on Title I funding.58 What this shows is that with appropriate funding and expertise, Black children excelled at school – these programs show this – so the lack of appropriate levels of funding is substantially the problem. c. Federalism and White Flight From the mid to late 1970s, until Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980, two events took place that would have a dramatic effect on the education of 55 Ibid 293. 56 Ibid 290. 57 Ibid 294. and inflation was calculated at CPI Inflation Calculator. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, accessed December 13, 2017, data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl. 58 Stephen Q. Cornman, “Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary School Districts: School Year 2013-14 (Fiscal Year 2014). First Look. NCES 2016-303,” National Center for Education Statistics (2017): 3, accessed December 6, 2017, https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED572662 25 minorities. First was the “White Flight” phenomenon, which was White people moving to the suburbs for better jobs, housing opportunities and to escape their urban neighborhoods that were becoming more racially integrated, leaving large cities such as Detroit even more segregated.59 This took place as early as 1950, with it peaking in the late 1960s and early 1970s. By 1970 over half of the once urban White population in the Northern States had moved out to the suburbs.60 As William Frey argued, “[g]iven the relatively static boundaries of the central city, movements of non-poor individuals toward greater housing and job opportunities in the suburbs have led to even further deterioration of the economic and environmental conditions within the city political unit.”61 With Whites leaving the city, the racial make up of schools within the city changed, becoming even more minority dominant than they had already been.62 This phenomenon was worrisome enough. It was made much more troubling by Reagan’s federalism. In his first inaugural address Reagan communicated a clear picture as to what he envisioned as the role of the federal government: It is my intention to curb the size and influence of the Federal establishment and to demand recognition of the distinction between the powers granted to the Federal government and those reserved to the states or to the people. All of us need to be reminded that the Federal government did not create the states: The States created the Federal Government.63 59 William H. Frey, “Central city White Flight: Racial and nonracial causes,” American Sociological Review, (1979): 5-6, accessed December 13, 2017, http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/2094885.pdf 60 Charles T. Clotfelter, "The Detroit Decision and" White Flight"," The Journal of Legal Studies 5, no. 1 (1976): 100, accessed December 6, 2017, http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/467546?journalCode=jls 61 “Central City White Flight: Racial and Nonracial causes,” 6-7. 62 “The Detroit Decision and “White Flight”,” 99. 63 “A New Federalism: Proposals and Achievements of President Reagan’s First Three Years,” 11-12. 26 Not only did Reagan want to limit federal intervention and responsibility, he wanted to limit federal funding to the states. In an article from The Journal of Federalism essentially a public relations document, Reagan’s withdrawal of federal support for schools was portrayed as attempt to end federal interference and as being a benefit to the states: A major step in the Reagan administration's campaign to return authority and revenue to state and local governments was to cut the size of the federal government itself. To cut the growth of Washington's role in the federal system, the president intended to halt and then reverse the dominance of federal aid and federal interference in state and local governments.64 As we will see in the next section, these funding cuts to federal spending had a significant impact on the funding of low-income and minority schools. The combination of White Flight and Reagan’s federalism meant that heading into the 1980s, schools were very much segregated (in large cities) and the federal government had a renewed commitment to cut federal funding. IV. Ronald Reagan Ronald Reagan came into office with a mentality of reduction. That meant reducing federal spending and reducing taxes. These two cuts had the greatest impact on low-income and minority people and families.65 His cuts to federal spending had significant impact in many arenas of society, with education being 64 Ibid 12. 65 Howard Zinn, A Peoples History of the United States (New York: New Press, 1998), 543-44. 27 heavily affected. It is important to keep in mind, as I have showed, that desegregation was never a reality in the US. This was true even during the Johnson administration; however, then at least, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act compensated for this. In the late 1970s and early 1980s the issues of school segregation still plagued the US. Segregation of schools and housing meant that a decrease in federal subsidies directly affected minority and low-income students. As mentioned above, there were attempts made and court cases decided aimed at desegregating schools. However throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s the intersection between housing and schooling policies perpetuated school segregation—one, or even two, decades after Brown had struck it down legally.66 Tennessee Senator Avon Williams was particularly cognizant of this ongoing relationship. He echoed the sentiments of North Carolina Judge James McMillan who was quoted as saying (in a discussion of school locations, public housing construction, and segregating actions in zoning), “there is so much state action embedded in and shaping [these policy areas] that the resulting segregation is not innocent or ‘de facto’, and the resulting schools are not ‘unitary’ or desegregated.”67 The battling in the courts spoke to a much more pervasive and systemic view that greatly affected the reality of school desegregation. Dating back to Brown, White Americans were staunchly opposed to the integration of the school system. In the wake of Brown this opposition and fear materialized in the form of violence. White 66 Erickson, Making the Unequal Metropolis: School Desegregation and its Limits, 154. 67 Ibid 155. 