Seattle Public Schools are not alone among Puget Sound districts, in their embrace of foolishness. To one degree or another, all public school systems in the region would rather champion the gospels of managed outcomes and diversity pandering, over the revolutionary notion of showing true respect to minority populations such as blacks and Latinos by having the same high expectations for them as for whites and Asians.
But Seattle, as it moves toward a reckoning this summer with a plan to close some schools and cut transportation spending in order to stabilize district finances, shows no signs of putting aside the usual posturing, and coming to terms with the necessity for real, across-the-board academic rigor. Stefan blogged yesterday on news of an absurd, symbolic anti-military recruiting initiative being advanced by activists including school board member Sally Soriano, modelled after a San Francisco measure that was passed, but cannot be enforced. Today comes news Seattle Public Schools has won a grant from the national teachers union to train teachers of at-risk students in more culturally appropriate instruction. As posted online this a.m., the story included these words:
In Seattle, the money will help train teachers at eight schools to learn customs and effective ways to communicate more effectively with people of different cultures.
As opposed, I imagine, to "ineffective ways to communicate more effectively...." Anyhew, the idea that black, Latino and other minority students can only be better inspired to master reading, writing, math and science if more of certain folklorically-themed teaching methods are used, or only if more like-hued exemplars of achievement are cited in lessons, is soft bigotry of the worst kind. "Disproportional" outcomes in education result in large part from different choices made by parents about their own education, skills development, and family cohesion.
It goes against the Seattle district's emphasis on shipping kids of color across town to predominantly white schools, but the fact is, parents who won't engage in their kids' Seattle public schools experience would be under more pressure to do so if their kids had to go to neighborhood schools; something for the board to consider as it goes forward. The Southeast Seattle schools toward which the NEA grant is aimed suffer from a lack of community investment, not a lack of proper ethnic "customs" and "culturally appropriate" teaching methods.Posted by Matt Rosenberg at April 05, 2006 10:00 AM | Email This