April 19, 2010

Philly Inquirer offers ed school "solutions" to South Philly school violence

Check out how the Inquirer's Liz Willen and those whom she interviews attempt to "deal" with the issue of violence against Asian students in area schools. Here's History teacher Patrick Compton recalls his days at Lafayette High School in Brooklyn:

The ethnic sea change brought with it a spate of violence against Asian students by non-Asian classmates remarkably similar to the unrest and painful divisions plaguing South Philadelphia High.

"As neighborhoods change, schools have to change, and unless they address the needs of a new population systemically, the problems are just going to be reflected back into the schools and repeat themselves," says Compton, a resident of Burlington Township, who has spent 24 years teaching in the cavernous brick building in Bensonhurst, a densely populated area of semidetached two-family homes 16 miles from Midtown Manhattan.

Questions:

  • How does an ethnic sea change [automatically] "bring with it" spates of violence?
  • Who precisely are these "non-Asian classmates?"
  • How, precisely, are schools supposed to change to deal with these "spates of violence" brought on by "ethnic sea changes?"
  • Is there an insinuation that since Asian students' needs might not be met, they're somehow "agitating" the violence against them?
"You can't just address these issues with security guards or cops in schools," says Pedro Noguera, a professor at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University. "They need to create a sense of inclusion, so all kids feel like part of the community."

I see. But how, again, do "isolated" Asian students provoke/instigate/beget violence against them? The school making them feel "more welcome" is terrific ... but how will that prevent violence against them -- merely because of their race/ethnicty?

That was not the case at South Philadelphia High, where 13 Asian students were sent to a hospital after violence Dec. 3 that triggered a seven-day student boycott. In interviews, Asian students said they did not feel safe, and a report released in February by a retired federal judge found "race and ethnicity" were contributing factors.

Really? How were race and ethnicity "contributing factors?" You mean to say (in plain English) that the Asian students' race and ethnicity were [part of/most of] the reason they were attacked? Isn't that ... racist? Should that not be ... a hate crime?

Asian students at the time were afraid of African American students because they had no understanding of their culture, she recalls. And African American kids mimicked Asian students, making fun of the way they spoke, until they got to know them better.

Afraid ... because of their culture? (Is this what they mean?) Why was it only African-American students? And black students making fun of Asians because of who they are? Again, isn't that ... racist?

Call me cynical, but if the situation at South Philly High was a case of white on black violence, I seriously doubt that the Inquirer -- and for that matter a huge portion of the national MSM -- would not be all over this story 24/7 for a good week or so. Don't think so? Then remember the case of Jena, Louisiana for starters. Or, locally, how a local swim club prevented a group of black children from entering its pool. And so on. And I doubt we'd be reading nebulous "reasoning" behind the strife -- y'know, how ethnic change somehow "just brings with it" violence, and how if schools don't "systematically change" [ethnic] violence won't abate.

But the wishy-washiness of this article isn't entirely Liz Willen's fault. At story's end, we read this:

This article was produced by the Hechinger Report. The nonprofit, nonpartisan education news outlet is affiliated with the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media at Teachers College, Columbia University.

'Nuff said.

It would be remarkable to see the Inquirer, Wilmington News Journal or virtually any other MSM outlet be as vociferous in denouncing violence such as that seen at South Philly High with the same vigor that the Inquirer rips VA Governor Bob McConnell a new a-hole. I've already opined on that issue, and though I am largely in agreement with the Inquirer's stance, I do not have to resort to the standard MSM "narrative" to make the case. For instance, the Inq repeats -- AGAIN -- the unproven allegations by several black congressmen that they were called the "N" word, and also inserts a gratuitous blurb about the new right-leaning Texas history standards as being an overreaction to "perceived" liberal bias in the texts. (They write, for example, "A focus on the Confederacy will include side-by-side comparisons of speeches by Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln, as if they were equals;" however, you'll likely never see an op-ed complaining about the disparity in textbook coverage between César Chávez and James Madison where the former gets more pages.)

Posted by Hube at April 19, 2010 05:25 PM | TrackBack

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