This week I consider damning testimony provided me from a teacher friend at a local public school. I do not have extensive experience with public schools myself, but my wife and I researched as our kids reached school age and progressed through high school. We have been very selective because we believe our public education system is failing, and we don’t want to be caught up in that failing system. Nevertheless, I still hear many say it is possible to get a good education in public school, especially for kids motivated to take honors and AP courses; they can and often still do well. It makes me wonder sometimes if public education is not as bad as I think. There are bright spots for sure, but when we look at the overall package, we still see a massive failure.
The reality of failure seems clear to us, but the reason exactly why it has failed always has been a source of wonder for me. In talking with teacher friends, I get a sense now that a major trouble spot are administrators out-of-touch with the kids; they don’t realize their good intentioned measures are failing. Here is a teacher friend’s basic assessment:
We are failing our kids by not demanding more of them. The solutions are pretty simple, but the longer we delay the harder it will be to change. The rot has set in.
This is parallels with my own day-to-day work as an IT manager. Administrators (executives, in our case) all over continue to lower expectations and think that kids (or parents or colleagues) will somehow do better as the pressure is lowered and they provide a more inclusive, equitable, and loving environment. Is this a reasonable expectation given our human nature? It is a nice thought, but it is not reasonable in the least. Still, that doesn’t stop folks from believing this flawed principle taught to them by other failing schools. As a manager, I expect people on our team to do well and I recognize that most want to do well and be part of a successful organization, especially if challenged by me and the organization. If we lower the standards, they may not speak up because they don’t want to damage their ability to draw a paycheck, but generally they would much rather be part of a successful and high achieving team.
Of course, it is always easy to shift the blame. Administrators blame teachers and teachers blame administrators while parents and students blame one or the other or their local politician. Should we be skeptical of teachers blaming administrators and not looking inward for solutions? Sure, we should be skeptical of such dogmatic proclamations, but I know also my friend’s words ring true and are consistent with results I have heard and seen elsewhere while raising our kids.
The simple formula of lowering expectations is an easy one to implement but not such a good one for the kids supposed to be helped by it. It doesn’t have a good genesis either. Sherlock Holmes, Mr. Spock, or any mathematician or logical thinker will tell us it is logical that our schools fail when we don’t demand more of the kids. You demand less, you get less. It is purely deductive logic, a 100% certainty (the wonderful thing about objective pursuits like logic and mathematics is that you can be absolutely certain in your conclusions). Most kids love Christmas and will take such presents whenever offered. The kids enjoy the short-term benefits without seeing the longer term detriment to their futures. Most are not mature enough to realize the difference, and unless pushed by a parent or a teacher, are unlikely to resist the temptation. My teacher friend put it this way:
The psychology is clear: If you raise expectations, people will rise to meet those expectations. Well, for years, with good intentions (and you know where those lead), we have systematically lowered expectations. And the children, not stupid, have realized this and most of them are meeting us at the bottom. In some of my classes, I will take up work and only three or four kids out of 30 will have bothered to do it. The work will trickle in over the next few days, but with still only about half of the kids turning in anything. And for the past two years now, we’ve been discouraged from taking off points from late work.
My teacher friend also mentioned a new measure implemented by his district: to make the lowest possible grade a fifty. Do nothing and you are guaranteed a fifty. How do you suppose that is interpreted by kids who may be looking to avoid work and are smart enough to figure this easy way out? If you have a decent homework grade, you can skip a few homework sessions and still afford the fifty. What a great way for improving our kids’ work ethic, don’t you think? My friend added the following regarding this policy:
I would emphasize that these bad ideas begin at the central office among career administrators many of whom probably never taught. Then the ideas are either enthusiastically pushed by admin, or pushed reluctantly, depending on their level of common sense. Either way, they get pushed. And then teachers are expected to implement the ideas. Some things we’re able to ignore. What I call “50 is the new 0” was successfully ignored some years back, but I think that was an exception.