28 violence against African-Americans, especially in the South, had begun to decline at the turn of the century.68 Yet in the wake of Brown, between 1954 and 1959, there were over 200-recorded incidences of violence against African-Americans including murder, assault, and bombings.69 This reaction by Whites showed, “the uniquely sensitive place that schools were to maintain in the forthcoming battles over race relations.”70 White parents in both the North and South, at the time of Brown and in the years following, always maintained a fear of desegregation; their “justifications” for this were academic and social, but also racist. Fear over the lower levels of education their children would receive as a result of integration as well as interracial relationships motivated pushback to the courts.71 A 1956 article entitled “Mixed Schools and Mixed Blood” put into words the fears of racial mixing, stating that mixed mating was thought of as disagreeable and repugnant, so school could not be a place where the two races interacted.72 The concern and pushback from White parents can be explained by a principle referred to as interest convergence. The principle of interest convergence states: “The interest of blacks in achieving racial equality will be accommodated only when it converges with the interests of Whites.”73 Educational equality, beginning with Brown, began to infringe on the interests of Whites, meaning that in reality despite cases such as Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Green that went to lengths to desegregate schools and to not allow 68 James T. Patterson and William W. Freehling, Brown v. The Board of Education: A civil rights milestone and its troubled legacy (Oxford University Press, 2001), 87. 69 Ibid 87. 70 Ibid 88. 71 Ibid 88. 72 Ibid 87. 73 Derrick A. Bell Jr, “Brown v. Board of Education and the interest-convergence dilemma,” Harvard Law Review (1980): 523, accessed December 6, 2017, http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/1340546.pdf 29 housing and school assignment to hinder it, passionate feelings about educational segregation among White parents and people in general provided the pushback necessary to maintain the status quo of school segregation in the US in the post-Brown world. Parents lobbying for segregation had their desires codified by two additional Supreme Court cases in the 1970s. The first of these cases was San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez (1973). This case dealt with the local funding of schools. In the US a significant percentage of school funding comes from property tax.74 This means that there can be huge discrepancies in the amount of funding a school receives depending on which neighbourhood it is in. Of course this disproportionately affects low-income and minority schools in poorer neighbourhoods with lower property values. Essentially in this case, the Supreme Court ruled that the inequality that results from property tax funding does not violate the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.75 The second Supreme Court case to have an effect on preserving segregation was Milliken v. Bradley (1974), which dealt once more with transportation among schools. The issue arose around wanting busses in Detroit that could transport kids from minority neighborhoods to other school districts lying across metropolitan borders, i.e. from the city into the suburbs, in order to desegregate schools in both 74 "How Do We Fund Our Schools?" PBS, accessed December 13, 2017, http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wherewestand/blog/finance-how-do- we-fund-our-schools/197/. 75 Peter D. Roos, “The potential impact of Rodriguez on other school reform litigation,” Law & Contemp. Probs. 38 (1973): 569, accessed December 13, 2017, http://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/lcp38&div=39&g_sent=1&casa_token=-WOMRPkSK50AAAAA:GpZ5D26U44dAIv_48j5ZkO7M85Xh6J81bJqlOf-Fm9B7nr5if-e8fF2T7n4hXNjjIUFL3Z_g&collection=journals 30 places. However, the Supreme Court in Milliken ruled that segregation was not illegal, if it was ‘involuntary’ and based ‘merely’ on place of residence. As a result, there was no constitutional requirement to desegregate across metropolitan (urban-suburban) boundaries. Bussing could take place only within districts, the position Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg established, but not beyond them, as was being attempted in the Detroit metropolitan area. 76 These cases are important to our story because they reaffirmed residential and school segregation, which coupled with Ronald Reagan’s educational cuts would create an environment in which efforts to redress inequality were rolled back. a. The Education Consolidation and Improvement Act of 1981 In 1981 Reagan signed into law the Education Consolidation and Improvement Act (ECIA),77 the first of two significant pieces of educational legislation that he would enact. Not only did this act mark a change in attitudes about funding, it (coupled with A Nation at Risk which I will discuss later) marked a change in attitudes about who deserved education. The majority of the text spoke to ways in which federal funding would be rolled back: Under Title I of the superseded Elementary and Secondary Education Act, 76 Robert A. Sedler, “The Profound Impact of Milliken v. Bradley,” Wayne L. Rev. 33 (1986): 1695, accessed December 13, 2017, http://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/waynlr33&div=81&g_sent=1&casa_token=AqvdniTcgjUAAAAA:9_FF3OQtL64y-WHhkJ3XzR3wtODDTRu9nL8d1YQK4wjbqQgH0xAJxD8cgMQ4AQwBcB9EacQl&collection=journals 77 Education Consolidation, “Improvement Act of 1981, Pub,” (1981): 95. 31 federal compensatory education aid was distributed to states and local districts according to a formula based on the low-income index, including the Orshansky poverty level, a count of pupils covered by the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) Program, and a count of publicly supported children living in foster homes or institutions. The formula includes additional allocations for migratory children, handicapped students in state institutions, and neglected and delinquent students… Chapter I funds will be disbursed according to the same basic formula as Title I funds. Current appropriations for Chapter 1, however, will be substantially lower than those under Title I (emphasis added).78 While the language may have remained similar, the funding was going to change. Not only would the funding change, but also those who were selected to receive funding i.e. those who needed it the most were no longer guaranteed it: …the needs assessment ensures that the most educationally needy children in either schools or attendance areas with the lowest-income students would be selected for services…Chapter 1 states that the annual ‘needs assessment permits selection of these children who have the greatest need for special assistance,’ but does not require that those children be selected (emphasis added).79 Chapter 1 of the ECIA reduced and redistributed federal funding, and these dramatic changes were immediate with funding cuts being enacted and observed in Reagan’s first fiscal year as president.80 Reagan cut the proposed fiscal year education- 78 Linda Darling-Hammond and Ellen L. Marks, The New Federalism in Education: State Responses to the 1981 Education Consolidation and Improvement Act (Santa Monica, CA: The Rand Corporation, 1983), 27. 79 Ibid 28. 