Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Morning Retch: Administration hides its own scientific findings

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According to the New York Times this morning, Lawrence A. Greenfeld practiced sound science in Bush's Justice Department and lost his job. His offense? He wanted to include in a news release a finding that African Americans and Latinos stopped by the police were significantly more likely to be searched and have force used against them than whites.

The April study by the Justice Department, based on interviews with 80,000 people in 2002, found that white, black and Hispanic drivers nationwide were stopped by the police that year at about the same rate, roughly 9 percent. . . .

Once they were stopped, Hispanic drivers were searched or had their vehicles searched by the police 11.4 percent of the time and blacks 10.2 percent of the time, compared with 3.5 percent for white drivers. Blacks and Hispanics were also subjected to force or the threat of force more often than whites, and the police were much more likely to issue tickets to Hispanics rather than simply giving them a warning, the study found.

There's no surprise in the findings to anyone who lives in a multi-race US city, but the study provides hard evidence that supports legislation such as that promised by Rep. John Conyers Jr. to ban the use of racial or ethnic police profiling.

Apparently some higher ups in the Justice Department didn't want the public to see that evidence, so the study was simply placed online without an announcement amid what statisticians call "an avalanche of studies issued by the government." Greenfield was threatened with dismissal after 23 years of service but now has been shipped off to work in the Bureau of Prisons.

Meanwhile, Bruce Fuller, a professor of education at UC Berkeley, recounts in the Los Angeles Times that Bush's National Literacy Panel developed hard evidence that, lo and behold, bilingual education was helping kids acquire language skills. So the Education Department is stonewalling on releasing the report. Fuller asks:

Why would the administration sideline its own report? It's possible that the bilingual education results weren't what it wanted to hear. "English only" is a rallying cry in the culture wars, and evidence that works against it also works against such Bush allies as English First, which has led the charge against bilingual education.

When the facts don't serve your political agenda, better hide those facts.

1 comment:

Linkmeister said...

And promotes the woman who nixed them. From the article: "Ms. Henke, who was nominated by Mr. Bush last month to a senior position at the Department of Homeland Security..."

I feel so much safer knowing that a political hack who avoids reality will be at DHS.

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