July 22, 2006
It's in the P-I
Today's P-I has a report on something called the Freedom School, headline "Freedom School teaches what others don't". But some of what the Freedom School teaches appears to be rather questionable.
The school's purpose, according to one of its leaders, Dustin Washington, is to "raise the consciousness of young people in social justice issues and create young anti-racist community organizers":
Washington said the Seattle public school system is structured with a Eurocentric curriculum, not reflective of the multicultural student body.
The article doesn't explain how the curriculum is "Eurocentric", although I suppose the fact that most instruction is in English, which is a European language, would qualify. Washington implies in this context that the "Eurocentric" curriculum somehow benefits white students and penalizes non-white students
"Young people of color are more likely to be incarcerated than graduate. Students of color are more likely to be suspended or expelled," he said.
Washington also explains that part of the motivation for the Freedom School is that
"We want young people to think critically about the world around them,"
Since the purpose here is to think critically, I will critically examine some of Washington's assumptions and criticize the P-I reporter for not challenging those assumptions. Let's look at the Seattle School District's own outcomes data
. On most measures of achievement and discipline, the most successful ethnic groups are not white, but Asian. Just 2 examples -- mean high school GPA for most recent semester in data set:
East Indian 3.23
, page 9). Or rate of long-term suspensions among high school students:
East Indian 0.0%
Other Southeast Asian 0.4%
(same file, page 51)
There are certainly many sociological and historical reasons why some ethnic groups tend to peform better in school than others. But the fact that certain groups of Asian immigrants tend to consistently outperform Whites on average makes it harder to attribute these differences to white racism and Eurocentricism.
Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at July 22, 2006
08:50 PM | Email This
Let's see the oldest continuous form of of government in the World currently is?
It has the highest per capita productivity.
It has the highest standard of living.
By any meteric the most succesful country on earth.
It is based on Greek (European) Roman (European) and other European ideas set forth by European authors.
And the country is...
The United States of America.
Currently all countries in the World on governed upon ideas that originated in?
Currently all militaries are modeled on?
The economy of every country and international trade has its roots in?
Therefore de-emphasizing eurocentrism will leave students with no knowledge of world history, political, military or economic. Leaving them completely without the tools and utterly clueless as how to operate in todays world.
Brilliant, just friggin' brilliant an idea so idiotic only some with all education and no experience could love it.
On the discipline front: The only meaningful comparison one can make is to look at infraction of similar severity. E.g. bringing a knife to school, for the same infraction is there a difference is punishment meted out to students.
On grades and discipline:How many of the Chinese kids come form stable two parent families vs. oh, say the black kids. Another data point would be by families that have set homework times.
If you did the analysis by those two points, two parent families and set home work times my guess is you would see high GPA and low discipline irrespective of race.
You look at race you'll see a racial component.
More of "the system's to blame". I also noticed no mention of the African-American Academy and its dismal academic record. Do you think the Freedom School students are going to discuss this article: http://archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/texis.cgi/web/vortex/display?slug=african20m&date=20060720&query=africans+and+african+americans
Can you imagine the outcry if a school was set up to specifically focus on the Eurocentric history and thought? And, no, the Seattle Public schools do not do this. They are more concerned about political correctness. The reading lists are just one example of PC gone amok.
3. Is this article a plug for or against private schools?
4. Unfortunately, this program seems to be about teaching victimhood. And nothing about personal responsibility. Not doing those kids any favors.
5. Unfortunately this sort of thinking, if one call call it that, has gotten a strong push from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. See the report of its "Multi-Ethnic Think Tank," which I think is still accessible on the OSPI web site. The SPI's draft report of the K-12 Advisory Committee to Gregoire's "Washington Learns" study also makes a big bow to the multiculturalist ideology that suffuses the "freedom school" portrayed in such gee-whiz terms by the dim P-I reporter.
6. Wasn't "Freedom School" what they called that hippie school in Billy Jack?
Erik, apparently the heat must have gotten to you. Although most of these comments are good, I think Misty sums it up best: "...this program seems to be about teaching victimhood..."
I couldn't agree more, Misty!
I liked the caption to the photo: "Students exploring racism during a breakout group session Friday at Tyree Scott Freedom School in Seattle..."
I can just imagine the conversation:
Student1 (In Soundparks' Mr. Mackey voice): "Racism is bad, M'kay. Don't do racism".
Student2: "Yea, I hate it when white kids do racism! I just wanna smack 'em!"
Student3: "Yea, man. I didn't know I was racist until they told me I was. Now I'm not, because they showed me I was."
Student1: "Racism is bad, M'kay. Don't do racism".
All Students: "M'kay"
8. Good comments all - except that Misty's point #4 needs a slight adjustment -- she says the school isn't doing the kids any favors -- what about society at large -- ??
Humor me, I was a Laidlaw school bus driver in 1991. Picking up junior high students in the Mt Baker area above the I90 tunnel. You have Black Americans and true African Americans (Ethiopians ).
Black Americans disdained homework and following the rules, being civil. They chided the African Americans for bringing homework home. The true African Americans were a real pleasure to speak with and be around and be their bus driver. So 15 years later (2006), I wonder which group of students got jobs and which are still blaming society for not giving jobs to individuals (who did not strive to learn, get along with others, or get ahead in life by self improvement.) Whose fault was that.
Just a real eye-opener to see one group of individuals put down another group of individuals, even though both groups were of the same skin color. A simple story, that shows it is not skin color, but individual choices (why should I study? I don't need an education) that makes one impoverished or wealthy in society.
10. Good comments, Fred. The kids who just hunkered down and did their schoolwork and let those silly comments about being 'sellouts' for doing their homework and succeeding are probably out building happy, productive lives.
Meanwhile, it's all too likely that the ones were chiding the others for bringing homework home and actually being civil are probably still sitting at home, looking at the nowhere-ness of their lives and wondering what happened.
11. ..kids who are taught that their problems are everyone else's fault will NEVER be happy in life and will NEVER succeed the way they want to. Because they have given up the power they have over their own lives to everyone else. That's what blaming everyone else for your problems really is. A failure to take responsibility for your own sitch and move on from there. If you're blaming everyone else, you'll never get out of the hole. Because you've given everyone else the reins to your life.
12. Perhaps Dustin Washington is unclear on what critical thinking really means.
I suppose that he is not willing to apply this skill to his own paradigm of pervasive and odious racism.
But, of course, the very fact that anybody such as myself could doubt these conclusions are, to some, clear evidence that one is a racist (whether aware of it or not).
13. Yep Fred you are completely right. Did you know that Blacks want the true African Americans to not be eligible for affirmative action? They say that the fact that true African Americans work hard, do well in school and get good jobs should make them exempt.
You're right on the money, Fred. Having worked in the same community I can sadly attest that what you witnessed is true. I used to work downtown too and it wasn't an uncommon thing to witness african american men beating what I assumed must have been their girlfriends right on the sidewalk. I never saw any other ethnic group behave that way, not that I'm saying it doesn't occur.
What makes me so mad that I can't see straight is the liberals furious attempts, (like the "Freedom School"), to deny the obvious and make things worse. The wasted lives as a result is a tragedy.
Why on earth would anyone want to take a story written in a newspaper, a eurocentric invention, in a eurocentric language seriously.
Do this story using jungle drums and Swahili and I will give it some credence.