80 Deborah A. Verstegen, “Redistributing federal aid to education: Chapter 2 of the Education Consolidation and Improvement Act of 1981," Journal of Education Finance 10, no. 4 (1985): 518, accessed December 13, 2017, http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/40703466.pdf 32 funding budget of his predecessor, Jimmy Carter, by nearly 30 per cent.81 The losses that resulted from the consolidation of educational funding were not felt equally across the United States. The Mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes (Michigan) areas were among those most heavily affected. A study using regression analysis was conducted to determine the effects that the move to Block Grants under the ECIA from previous educational funding policies (ESEA) had on children living in poverty. It found that, “states sustaining the greatest losses (FY 1980 to FY 1982) generally were the same states that hard large numbers of poor children.”82 More specifically, the consolidation of education funding under the ECIA had a profoundly negative impact on minorities living in the poor states. “[T]he findings of,” Deborah Verstegen’s analysis, “showed that those states that…had high concentrations of minority group children, sustained the largest reductions under the Education Block Grant.”83 Chapter 2 of the ECIA added insult to injury (for lack of a better phrase), as it was the creator of Block Grants. If nothing else, we learned from the AIR study, as well as from scholars of the time, that individualized and specific educational programs were a necessity in 1) closing the achievement gap between races and 2) making minority students feel welcome, accepted, and happy at school. As a result of Chapter 2 of the ECIA over forty of the specific aid programs that were established during the Great Society were repealed and, as the name of the Act would suggest, 81 Ibid 518. 82 Ibid 520. 83 Ibid 520. 33 consolidated into one block grant that each state received.84 The specialized programs that had proven to be successful were now eliminated, and what remained was under funded. These funding cuts were dramatic as is evidenced by the figures below:85 84 Ibid 517. 85 Graphs use funding numbers taken from The United States, Department of Education, Education Department Budget History Table: FY 1980—FY 2016 President's Budget, (Washington: 2017) 16 Aug. 2017 <https://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/history/index.html> and were created on “ChartGo Create Graphs Online.” ChartGo.com, accessed December 13, 2017, www.chartgo.com/modify.do., Inflation was calculated using a CPI inflation calculator at CPI Inflation Calculator. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, accessed December 13, 2017, data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl. Figure 4: Federal Title I Spending (1980-1988) in 2017 dollars 34 Notice how similar the trends are nationally and on the state level in Michigan. The most dramatic decline took place between Fiscal Years 1980 and 1983, which, as mentioned above, was the result of dramatic cuts made by Reagan immediately following his election. I use Michigan because of the roles it has played in the story up until this point. Detroit had some the most extreme examples of segregation (through redlining), was at the center of Milliken v. Bradley, and experienced extreme examples of White flight. This was a city and state that needed federal funding to help the large low-income minority population that it had. Figure 5: Title I Spending in Michigan (1980-1988) in 2017 dollars 35 b. A Nation at Risk The second major educational contribution of the Reagan administration was a report that came out in 1983 entitled A Nation at Risk. This alarmist document was concerned with the state of education in the US: Our Nation is at risk. Our once unchallenged preeminence in commerce, industry, science, and technological innovation is being overtaken by competitors throughout the world. This report is concerned with only one of the many causes and dimensions of the problem, but it is the one that undergirds American prosperity, security, and civility. We report to the American people that while we can take justifiable pride in what our schools and colleges have historically accomplished and contributed to the United States and the well-being of its people, the educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people. What was unimaginable a generation ago has begun to occur-- others are matching and surpassing our educational attainments…If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves.86 This panic that the US was falling behind in education in some way was heavily debated and by no means a certainty, despite what Reagan and the authors of the report believed.87 86 United States, Department of Education, A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform (Washington DC: 1983) 9. 87 Curtis J. Good, “A nation at risk: Committee members speak their mind,” American Educational History Journal 37, no. 1/2 (2010): 383, accessed December 13, 2017, https://search.proquest.com/openview/19d2acf70175dffa43bdfbd7bd0f6434/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=29702 36 c. Dropouts, Delinquency, Isolation, and the Age of Zero Tolerance A Nation at Risk and the ECIA marked a significant departure from the Great Society era’s educational philosophy. What had been education for the purpose of social mobility and an overall betterment of one’s self, at least rhetorically, had now been co-opted by the ideals of Reaganomics. At this time not only was funding cut but empathy, understanding, tolerance, and any attempt to search for root of behavioural or achievement issues were also cut. Now, I would be remiss if I did not bring attention to the fact that dropout rates nationally across races did not decline during the Reagan administration, in fact they rose as if evidenced by figure 6.88 88 Chris Chapman et al, “Trends in High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States: 1972-2009. Compendium Report. NCES 2012-006," National Center for Education Statistics (2011). 