If you haven’t seen anything different (a better system, perhaps?), maybe you don’t realize what is wrong. But I have seen the differences myself, and having seen these differences, it is very easy to spot (and avoid) the problem in the public schools. I see a massive difference between my kids’ charter school (as well as private schools we have attended or others we know have attended) and the regular public schools their friends attend. I honestly don’t know why more parents don’t try to avoid these problems. Maybe they don’t see the problems so clearly or don’t realize the alternatives are so much better.
Our kids each had ten years at private schools (two years of kindergarten and then eight more of elementary and middle) and now we have had three years at a public charter high school, a school ranked in the top twenty in our fairly populous state (North Carolina). We drive kids to the school daily, making the thirty minute commute instead of relying on the local school bus; it can be an inconvenience, especially when also making the commute for sports or other after-school activities, but the cost to my wife and me is far less than the cost of our kids receiving a lesser education. Overall, it is a small sacrifice well worth the benefit our kids receive.
When our kids were younger and in private school, we skipped a few vacations and other niceties, so our kids could attend the better school (and we got a religious education as well). When we see the results with our kids, again it was well worth the sacrifice made. In all those years, the kids did things they never realized they could, and amazingly these things were never beyond their reach (they just seemed beyond their reach at first).
Ten years later, we worried about the current charter school; it is technically a public school and we still have our biases against public schools. Anyone can apply, so there was a chance we would get the same ordinary batch of kids of any other public school. We got in via a lottery coupled with our patience, and the results (i.e. our kids performance and development) speak for themselves.
We couldn’t be happier to have found yet another oasis in the sea of failing schools. Our school doesn’t have just 10% of the kids turning in work on time or 50% that don’t bother to turn in work at all. Either situation would be a massive scandal at our school. We don’t have a large percentage of kids failing classes or kids who are being protected from failing. We don’t have the large scale discipline problems: drugs, fighting, guns, skipping school, or any of the rest. We don’t have the lack of respect for teachers. We don’t have kids who believe they are “furries” first instead of students (at least not at the school itself) https://jezebel.com/we-salute-the-teen-furries-taking-over-this-kentucky-hi-1847565515. We have hardly any of the multitude of problems that plague so many public schools.
Our school takes any kid who applies and sets high expectations. That clearly works. Our school’s philosophy is as follows:
A regional school that provides a rigorous, college preparatory curriculum for students in grades 6 – 12. While developing strong character, students engage in highly challenging courses that will require them to work diligently in and out of the classroom. A high caliber teaching staff prepares a rigorous curriculum to prepare students for post-secondary opportunities.
Students in the Senior High enjoy a great deal of freedom because of what the staff has come to expect. The skills and behaviors that have been cultivated and reinforced through the previous years should now be second nature. The level of student accountability has increased and as such students are able to manage small windows of their own time. Students understand that they are responsible for their education as well as their behavior. The schedule at this level may include a period for students that is an open, unmanaged time or they may be taking an on-line college course. The goal is for students to learn to take advantage of these times just like they will be required to do in college and in life beyond. Course schedules at this level depend on the student’s needs as it relates to their individualized graduation plan.
Compare this to the vision and mission statements of some of the other local schools:
A student centered environment with a focus on sustainable development through the scopes of environment, economy, equality, health and well-being. Learners will be compassionate leaders able to promote prosperity while protecting resources.
ENGAGING STUDENTS TODAY THROUGH INDIVIDUALIZED EDUCATION TO EMPOWER THEM FOR TOMORROW.
Mission Statement: To ignite a passion for learning, and to inspire our students to become enthusiastic learners and participants in their education.
Vision: To have high expectations to create critical thinkers, life long learners, and productive citizens.
For several of the local schools, I couldn’t even find a vision or mission statement as robust as these, just catchy mottos that I’m sure most kids probably are not aware of, or if they are aware, don’t care about. I think our charter school’s mission and vision is stronger than of any of the other public schools, but of course, statements like the above are all basically good. The problem is these statements don’t matter if you are not committed to them and don’t follow through on them. Kids know when you mean your words and when you don’t. Our kids know they are in a tougher environment than other kids, but they still don’t want to switch to the easier environment. Why not, do you think?
