December 06, 2006
"The End of School Diversity"?
Lynne Varner raises the point today in the Seattle Times, speculating that the Supreme Court may rule against the Seattle School District's race-based tiebreaker. Her view of the matter, however, is troubling.
However, if the court turns Brown on its head by prohibiting any consideration of race in public education, narrowly tailored or not, we're in trouble. It would be an almost perverse interpretation of the 14th Amendment's equal-rights clause. Instead of recognizing the necessary use of racial groups, particularly when ensuring equal opportunity in education, the court could well adopt a colorblind mentality.
Call me a literalist, but isn't the language of the 14th Amendment consistent with a "colorblind mentality"? Isn't that what the great civil rights advances of the 1960's were all about, judging people "not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character"?
Personally, I believe the Court's rejection of the tiebreaker would strengthen Brown v. Board of Education, not harm it. If we as a society are serious that racial discrimination has no place in public schools then we have no business allowing a race-based policy in school admissions.
Varner is correct that Justice Kennedy is the likely swing vote and that his leanings cannot be determined with certainty. Moreover, she is also right in pointing out there are other means by which to achieve the diversified schools to which Seattle aspires. I raised one yesterday: substitute socio-economic status for race in the tiebreaker.
I should point out that on other education issues Varner "gets it," understanding the necessity of closing the achievement gap, being serious about improving schools, and being willing to think outside the status quo to reach those goals. Yet, on this issue I couldn't disagree more.
Posted by Eric Earling at December 06, 2006
07:20 AM | Email This
I'm waiting for things to come full circle and be denied a seat on a bus because it is reserved for a racial minority and not some "over privileged" white guy like me.
I vote for color blind. Any and every rule that includes race is racist in my book. Give everyone the same opportunity and leave it up to them to take it or not.
2. Our Constitution DID adopt a color blind policy, and we should be proud of that. However, our judiciary has chosen to interpret it to death, resulting in the reverse racism of low expectations for minorities. It needs to stop. Children of any ethnic background will live up to expectations. Let's help them do it by doing away with race-based education policy.
3. 1. There is a need for good schools in all quadrants of the city.
2. Housing patterns are at the root of a lot of the problem. Economics and/or class considerations
drive a lot of the housing patterns. Even if many of any color want to live in Magnolia, Laurelhurst, Windemere,Madison Park, Leshi, Madrona or Broadmoor. One has to have the income to do so.
3. There are some entrepreneurs, sports figures, and rap artists that have a decent income and could live in the above neighborhoods, but by and large, one needs a decent education and decent employment. Often it requires a two income couple.
4. In some schools the diversity comes from programs occupying the same buidling. An advanced placement program and regular problem and it really isn't diversity.
5. Varner is correct, however, in that if patterns revert to neighborhood schools, the quality of those schools has to be good in all quadrants of the city. There is nothing in the current institutional structure to ensure that. In my opinion, liberal moonbats like Bruce and Ivan, really don't think children of color can achieve and they will be proposing solutions that really don't work for kids. So, Varner is probably correct in the outcome, but more because of the stranglehold the current insitutional stucture and union system have on public schools.
4. Haven't had my coffee and there is no spell check
#3. There are professionals of color that live in the above neighborhoods, but they have been educated and as a result of that education have good employment.
#4 Freudian slip - should be regular programs instead of problem programs.
5. The separation of school children from schools in their community is just the next step of separating school leadership, decisions, and accountability from the community. Why should I care about schools in my neighborhood when my kid gets bussed off to somewhere else?
You are correct that people take ownership in neighborhood schools.
1. There should be one definition of basic education which is applicable to all schools.
2. Schools are like microclimates. A strong principal should be allowed to hire and fire all staff.
3. Schools should be given the flexibility to innovate to produce basic education in their population of students.
4. The current institutional structure will not allow #2 and #3 and power players who are beholden to the current stakeholders will advocate solutions like mayorial control, but will never look at whether the institutional structure needs to be changed. Expect more failure.
Unless, there is some form of competition in the public school system, don't expect things to improve.
Ms. Varner mistates the 14th amendment; she's confused before she even starts rambling..
its "equal protection" (law applies to all equally), not "equal rights"....
wvh--your #2 at note 3 applies to non-minorities/anyone too. it;s not a minority issue. that "class considerations" phrase wrinkles my nose every time--sounds like the victimhood- jealousy game
i'd like to live near Bill Gates. not going to happen. should I now feel discriminated and seek reparations? who said it's a Const. right to have a house anywhere just given to you? or that you simply "deserve it?"
does money effectively "discriminate?" sure--those who have it, inherited it or worked for it get to enjoy it. they should, morally, (but don't always) share it with the poor to the extent they choose and generously. do the Hollywood folk we worship open their compounds/neighborhoods to the "lessers?" yet we do not comdemn them.
the alternative is communism. taking YOUR stuff to give to someone just for the sake of re-distribution. how is that "fair" to you the worker who created the wealth and now want to enjoy it in a bigger house, etc? private charities can handle the social problems better than a huge govt.
as for neighborhoods and schools, the vouchers will solve that issue. as will getting the union chokehold off our lives.
many of your other thoughts are sensible--thanks
9. Also in favor of color blind. What's wrong with it? Isn't that what the civil rights movement was originally about? When did it become an affirmative action movement instead?