23, accessed December 6, 2017, https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED524955.pdf Figure 6: High School Status Completion Rates of 18-24 year olds between 1972-1990 37 What the Reagan administration witnessed during their tenure was statistics that reaffirmed and justified their beliefs in their own educational policies, but were in fact very misleading for a number of reasons. First, and perhaps most obvious, is that African-Americans like any group of people were not and are not a homogenous group. The ECIA and A Nation at Risk had very different effects on people depending on geographic location, family income, and number of parents to name a few different groups. One example of this was African-American female-headed households. Between 1973 and 1994 the number of Single African-American female-headed households in the US increased from 38 per cent to 54 per cent.89 This statistic is important for a number of reasons. It was the result of a phenomenon I will discuss later, the Mass Incarceration of African-American men (fathers, husbands, and partners). But also, African-American teenagers in single female-headed household were more likely to drop out.90 Now I would like to pause to emphatically state that I am in no way suggesting that single mothers were/are incapable of taking care of their children; this was a very special circumstance where families were torn apart and single mothers had to enter the workforce at an unprecedented rate.91 Second, the national statistics cover up the realities of graduation numbers on a state-by-state basis. In Michigan, for instance, according to census data the high school age population did not grow between 1980 and 1990. There was a decline in that population of about 89 Robert M. Hauser et al. “High School Dropout, Race-Ethnicity, and Social Background from the 1970s to the 1990s," (2000): 11, accessed December 13, 2017, https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED449277.pdf 90 Ibid abstract. 91 Women’s Bureau United States, “Women’s Bureau U.S. Department of Labor: Working Mothers Issue Brief,” U.S. Department of Labor, (2016): accessed December 13, 2017, https://www.dol.gov/wb/resources/WB_WorkingMothers_508_FinalJune13.pdf 38 11 per cent.92 So it would make sense to see a similar decline in the number of high school graduates over that time period if there were no external factors influencing high school graduation (or non-graduation). However, over the course of the decade the number of high school graduates in Michigan declined by roughly 25 per cent; that number was higher in urban areas.93 Figure 7 shows the decline in the number of high school graduates across Michigan between 1981 and 1990:94 92 US Department of Commerce. 1980. General Population Characteristics: Michigan [Bureau of the Census]. 17, accessed December 13, 2017, https://www2.census.gov/prod2/decennial/documents/1980/1980censusofpopu80124uns_bw.pdf and US Department of Commerce. 1990. General Population Characteristics: Michigan [Bureau of the Census]. 21, accessed December 13, 2017, https://www.census.gov/prod/cen1990/cph2/cph-2-24.pdf 93 Thomas D. Snyder and Charlene M. Hoffman, State Comparisons of Education Statistics: 1969-70 to 1996-97 (US Government Printing Office, 1998), 56. 94 Ibid 56, using “ChartGo Create Graphs Online.” ChartGo.com, accessed December 13, 2017, www.chartgo.com/modify.do. Figure 7: Number of High School Graduates in Michigan (1980-1990) 39 Second, there was and continues to be, much debate as to the proper way to calculate dropout/completion rate. What causes this confusion is the debate about how to properly define the term. Different studies have shown that its definition can change according to the source of the calculations. There are five main areas that contribute to this “definitional confusion:” 1. There is variation in the grade level and/or the age of student who are classified as dropouts. 2. Different calculation of drop out rate vary in amount of time a student can miss before there are considered to be a drop out 3. A “[v]ariation in the length of the accounting period during which dropout is calculated.” 4. The exclusion of student, like those receiving special education, from the drop out calculation 5. And finally there is dramatic variation in defining what counts as being enrolled. Certain, “calculations include students enrolled in GED programs, night school, or alternative programs, and some only include those enrolled in traditional days schools.”95 As Camila A. Lehr and research partners have argued, the problems are not isolated to definitional issues. Communication issues, as well as simple clerical ones, make it very difficult to ascertain true dropout statistics as well: The lack of effective communication and tracking procedures between 95 C. A. Lehr, D. R. Johnson, C. D. Bremer, A. Cosio, and M. Thompson, Essential tools: Increasing rates of school completion: Moving from policy and research to practice (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration, National Center on Secondary Education and Transition, 2004), 9. accessed December 13, 2017, http://www.ncset.org/publications/essentialtools/dropout/dropout.pdf 40 public and private schools, and within school districts and across districts, leads to misidentification and inaccurate calculations. For students with emotional/behavioral disabilities who change schools often, accurate documentation of exit and entrance into schools over time may be especially challenging.96 While the national average of high school completion rates of American-Americans may have been on the rise during the Reagan Administration, a number of factors complicated the legitimacy of that statistic. Whether it was specific groups or regions that did not align with the national average or the questioning the legitimacy of the calculation of national averages, the dropout rates nationally among African-Americans were not indicative of the school environment they were experiencing and the many ways in which they were being “pushed out” of education by Reagan’s policies. Changes to school discipline and behavior management were perhaps the most significant change that took place in the school during the Reagan Administration. Dubbed the Age of Zero tolerance, in the 1980s schools moved away from the rehabilitative model of the previous generation to a stricter and more punitive model.97 These changes in punishment became known as the pushout phenomenon, where harsher punishment for behavioral issues, that used to be dealt with by counsellors and school psychologists, were now being dealt with by suspension. In urban areas this was seen, “as a means of encouraging certain 96 Ibid 9. 97 Russell J. Skiba et al., “African American disproportionality in school discipline: The divide between best evidence and legal remedy." NYL Sch. L. Rev. 54 (2009): , accessed December 13, 2017, http://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/nyls54&div=54&g_sent=1&casa_token=&collection=journals 41 students to drop out of school.”98 These policies had a much larger impact on African-American students. During this period, the number of African-American students in the “general student population” who were suspended more than doubled.99 An additional result of underfunding was students who at one point would have received counselling for “under-achieving” or behavior issues were being labeled as mentally challenged. Nationwide, African-American students were/are three times as likely to be labeled as mentally disabled.100 And among students labeled as having disabilities, African-Americans students were three times more likely than White students to be suspended during the Age of Zero Tolerance.101 This rise in school suspension (from 1.7 million a year in 1974 to over 3 million annually in 1997) had a number of adverse effects on African-American students. Increased time spent out of school meant a loss of academic work and did nothing to help close the achievement gap.102 Not only did it affect academic achievement but also, “[s]tudies have shown that a child who has been suspended is more likely to be retained in grade, to drop out, to commit a crime, and/or to end up incarcerated as an adult. Indeed, many schools are further expediting the flow of 98 Ibid 1077. 