Kids certainly need a push to do well, and without that push many won’t achieve all they are capable of. The public schools like promoting their kids that do well, but it certainly appears they are afraid to push most kids too hard for fear of upsetting parents or community leaders. A few of the kids do well organically because they are self-motivated or pushed by adult mentors. The schools all highlight their successful programs as well as students that achieve well, but on their promotional web pages, the ones that supposedly attract kids to their school, they don’t challenge the kids in general, not like they do at our school. It seems they don’t care or they do care but are afraid to say they do. The charter school cares and endeavors to create a unique and challenging environment; it would fail to attract the kids it has without that challenging environment.
Higher expectations are certainly the biggest difference between what we have at our charter school and what my teacher friend tells me about his school. Our school presents the high expectations right up front. It turns off many parents and kids for sure, so we don’t get those not seeking a good education. That’s fine. Many other parents may simply not be aware of the differences. Most importantly, however, our school follows through on those high expectations and flushes out the kids who don’t want to or can’t do well. That aspect is not widely advertised by the school, but from what I can ascertain that’s a fairly small number of kids, in any case. Most of the less serious students who do realize the high expectations are for real, figure it out in the first few weeks of school and look for an easier school instead. The rest adapt and do well.
Parents That Care
A second reason our charter school is better is because the overwhelming majority of the parents at our school care about their kids’ educations. After all the years our kids attended private school, that’s the other clear difference we noted between our schools and the public schools we avoided. I don’t mean to disparage parents at public schools. Without a doubt, both private and public schools have many parents that care. In fact, public schools, I am 100% certain, have a rather large and significant number of parents who care, but the public schools also have many parents who don’t care, and that is the big problem. The private schools (and, I think, the charter schools, as well) have far fewer non-caring parents; the non-caring parents are a very significant minority, if there are any at all. Most private school (and charter school) parents are making a sacrifice of some sort, and so they are invested in their kid’s education.
The regular public schools run into trouble because too many parents accept the current paradigm or too many parents know no other paradigm, along with parents who will either do anything but blame their own kids for not trying or not performing or simply don’t care if their kids succeed or fail at academics (maybe because they didn’t do well themselves). All these non-caring or uninformed parents and the administrators who cater to them wind up overwhelming the rest of the parents (and teachers and administrators and others) who care about academics.
I am not saying charter schools and private schools are all good and public schools are all bad. The formula is not quite that simple. I am only saying that in our experience, the local private and charter schools are far better than the comparable local public schools– they are far better in a large part because the schools we have attended demand more than the schools we have avoided. My teacher friend echoes my concerns about parents:
You’re exactly right about how many public school parents do not care. The only way to get their attention is to confiscate a cell phone. A kid could have eight zeros and they don’t care, but take a phone and you’ll get a reaction.
Another teacher friend added the following regarding parents:
The only other thing I see is parents wanting to be friends with their children and not raising them with rules, morals and right vs wrong. A lot of parents I deal with make excuses for their kids when in fact the kids didn’t tell the truth.
The low expectations from administrators and parents are the essence of the public school problem in my estimation. When more parents care or are more involved with their kids academic performance, more administrators will care as well. Caring parents seek out schools that demand more of their kids; those schools that attract those kids demand more because it is what the overwhelming majority of parents want. Parents who don’t care take whatever option is most convenient to them, and administrators cater to those parents’ non-academic concerns; it just makes life easier. You get what you ask for often times, even when you don’t realize it’s what you are asking for.
Simple solutions often overlook important factors, but in this analysis, the remedy really is this simple. Demand more. Set high expectations. Do not settle for less. Ignore, marginalize, or leave behind the parents who don’t care. Human nature demands this solution.
Wait a Minute: What About Race?
All this discussion brings us to the real reason behind all this: equity, which leads directly to racism, the lazy man’s analysis of all problems for whatever ails our country these days.
