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The Bigotry of Low Expectations

12 Jul

I am still in a state of shock over the following report:

The Alabama Federation of Republican Women (AFRW) strongly opposes “race-based standards for student achievement” pushed by the Alabama Department of Education, as reported in The Tuscaloosa News on Sunday, June 30. Minority students will be held to a lower standard, and would be tracked at a lower standard throughout their academic career from K-12.

Beginning this fall, the liberal Department of Education in Alabama will take their racism and apply it to education – how wonderful. Obviously progressive liberals believe that those children, and adults for that matter, of a minority skin color are handicapped, and incapable living a life on their own without assistance from the government, or a helping hand from the altruistic agenda of the progressives. This is just beyond belief, and I feel so sorry for those kids in that school district who don’t stand a chance if progressive liberals continue to run this country. Instead of offering school choice, allowing parents the opportunity to send their children to better schools, with better teachers, and giving them a real opportunity at success, progressives have decided to dumb things down even more, effectively destroying any chance these kids might have. It’s outrageous.

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10 Comments

Posted by on July 12, 2013 in Education

 

10 responses to “The Bigotry of Low Expectations

  1. mitchethekid

    July 12, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    I don’t think this issue is as stark as you describe. For starters, Alabama is hardly liberal nor is it progressive. If anything, as a cartoon image, the state is as “southern” as one can get and to generalize, still frozen a Civil War mentality. Although I do agree that an argument can be made that it is racist to proclaim that minorities just can’t compete with those who are more fair-skinned, it is also a fact that Black children in southern states do tend to be more poor, unexposed to an “educated” household and have fewer opportunities to access resources that would enable them to compete or keep up with their better heeled peers. IMO, this (lack of resources) puts those kids at an educational disadvantage. Sort of like having unrealistic expectations of a one armed person in a wallpaper hanging contest. With that said, I do agree that the same educational standards should apply to all. One always betters their skills by competing with one’s betters. But there is also a element of unfairness. I don’t think that these under-exposed children are doomed to a life of government dependence, nor does it make any sense to say that those who can afford school choice should be denied that access for that defeats the entire basis of your perspective. If a poor, dark skinned family could afford to send their children to a non-public or non-district school, then they wouldn’t be poor, would they? There is a very influential economic element to this problem, not to mention social and cultural. What causes economic deprivation? That should be the focus, not perpetuating the myth that the so called welfare state is by design and self-replicating by one’s political, ideological adversaries. If Black kids had the same exposure to economic abundance as non Black, then this wouldn’t be an issue at all.
    I must say though, that to grade on a curve across an entire population is unfair to all. Another example of this mentality is kids who are home schooled. The vast majority of which are unable to compete if they go on to college. Home schooled kids tend to be White, evangelical Christians who are culturally isolated and deprived of the necessary factual foundations that are the precursor’s to success in a University. Do you see racism in this scenario? Or child abuse? Inquiring minds want to know!
    As an aside, this conversation should exemplify the very purpose of this new blog. To disagree without being disagreeable. Passion yes, but reasonableness as well.

     
  2. mitchethekid

    July 12, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    The following is the kind of comment that in part motivated the creation of this new blog. Given the choice of “progressing” to a better educated, more enlightened and well informed populace, we have Jeremiah. His religious absolutism is interchangeable with that of the Taliban. In his atrophied, feeble and scared-of-the-world mind, all of humanity’s problems would be eradicated by the simple minded belief in an historical figure. Don’t think, don’t doubt, just accept and believe. The irony of which is that he incessantly talks about “brainwashing”. This guy has gone through the entire cycle with an excess of bleach poured in. Not only is has he been bleached through, he’s transparent and the cloth is disintegrating. For those who read this, or even care for that matter, he posts on blogsforvictory.

    “Idoctrination of the student body has been around since the middle-latter half of the 20th century. The removal of prayer, and the introduction of evolution in schools in the ’60s caused a major reduction in morality in our country. Which coincides with the lack of work ethic in America…combine welfare with the advocacy of immoral behavior, and you have a recipe for destruction. Charles Darwin is to blame for much of the racist tendencies that continue to plague American society today.

    Standards in American education for over 300 years were the Bible and there came an end to those practices in the 1960′s in favor of Darwinism, and ‘coincidentally’ right about that time there was a sharp increase in std’s, drug use, child abuse, premarital sex, homosexuality (all of which have been encouraged in public education to one degree or another) .. all kinds of moral indicators…and it continues to wax worse and worse to the present day.”