99 Johanna Wald and Daniel J. Losen, “Defining and redirecting a school-to-prison pipeline," New Directions for Student Leadership, no. 99 (2003): 3, accessed December 13, 2017, https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/eb44/edc9e73139794847e33ac9f9a3c6953acc55.pdf 100 Ibid 2. 101 Ibid 3. 102 “Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline.” NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, accessed December 13, 2017, www.naacpldf.org/files/publications/Dismantling_the_School_to_Prison_Pipeline.pdf. also Mary Frances Berry, “Discipline in Michigan Public Schools and Government Enforcement of Equal Education Opportunity,” Michigan Advisory Committee to the US Commission on Civil Rights also Russell J. Skiba et al., “African American Disproportionality in School Discipline: The Divide Between Best Evidence and Legal Remedy” NYL Sch. L. Rev. 2009. 42 children out of the schools and into the criminal justice system by doling out a double dose of punishment for students who misbehave.”103 As lawyers at the NAACP have argued, The Age of Zero Tolerance was, in many ways, attributable to a lack of resources: In addition to impacting students’ behavior, the lack of sufficient resources in our schools also creates perverse incentives for school officials to remove children from school. Ironically, some of the hallmarks of modern education re- form—including demands for greater accountability, extensive testing regimes, and harsh sanctions imposed on schools and teachers—actually encourage schools to funnel out those students whom they believe are likely to drag down a school’s test scores. Rather than address the systemic problems that lead to poor educational performance, harsh discipline policies provide schools with a convenient method to remove certain students and thereby mask educational deficiencies. Second, the overuse of suspensions, expulsions and arrests is itself a reflection of this lack of resources. Many well-intentioned educators want to help troubled students. Yet, due to a lack of guidance counsellors and useful intervention programs, they feel that they have no alternatives at their disposal.104 This reduction in funding and as a result in resources was in large part due to Reagan era policies like the ECIA and A Nation at Risk and its effects were made clear by this newfound inability or unwillingness to deal with behavioral issues. What is more, over this time period, educational expenditures in states such as Michigan were on the decline as a result of the loss of federal subsidies, and as a result staff numbers sharply declined and only partially recovered:105 “Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline.” NAACP Legal Defe nse and Educational Fund, accessed December 13, 2017, www.naacpldf.org/files/publications/Dismantling_the_School_to_Prison_Pipeline.pdf. also Mary Frances Berry, “Discipline i 43 This was a period of educational chaos. Funding was taken away, standards were raised, and the easier route for teachers whose schools were being depleted of staff was to punish students who were not performing which in many cases were African-Americans students. Whether the result was dropping out or not is relatively unimportant; school was alienating African-American teenagers in the 1980s. They were being pushed out of education, and given the economic climate of the time not having a high school education was devastating: When a young person drops out of school, judgments are often made as to his or her moral character and potential for success in later life. Those messages are powerful, and they may intensify already existing negative patterns of behavior and self-perception. In addition, in the labour market that demands increasing levels of education and skills to cope with contemporary technology, the economic impact of school “leavers” maybe Figure 8: Michigan High School Staff Numbers (1980-1987) 44 to vast to ignore.106 d. Reaganomics The term Reaganomics is infamous. It has come to have many well-deserved negative connotations. While in a paper about education, it may seem that a discussion of economics is out of place, I argue it is necessary component, coupled with education, in explaining the climate of the 1980s and the effects of the War on Drugs. In his own words, Reagan’s economic program was: …based on the fundamental precept that government must respect, protect, and enhance the freedom and integrity of the individual. Economic policy must seek to create a climate that encourages the development of private institutions conducive to individual responsibility and initiative. ...My program- a careful combination of reducing incentive-stifling taxes, slowing the growth of federal spending and regulations, and a gradual slowing of the expansion of the money supply-seeks to create a new environment in which the strengths of America can be put to work for the benefit of us all.107 This program subtly, or perhaps not so subtly, meant an era of deregulation. Much like it did when it came to education, the federal government, under Reagan, was going to retreat as much as possible. Tax reforms are a very telling indicator of the reality of his economic programs. Two “remarkable fiscal facts,” indicate the changes of this time. First, the top marginal tax rate for income tax was reduced from 70 per cent to 28 per cent; n Michigan Public Schools and Government Enforcement of Equal Education Opportunity,” Michigan Advisory Committee to the US Commission on Civil Rights also Russell J. Skiba et al., “African American Disproportionality in School Discipline: The Divide Between Best Evidence and Legal Remedy” NYL Sch. L. Rev. 2009. omy: The successes, failures, and unfinished agenda (ICS Press, 1987), 51-52. 45 and, second, the national debt more than doubled during the Reagan administration.108 Reagan vowed that he would balance the budget because the tax cuts he had instituted would stimulate the economy (this would come to be known as trickle-down economics). However, experts such as Wassily Leontief, a Nobel Prize winning economist, were quoted as saying, “[t]his is not likely to happen. In fact, I personally guarantee that it will not happen.”109 Income tax was not the only tax that became dramatically less progressive under Reaganomics: … the Social Security tax became more regressive. That is, more and more was deducted from the salary checks of the poor and middle classes, but when salaries reached $42,000 no more was deducted. By the early 1990s, a middle-income family earning $37,800 a year paid 7.65 percent of its income in Social Security taxes. A family earning ten times as much, $378,000 paid 1.46 percent of its income in Social Security taxes.110 Like so many of the policies that have already been discussed, these economic reforms disproportionally affected African-Americans. By the end of the 1980s one third of African-Americans lived below the poverty line, and young African-Americans were unemployed at a rate of 30 to 40 per cent.111 Nationally, and across the entire population of working age African-Americans, the unemployment rate spiked at over 20 per cent in the early 1980s and remained relatively high until the end of the decade:112 108 Ibid 50. 