The public school system is constantly on the lookout for a new approach for teaching in a multi-cultural way. As we look at their methods that they are employing we have to ask ourselves if the truth is getting lost in the “techno-babble.” Further when numbers are being compared are we failing to look at the right ones?
The school system has been looking ever since the turn of the century at “Race-Neutral Alternatives.” This was illustrated in their publication “Race-Neutral Alternatives in Postsecondary Education: Innovative Approach to Diversity.”
I am all for diversity. However it does no culture any good to go through school and come out on the supposed graduating end with no ability to read and write not to mention perform mathematical calculations.
The initial complaint of this publication is that 40 percent of white fourth-grade students are competent with respect to reading only 16 percent of Hispanic students and 12 percent of African-American students are capable of reading on a competent level. If you carry that over to mathematics you have 34 percent versus 10 percent and five percent respectively.
The first question that must be asked is how can it be acceptable for 40 percent or 34 percent to be the “flagships” of competency? Those numbers are ridiculous and are not only unfair to students but place our country in a terrible position on a global basis.
There is a problem that must be addressed and it doesn’t have anything to do with students. Our educational system is broken or at best needs work.
However colleges and the government historically accepted the numbers and decided that it made sense to give African-Americans and Hispanics primarily preferential treatment to go to college. That has been struck down in the courts as unfair so now we have the idea of “race-neutral” treatments.
Now rather than basing acceptance to college on race socio-economic status is considered. A person who comes from a single parent family is considered a better college risk than a well-to-do student because they are more resourceful. That might be if the socio-economically challenged student had a B- average and a 1000 SAT compared to a 1200 SAT and an A- average.
Of course these are arbitrary and the entire thing would be arbitrary.
The haunting question comes through loud and clear. If it is the fault of the school system that African-Americans and Hispanics fail then why are the Asian students capable of negotiating it so well?
“Race Neutral” policies are destined to failure. As long as we try to adjust the system to meet people where they are rather than truly help them learn we are going to get nowhere.
“Race-Neutral Alternatives in Post-Secondary Education: Innovative Approaches to Diversity,” Booklet, U.S. Department of Education, March, 2003