Emmy Griffin / September 13, 2021

Structural Racism? Try Public Schools

Persisting in collectivist education practices is systemic racism at its core.

Public schools have long been in a downward spiral when it comes to giving all students a good education. There are many reasons for this: lack of parental involvement, poor and dishonest teachers, and misuse of standardized tests. Perhaps the biggest indicator of this plummet is the poor performance of black children.

When playing with the different datasets of The Nation’s Report Card, the results are unmistakable. Black students consistently score lower than their white peers.

Why is that?

It’s certainly not for lack of money, which is the Left’s favorite way of trying to solve problems. The last census report states:

Of the 100 largest public school systems (based on enrollment), the six that spent the most per pupil in FY 2019 were the New York City School District in New York ($28,004), Boston City Schools in Massachusetts ($25,653), Washington Schools in the District of Columbia ($22,406), San Francisco Unified in California ($17,228), Atlanta School District in Georgia ($17,112), and Seattle Public Schools in Washington ($16,543).

The real reason may be that leftists have simply given up on trying to bolster black achievement. Instead of modeling their schools to help children achieve, they are content to sweep poor grades and test scores under the rug. If there’s no proof of malfeasance, then it can be ignored. This is a classic example of the bigotry of low expectations.

To compound matters, leftist educational policymakers and teachers unions have put roadblocks in the way of school choice, wherein funds that the government is already paying to the public school system would provide an opportunity for black students to get into schools that actually care to teach them.

Political commentator Rick Moran puts it poignantly: “There are pockets of black achievement even in the most violent, drug-ridden neighborhoods. They can be found in charter schools and private parochial schools. But instead of making it easier for black parents to send their kids to schools that will make the effort to educate them, teachers’ unions — and politicians who cater to their agenda — try to limit opportunities for back parents to take their children out of violent, failing schools.”

But the heart of the issue goes even deeper than bad policy and lack of school choice. Our education ideology is collectivist in nature. The current philosophy treats students like a number. In the public schools, that number comes with state funding attached. Here are some truths that this author can impart as a professional teacher:

  1. No two children are alike or learn alike. Therefore, a public school system that tries to force each child into the mold of their own curricular practices is doomed for failure.

  2. Large class sizes are detrimental to children. No matter how good and experienced the teacher is, children’s educational needs will fall through the cracks by virtue of sheer volume.

  3. If education is not a value in the home, building the bridge to a love of learning is much more challenging — and in the upper grades, well nigh impossible.

  4. Children should not be used as fodder for political cannons. There is such a thing as teaching bad ideas.

  5. Teachers should be held accountable. This is achieved through the realization of common educational goals with the students at the center and not based on standardized achievement testing.

Persisting in these collectivist education practices is systemic racism at its core. All children are worthy and are gifted in their own way. They each have something to offer the world. They are not blank slates, activists, or a dollar amount.

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