109 A Peoples History of the United States, 540. 110 Ibid 543-544. 111 Ibid 544-545. 112 “Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, accessed December 13, 2017, data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000006. 46 The unemployment rate increased in dense urban areas. In the early 1980s Detroit had the highest African-American unemployment rate in the country.113 This rate decreased as one started to move away from central Detroit into the suburbs—and so did the African-American population.114 By 1990, African-Americans in large cities such as Detroit or Chicago were significantly more likely than non-Hispanic Whites to be unemployed, with the unemployment gap between the two groups widening to 14 per cent by 1990.115 The policies of the Reagan administration had a dramatic effect on two entangled arenas of life, education and the economy. The ECIA cut federal funding to under-privileged children and began a philosophical shift away from education for social mobility. A Nation at Risk reaffirmed this shift, inundating education with neo- 113 A Peoples History of the United States, 544. 114 Ted Mouw, “Job relocation and the racial gap in unemployment in Detroit and Chicago, 1980 to 1990,” American Sociological Review, (2000): 730, accessed December 13, 2017, http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/2657544.pdf 115 Ibid 750. Figure 9: African American Unemployment Rate (1972-2000) 47 liberal ideas of only caring about results and fostering competition at the expense of people. As a result of these policies, the pushout phenomenon took hold as African-American students were given up on. This mentality coupled with the declining economy of the 1980s resulted in a huge number of unemployed African-American men (men and women but for our purposes I will focus on men), unable to be a part of the traditional economy. As a result, it should not be a surprise to find that the underground economy began to grow in the 1980s. This would be the environment in which Reagan could enact his War on Drugs; or, as Kenneth Nunn calls it, his War on Blacks.116 V. The Era of Mass Incarceration While this is the final section of our story, it is important to note that this era runs concurrently with the educational policies that Reagan instituted. What I have attempted to do up this point, is to show how a new demographic was being created in the US in the 1980s, at the same time that a very new kind of crime policy was being created. The group that emerged throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s was a large group of African-American men who received low quality and/or minimal education, in a time of economic recession. This is not to say these elements on their own had not existed before, but all of these factors had not occurred at the same time before. It was a “perfect storm” if you will: low-income African-American 116 Kenneth B. Nunn, “Race, crime and the pool of surplus criminality: Or why ‘The War on Drugs’ was a ‘War on Blacks’,” J. Gender Race & Just. 6, (2002): accessed December 13, 2017, http://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/jgrj6&div=19&g_sent=1&casa_token=FgXM3xBfAKcAAAAA:BYPx-hhvdITfAbtrE9sGr1X_VVwOxhmpFmBLESS_m4Dedhb_dxnc0NlU6nTRqd5GQ-mKvHAk&collection=journals 48 men were being pushed out of schools, at a time of great recession with little to no job opportunities, while at the same time predatory racist policy was being enacted to incarcerate that exact demographic. The era of Mass Incarceration can be applied to the last, almost forty years of US history. Over that period the prison population in the country has risen from roughly 300,000 to somewhere between 1.5 and 2 million.117 While this fact on its own is overwhelming and upsetting, it only furthers those emotions when you realize the racial dimension. As Michelle Alexander states, “[n]o other country in the world imprisons so many of its racial or ethnic minorities. The United States imprisons a larger percentage of its black population than South Africa did at the height of apartheid.”118 The numbers are staggering and I will return to them later, but what is crucial, is understanding the policies that were put in place that made this happen— Reagan’s War on Drugs and Clinton’s War on Crime—and the reasons that African-Americans fell victim to these predatory policies. a. The War on Drugs: a War on Blacks The defunding of education and the devaluing of educating low-income African-American students during the Reagan Administration could simply be seen as an expression of the president’s deep belief that education is purely a state issue, and that his decisions possessed no racial element. This era and those educational, 117 Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (New Press, 2012), 6. 118 Ibid 6. 49 drug, and crime policies, between the start of Reagan’s presidency and the end of Clinton’s, was one of deepening institutionalized government sanctioned racism.119 If the War on Drugs is thought of as just that, a war, then it becomes much easier to understand the racial nature of it. As Nunn so poignantly stated: “[T]he War on Drugs should be understood as a special case of what war has always been-the employment of force and violence against certain communities, and/or their institutions, in order to attain certain political objectives. Race has played an important role over the years in identifying the communities that became the targets of the drug war, consequently exposing their cultural practices and institutions to military-style attack and police control.”120 When Reagan declared his War on Drugs, usage rates of recreational drugs in the US were actually in decline.121 This fact lends credence to the belief that the target of this war was never truly drugs. While there are many other events or decisions that reveal the racial nature of this war, four significant ones that spanned the 1980s and 1900s are particularly telling. The first actually took place in 1968 with the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Terry v. Ohio. In Terry, the court established what has come to be known as the stop-and-frisk rule, essentially saying that, “so long as a police officer has ‘reasonable articulable suspicion’ that someone is engaged in criminal activity and dangerous, it is constitutionally permissible to stop, questions, and frisk him or her—even in the absence of probable cause.”122 This would establish a precedent that would be the basis for policies and decisions during the 1980s, the Supreme Court, “had begun its slide down a very slippery 119 See Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (New Press, 2012). 