Hey Jimmie and Peggy,
Class is color blind. If you don't have the income, a lot of doors aren't open to you. Oprah gets in more places than the three of us. :-)
My particular interest is in seeing that all kids receive a good education, I don't care what the color of the kid is. I have a praticular interest in making sure low income kids have a chance.
Let me explain how all of this plays out in the real world...My Company was expanding and we needed to hire three full time “beginning” workers, one for each shift. The starting pay is $10.00 per hour for first and second shift and $12.00 for the graveyard shift.
I though it would be a good idea to give minority youth first call on these jobs. I contacted every minority work program I could to send me any pre-qualified applicants. What a nightmare and total waste of time. I was inundated with person that could not fill out a simple job application, speak English (and I do not mean Spanish), or even read!
To make matters worse, over the 30 days of this process, I sent 15 potential applicants for drug testing (at $175.00 each thank you) and they ALL FAILED. I had one job offers refused by a recent 18 yr. old Franklin H. S. graduate because, as he put it, “You be wastin’ my time wid dat $10.00 an hour S**T.”
Of the two minorities that I did hire one, quite because the other employees would not let him play “Gangsta Rap” on the P.A. system on third shift (still waiting for the law suit on this one) and the other was caught stealing in the first week.
I ended up hiring a service that supplied six mentally challenged persons to do the same work. It took a little longer and cost more to train them, but in the future this is what I will do again. They are at work on time, do a great job, enjoy being at work and are a pleasure to be around.
Two persons were hirable out of the 80 or so that entered the process and they left in less than a week. I have not totaled up the cost for all of this, the time, the effort and actual dollars but it was all completely wasted Some of you out there my say that this is raciest, but if this is the reality you see, you can quickly form a BIAS!!!
Equal protection per the Civil Rights Acts of 1866 and 1964 prohibits advantages based upon race in schools, public and private contracting, public and private employment, and other government based preferences. The irony of racial school preferences in Seattle and St Louis is that they could accomplish a similar outcome lawfully by substituting an economic standard for race.
Affirmative action advocates like Varner will never accept a colorblind solution that treats all economically underprivileged the same. To do so would end their political leverage to continue or expand the plethora of government social and welfare programs they use to pander to the growing permanent underclass by redistributing tax revenue to them. Worse, it would force those in the underclass to compete with each other to improve themselves.
We will not get a color blind society until a generation or so after we really implement a color blind society.
The call for tossing extra help to whomever is economically disadvantaged is the way to go. Who ever is at the bottom of the stack (regardless of color or ethnicity) should have available extra educational programs and lots of tuition assistance. They will take advantage of them or they will remain at the bottom of the stack.
We will not get equal outcomes for a few generations after everyone figures out that they all have to individually better themselves and get thei kids into the same mindset.
WVH @ 10:
WVH, I agree with most of what you post, especially the points you make about how to improve schools.
However, with regard to the class issue as a factor in educational achievement, I need to understand where your coming from here.
Doesn't the parent play an important role in the child's education, perhaps more so than class considerations? Yes, I realize that even with motivated parents, bad schools can still hinder kids, but shouldn't both elements be considered side by side?
I personally know at leat two families (large with 5+ children each, one home schooled, one not) that *struggle* financially.
One family lives in a *middle class* neighborhood, the other in a *lower class* neighborhood. I have worked with the children in both families, and all the kids have good to great grades, and are very motivated. My conclusion based on my observations of the families is that parental involvement, discipline, etc., play a major role in academic achievement.
Granted, at some point class considerations (financial issues) may overshadow parental involvment due to stresses and the logiscial problems associated with fianancial struggles, or the effects of living in a *bad* neighborhood (crime, bad role models, etc.), but where do we draw the line regarding parental responsiblity/accountability and class as the major root cause for the state of kids educational achievement?
One final point: What assumptions do we make about class issues and what causes them/perpetuates them. My thinking is that without changing behavior, eliminating class issues completely is impossible.
Just some thoughts I'm mulling over.
16. San Francisco went through the whole bussing nonsense to "achieve" racial balance in their schools back in the 1980s. It was a horrid and expensive failure. Who wants their kid bussed off to a bad neighborhood every day for such a flawed goal? Families left the school system in droves. The end result is that anyone with middle income or above has abandoned the SF public schools system by and large.
17. here's an interesting tid bit... SSD central office employees were all rquired to attend five cultural/racial sensitivity classes last school year... *17%* of upper management actually made it to five, and only 24% went to *any*... "do as I say..." perhaps? What *really* is the focus?
18. IT'S THE SYSTEM'S FAULT!
Now let me get back to watching Montel and Springer while you take care of my kids. Wait, Montel comes on too early - make that Maury and Springer.
