The classroom has long been politicized, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn the politicization of race was the next step. But is it the RIGHT one?
The election of Barack Obama was supposed to be a ‘turning of the page’ for America. One that would ‘heal’ the racial divisions of days gone by, show that race was no longer a barrier to even the highest position in the land.
Hell, even the fact that he was biracial was supposed to be a good sign. Bringing together people of goodwill from both groups. We all see how well that played out.
We wound up even MORE whipped up into identity politics than when we first elected him. And, seeing the language of grievance employed by politicians, academics, and the press, it’s hard to believe that was unintentional.
And now, it’s hitting the classroom.
In some places, teachers, for example, are no longer chosen for their core competencies — do they have the mastery of the subjects they would teach, and an ability to instruct others — but by other criteria.
“Having a white workforce really doesn’t match our student body anymore,” Soodak said.
That was from a Fox News article about New York teachers being hired on race, not competence. Here’s another quote:
Citing the fact that an outsized percentage of black and Hispanic candidates were failing the test, members of the New York state Board of Regents plans to adopt a task force’s recommendation to eliminate the literacy exam, known as the Academic Literacy Skills Test, given to prospective teachers.
Did you catch that? adopt a task force’s recommendation to eliminate the literacy exam, known as the Academic Literacy Skills Test, given to prospective teachers
We could look to the Minnesota experience, and see how identity politics has worked out there.
Kathy Kersten is a Senior Fellow at Center of the American Experiment, the organization I run. Her column in today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune is titled “Racial identity policies are ruining Edina’s fabled schools.” The column is drawn from Kathy’s much longer article in the current issue of Thinking Minnesota, the Center’s quarterly magazine, but it also includes some new material.
Kathy’s Star Tribune article describes the obsessions with race and liberal politics that pervade the Edina public school system. A few excerpts:
The “All for All” plan mandates sweeping change to how education is delivered in Edina. For example, it dictates that, from now on, the district will hire “racially conscious teachers and administrators.” It also declares that students must “acquire an awareness of their own cultural identity and value racial, cultural and ethnic diversities.”
In education-speak, this means that Edina children will now be instructed that their personal, cultural “identity” is irrevocably tied to their skin color. This directly rejects the colorblind vision that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. pioneered, and that the vast majority of Americans share.
And since these changes were implemented?
Test scores are sinking in Edina’s fabled schools. One in five Edina High School students can’t read at grade level and one in three can’t do grade-level math. These test results dropped EHS’s ranking among Minnesota high schools from 5th to 29th in reading proficiency, and from 10th to 40th in math proficiency between 2014 and 2017.
And as the last link could show you, the same correlation is reflected in other schools that ventured down that road.
Or we could look to yet another leftist utopia, Chicago.
Here’s the quote in question:
“Teacher evaluation is critically important, but in a massive bureaucracy with a hostile union, where 50% of principals are managerially incompetent and half of teachers are virtually illiterate, a complete multi-dimensional evaluation system with huge subjectivity in it will be attacked, manipulated and marginalized — the status quo will prevail,” Rauner wrote in a December 2011 email arguing for a strong system of teacher and principal evaluations in the district. “It’s much more critical that we develop a consistent, rigorous, objective, understandable measure and reporting system for student growth upon which all further evaluation of performance will depend.”
So the Left’s solution to this problem is NOT increased student choice — where students can reward the schools that respond most successfully to their needs, forcing competing schools to adapt and adopt improvements?
No — that option is fought tooth-and-nail. It threatens the primacy of Unions, after all.
No, what they really need is to hyper-racialize the classroom. Black students should have black teachers. And so forth. How is ‘segregation’ suddenly a good thing?
Speaking personally… I’ve had some fantastic teachers of a radically different ethnic background than myself, and I’ve had some absolute jerks who ‘looked like me’. The teacher as a PERSON, not as a ‘member of an ethnic group’ is what’s important.
If certain groups are underperforming in the achievement tests, by all means, do whatever is necessary to help aspiring teachers from a variety of backgrounds achieve full competency. We need not shut anyone out of teaching based on race.
We just expect those who DO go on to teach our kids — black, white, and otherwise — should have complete mastery of the topics they will teach. And since it is foundational to the others, that will certainly include literacy.
Otherwise, what are you doing? You’re setting up one group of teachers (by ‘race’) who were —
by the admission of experts themselves — underperforming in literacy… to go teach literacy to people of the same race as themselves.
What happens next? Those students receive an incomplete education. And the problem will be compounded. Illiteracy will become worse, not better.
And who does that help, really?
Besides the politicians, lobbyists, and activists who sort us into neat little groups that they pit against each other in service of their private agendas.