120 “Race, Crime and the Pool of Surplus Criminality” 386. 121 The New Jim Crow, 5. and “Race, Crime and the Pool of Surplus Criminality” 389. 122 The New Jim Crow, 62. 50 slope,” of facilitating the violation of the fourth amendment.123 Second, Operation Pipeline was “administered by over three hundred state and local law enforcement agencies.”124 What this operation allowed was for law enforcement officers to use pre-textual traffic stops to search motorists and their vehicles. Officers learned how to, “lengthen a routine traffic stop…obtain consent from reluctant motorists, and how to use drug-sniffing dogs to obtain probable cause.”125 As Ricardo Bascuas, a law professor at the University of Miami, noted, “Operation Pipeline is exactly what the Framers [of the constitution] meant to prohibit: a federally-run general search program that targets people without cause for suspicion, particularly those who belong to disfavored groups.”126 Third, was the Whren v. The United States decision, in which the Supreme Court decided that a law enforcement officer’s “subjective motivations for a stop were irrelevant to Fourth Amendment Analysis.”127 In laymen’s terms, the Whren decision meant that as long as an officer could provide an “objective” reason for an arrest, it did not matter if the real reason for the stop was racist.128 The final decision is Illinois v. Wardlow. It had to do with running from police. A middle-aged African-American man ran from a police caravan and was then detained and searched as a result of his flight. The court deemed this to be acceptable essentially establishing, “a per se rule that flight equals reasonable 123 Ibid 63. 124 Ibid 69. 125 Ibid 69. 126 Ibid 69-70. 127 “Race, Crime and the Pool of Surplus Criminality” 403. 128 Ibid 403-404. 51 suspicion.”129 In the view of the court and the majority, African-Americans had no reason to fear police officers and therefore no reason to run.130 Throughout the end of the twentieth century the courts took every opportunity to “eviscerate” the fourth amendment in an effort to facilitate the War on Drugs.131 So much so that during this period there was believed to be a “drug exception” in the Bill or Rights.132 These three points are meant to offer a limited idea of the ways in which the government was facilitating the harassment and arrest of minorities, regardless of guilt or innocence. Policies were enacted, and decision were made, so that when drug related crime did begin to rise police officers were already “hunting” in African-American neighborhoods. It was not until 1985 the crack epidemic really started.133 And drug related crimes did not rise by choice. That is to say, the sale of drugs was a last resort for much of the African-American population that engaged in it. The sharp decline of legitimate job opportunities in cities increased the motivation to sell drugs, as a means of survival.134 Whereas in the 1970s upwards of 70 per cent of African-Americans living in large urban areas held industrial blue-collar jobs, by 1987 that number had dropped to 28 per cent.135 African-Americans were isolated in neighborhoods with low-quality and poorly resourced education—as I have shown— and no job opportunities and suddenly a way to make money arose. As Michelle Alexander puts it, “[j]oblessness and crack swept inner cities precisely at 129 Ibid 403. 130 Ibid 403. 131 The New Jim Crow, 60. 132 Ibid 60. 133 Ibid 50. 134 Ibid 50. 135 Ibid 50. 52 the moment that a fierce backlash against the Civil Rights Movement was manifesting itself through the War on Drugs.”136 Scholars such as Western and Petit, Freeman, and Duster, all reaffirm Alexander’s conclusion that as a result of declining job opportunities African-American men had to turn to an underground economy to survive.137 While Mass Incarceration has had profound consequences for all African-Americans, it has been felt most acutely by the population that I have attempted to trace throughout this paper: urban, poor, African-American men. As James Forman states, “[it does not] make sense to talk about…concepts such as ‘how the criminal justice system harms black people.’ We must identify which portions of the black community we are talking about[.]”138 The African-American prison population over this time period was primarily male, and it also consisted of the least educated and least wealthy section of the African-American community.139 By 1999, among African-American men, 60 per cent of those who had dropped out of high school had been incarcerated.140 Those who fell victim to the predatory policies of the War on Drugs were overwhelmingly African-American and overwhelmingly without a high school education. 136 Ibid 51. 137 Becky Pettit and Bruce Western, “Mass imprisonment and the life course: Race and the class inequality in US incarceration,” American Sociological Review 69, no. 2 (2004): accessed December 12, 2017, http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/000312240406900201 138 James Forman Jr., “The black poor, black elites, and America’s prisons,” Cardoza Law Review 32, (2010): 794, accessed December 13, 2017, heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/cdozo32&div=25&g_sent=1&casa_token=&collection=journals. 139 Ibid 794. 140 “Mass Imprisonment and the life course” 151. 53 b. The War on Crime: Reaffirming the War on Blacks The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 was the second significant piece of legislation that reaffirmed and continued the Reagan era War on Blacks.141 The Crime Bill, as it is popularly known, greatly expanded prisons and law enforcement. As Alexander states it, “created dozens of new federal capital crimes, mandated life sentences for some three-time offenders, and authorize more than $16 billion for state prison grants and expansion of state and local police forces.”142 As a result of this bill, the US saw the largest increase in both state and federal prison inmates in its history. Similar to those incarcerated during the Reagan era, those incarcerated in the Clinton era were overwhelmingly African-American and had very low levels of education.143 To give an example of the racialized nature of the Crime Bill: Despite the pronounced racial disparities in the infliction of the death penalty in both state and federal capital cases, Congress refused to include the Racial Justice Act as part of the crime bill. The Racial Justice Act was a fairly modest proposal that would have at least required courts to have hearings on racial disparities in the inflection of the death penalty and look behind the disparities to determine whether they are related to race or some other factor.144 The Racial Justice Act was not needed or wanted because the bill was created with the intention of targeting race. Just like the War on Drugs policies, or the ECIA, the 141 Darren Wheelock and Douglas Hamilton, “Midnight basketball and the 1994 crime bill debates: the operation of a racial code," The Sociological Quarterly 48, no. 2 (2007): 316, accessed December 13, 2017, http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/40220101.pdf 142 The New Jim Crow 55, and Stephen B. Bright, “The Politics of Crime and the Death Penalty: Not Soft on Crime, but Hard on the Bill of Rights," Louis ULJ 39 (1994): 479, accessed December 6, 2017, http://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/stlulj39&div=24&g_sent=1&casa_token=azfCYXGETDgAAAAA:AXoW62QN2499CCuUo8YvN_Bmy4mEvLgH54z-ADatKyaenBLIlEGxx9-DheGjROLqGWvUf13B&collection=journals 143 The New Jim Crow, 56. 