Many administrators may not realize the problem of low expectations, but I am sure many probably do. I imagine many administrators are afraid to raise expectations because they are afraid of the blowback from those comfortable with the current paradigm. Of course, race is the factor inevitably raised when you question the current paradigm or attempt to change anything. Race is the answer to every problem we face today and “racist” is the one label everyone wants to avoid. If kids of one race do more poorly, the policy or the school or the administrator or the local politicians must be racist (how could it possibly be anything else?) and being labeled racist is as bad as it can possibly get, whether it is actually true or not. The label must be avoided at all cost. In addition, it turns out to be really good for your reputation when you avoid this label; don’t blame yourself or your silly policies, blame those evil systemic racists who lurk behind every tree instead.
Because it is so ubiquitous and such a pejorative term, administrators (and many others at the school) do everything they can to eliminate the perception of racism, whether those measures make sense or not. Some of the worst ideas are among the most widely supported as mentioned by my teacher friend:
Something I discovered only recently–is that the push to lower the number of discipline referrals was a national public school effort. It’s like the many DAs around the country who are declining to prosecute even armed robberies. In the name of equity.
The primary goal, after all, is to avoid being lumped in with those awful systemic racists who are all around us and seek to undermine anything and everything with their single-minded evil racist intent. So, very odd solutions, solutions like “Fifty is the new zero” or reduced disciplinary measures for out-of-control kids are imposed. Of course, these measures eliminate the wrong things. Administrators, I am sure, often know these solutions are not the best, but they are so afraid of being labeled a racist, they impose them anyway.
Administrators, it appears, tend to focus on the factor which causes most kids to fail: bad grades, poor tests, poorly done projects, failed challenges, etc. Change how these metrics are measured or, better yet, eliminate the metrics altogether and you have fewer failing kids. Voila! Fewer failing kids means you’re doing better and your school or your school district is now considered a success, or at least on the road to Shangri-La! Life is good now! Most importantly, it means you’re not a racist after all–which perversely means you may actually be rewarded; you are now one of the good ones who stands out among our irremediably and systemically racist culture. Who knew?
All you need to is somehow, some way, any way at all, show equity among the races in your school or school district. Nothing could be better in the progressive handbook; you have just promoted the success of certain traditionally discriminated races, making you an anti-racist hero! You have reached the pinnacle of our great society! The long term results and negative effect on the kids you are responsible for no longer matter. You just want to show the results in the present and bask in the acclaim and an improved social status. Great job progressive hero.
How many among us can resist this temptation of such great, even if undeserved, accolades? It doesn’t matter how you achieve these results; it doesn’t matter if the kids are better served or not; it doesn’t matter if kids are actually improving their academic skills or not; it doesn’t matter if they are ready for what comes next as adults. What matters are your positive statistics. Your wonderful stats show better results among the races (exactly what they were manipulated to show), so things must be getting better now, and you, our new hero, have shown the rest of our ignorant, backward society how to solve racism. Hail to you, great anti-racist hero! It is a warped and odd paradigm, but it seems to be the one we are currently entangled in. God help us.
But, of course, the truth is, we do not help kids by ignoring their failures and focusing only on their positive accomplishments. We do not help kids by not disciplining them or telling them they are succeeding when indeed they are not. This is akin to eliminating points or times in sporting contests. Maybe it makes some sense to you that nobody will feel bad about losing because nobody actually loses when you remove these metrics. But then, who will care about sports after a while? What’s the point of a contest without scoring and winners and losers? What’s the point of a challenge if there is no chance, or perhaps a very limited chance, of failure? How does one feel good about one’s accomplishments in this instance? What accomplishments? This is the problem a nutshell. Demand less, get less.
Here is a short tutorial which explains why this supposed problem of racism is really just a false flag that is played all too often. fallacy-of-false-cause. So, it plays out this way instead: if there is no other explanation suitable to you, throw the race card and you will get plenty of support for your cause, even if you are totally wrong.
Below is more of my friend’s assessment of the administrator’s failed solutions. You may believe their solutions are good, especially if there numbers show how many more are passing now than before, more than ever before likely. But does that really mean anything when other results show how bad we are actually doing? Think about how they are manipulating the numbers and demand more from your school administrators.
I know some other teachers and I’d like to ask them if they see the same thing. I think they probably do based on prior conversations. The teachers generally see the problems clearly and the administrators don’t.
