Sunday, December 03, 2017

Statistical Bigotry in minority education

The Democratic Party and the liberal left’s obsession with disparate impact race politics crept into K-12 public education. Their latest social engineering experimentation uses black and Hispanic kids in poor urban classrooms as pawns for political power. Education is secondary.

Liberals believe they can artificially wipe away serious behavior problems that are cultural in nature. They do this by labeling reasonable standards of classroom discipline as racist or discriminatory. When urban schools with predominantly black and Hispanic students enacted protocols that create an environment where learning can take place, more suspensions and expulsions resulted, accompanied by a widening of the achievement gap between black students and their white counterparts.

The knee-jerk reaction from liberals was to claim that school disciplinary policies that disproportionally affected black and Hispanic kids were culturally insensitive, discriminatory and evidence of racism. The liberals were confusing correlation and causation. School officials were even discouraged from calling police even in cases of violent assaults - that could also be considered racist.

Social engineers in colleges and universities began drawing up untested experiments using black and Hispanic kids as laboratory rats. They wanted to show that leaving disruptive kids in the classroom, instead of removing them for serious behavior violations including assaults on teachers, would improve scholastic performance.

Instead, disruptions and scholastic performance both got worse. Leaving disruptive kids in a classroom is a danger not only to the teacher but to other students as well. The university professors are nowhere near the classrooms to see the disaster they created with their inane idea, nor are they held accountable.

Not surprisingly, no amount of cultural sensitivity training of school officials will negate the culturally dysfunctional baggage brought to school every day by students.

Too many black kids today do not come to school in a state of readiness to learn. They have not been read to by parents. They are not socially adjusted for a group environment like a classroom, nor have they been reasonably disciplined for unwanted behavior. This emotional baggage is then thrown into the lap of a teacher who does not have the education or skills for handling these serious emotional and behavioral problems.

Kids have an excuse because of their age, immaturity and bad parenting. The parents of those disruptive kids have no excuse. Long ago, parents were absolved of their responsibility to raise their kids effectively. Liberal social dogma told them racism was at the root of their inability to raise kids who were ready for the demands of a school classroom.

Poverty was to blame too. Now liberals had a reason for not just government but economic intervention as well. This gave the left a two-for-one moment to enact expensive government-run tax-supported programs. They could spend more money not just on unproven education experiments but also on new anti-poverty programs.

K-4 programs have become K-3 programs. This further absolves mainly black and Hispanic parents from their rightful responsibility of raising their kids.

We are on our way to kids being taken immediately from the maternity ward to a government school. They are already being fed three meals a day and provided for by taxpayer-funded after-school programs. Why not just start them on the road to government dependency, not to mention indoctrination and exposure to leftist dogma, as early in life as possible?

GOP politicians in Congress have been reluctant to challenge the efficacy of these expensive programs lest they are accused of not caring about black and Hispanic children, or being outright racist. Nothing makes a white Republican politician run like their hair is on fire faster than being accused of not caring about black kids.

Education has always been the traditional vehicle for upward mobility in America. It is even more important in today’s knowledge-based economy.

Blacks who have embraced education are less likely to have kids who drop out of school, commit crimes, join gangs or make other flawed lifestyle choices like drug and alcohol abuse and having children they are ill-equipped to raise.

One of the hallmarks of slavery was criminalizing the education of black children thus keeping them ignorant. I would argue that many of today’s public school policies achieve the same results - they keep kids ignorant.

The goal of social activists is not to fix education problems but to fix the statistics. They are focusing on the wrong thing. Statistics can be exploited not only to make school problems (seem to) disappear, but also to demonstrate the need for the continuation of government programs. The kids who fail in school today are the population that tomorrow will fill jails and prisons and be in need of government assistance.

Former President George W. Bush called these low expectations “soft bigotry.” He was right. Now the left wants to back up the soft bigotry with faulty statistics.


One Ivy League College Just Took Self-Identification to a Whole New Level

Beth Baumann

Brown University decided to change its graduate program's application process. The change would allow potential students to 'self-identify' as a person of color, The College Fix reported.

Apparently, the university decided to make the change after faculty complained that international and Asian American students weren't being "treated as members of historically underrepresented groups." Because of the lack of recognition, some students were missing out on invitations to multicultural events.

This policy is said to help the university reach its goal of doubling historically underrepresented groups by 2022, the Brown Daily Herald reported.