144“ The Politics of Crime and the Death Penalty,” 481 54 Crime Bill was enacted without African-Americans’ wellbeing in mind. The bills were enacted with the purpose of re-establishing a racial hierarchy that the Civil Rights Movement had threatened. Crime and drug polices were enacted and court decisions were made that allowed law enforcement to ignore the Bill of Rights. Educational policies were enacted that cut funding and pushed African-American teens out of school. In a time of economic recession where jobs were limited, especially without a high school diploma, this particular section of the African-American population had to satisfy their most basic Maslovian needs. Unable to be a part of the “above ground” economy they turned to the “underground” economy. VI. Conclusion Throughout this paper, I have covered a number of practices, policies, and decisions—each with a profound impact on segregation, housing, education, and the criminal justice system. I began with an examination of the practice of Redlining and Restrictive covenants. These two practices effectively continued racial segregation in the post Jim Crow world by isolating African-Americans to particular neighborhoods. This era ended, at least superficially however, with the beginning of the Civil Rights movement. In 1954, the Brown decision was announced, desegregating schools and overturning the Plessy decision, while emphatically stating that separate was not equal. This period was capped off with the greatest achievement of the Civil Rights Movement, the signing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964. While segregation was now illegal, the Civil Rights Act made it clear that when it came to education, segregation being illegal did not mean proactive desegregation 55 efforts were mandatory. Even though schools remained segregated in reality, the Great Society Programs of Lyndon B. Johnson attempted to close the education gap among races. Whether it was due to the realization that true desegregation would be very difficult or not, Johnson decided that compensatory education for low-income and underprivileged students was one solution to the achievement gap between African-American and White students. To accomplish this he signed the ESEA in 1965. It provided funding for many aspects of education, including library funding and school lunches. But perhaps most significantly, it supplied funding to establish programs designed to help minority students. I focused on two of these, one in Detroit and one in New York City. Both programs, the AIR Study demonstrated, generated improvement in their participants. What these various programs did was not only focus on academic achievement, but also social-emotional well being, allowing children access to counsellors and psychologists. The understanding was that behavioural or academic issues were a result of some external force and were not innate to race. As a result of this more holistic approach to education, minority students began to excel academically but also reported a most positive attitude towards school. This push towards educational equality in the wake of the Civil Rights Act was short-lived, however. President Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, running on a tax-cutting federalist platform. He wanted to withdraw federal responsibility and give states more power. In the realm of education this took the form of the ECIA. The Act cut funding that had been given by the ESEA, as well as general federal education 56 funding. This was followed up by the A Nation at Risk report, which demonstrated a shift in the aims of education in the US. As a result of funding cuts, staff and counselors in schools in large cities like Detroit were let go. Behavioral and academic issues that had once been attributed to difficulties outside of school were now ignored, and those students were isolated, suspended, or thery dropped out. Concurrently, Reagan put into place dramatic tax reform, which put the US into a recession. The unemployment rate rose, especially among urban African-Americans. As this new demographic of unemployed and poorly educated African-Americans emerged, Reagan put into place his War on Drugs policies. These policies in the 1980s coupled with Bill Clinton’s Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 led to, what is now known as, the era of Mass Incarceration. Huge numbers of African-American men, the majority of whom did not have a high school diploma, were arrested, primarily for drug offenses.145 African-American men without a high school diploma could not get a job in the inner city, and to survive had to turn to crime. Turning to crime was not a choice, but a necessity after being rejected from the “above ground” economy. The demographic that fell victim to the predatory policies of the War on Drugs and War on Crime was the same demographic that was affected by Reagan’s educational funding cuts. Low-income, inner city African-Americans relied heavily on the funding their schools received under of the ESEA. That Act and the programs it funded were predicated on the acceptance that the achievement gap between the races was by no means biological or genetic; it was the product of environment. The 145 The New Jim Crow, 7. 57 genuine belief in the ability of all students, and the money to do something about it, was a new phenomenon and one that had a profoundly positive impact in low-income and minority neighborhoods. In the same way that believing in those students affected them positively, not believing in them affected them negatively. In the 1980s, African-American students in low-income areas, and in under-resourced school who were not achieving what the federal government believed they should, were abandoned and alienated. It was this group, “the poorest and least educated[,]” African-Americans who were incarcerated at an unprecedented and nearly unfathomable rate.146 It was here that the schools to prison pipeline opened up. 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