July 29, 2007

What's the missing ingredient?

From the Atlanta Journal Constitution regarding the poor education statistics for black students nationwide:

When analyzing the issue at the school level, such statistics are tied to school policies and practices that work against the academic achievement of black children, some of which include the uneven placement of black children into lower academic tracks, the disproportionate reprimanding of black children for similar infractions in which white children often go unpunished and the over-representation of black children in special education classes.

OK, what's the most telling -- and obvious -- omission here? See if you can figure it out.

What's more, writer Jerome E. Morris (an associate professor of education at the University of Georgia ... be careful right there!), who's leading a "study" (see Hube's earlier post) of black student achievement, thinks African-Americans should collectively get together and sue for "educational neglect":

Clearly, it is the continued educational neglect of black children - more than 50 years after Brown v. Board of Education - which should be brought before the U.S. Supreme Court, not the constitutionality of desegregation plans. It appears it will take a Civil Rights type of movement in education to change the present academic trajectory of black children. It will take parents and educators, concerned clergy and community activists, and members of commerce and civic organizations taking to the street - and the Internet - en masse, to demand the undelivered promises of Brown.

The word in bold is the answer to the post's question. At least Morris actually mentions it here. But consider his point: "Educational neglect of black children" should be litigated, and yet again we read another misunderstanding of the historic Brown case. Let's consider that all of Morris's desires in the first quote above were rectified, either by litigation or some sort of legislation, but the KEY ingredient remained absent -- parental involvement. Does Morris really think that African-American academic achievement will suddenly and magically benefit? The term "pipe dream" comes to mind.

Let's take Morris' complaints one at a time. 1) African-American children consistently have performed the lowest, or among the lowest, of ethnic groups in various forms of academic assessment. But this somehow doesn't justify placing them in lower academic tracks (in schools/districts that even have academic tracks; many have dismantled them precisely because it is politically incorrect to do so based largely on complaints similar to Morris'.) 2) Discipline statistics in schools nationwide show the high [disproportionate] numbers of black students who've been disciplined. Of course, academics like Morris perpetually contend that this is due to some sinister white privilege power structure that seeks to perpetuate black subservience. It couldn't possibly be that African-American children actually do commit more discipline infractions than their [white] student counterparts. If national crime statistics are any indication, school discipline stats are entirely consistent. Unless, of course, that the national crime stats are due to some sinister white privilege power structure that seeks to perpetuate black subservience, also. 3) Special education figures are tied to point #1. If black students are performing at low levels, how does it make sense to place them in, say, honors classes if they aren't even close to being prepared for such? Or even in an at-grade level class if they're academic performance is two to three years behind? Points #1 and #3 are similar to the argument of those against affirmative action who point out that one of the great under-reported tragedies of college racial preferences is the high number of [black] drop-outs; they are insufficiently prepared for the academic rigors of college, and college administrators only care about the "bean counting" -- how many minorities they have enrolled -- rather than the number that actually stick it out and graduate.

If Morris' wish of such litigation were successful, I cannot think of a more detrimental development. Minority children and parents would look upon such a legal "victory" as an abdication of the personal responsibility needed to get a good education. The many parents that are sadly UNinvolved in their children's academic well-being would say, "See? The law says you must educate my child." Children could sit in class, do nothing, misbehave, all the while knowing that they're not legally responsible for their academics. If they fail, they can go back to court for further legal "remediation." The closest analogy I can think of is if some court ruled in favor of a plaintiff who sued a doctor because he himself refused to take the medication that the doctor prescribed.

It's a recipe for legal -- and cultural -- disaster.

(Thanks to Hube for the link and research assist!)

Posted by Felix at July 29, 2007 09:23 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.)

AJN has an editor named Cynthia Tucker who is possibly the most liberal editorial page editor in the entire country. She makes the Inky's lontime wussyman Chris Scatullo look like Dick Cheyney.

Posted by: AJ Lynch at July 30, 2007 02:06 PM

Sorry for the typo."AJN" above should have been AJC for Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Posted by: AJ Lynch at July 30, 2007 02:07 PM