Out of all of the stupid liberal college policies I've heard of, this has got to be one of the stupidest.

I'm so tired of colleges constantly trying to be diverse. They go out of their way to reward students with scholarships because of their heritage and their skin color.

Equality is in the Eye of the Beholder

The Civil Rights Movement was based on the idea of equality. All of us can argue over just what "equality" people like Martin Luther King Jr. fought for. Did he fight for equality of opportunity? Did he fight for equality of outcome? How we define equality differs based on our political views.

As a conservative, I believe in the equality of opportunity. All of us have the opportunity to go to college. Yes, each of us has our own struggles and obstacles. But no one is discriminated against or told they can't go to college because of the color of their skin. No one is told they can't get a higher education because of their family's past. There's a clean slate for everyone.

When colleges and universities implement these dumb affirmative action rules all they're doing is picking winners and losers. Let me give you an example...

In high school, I was a good student. I graduated with a 3.49. I took Advanced Placement (AP) classes, and I was very involved in extra and co-curricular activities. When I applied for colleges, I received no financial aid. I fell into the trap of my parents "making too much money" (on paper) but not enough money to pay outright for my schooling. When I applied for scholarships, I was denied based on one of two principles: my parents' income or my race. I had two strikes against me. I'm middle class and white.

A classmate of mine had a lower GPA than I did, and she wasn't involved in extra and co-curricular activities. She received a full-ride scholarship and dropped out after one or two semesters. I ended up going to a smaller private school and taking out student loans, just like the majority of my peers.

A Disgrace to Opportunities in America

Policies like the one taking place at Brown University are a disgrace to everything America stands for. There are people who spend their whole lives wanting the opportunity to have access to everything America has to offer. Now, an Ivy League college wants to make sure that we're spreading our opportunities out "equally" to everyone. Except equality isn't really equal here. Instead, it means raising up minorities and burying others.

Minorities should also be offended by policies like these. Universities have such little faith in people of color that they think minorities need a leg up. A supposedly merit-based education is now coming down to nothing more than a person's skin color.

I'm sure MLK is rolling in his grave.


Australia: Phonics check is crucial in early years education

A key policy proposal of the CIS’s FIVEfromFIVE literacy project is a Year 1 Phonics Check. The rationale for the Check is that phonics (sounding out words) is an essential skill for proficient reading, and there is good reason to believe that many teachers are not teaching phonics well. A simple assessment administered towards the end of Year One — a crucial point in learning to read — would show which students have not acquired this skill and are therefore likely to struggle with reading throughout their schooling.

The Year One Phonics Check has been implemented in all primary schools in England since 2012 and has been shown to be an effective tool for identifying struggling readers and for guiding teaching and intervention. There has also been an improvement in reading comprehension in later years of school since the Phonics Check was introduced.

Despite this, there has been a concerted campaign against the Phonics Check in Australia from teachers unions and professional associations, who claim it is unnecessary and even ‘harmful’. Some opponents appear to object to the Check on the basis that they don’t like the people who are promoting it. The most likely reason they are opposing the Check is that they are worried about what the results might show.

Those who claim the Phonics Check is unnecessary state that teachers already assess phonics in the early years, and that the Check is an affront to teachers’ professionalism. If teachers are already assessing phonics, they have nothing to fear from the Check. However a review by an expert advisory panel appointed by the Australian government found that there is no consistent systemic assessment of phonics in Year 1 in Australian schools.

Those who claim the Phonics Check is harmful typically point to the inclusion of pseudo or nonsense words in the Check, claiming that teaching pseudo words is pointless. This is correct but misleading — the Phonics Check does not encourage the teaching of nonsense words but using them for assessment is a valid and accurate way of determining phonic knowledge because it reduces the possibility the child will be reading the word using their sight word memory.

There is however, strong support for the Year 1 Phonics Check from many academics, researchers, principals, teachers and parents. An online petition has garnered more than 3000 signatures and social media is alight with debate. The FIVEfromFIVE video explainer has had almost 13,000 views.

The Year 1 Phonics Check proposal will be discussed by education ministers at the Education Council meeting next Friday. The arguments for the Check are clear and compelling. At the very least, it is worth doing a national trial. Any objections to such a proposal can only be on political rather than educational grounds, and that would be a very disappointing result indeed.


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