Thursday, 24 September 2009

Segregation Today, Segregation Tomorrow, Segregation Forever in Tucson

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segregationWould you hire school teachers and mete out punishment to students based on race? Some obviously would, as this is exactly what’s happening in Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) in Arizona.

The district has decided that instead of choosing teachers based on the outdated concept of merit, it will hire teaching staff who reflect the racial composition of its largely minority student population. Opining on this in the Arizona Republic, Doug MacEachern writes, “In a year in which hundreds of district teachers received pink slips, meanwhile [sic], TUSD spent thousands on recruiting teachers from out of state. And it hired a coordinator at $80,000 per annum to lead the effort.”

Of course, such quota selection isn’t uncommon nowadays. It’s animated by the same mentality dictating that police must also reflect the wider community. And it’s a good example of how the Left may preach the importance of being colorblind, but it does nothing but get us into a color bind.

The TUSD is also expanding a controversial “Mexican-American” studies program, which is in the same vein as the teacher-hiring plan, in that it applies racial/ethnic quotas to history and learning in general.

There is much we can say about such folly. Most obviously, just as we are not one people if we don’t speak the same language and embrace the same culture, we are not one people if we don’t study the same history. Should we base schooling on students’ racial/ethnic background? Should we have, depending on the children, German-American, Italian-American, Greek-American curricula, or something other variety? This is a recipe not for a melting pot but for going to pot. Such a standard guarantees that instead of E Pluribus Unum, the nation will devolve into a fractious land of competing sub-cultures. Maybe we should just start the partitioning now.

And, in point of fact, the Tucson school board is doing just that — in the area of punishment. Writes MacEachern:

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With the goal of creating a "restorative school culture and climate" that conveys a "sense of belonging to all students," the board is insisting that its schools reduce its suspensions and/or expulsions of minority students to the point that the data reflect "no ethnic/racial disparities."

... The happy-face edu-speak notwithstanding, what the Tucson Unified School District board of governors has approved this summer is a race-based system of discipline.

... Some behavior will be met with strict penalties; some will not. It all depends on the color of the student's skin.

So, in just the way that social engineers have overlooked the fact that testing and hiring are meant to reward achievement, they forget that discipline exists to punish transgression. Instead, infected as we are with equality-on-the-brain, we’re going to punish students based on quota. Moreover, in grand 1984 style, the board has created an “Equity Team,” whose name belies its actual purpose. For, while it’s supposed to ensure “social justice” for all students, achieving equal outcome requires unequal treatment, so its business will be injustice. To be even more blunt, however, what’s really being said is that white students will now, on average, be punished more harshly for misbehavior.

This is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it amounts to holding minority students to lower standards, which only hurts them; after all, holding kids responsible is the key to elevating them. On the other, this kind of unfairness will only engender bitterness in the white students. It’s a great way to stoke the fires of racial hatred.

Looking at an even bigger picture, it’s another example of legitimizing prejudice and discrimination against whites. Remember that students today are accosted with revisionist history in curricula, the media and popular culture through which whites are demonized. Add to this policies that institutionalize discrimination against them, such as this two-tiered punishment regime, and you already have a form of mild persecution. Moreover, do you recall those math problems in school wherein you had to finish the progression? If this process continues, where will it lead? Two, four, six, eight... This one is not that much more difficult to complete.

Yet it isn’t surprising that this insanity would prevail in this age of moral relativism, as it is a creed that blinds people to the one great commonality they can share: Truth.

A prerequisite for good education is identifying what is important so that it can be imparted to children. Recognition of Truth is central to this because it is the yardstick with which we can determine what is better and worse, good and evil, important and unimportant. Given this, it’s easy to understand the kind of problem that holding a belief system that says there is no Truth would pose. Since you couldn’t really say anything was more important than anything else, how could you decide what to teach? It’s the kind of confusion that yields history textbooks with more information about Marilyn Monroe than George Washington.

The answer is that you use as a yardstick the things that matter most in a world without Truth: feelings. You then teach girls, blacks, Hispanics, etc. what you think will make them feel better (and what makes you feel better), as opposed to what will make them know better. Thus, motivated by this and also the principle that “all cultures and ideas are equal,” you start presenting history based on quota.

But this is the worst kind of academic malpractice, as it denies children what they really need. For instance, many “educators” dispense with classical literature because it was written by “dead white males.” But did we study the classics because they were written mainly by white people? No, no more than educated ancient Romans learned Greek and studied Greek classics because they were created by Greek people. We did it because such works often express great truths and thus have stood the test of time.

Despite the relativistic Left’s posturing about “equality,” its members are in fact the most prejudiced people you can find. Why? Because denial of Truth does in fact lead to that governance by emotion, and prejudice — that negative opinion with no basis in reality — is a phenomenon of the emotional realm. This is why leftists care more about the color of a teacher’s skin than what is coming out of his mouth. And it’s why, more and more, what’s coming out of teachers’ mouths is not what should be put into children’s heads.