     
  3. kmg

    July 13, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Cluster,

    I read the report you cited and it is a press release by the Republican Women’s group. After going to the original article the press release referenced, it seems to me the group has misrepresented what Alabama is doing. The standards are based on Common Core, which is supported by the National Governors’ Association. Acceptance of Common Core was a criteria of Bush’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB), which provided states with educational funding based on performance against the standards. What Alabama has done is create Plan 2020, which replaces NCLB. Plan 2020, rather than judging school performance against a single standard without regard to individual groups’ performance, judges schools on their performance based on where those groups perform now. Each year the standards for each group go up. For example, black 3rd graders are expected to go from 79% passing this year to 88.5% in 2018. White students are expected to go from 91.5% to 95.4% in the same time frame. From what I’ve read, Plan 2020 in no way addresses or affects standards for individual students to pass or fail a class or grade level.

    The fact is that different groups historically perform differently in school. This can be due to socio-economic, physical, or mental factors. When NCLB came out, one of the biggest criticisms from the schools was that it didn’t take this fact into account. For example, if a school had a large number of developmentally disabled students, that school still had to achieve the same percentage of all students meeting the standards as a school with no special needs students. Alabama recognized this as unfair and is trying to address it. They benchmarked where different groups are currently performing and made that the floor for their standards, but each group still has to improve by certain margins in order for a school to be considered satisfactory.

    I completely disagree with different standards for individual students, but in this case we are talking about how entire schools and districts are judged on their performance. I think Alabama’s Plan 2020 is a step in the right direction of making sure those schools and districts are judged fairly.

    I would encourage people to read the Tuscaloosa News article rather than the press release before forming an opinion.

    http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20130630/NEWS/130629743?p=1&tc=pg

     
    • Cluster

      July 13, 2013 at 5:21 pm

      That is good analysis and well stated. It still bothers me however that achievement rates are that disparate between the ethnic groups when there is physiological reason for it. The difference obviously then lies in the socio economic conditions, which if you think about, is an admission that the 40 year war on poverty has failed, and miserably. If I remember correctly, 70% or thereabouts of black children grow up in a single parent household, which I hope everyone can realize is not a benefit to the child. In that situation, the single parent is usually low income, working long hours, and often tired at the end of the day to give any meaningful time to the child. Therefore, the child OS often on their own and subject to external pressures, which are usually not good. As a society, we really need to think about this and hold men accountable for the children they father.

       
      • kmg

        July 13, 2013 at 5:42 pm

        I’m certain you meant to say NO physiological reason for it. I agree with everything you said. The war on poverty has failed and two-parent households are ideal. Men do need to be accountable for the child they produce.

        The problem for me is how to get there. I can identify the problems, but I have a much harder time identifying the solutions. Income disparity in single parent homes is a big issue, forcing the parent to work long hours just to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. I’m not sure about wage or price controls, but I do think that if a large company can afford it they should have to provide decent wages and benefits. Too many of these large corporations pad their shareholder returns by pushing costs onto taxpayers, especially in the area of healthcare.

         
      • Cluster

        July 13, 2013 at 6:07 pm

        Right, no physiological reason. I am not sure what the answer is either, but part of it needs to include punishment to men who father children and abandon them. I largely blame men for children born out of wedlock, and for the high number of abortions over the last couple of decades. If you’re man enough to knock the chick up, be man enough to accept the responsibility.

        In terms of wages, I think there is some validity to wanting higher wages, but the long term answer is increasing individual skill sets and actually giving a damn about your chosen profession, which translates to commanding a higher wage, not just receiving it.

        In regards to healthcare, that’s a topic for another thread which will be coming soon but I will say that if you think the current system allows corporations to push to much financial responsibility onto tax payers, wait until Obamacare is implemented. Obamacare will result in part time workers relying on government assisted healthcare and the costs to our society will be extraordinary.

         
      • meursault1942

        July 13, 2013 at 7:05 pm

        Well, the first political discussion of this blog is off to a terrific start. I dig it–kudos, Cluster and Mitch!

        As for the topic at hand, first of all, thanks for that summary, kmg. That gives a much better picture of what Alabama is actually proposing to do; it seems like a good approach, too. We’ll see if it actually works out, but for now, it sounds good in theory.

        And my points of agreement with you, Cluster:

        1) Most of the educational disparity can indeed be traced to socioeconomic conditions. And that’s a really tough nut to crack. It’s much easier to fall into poverty than it is to climb out of it, unfortunately. If we can find a remedy for that, we’ve found a remedy for a whole host of social issues.

