Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Education and Business: An Incestuous Relationship - By Eileen F. Toplansky

Why in Sam Hill would a sentient parent send his child to any school of higher learning in America today when "colleges across the country are alteringadmissions requirements and curricul[a]" in order to "improve diversity ratios on campus"?
Mind you, it is not to increase standards.  No, the changes involve "lowering of standards and a very clear implication that students from certain backgrounds cannot score as high on tests as their peers of a different melanin makeup."
When will this madness stop?
Instead of rooting out the reasons why students of color are doing so poorly, the Left continues to use them as cannon fodder to control the education of young American minds.
Why is it that the public education system has failed so many of its black and Hispanic students?  How is the following possible?
[I]n America's public high schools, 45% of black students and 43% of Hispanics (as compared to 22% of whites) drop out before their classes graduate.  Dropout rates are especially high in urban areas with large minority populations, including such academic basket cases as the District of Columbia (57%), Trenton (59%), Camden (61.4%), Baltimore (65.4%), Cleveland (65.9%), and Detroit (75.1%).
Of those black and Hispanic students who do manage to earn a diploma, a large percentage are functionally illiterate.  Black high-school graduates perform, on average, at a level that is four academic years below that of their white counterparts.  Of all graduates in the class of 2011, only 11% of blacks and 15% of Hispanics were proficient in math, as compared to 42% of whites.  Similarly, just 13% of blacks and 4% of Hispanics were proficient in reading, versus 40% of whites.  As political science professor Lydia Segal notes in her book, Battling Corruption in America's Public Schools: "It is in cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit, and Philadelphia where the largest numbers of children cannot read, write, and compute at acceptable levels and where racial gaps between whites and blacks and Latinos are widest.  It is in large cities that minority boys in particular, trapped in poor schools, have the greatest chance of flunking out and getting sucked into the downward spiral of crime and prison."
These failed, inner-city schools are run entirely by Democrats and progressives who, as author Jonah Goldberg points out, have "controlled the large inner-city school systems for generations."  Indeed, the powerful teachers unions overwhelmingly support the Democratic Party and its left-wing agendas; the bureaucrats at the Department of Education overwhelmingly hold progressive political and social views; and the ideological orientation of America's teacher-training colleges is decidedly leftist. All of these factors have combined to create the proverbial train wreck that is public education in the United States today.
It has not improved a whit since then. 
But in the usual left-wing approach to problem-solving, instead of genuinely addressing the substandard education that students receive, leftists will claim there is insufficient funding, that testing is actually biased against certain groups, and white privilege makes it impossible for people of color to succeed.  Then teacher unions will advocate for failed programs such as whole language, new math, and a myriad of other alleged solutions guaranteed to do one thing and one thing only: dumb down the recipients of such theories.  The Democrats are onlytoo glad to accommodate.
Consequently, in 2019, "Stanford pushed a separate physics course to ensure retention of 'underrepresented' physics majors."  Learning assistants, AKA tutors, were hired to offer extra help with coursework because Stanford educators believe that one reason for the decline by "underrepresented minorities is that they feel physics is not relevant to their communities[.]"
G-d help us when these underrepresented students enter the medical field.  Do you want a nursing student who has not mastered the basics of his field administering your medicine?  Is it racist or is it reasonable to wonder if the black doctor really knows what she is doing or was just passed along to make the diversity statistics look good?  After all, instructors are being told to grade women in the STEM programs less harshly.
Rick Singer, at the center of the college admissions scandal, would tell white families to lie about their race on college applications to give the student a better advantage.  What he did was egregious, but what the colleges and universities are doing is equally vile, as affirmative action is deliberately being used as a competitive advantage.  The rationale that using race will end racism is an indictment of the identity politics that the Left continually promotes.  
Scams abound.  An ESL instructor at a four-year university was queried as to the high number of Spanish-speaking students.  She explained that they were from predominantly local Hispanic communities.  They sign up for easy ESL classes and do well and then have their more complicated classes — e.g., science — taught in Spanish!  When asked why these students, who had graduated American high schools, were not proficient in English, the instructor explained that they were products of bilingual education, with English as an afterthought — yet another perfect example of the balkanization of classes meant to entitle one group over another. 
Common Core, which was launched in 2010 during the Obama administration,was funded by the oil-rich Muslim country Qatar, which also finances terrorism.  This is why history textbooks have large sections dedicated to the Islamic faith, culture, and history, whereas Christianity and Judaism get short shrift.  Indoctrination in Islam trumps reading and math readiness as scores continue to plummet.
Should someone attempt to change the Democrat/left-wing narrative, he will be demeaned and excoriated.  Just ask Candace Owens.  By the way, where are the Hispanic voices who rail against the idea that their students cannot succeed by hard work and studying?  Aren't they insulted by the inference that their young always need some handicap to succeed?  Why is English proficiency an afterthought?  And why do Spanish-speaking students who are born in the U.S. continue to speak of "their country" being Guatemala or the Dominican Republic rather than America?
Instead, we are "graduating" students who cannot compute simple numbers and have no idea where places are on a map.  Their vocabulary base is between the fifth and eighth grades; they have not been taught the ideas of the Founding Fathers and, too often, are incapable of thinking beyond the most superficial level.  Colleagues of mine whisper to each other, wondering if some of their students are actually mentally retarded because of their inability to do basic college work.  It is not meant as an insult — it is a question based on empirical observations concerning the steady decline of students' performance.
Parents must be at the forefront of the demand to completely overhaul the behemoth that has left wisdom and education way behind.  Schools are no longer bastions of knowledge; they are financial institutions that will do anything to maintain their economic viability, no matter the real cost to the students in their charge.  The Left has found a willing partner in the schools of higher learning.  The educational establishments are working overtime to maintain what has now become merely a business enterprise while the Left continues to ram its progressive and dangerous ideas on the young and impressionable.  In fact, "thealliance between the public education establishment and the march of 'progressivism' is as natural as anything could be."
Furthermore, "[a]s the poor quality of many public schools has become increasingly evident over the last several decades, the education establishment has become an utterly slavish ally of the political left.  It depends on the coercive fist of government."  Thus:
[T]he political left has become ever more reliant on the education system (K-12 through college and beyond) to inculcate statist ideas in people. If voters were inclined and able to think through the harmful consequences of progressive policies such as minimum wage laws, welfare payments, the Green New Deal, government-run health care, wealth taxes, and so on, they would toss the leftists out of office.
Consequently, "it's no surprise that public schools are ratcheting up their efforts at turning students into adults who will automatically vote to keep their political allies in power.  And that calls for constant adjustments to the curriculum."
For example, in Seattle, the public schools have adopted a new mathematics curriculum.  Plain old math, you see, just had answers that were objectively right or wrong.  Ethnicity and social justice had nothing to do with it.  But the zealots of progressivism couldn't allow a substantial element of the school day go by without any expression of the grievances certain groups have against western civilization.
In the spirit of Jonathan Swift's "Modest Proposal," perhaps we should just close all schools until reason ensues and Americans can, once again, have faith that the doctor holding the scalpel actually knows what he is doing.  It would be gratifying if American students could be genuinely proud of that piece of paper they receive at the end of four years.
Eileen can be reached at