Thursday, April 17, 2014

Am I Too White?

Like everyone who has been through the American school system, I know exactly what is wrong with it and how to cure all the problems. I also know that that is a ludicrous statement as no one person has all of the answers. I do have some observations to make, however.

What started me on this subject is an article that I just read where a state university in the "great northwest", would like to shed some of their whiteness and add some diversity to their over all appearance. I suspect that part of their problem is that the area that they primarily serve, "the great northwest", is whiter than granny's picket fence.

But under our "post racial" President, is this an appropriate goal. Should they not be admitting students while wearing a figurative blindfold. I understand that state schools do not want to be too parochial, but they were established to serve the citizens of their state first and foremost. I believe that eventually a level playing field would solve diversity concerns. 

The problem here is that politicians want to tilt the field to someone's advantage to solve all problems tomorrow. To do this they create the misery of unexpected results and things seldom go as planned.

Years ago I came upon a test that was given back in the late 1800s. To graduate from high school one had to pass this test. It would be the exceptional college graduate today that could get a passing mark. Back then they believed in rote learning based on facts and practicality. Social engineering and political correctness did not exist yet, and the schools were better for it.

I saw an add for the "Common Core" program on TV. In this add some bright looking youngish actresses pretend to be teachers and tout this questionable program to the public. One of the features that they promote is the end of rote learning. This is not good. If you have to make a little drawing with dots and lines using happy numbers rather than real numbers you will never be mainstream. The ability to do basic addition, subtraction, and multiplication is a core value that must be learned young or the student will suffer the consequences.

There are people, unfortunately including politicians and teachers union leaders, that despise magnet schools. These schools actually give kids, mostly kids of color, a chance to get an education that will qualify them for college and give them a chance to compete. But because they show up the shortcomings of the public school system the leadership will try to destroy them. 

Magnet schools and parochial schools have one great advantage. They do not have to deal with students who do not wish to learn and prefer to disrupt everyone else. This is the biggest problem in city schools. If the parents don't care and the kids are out of control no learning can take place. Solving this one problem would go a long way in solving the bad school syndrome.

If we really want diversity, pushing under qualified kids into awkward situations is never going to get it done. Give the disadvantaged kids a shot at a real education and we might actually see some progress.

1 comment:

  1. I read that article, too. It occurred to me that the faculty and administration could resign and give their jobs to minorities. That would go a long way to reducing the "whiteness". But something tells me that they don't mean to include themselves in that.