        2) Generally speaking, two-parent households are vastly preferable to single-parent households, and yeah, men need to freakin’ man up and be fathers. I’m not sure how we as a community/society/nation can make that happen en masse, though, and in the meantime, what can we do to assist single parents?

        Tangentially related to the wage discussion, I saw a stat the other day (which of course I can’t find now–dammit!) addressing the frequent refrain of how we’ve outsourced most of the manufacturing in this country. The gist of it was that we definitely have outsourced the manufacturing of our cheap consumer crap (mostly to China), but that we do have a very healthy manufacturing industry in this country, but it’s for making big, hi-tech things. Jumbo jets, military hardware, that sort of thing. Those jobs are out there, and they pay solid middle-class wages, but they do require some more specialized training (dovetailing with your point about increasing individual skill sets, Cluster), and they are somewhat volatile (an airline cutting their order of new planes has major ripple effects). People aren’t training or going into the manufacturing sector because they think there aren’t any jobs there. We need to change people’s general idea from “I’d go assemble cars, but that work is scarce” to “I’m gonna learn how to get into jet engine fabrication.”

         
      • kmg

        July 13, 2013 at 7:08 pm

        Increasing individual skill sets help that individual, but we still have a problem as a society. There will always be a need for unskilled labor at grocery stores, convenience stores, service industry, etc. and right now those jobs aren’t paying what it takes one person to survive in much of the country, much less a family. Again, I don’t know what the answer is.

        I think when you put up your health care post, we’ll disagree more than we have on this thread.

         
  4. mitchethekid

    July 13, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    KMG, your comment about unskilled labor reminded me of 2 things. One, the fight Walmart is engaged in to avoid paying a living wage to potential employees in a to-be-completed store in DC. The other was something Mike Rowe said on Real Time last night. (Mike Rowe, the affable guy on Dirty Jobs and Ford spokesperson.) He said that in the mid 70’s, when he was in High School, he met with his guidance counselor who discouraged him from attending a 2 yr community college instead of 4 yr University. The counselor pointed to a poster on his wall that had a photo of a recent college grad, a perfect white teeth smile holding a degree in his hand. Next to him was an oil covered, overall wearing mechanic with a dimwitted look on his face and a wrench in his hand. The caption said “Work smarter, not harder”. Mike’s interpretation of this was to discourage kids from pursuing blue collar careers because socially, they are looked down upon. He then said that recently he met a principal in the Caterpillar Corp who told him that they have 26 jobs that pay between $40k and $100k that they can’t fill, and haven’t been able to for a long time. Admittedly, these jobs require mechanical skills and proficiency but he was implying that they remain unfilled because people just aren’t interested in actual hard, physical work because the have been conditioned to think that way. It used to be that the (so called) blue collar middle class was as normal and important as good hygiene. Being a trades-person was admirable. If you grew up in a union house, then it was no big deal if you followed in the footsteps of your dad. But being educated wasn’t derided either. In fact, from my own subjective experience, education was encouraged. Now what we have is an entire mind set that says unions are the enemy and the minimum wage is something to be done away with. Faster, cheaper and overseas. The expanse between poverty and wealth has grown exponentially, the middle class has shrunk, (atrophied might be to strong a term) and according to multiple, reliable sources, the gap in income between an average CEO and the average worker, is 350 times. Conservatives love to talk about an entitlement mentality and yet it is they (many times, not always) that feel entitled. The more extreme conservatives talk about how horrible “liberal” economic polices are and yet the trickle down theory has proven to be an abject failure and was most recently derided by it’s main theorist, David Stockman. Study after study has shown that economic expansion was greater under democrats than under republicans. As far as the debt, Reagan increased it 189%, GWB 115% and Obama 16%, although that figure is a few yrs old now. Immigration is at a net zero and yet the Republicans want to increase border agents from 20K to over 30. Small government, right. I think conservatives have a real problem. Not only does their rhetoric not match their actions, but more times than not their rhetoric is offensive to huge swaths of the population. Banning Tampons in the Texas legislature but allowing guns? Who comes up with these ideas??

     
    • kmg

      July 13, 2013 at 10:18 pm

      mitchie,

      Companies like WalMart are what I was talking about. I know their industry has a small profit margin, but WalMart has their bulk-purchasing power to increase their margin considerably over smaller stores. In spite of that, they do everything they can to keep employee wages at the bottom, forcing their employees to use welfare just to make ends meet and use programs like Medicaid to cover their health care needs.

      Like I said, labor jobs will always be there, but it is getting harder and harder to live on what they pay, much less see any opportunity to drag yourself out of the poverty you start in.

       
 
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