Sunday, July 31, 2005


The social experiment that Santa Monica High School has become is yet one more example of the dismal failure of leftism and the delusions and paranoia of its architects. Once a beacon of public education to which families and their kids flocked, this beachside high school has in recent years become a center of political indoctrination.

The Left has created the false reality of institutional racism at "SamoHi," thereby fostering a sense of hopelessness in students. The students have, in turn, acted on that hopelessness. Racial disharmony is rampant at the school, manifest in the unchecked self-segregation found at so many of our nation's public schools. This has caused a greater potential for violence. It was not surprising when a huge, out-of-control race brawl took place on the campus. What was surprising was the response of school board member Oscar De La Torre, who nearly started a second riot just days later when he brought known gang members onto campus and refused to remove them, defying and mocking the police officers on the scene. Rather than being punished or reprimanded, this school board member will continue to be allowed to play a key role in instituting an aggressive new wave of leftist initiatives to address the racial animus.....

In a school board meeting the following day, De La Torre further contributed to the problem by failing to reproach the students who engaged in violence, instead giving them a blanket excuse for their reprehensible conduct. Resorting to the unsupported leftist claim that all blacks and Hispanics - even those in a city as P.C. as Santa Monica - are inherently the victims of some mysterious "institutional racism," De La Torre explained that "youth violence is a complex social problem that stems from marginalization and disenfranchisement."

I had the displeasure of meeting Oscar De La Torre during one of the Santa Monica city summits where all the leftist student leaders, parents, district officials, and community activists get together to see who can use the most left-wing buzzwords in a single sentence. During my day at the summit, I probably heard the words "exploited," "marginalized," "oppressed," and "disenfranchised" more than most people will in their natural lives. Every problem was chalked up to the larger villain of institutional racism, and all discussion centered on how to combat it. That no one could provide concrete examples seemed to make no difference.

I pointed out that it was incredibly damaging to put all this energy into convincing minority students that they were victims of discrimination and that if they tried to succeed or do something with their lives they would inevitably be held back. I argued that this would only encourage and increase delinquent behavior and that we needed to dispense with this illusion. Instead, we need to explain to minority students that if they applied themselves to their studies and stayed out of trouble, they would find a vista of opportunities. I was quickly labeled a racist, and after the session De La Torre became combative. He, like countless others during my time at Santa Monica High, tried to convince me that blacks and Hispanics were all victims of inescapable discrimination, deeply ingrained in the white ruling class and all public institutions. For many leftists such as De La Torre, this belief is central to their worldview. A belief in racial oppression has become an article of faith, beyond question or reason, invulnerable to rational discussion.

Nonetheless, it is still amazing that it has not occurred to anyone involved with the district that it is the leftist victim mentality and its unchallenged progressive initiatives, and not the mysterious villain the Left call institutional racism, that is in fact causing and worsening the problem....

Assimilation is anathema to leftists like De Le Torre because the resulting unity would eliminate the need for their policies and programs. To a disturbing extent, this indoctrination has been successful. I have spoken with a number of minority students during my time at SamoHi who claimed that they thought of themselves as Mexican, or Honduran, or Guatemalan first, and American second. De La Torre describes the successes of the Left in instituting ever more multiculturalism over the years; yet, the result has been the development of an anti-Americanism that also contributes mightily to racial tensions. A scientific poll I conducted while at SamoHi revealed that nearly one in every two students felt that America was an unjust nation, and more than one-third of the student body was not proud to be American. In turn, the vast majority of students wanted to reduce military spending, increase gun control, redistribute the nation's wealth, and expand government. At this one high school alone, the Left has trained thousands to continue building its failed utopia.....

The Left has caused and deepened the distressing problems we find in Santa Monica High School and countless other schools in this nation by refusing to answer student misbehavior with discipline, by failing to hold individuals accountable for their actions, by justifying any and all poor conduct, by excusing black and Hispanic misbehavior by holding those students to a lower standard, by drilling into them the belief that they are inherently victims, by proffering multiculturalist solutions to problems that don't exist. The political Left is like a doctor who stays in business by keeping his patients sick. According to leftist logic, if the leeches aren't making the patient healthy, then more leeches need to be applied. The doctor in the case of the racial illnesses at Santa Monica High School is the problem.

More here


In Australia recently, I shared a public platform with an educationist, who had won awards for social innovation in the field of education for disadvantaged minorities. I was looking forward to what she had to say. I was soon in a towering rage, however. She uttered some of the most foolish cliches of radical education theory, now about 40 years old-theories that I had fondly thought were now behind us, such as the harmful effects upon the children of disadvantaged ethnic groups or families of an emphasis on education as learning, with particular reference to the damage done to their self-esteem by the dominant culture's fetish about reading and writing.

These "technologies," as the social innovator called them, were in any case on the verge of obsolescence because of computerized voice-recognition systems, so why teach them? Why not recognize children's individual strengths and natural creativity, and why not accept what their native cultures brought to the great smorgasbord of life (my expression, not hers): such as, presumably, singing and dancing and basket-weaving and female circumcision.

This was all said with such smugness, with such an expression of beatific complacency and self-content, that I wanted to get up and strangle the innovator there and then. As a believer in the necessity of self-expression, she would no doubt have understood. I recalled what one of my patients in the prison once said to me, to explain why he had murdered his girlfriend: "I had to kill her, doctor, or I don't know what I would have done."

However, having been educated in precisely the kind of school that the innovator derided-namely, one in which I sat in a row with lots of other children and regularly heard in no uncertain terms that, being no more important than any other child in the class, I had wait my turn if I wanted to speak-I was able to control myself and even be polite in my reply.

