Recently the St. Louis Beacon asked people to contribute their opinions on what is wrong with our schools. I found the assumption they started out with interesting. Children in the US are poorly educated therefore the problem must lie with the schools. Starting form that assumption we have the following areas to tweak curriculum, administration or teachers. Each of these has the benefit of holding none of us responsible.
Lets try to avoid this assumption. Now what do we have? Schools in wealthy areas produce better learning results with the same and even fewer resources than low income schools. It is true. It is even acknowledged. Lets take this even further. Students who are enrolled in parochial schools perform better than students in low schools in low income areas. Its also true it is acknowledged.
Where do these tow pieces of data lead us? The children in privileged areas are superior? we reject this both politically and genetically. So then it must be the schools. The conclusion is understandable but incorrect. Thousands of schools tens of thousands of educators all trying different things and yet coming to the same result tell us that the problem lies not with the schools, not with the educators but with the common factor the students.
Having rejected race and genectics what do these students have in common? Poverty? Yes,but results for students in poverty can be shown to vary greatly. Most of the students share a culture,black culture, and that is a culture of despair.
According to the Sentencing Project. One in three black ten year olds expect to go to prison. How can a teacher motivate a student who expects to go to prison? Why does he have this expectation? Because he is rational. 32% of black men are felons. Those men experience a lifetime of economic penalties which result in poverty and even more criminal acts. Thus the child who has grown in an environment where in order to survive most people engage in some criminality and all expect to eventually be caught is rational in anticipating life as a felon.
"Teacher no one uses algebra in C Block" I made that up but one gets the gist.
So how do we improve our schools. Step one end the War on Drugs that has done so much to destroy American and especially black family structure. Step two provide felons with a path back to citizenship so the can provide a better life to their families and a vision of hope to their children. Step three do all the things we need to do as a nation for everyone's economic well being like investments in technology because if we improve education these folks are going to need jobs.
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