Wednesday, July 20, 2005

More on Ebonics and the Racial Achievement Gap

Here is a short piece by someone who "gets it" when it comes to how to get an education.
It has not been helpful that LAUSD officials, as well as members of the school board, have allowed the district to become a sounding board for all sorts of suspect theories related to children "of color." Just one of those theories that have gained traction is that "black learners" react in different and unique ways to teaching -- different, that is, from the way other students react. This argument makes the claim that black students think in ways that are distinct from ways white students, in particular, think.

But isn't this a twist on the pseudo-science of old, which claimed that efforts to educate blacks would be fruitless because their capacity to learn was different from that of whites? Why is this argument acceptable today simply because it is being advanced by minority "multiculturalists"? The view that blacks and whites somehow interpret learning differently is -- in part -- a holdover from the silly debates surrounding "ebonics" that raged throughout the 1990s and that continue to handicap discussions of urban education to this very day.

Some 20 years after an onslaught of multicultural teaching techniques and the obsessive celebration of racial and cultural differences, are we actually supposed to believe that today's L.A. schools are inhospitable environments for virtually every ethnic group with the exception of the district's few remaining non-Latino white students? That seems hardly believable.

Evidence of the tendency to make use of crackpot theories was graphically displayed recently when one local high school attempted to hold a discussion about the achievement gap. The discussion went fairly well until one of the many downtown minions of the LAUSD, who had been invited to speak, announced that the problem of the achievement gap was -- drum roll, please -- mainly that of insensitive, uncaring white teachers.
There's more and it all makes sense.

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