I’m sure a year of remote learning last school year only made things worse. It was bad for my kids as well at the end of the 2019-20 school year. Last school year was not too bad for us because our school made some good adjustments and were prepared for it. This year with in-school learning is definitely better still.
Here is a recent summation I made of the situation in our school district. I’ve learned recently that these trends are nation-wide. Essentially we are penalized for disciplining kids or for holding them accountable over grades. Kids who misbehave and don’t care are allowed to ruin school for the kids who behave and want to learn. They’re coddled and allowed to remain in the classroom even after violent outbursts that put teachers and other students at risk. Administrators try to bribe kids with candy or prizes or privileges. The result is that the worse a kid behaves, the better he is treated in the school and there is little time left over from adults in the building for kids who work hard and treat the people around them with respect.
I first became aware of this trend about ten years ago when the district began to discourage us from writing up students. They also began to focus on and keep records of how many minority students were being written up. The push came at the beginning of that school year and there was a big “attaboy” at the end of the year because, sure enough, under pressure, we had reduced the number of referrals. Of course, the bad behavior didn’t change; we were just documenting less of it.
Academics have been in decline for a long time, too, as we don’t hold kids back anymore. About seven years ago, I had a failing 6th grade kid come to me in April asking if there was anything he could do to pass. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that there was nothing he could do or fail to do that would affect whether or not he would be promoted. He was guaranteed to go on to the 7th grade. This all got markedly worse about four years ago when our superintendent at the time tried to institute a policy so that you could not give a child less than a fifty on any assignment whether they even turned anything in or not. There was enough resistance from teachers that this policy was allowed to mercifully die.
A previous policy (still in place) does not allow a child to receive less than a fifty as an average for the quarter. The rationale (which I kind of understand) is that if the child suddenly decides in the 4th quarter to care, then there’s a chance to pull up the average and pass.
But, now, what difference does it make if they technically “pass” or not? They will be promoted either way.
Last year, the district began a push to bring back fifty as the lowest possible grade you can give a kid on any assignment. But they were clever enough to do it under a new name. Instead of traditional grades, we are supposed to be transitioning to a 1 through 4 system, with a 4 equaling 100 and 1 (our lowest option) equaling a fifty. They’re calling this the “mastery” system, ironically enough. Full on Doublespeak.
I am sure many think my words or my friend’s words to be the real doublespeak. You can surely say our charter school or teachers like my friend who dare to raise such issues are probably racist; they think we don’t care about anything but racial superiority. Nevertheless, our school doesn’t follow any of these nonsensical rules because they don’t help; we still fail kids when they don’t do well; we don’t bribe the kids who do the worst (in order to get them to do better). We demand kids live up to their capabilities because that’s what the real world expects. Labeling us, the ones who have been more successful, the true racists is the easiest charge in the world to make. You need no proof; the claim in itself is enough to convince many around us. Furthermore, when you tear us down, you look better as a result. How nice is that? This is how the new progressive ideology works–and it does seem to work. It skews the true results and makes the silly iconoclastic anti-racist heroes look the best, whether what they do actually makes any logical sense or not.
But here is an important fact they would like to ignore: nobody is excluded from our charter school. You get in via a lottery. I thought at first it may not be the best way, but because it is the way, we can easily counter the racism argument. Anyone can get in and most that have the patience usually do. You don’t need a low lottery number. Our school gives everyone the same opportunity to attend, so how in the world do you get to race as a contributing factor to our “problems”? You get there the same phony way you get there for most other problems defined these days, but race is not the real issue. It’s a diversion, like claims of racism almost always are these days.
It is true some kids drop out of our school and some can’t take the pressure of higher expectations. So be it. They don’t drop out because of race, however. They drop out because parents realize their kids can’t keep up, so they send them somewhere else where expectations are not so high. That’s okay. Our school doesn’t need to be for everyone. That’s the problem with the public schools, in fact. They are afraid of any limitation which will exclude some students or lead some to failure. Why do we fear failure? Why do we always need that racial analysis? Why do we need to create racist bogey-men? You can quit our charter school and go somewhere else with lower standards and do better, maybe you can even be standout in a new and different environment. Nobody will really know or care that you left our school behind, not unless you tell your new friends about it all. We do the best for the kids that want to do well. That’s all okay.
