A gathering spot for warriors fighting for their special-needs children

If you're one of the many who have come to the realization that your public school system is out to get away with doing the absolute minimum for your special-needs child and is not actually interested in helping or educating your child, join the crowd. Bring some passion and some factual evidence and step into the fray.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Black-on-black crime: the paradox of black-led school districts

The courageous columnist Walter Williams, cousin to the great Dr. J., seen here dunking on black-led school systems

If you believe all that crap about this being "post-racial" America, just imagine the uproar if a white person like me wrote what you're about to read.

But here comes Walter Williams, scholar, straight-shooter and (most importantly) a cousin of the great Dr. J, Julius Erving, to tell it like it is when it comes to black-dominated inner-city school systems. He finds plenty of targets, but, in my opinion, goes too easy on the biggest problem of all: parents who don't understand or emphasize the importance of a good education.

Williams comes to a very pessimistic conclusion; one that (fortunately) may not play out here in Atlanta because of the shifting demographics of the electorate here.

Check it out. See my emphases in bold, and my additional comments at the bottom.



Detroit’s (predominantly black) public schools are the worst in the nation and it takes some doing to be worse than Washington, D.C.

Only 3 percent of Detroit’s fourth-graders scored proficient on the most recent National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) test, sometimes called “The Nation’s Report Card.” Twenty-eight percent scored basic and 69 percent below basic. “Below basic” is the NAEP category when students are unable to demonstrate even partial mastery of knowledge and skills fundamental for proficient work at their grade level. It’s the same story for Detroit’s eighth-graders. Four percent scored proficient, 18 percent basic and 77 percent below basic.

The academic performance of black students in other large cities such as Philadelphia, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles is not much better than Detroit and Washington.

The education establishment and politicians tell us that we need to spend more for higher teacher pay and smaller class size. The fact of business is higher teacher salaries and smaller class sizes mean little or nothing in terms of academic achievement. Washington, D.C., for example spends over $15,000 per student, has class sizes smaller than the nation’s average, and with an average annual salary of $61,195, its teachers are the most highly paid in the nation.

What about role models? Standard psychobabble asserts a positive relationship between the race of teachers and administrators and student performance. That’s nonsense. Black academic performance is the worst in the very cities where large percentages of teachers and administrators are black, and often the school superintendent is black, the mayor is black, most of the city council is black and very often the chief of police is black.

Black people have accepted hare-brained ideas that have made large percentages of black youngsters virtually useless in an increasingly technological economy. This destruction will continue until the day comes when black people are willing to turn their backs on liberals and the education establishment’s agenda and confront issues that are both embarrassing and uncomfortable.

Many black students are alien and hostile to the education process. They have parents with little interest in their education. These students not only sabotage the education process, but make schools unsafe as well. These students should not be permitted to destroy the education chances of others. They should be removed or those students who want to learn should be provided with a mechanism to go to another school.

Another issue deemed too delicate to discuss is the overall quality of people teaching our children. Students who have chosen education as their major have the lowest SAT scores of any other major. Students who have an education degree earn lower scores than any other major on graduate school admission tests such as the GRE, MCAT or LSAT. Schools of education, either graduate or undergraduate, represent the academic slums of most any university. They are home to the least able students and professors. Schools of education should be shut down.

Yet another issue is the academic fraud committed by teachers and administrators. After all, what is it when a student is granted a diploma certifying a 12th grade level of achievement when, in fact, he can’t perform at the sixth- or seventh-grade level?

Prospects for improvement in black education are not likely given the cozy relationship between black politicians, civil rights organizations and teacher unions.

Rick Lockridge comments:

Numbers don't lie. The numbers tell you that Jewish and Asian families tend to put a strong emphasis on education while Hispanic and African-American families do not. Every time I think about criticizing "black culture" (as if I would have insight into the boundaries of such a thing, if it even is homogeneous enough to have boundaries), I stop short: it's hard to put my shoulder and back into pushing against thugs like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson while my own ethnic group (melanin-deficient Americans) claims 10x the number of Idiots Who Inexplicably Rose To A Position Of Power.

However, Atlanta is gentrifying. There are pockets of affluence and a strong black middle-class, and those communities do in fact emphasize academic excellence. The Atlanta Public Schools will one day soon have an administration that more closely reflects these changing demographics and the district's standards and performance will rise accordingly. Many current APS administrators will be displaced by this rising tide; the shame of it is that like all evolutionary processes, this one just takes too damn long.

I'll mildly disagree with one other of Williams' points. Not all education majors are as unimpressive as Williams contends. Most of the APS teachers and principals I've met are really sharp and really, really dedicated. You could argue that inner-city teachers in black-led school districts have to be much more dedicated than the average teacher because (a) they, too have to fight against a shitty system overpopulated by dead-weight bureaucrats and (b) they often have to fight the bullies, thugs and delinquents for control of their classrooms before they can even think about getting any teaching done. My contempt is reserved for the bureaucrats in the system who do not teach. I have seen so many of these folks in meetings and downtown at 130 Trinity, and they appear to do nothing more than go to meetings and lose track of thousands of pieces of expensive, taxpayer-funded equipment.

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