F W de Klerk, the gentleman who dismantled apartheid in S Africa, said that he understood the absurdity of racial classification when he saw the last version of the apartheid law, the definition seciton describing who was what was over 1000 pages long. He said later he thought that anything classification which took 1000 pages to describe must be artificial and arbitrary.
Of course, the Seattle public schools have addressed this criticism: they have stated that any student who refuses to classify themselves will be classified by an "inspection of skin tone by a qualified staff member".
20. I have a dream, that one day, the ability of our children to live in good neighborhoods with good schools, will be based not on the contents of their parents' pocketbooks, but on the content of their character.
21. I have a dream, that one day, the ability of our children to live in good neighborhoods with good schools, will be based not on the contents of their parents' pocketbooks, but on the content of their character.
Huh? Care to elaborate on what you mean here?
22. I just have this simple notion that people of good character should not have to attend lousy schools and live in lousy neighborhoods simply because they are poor. Or should economics trump character?
23. Pacific Grove Phash: Thanks for giving the DD kids a chance. Not many do.
24. I don't think anyone here has opposed family economics as a tiebreaker, just race.
Pacific--your story is commmon.
however, it never hits the light of day in ANY MSM outlet. even as a follow-up to track the effectiveness of programs. they don't want to know. analagous to finding out THEIR young unmarried daughter is pregnant by a loser peirced-type.
forget the follow-up investigative journalism or audits of ACTUAL RESULTS of these programs. buried in paper. too pc. delayed FOIA requests.
and true--i've worked with some mentally challenged people. very reliable and honest to the best of their abilities. i'd gladly fund those programs that WORK.
blame? plenty--starts at home with values. and people who are not afraid these days to have & uphold values. look at our enemies--they do not shirk in their vigor to get/fight for what they believe in. not condoning them, but warning that one side fights while another rolls over and accepts it and accepts mediocrity. America was not built on mediocrity.
Marty @ 15,
household income and student performance are *highly* correlated. Of course, correlation says nothing about causation, but the richer the kids the better the schools.
Take a look at the statewide testing results (broken down by school and look at household income for the area served by that school and you'll be amazed.
27. Pacific Grove,
You have made my argument for why there should be good schools in all quadrants who deliver a good basic education and meet the needs of their students, including discipline.
A strong family trumps considerations of race and class. The late Senator Monyihan was a gifted academic who studied the Black family for about 40 years. In the 50s, most Black children grew up in two parent families. I believe that children should be supported. What changed were government policies which allowed single women to have and raise children without a committed partner. The rise of single parent Black families headed by young single women has devasted the Black community. Both boys and girls need a positive male role model for their development. It is no accident, that at this stage of his life, Dr. Bill Cosby is out preaching.
Also, there is the problem of the MSM anoiting "leaders" who have been destructive. Probably few outside the Evangelical community have heard of Bishop TD Jakes who heads a megachurch in Dallas. He preaches economic reponisbility, personal responsible, and education. He also hosts "Megafest" in Atlanta which attended by over 100,000. Yet the media run to Jackson and Sharpton.
I know the moonbats will sqwak and a couple of the posters here only believe in a secular education. But, for a child from a failing family and failing school, both the Catholic and Lutheran schools have done wonders. All options should be on the table.
A strong family is the foundation for a successful child.
I know that you were being sarcastic and venting your frustration, but you are not far off the mark:
"20. I have a dream, that one day, the ability of our children to live in good neighborhoods with good schools, will be based not on the contents of their parents' pocketbooks, but on the content of their character."
I think what you were alluding to is an opinion that certain groups don't want to pay the price.
The fact of the matter is that good schools in all quadrants will prove the avenue for achievement, allowing individuals the werewithal to afford these neighborhoods. This week's Seattle Weekly has an interesting article on the Technology Academy issue at Rainier Beach. What struk me in the article was at p. 14 when one of the kids was describing standards for the Technology Foundation program. "'You had to shape up or get out,' recalls Willete Harris, 23, one of TAF's first students. 'Most kids decided to shape up.'"
That is why strong schools giving kids a good basic education are needed in all quadrants of the city.
29. way to think...."substitute socio-economic status for race in the tiebreaker". If the rich kids only learn to interact with other rich kids...do you really think that this is healthy? No way, color blind is the way to be! Break this issue down to its smallest component and it is not really race that is the problem it is money. Test score, problems children etc. every issue that we have in SSD can be broken down to money.
I think your heart is in the right place. The question is why can't there be good schools in all quadrants? There is supposedly diversity in the schools where advanced placement and regular classes co-exist, but there is not much mingling between the groups of students. A lot of poor kids need neighborhood support. The way to get small business, people in the neighborhood to look after these kids is neighborhood schools. I agree with you though, if a parent wants to make a choice out of a neighborhood school, economic diversity of the school might be a factor. I know I am going to get flak from the SP faithful, but it really does take a village to raise a child. Hillary borrowed the title from an African concept about what it takes to make a strong tribe. Because of the title, the concept has been much maligned. A strong neighborhood school that is the center of strong positive neighborhood interaction is the best thing that can happen to both children and schools. Still, if parents want to move out of the neighborhood school, your idea has merit, paricularly if there was a charter school district.