I look at my own situation; I don’t feel badly because I didn’t graduate from Oxford, or an Ivy League school, or even Duke, Stanford, or one of the other top schools in the country. I did well at the schools I attended and I don’t feel badly about my education experiences. I worked hard and I think I learned a lot. What matters is what I did with the opportunities I had. Maybe I could have had a status symbol college degree, one I could brag about all of my life–or maybe I shouldn’t care so much about that. In fact, if I were a minority race, I would have had a better chance to get that status symbol. I don’t know how well I would have done in a more prestigious school, but it doesn’t matter at this point in my life. I know I didn’t do so well in some experiences (as I am sure we all did at some point in our lives), but, in the end, I think I learned from those mistakes, and I made the best of the other opportunities I had. Where you end up is what matters the most.
More on Low Expectations
What are the expectations and challenges posed to your kids by their schools? How are they doing with those expectations? Are those expectations pushing them to do better or can they do better with higher expectations?
I believe more than ever now that low expectations, the desire to protect everyone, or at least certain groups, from failure, is the real source of our education problems. We have too many in charge who just can’t seem to allow more kids to fail in most public school settings. You should fail because you did not do well or you did not try, not because of your race. You would think the smartest folks would run our educational systems and figure this out, but then it doesn’t appear to be the case. It doesn’t take much for the rest of us to realize these highly educated, highly paid folks are failing our society. They focus on the short term numbers, the ones that make themselves look good, at the expense of the long term effect on the kids they are responsible for, but it’s the long term metric, how school prepares you for the future, that really matters.
My kids work hard at their current school; they wouldn’t think of turning assignments in late or not turning them in at all. Such thoughts don’t cross their minds; doing well has been ingrained in their psyche. They do homework on weekends and several hours each day during the week. They participate in sports as well and work late into the night to stay up-to-date after a contest. I know the other kids on their teams (as well as opposing teams) do this as well because I hear them talk. The kids complain at times, for sure, but for the most part, they couldn’t imagine a school where all this is not expected. They are happy, I think even proud, to be part of a high achieving school. They certainly feel the pressure at times, but the pressure is still a positive and the alternative is much worse and something to be avoided.
Let’s focus a bit more on the sports analogy. Some coaches let everyone play and refuse to cut anyone. That decision may have limited impact in some instances; maybe it works out if the kids aren’t that competitive and just want to have fun and be with their friends. But such an environment creates lower standards. Most kids understand you have to cut players and go with the best. If cut, it doesn’t mean you won’t have another chance the next year. In fact, it is good motivation for some kids who try to prove the coach wrong the next year. Can you imagine what happens when your coach doesn’t demand the best from the kids (I am sure some of you have already experienced this)? The parents definitely get upset when it is clear the coach doesn’t care so much about winning. You know it. You’ve probably seen it. So, likewise, get upset with the administrators who do the same with your kids’ academics. Speak out. Be heard. Demand more.
Some kids will fail at academics, just as with sports. It is unfortunate, but true. When I was in college, many failed or did very poorly their first year. Some were more serious the second year and wished they had done better the first. Others realized college wasn’t for them and moved on to something that suited them better. That’s how life is supposed to work. Again, it’s okay.
What if instead, every college just pushed everyone along? We don’t want you to fail. That would not be good for your ego. Everyone who wants one should have a degree (and pay us exorbitant rates for the full four years). What is the meaning of a college degree with those standards? College today hasn’t lowered their standards as much as the lower grades have–at least not yet, but in some ways, it appears that’s where we are headed with college as well. A college degree still means something because it is not so easy to obtain. Making it easier and more accessible for all, makes it less meaningful. A high school degree for many is already less meaningful for these very reasons.
