July 28, 2007

NEA also confused about SCOTUS decision regarding race & schooling

The latest DSEA newsletter arrived the other day and it features an article blasting the recent US Supreme Court decision which overturned "voluntary" (a misnomer, for sure, but thus quotes the article) school desegregation in Seattle and Lousiville schools. A "friend-of-the-court" brief in support of the districts was signed by groups such as the AFL-CIO, the NAACP, the People for the American Way, the AFT and, of course, the NEA. Some surprise there, huh? At any rate, the article is chock full of lies and half-truths as one would expect from an educrat and diversophile like Reg Weaver, president of the NEA. For example, he invokes Brown v. Board of Ed.:

More than 50 years ago our nation's highest court ruled that the United States Constitution requires schools to be integrated, but now the Court has ruled that our Constitution prohibits voluntary efforts efforts to integrate schools.

My emphasis. I'd say it's "amazing" that the president of such a noted organization as the NEA could so misunderstand what Brown actually did; however, educrats and diversophiles aren't exactly known for their sense of logic and propriety. Once again, Brown did NOT require that [public] schools "be integrated." What it did was tear asunder the legal racially discriminatory barriers that prevented [black] children from attending the same schools as white children. (See Colossus posts on this here, here and here.) In other words, if a black child lived next door to a school that was exclusively white, then henceforth that child was legally permitted to attend that adjacent school.

Some courts -- like the one that decided the northern Delaware desegregation case in the late 1970s -- misread Brown in ways that were to Weaver's liking (even despite real voluntary deseg. plans), but these types of plans weren't exactly the norm. Indeed, if Brown was intended to do just what Weaver states, then now there would (should) be NO "racially identifiable" schools anywhere in the country else they'd be in violation of the Constitution.

Next, we read another fallacy:

NEA urged the court to uphold the value of diversity, which according to a substantial body of research, actually improves the quality of education for all students.

Oh, really? This notion of the "value of diversity" first gained prominence in the Gratz and Grutter University of Michigan affirmative action cases from several years ago. The university's rationale was so laughingly feeble that it is infuriatingly difficult to grasp how the SCOTUS fell for such nonsense in one of the cases (Grutter). UM basically argued that a "critical mass" of diversity is necessary in a learning environment for an "optimal" education. Their "research" was thoroughly shredded by the skeptical justices (especially Antonin Scalia), and, of course, it flies in the face of the logic of other liberally-supported institutions such as HBCs -- Historically Black Colleges.

What does this "research" regarding the benefits of diversity actually say? Is it actual scientific research, or just "fluff" that way too much of education "research" classifies as these days? Real research has demonstrated that "diversity" is nothing more than a "feel good," nebulously beneficial concept with little-to-NO academic benefits for students. (Note, too, Weaver's carefully worded "actually improves the quality of education for all students" above. How is "quality" defined? Is it the supposed quality of instruction? Social interactive benefits? It is telling that Weaver did not state "improves academic performance of all students.") Indeed, the National Assn. of Scholars (NAS) shows the indeterminate nature of the University of Michigan's "research":

[the] University resorts to a methodological confusion, arguing first that racial diversity is positively related to four intermediate "campus experience variables" (i.e., enrollment in ethnic studies courses, attendance at a racial/intercultural workshop, discussion of racial issues, and interracial socialization) and, next, that these are in turn, (though rather weakly and inconsistently), related to the claimed educational benefits."

Liberal groups, as I've noted often before, just cannot get out of the way of their own circular logic when it comes to "diversity" and multiculturalism. Here we read, further in the DSEA newsletter, that the NEA brief in support of the defendants said in part,

Interactions among students of different races -- with different vantage points, skills(?), and values -- are of great consequence not only to the students' development as citizens in a multiracial, democratic society, but also to their intellectual development. The impact of encountering and dealing with racial diversity as part of their education is positively linked to growth in cognitive and academic skills of both racial minorities and white students. These educational benefits are realized not only while children are in school, but in their subsequent lives as well.

Yet these very same advocates stand behind the anachronism that are HBCs, separate dorms for minority students, separate freshman orientations, and even separate graduation ceremonies! Which, of course, begs the question that if diversity is SO all-important as the NEA (and others) profess, then why the constant invocation of separateness?

My God, it really is just too easy to cleave such "research" and "arguments" in half. But what can one expect from those who once championed color-blindness but now color-consciousness ... once championed individual rights but now group rights ... and once championed dismantling barriers to desegregation but now favor race mandates based on some pseudo-scientific notion of "diversity"?

Posted by Hube at July 28, 2007 12:15 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Close your bold tag in the first quote.

Posted by: Mat Marshall at July 28, 2007 03:12 PM

Huh? All looks fine on my end.

Posted by: Hube at July 28, 2007 03:55 PM

"More than 50 years ago our nation's highest court ruled that the United States Constitution b>"

I assume that you had meant to put requires schools to be integrated, but you missed the first carrot, so there IS no bold.

Posted by: Mat Marshall at July 28, 2007 09:14 PM

Never saw that little bit. Thanks, Mat!

Posted by: Hube at July 29, 2007 09:17 PM

Of course.

Now that my little pet peeve has been satisfied, I can move on to the content of the actual post.

Frankly, I've really been on the fence about all of this stuff regarding race and education.

One the one hand, I am an egalitarian (or try to be, at least), and the whole idea of HBCUs, affirmative action, etc., seems a bit contradictory to that, so my initial instinct would be to oppose that.

One the other hand, blacks aren't in the same economic situation as whites, by and large. Not necessarily because of laziness (though I'm sure that every demographic offers somebody who fits the description), but because whites, specifically Northern whites, have had a head-start. I say Northern whites because if you compare former Confederate states with the rest of the country, you'll see that ever since Confederate money lost its value, the South has been way behind in the economy, due to lack of inheritance, etc. Hell, being that my father's side of the family came to Virginia in the early 18th century, I'd be way better off if the Civil War hadn't actually happened... but that's aside from the point. The point is that the same principle applies to the black community at large, so I have another instinct telling me that affirmative action et al is only right.

This whole thing offered food for thought, to say the least.

Posted by: Mat Marshall at July 30, 2007 06:35 AM

Well, Matt, let me sort this out for you.

Some African Americans are historically disadvantaged. Some are not (for example the children of black entertainers and athletes, or recent Haitian or African immigrants). However, affirmitive action argues that, solely because of skin color, one group of people should be advantaged over another. To me this is the very soul and essence of discrimination.

People don't fall into nice neat categories based on skin color. Which is why I oppose any segregation of people based on nice neat categories.

How about this thought - Isan't religious diversity just as important (or even more important) than simple color of the skin? Religion is a huge determinign part of "culture". If cultural diversity is so all fired important, I would argue that one's religion is a more telling factor regarding culture than skin color.

Now imagine a college deciding that only so many Protestants, so many Hindus, so many Jews, and so many Catholics be allowed to attend, in the interest of diversity. You think that might fly?

Posted by: Big D at August 6, 2007 06:49 PM

You are confused when you write: "But what can one expect from those who once championed color-blindness but now color-consciousness ... once championed individual rights but now group rights ... and once championed dismantling barriers to desegregation but now favor race mandates based on some pseudo-scientific notion of "diversity"?"

Those who champion "diversity" are the intellectual heirs of those who championed segregation. More Republicans voted to pass the Civil Rights legislation in the 60's than Democrats. One could hardly design a better plan to keep minorities segregated and subjegated than the accumulated policies of Democrats on race.

Posted by: Ben at August 7, 2007 03:44 PM