I pointed out the obvious things, such as that the announcement of the death of reading and writing as a means of distant communication was premature, to say the least, and that if it was all right for children not to learn to read and write because it was in their culture not to do so, then was all right for them not to go to school at all; and that it took little imagination to understand how difficult and painful life in a modern society must be for someone who could neither read nor write properly.

Halfway through my own reply, however, I suddenly became bored. Why do I spend so much time arguing against such obvious rubbish, which should be both self-refuting and auto-satirizing the moment someone utters it? Why not just go and read a good book? The problem is that nonsense can and does go by default. It wins the argument by sheer persistence, by inexhaustible re-iteration, by staying at the meeting when everyone else has gone home, by monomania, by boring people into submission and indifference. And the reward of monomania? Power.



The 28-year-old teacher ran screaming down the corridor to the refuge of the staff room. She was quite a sight - almost naked, and so covered in blood, bruises and welts that her colleagues were at first unable to recognize her. In a frenzied 12-minute attack, she had been beaten, punched with a closed fist, raped and severely bitten by a hulking 15-year-old student who also made a serious attempt to strangle her. It was her second day on the job. The attack occurred in September and the woman, a dedicated teacher, has not yet been able to steel herself to going back into a classroom.

In many British state schools, there is a new fad going round the play yards. "Happy slapping", it is perversely called. Little girls of 10, 11 or 12 choose another little girl as a victim, surround her and, holding her so she cannot escape, hit her head and face with force while one films the attack on her mobile phone, laughing uproariously. Some little victims of "happy slapping" end up in hospital or at the doctor's office. At least one was left lying unconscious on the concrete playground when her attackers ran off shrieking with laughter. It has now spread to gangs of young teen boys who roam streets and parks.

Meanwhile, more advanced 10-year-olds who have put childhood pursuits aside are demanding the birth control pill. As one threatened a doctor in Scotland, "You'd better put me on the pill, because if you don't, I'm going to keep on having sex with these three boys anyway." To be fair, the doctor involved has been called up before the medical board for contributing to the rape of a minor. But, given the utter indifference of the mother - her "partner" of 10 years ago unlikely to know of the existence of a 10-year-old daughter - what was he to do? Report her to the ubiquitous "social services", who would "counsel" this little girl to make "a mature decision" and give her the pill anyway?

An undercover reporter for Channel 4, Alex Dolan, posed as a substitute teacher in several state schools and came away from the experience shaken. One feral girl, playing her mobile phone music at high volume throughout class despite being told by "the teacher" (Dolan) to stop, lost her patience and, putting her face inches from Dolan's, hissed, "Don't make me hurt you. I swear to God I will do it." Dolan posed as a substitute teacher in 16 schools and "came away saddened". That she didn't come away rigid with fright speaks well for the sang froid of undercover journalists. A full account of her investigation is here.

A lot has been written in recent years of Britain's feral children and the breakdown of civil behavior. From a confident, disciplined society, large strata of Britain have descended into the final days of the Roman Empire.... The decline in standards of behavior can be laid at the imposition, often against the will of parents ambitious for their children to rise in the world, of Tony Blair's socialist, politically correct philosophy. His government has not only destroyed all tax advantages for normal families with a father living in the household (every style of "family" is equal, after all), but has actually provided incentives to discourage such stability. Conservative commentator Melanie Phillips points out that there is now an œ8,000 ($14,000) tax advantage to parents who live apart.

In the socialist world of Tony Blair (who sends his own children to a "selective" school and has in the past seconded civil servants from the Ministry of Defence to come over to Downing Street to coach his son on tests to get in to university), with his Alice-in-Wonderland "all must have prizes" philosophy, has destroyed the long internationally respected gold standard of British education. GCSEs are end-of-school-year exams for 16-and 17-year-olds, set by panels of universities. They are graded, anonymously, by academic specialists employed by those universities, not the schools. Passing these very tough exams was a source of tremendous pride to students and their families. An important by-product was that they provided a route for bright children to step out of the blue-collar class and be welcomed into the professions.

Unfortunately Blair and his cabinet made up entirely of former Trotskyites, Marxists and presidents of the Students Union (a communist organization officially embedded in all British universities) cannot, in their chic chatterati compounds, understand that all children deserve a rigorous education to provide them with equality of opportunity - it's too judgmental otherwise. The socialists say: Why not just cut to the chase and ensure equality of outcome? Everyone wins. Passes of the GCSEs, once a proud badge of academic merit, have, under Blair, become a human right. This means the universities no longer have the dependable 50-year-old yardstick by which to judge applicants.

The mentality of the socialists, with no rewards for arduous application and no penalties for spending classroom time making calls on mobile phones, putting on make-up and walking around visiting with friends and chivvying the elbows of children who were trying to work, has taken hold. The result is a decline in civil society in general. Encouraged by Blair's "entitlement" culture, teachers are now subject to bullying and sometimes physical assault by parents whose children hadn't performed but demanded passes for them anyway.

Motivated, ambitious youngsters only know what they are told at school: that British GCSEs are the envy of the world. Those students who take responsibility for their own future still place enormous faith in the power of getting good grades.

Undercover reporter Alex Dolan quotes a letter written to Tony Blair by a 15-year-old student worried about her future. "Dear Prime Minister, me and my colleagues have a problem. We have had 26 supply [substitute] teachers since the start of the year, when we should have a proper teacher because our GCSEs are at risk."


UK: Teachers want parents punished for disruptive kids: "The parents of badly-behaved pupils must be punished by the Government to stop the rising tide of disruption in schools, teachers decided yesterday. Teachers say that violent and abusive parents have created a generation of children whobelieve shouting and swearing is normal behaviour. At the other end of the spectrum, children of over-indulgent parents arrive at school never having been denied anything and are unable to adapt to school."


For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

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