We all hate to fail and it can be a traumatic experience, but failure can often be an important lesson as well. I tell my kids all the time, “hard is good”. We don’t want to make everything easy. In fact, the things which are hardest to obtain are also the most meaningful. So, it’s good to make some things hard and out of reach for some, but not all. Some kids will try harder and do better after failing or being set back a year. That’s the good result we are looking for. Others, just don’t care that they failed; we do the best we can to reach these kids, but if they refuse to care for their own future, we just need to allow them to fail and let them accept the consequences. Otherwise, you ruin things for all the rest (which, unfortunately, is what my teacher friend is telling us we are already doing).
Why is it All About Race?
In the end, I believe this problem ties in with the discussion on systemic racism I started with my liberal friend last year. I do not know why our society has continued its focus on race and why we always look to the same phony reasons to blame all our societal problems on race. Racism becomes the answer to whatever problem you cannot solve any other way. It is the convenient opt out. If you cannot fix it, blame racism and hate your political enemies for creating the problem.
Like the vaccine, racism becomes that single overarching solution that Drs. McCullough and Malone mentioned with regard to COVID (https://seek-the-truth.com/2021/12/30/all-roads-lead-to-the-vaccine-but-mother-nature-leads-us-out-instead/). These doctors are on to something when they say there is something in our human nature that leads us to a single unifying solution to solve a problem, any problem. If we would just vaccinate more, all COVID problems would be solved. Similarly, if we could just get rid of systemic racism, all problems with education and all other societal woes would magically disappear. Both notions are foolish, but still very common, ways of thinking.
My solution is not to focus on race or racism, which I believe is generally not the real problem. Kids of any race can do well in school, and they have. I believe that fully. We don’t need to change the playing field to suit one race or another. Instead, let’s raise expectation; let’s have high expectations for all kids of all races. It is not all you need to do, but it is a necessary condition, and the place to start.
The progressive solution is to blame everything on racism, the single unifying cause of all problems; that may be the problem in a few instances, but for most problems, it is just not the answer. You are doomed to failure when you always look to racism–and they seem to do it all the time nowadays. Don’t you wonder why it becomes the answer to every problem?
A while back my liberal friend sent this link to me and we debated several of the points: 64 Examples of Systemic Racism Against Black Americans — Curious Refuge. 64 examples of why race is the problem to everything. Really? Do you believe this? He and I had two discussions prior, but still have only scratched the surface of this terribly wrong and deep seated belief:
Today’s post I think ties in with those prior discussions. I need to get back to the remainder of that discussion with my liberal friend because there are still many of the 64 so-called racist findings that I need to address. I have only dealt with just a few to this point. The topic is so pervasive that it will take a lifetime to fix these false notions.
By the way, the following study reveals there are larger gaps between whites and minorities in “progressive” cities than in conservative ones. The conservative solutions, those from the so-called racist folks, are actually doing better to close the gaps between races. Go figure. This is what happens when your solution to the gaps is to lower standards for everyone.
It is a very long report, one which focuses mainly on the differences between progressive and conservative cites and less so on recommendations, explanations, or solutions. Here are a few Cliff notes I gleaned from the report. In the end, I think we can eliminate differences between the races, by demanding more, by bringing more up to the higher standard (the conservative approach) rather than demanding less and bringing more down to the lower standard (the progressive approach).
Several conservative cities stand out for completely eliminating or reversing racial gaps in high school graduation rates. The public school district of Anaheim, California graduates 86% of its high school students in four years. There are no meaningful racial graduation rate gaps in Anaheim. The graduation rate for black students in Anaheim is only 1 percentage point below the rate for white students and the rate for Latino students is identical to the rate for whites. Fort Worth, Texas, similarly has no racial graduation rate gap for Latino students although the high school graduation rate for black students is
5 percentage points lower than the rate for white students. The Oklahoma City public school district only graduates 73% of its high school students in four years but the graduation rate is 10 percentage points higher for black students than for white students and 5 percentage points higher for Latino students than for whites. Virginia Beach, which stands out for its admirably low achievement gaps, graduates high school students at the highest rate in the study, at 93%, but with a black-white gap of 5 percentage points and a Latino-white gap of 2 points.