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.
David Clarke (@SheriffClarke) is a Spokesman for America First Action and President of DAC Enterprises (www.DACenterprises.org). He served as the sheriff of Milwaukee County from 2002-17.