Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Friday, April 20, 2007

Senate Democrats Enable Seattle's Racist Educrats

I have finally identified the problem with the public school system. Seattle teachers are racists. According to the Seattle Education Association, between 40 and 45% of low-income children will not the pass the Washington Assessment of Student Learning, or WASL, exam before their 2008 graduation date. Most of these children, the union says, are “children of color.” If they don’t pass, and if the legislature does not relax the requirement, these high schoolers will not graduate with the rest of their classmates in 2008. And that, the union argues, is unacceptable.

The union has labeled the governor’s plan to postpone enforcement of the mathematics portion of the WASL while leaving the reading and writing portions in place as “racist.”
“This pure (sic) and simply is the definition of Institutional Racism and Institutional Privilege. SEA (Seattle Education Association) and SPS (Seattle Public School System) are working to eliminate the horror of Institutional Racism and Privilege wherever we find it,” the teacher’s union fulminated in a letter sent to the legislature a couple of weeks ago.
And no, I don’t know why supposedly educated people would capitalize the words “Institutional Racism and Privilege.”
The teachers have an ally in state senator Rosemary McAuliffe, D-Bothell, who claims to have secured the votes required to postpone enforcement of the entire WASL exam.
"If I'm going to delay something, why wouldn't I delay it all? Why would I just delay math and not listen to the voices for those children who struggle with reading and writing and have not had the opportunity or the resources to meet the standards?" She said.
These children “have not had the opportunity or the resources to meet the standards?” Did she really say that?
If after 12 years in the Seattle public school system these kids have been denied “the opportunity or the resources to meet the standards,” then whom should we blame other than the people who are charged with providing the opportunity and the resources and are failing in that responsibility? And if these kids are disproportionately children of color, then shouldn’t we hold them accountable for their racism as well?
If Don Imus can lose his job for simply hurting the feelings of a future physician and a class valedictorian, then why should teachers who fail to instruct children of color as well as their white classmates get off any easier?
It seems to me that the best way to spare children the horrors of institutionalized racism would be to get rid of the teachers whose results expose them as its most flagrant practitioners. After all, if these children are the victims of institutionalized racism, then with what part of the institution do the children come into their most direct contact? Should we blame the walls? Did the janitor do something wrong? Do not the fluorescent lights burn just as brightly for everyone? They all get the same books. So if it is the children of color who under-perform, then perhaps we might want to examine the teachers and learn if different results are a consequence of lowered expectations.
The Seattle Public School system’s lowered expectations for children of color was reflected in its own definitions of “cultural racism,” which included “having a future time orientation,” known to the rest of the planet as planning ahead, and “defining only one form of English as standard.”
Now this may sound like the standard issued clich├ęd gibberish of the cultural left. But it is in fact racism. Seattle teachers have given up on teaching their pupils standard English and so denigrate those who uphold the standard as racists. But is it not the teachers who are racist for not believing in their pupils’ capacity to learn English?
The same goes for planning ahead. Seattle teachers should be drumming into their pupils’ heads the consequences of failing to prepare adequately for the WASL. But that would be hard. It’s much easier to dismiss the challenge than to meet it. And so, rather than raise their students up to the standards of the WASL, the Seattle’s educrats instead define the standard as racist.
And they’ll probably get away with it. Like our enemies overseas, teachers know that when eyeball to eyeball time comes, the Democrats will blink. Not only do the teachers unions have a lot of money, but they’re also holding children of loyal constituencies hostage.

13 comments:

Adam J. Niehenke said...

Tom Forward this to the Evergreen and ask for a guest commentary

Tom Forbes said...

Adam,

I wish I could take credit for this great piece of writing, but it was our own Michael (Costello). I'm just a hack compared to him.

I suspect you will see this on the Opinion page of the Lewiston Tribune tomorrow. Michael is a regular columnist for the Tribune.

Truth said...

Ah the WASL, nothing says "lets make all students the same" like it. A story about the WASL from my high-school: I had a number of friends in calculas at the time they took the WASL, and do you wan't to know what their calculus teacher told them to prepare them for the test. Do NOT use calculus on the test. You will get the question wrong even though you get the correct answer. You see, the test only looks for a specific skill level, and it does not accept other methods that people use. And of course they wanted to use calculus because they hadnt done basic algebra or geometry in a few years, and didnt want to have to relearn something when they could answer the same questions with a method they were familiar with. Yup, its really a fantastic test.

But as for your claims that Seattle Educators are racist...Libel, Slander, lawsuits. Oh, my bad, its only the WSU CRs who do that when people call them names. Adults just ignore it and move on. And really, you're claim that the educators are racist comes from the fact that...children of color are more likely to be failing.

This of course could have nothing to do with the fact that as a sad commentary on our society most schools with a larger minority population also have less funding for schools. It also has nothign to do with the fact that many of those students, for any number of reasons, didn't have access to the same educational opportunities as their white peers.

Perhaps rather than blame teachers for the problems with our educational system you should get behind increased funding for education. I mean, why was it that it was primarily our party (the Republicans) which were against simple majorities for school levies. If 50.1% of the people vote in favor of increased funding for education why isnt that good enough?

Adam J. Niehenke said...

Typical excuse, we have to teach to a test...What class does not teach to a test. When did we become a society that does not uphold standards? Truth, are you going to start making excuses for criminals too. They didn't have the same opportunities as the white man that’s why they committed a crime and should be let go. Or how about there crimes were justified because they were against those who were committing un-Islamic activities. Does this sound familiar at all? You sure you want to go down this road.

Besides that point, Truth shut the up!!!! You are so full absolute crap and are talking out of where that substance comes from. I am white and I did not have the same opportunities as other kids either, but I do not sit here, make racial comments, and blame some race for my problems. How low are you to sit here and blame white peers for people in Seattle not passing exams. I came out of very poor home in Spokane, but I soon found that people in my neighborhoods were given assistance if they were of colored skin. Does this sound racist yet? Minorities are flunking out because they are allowed to make excuses for their failures which are that of their own. No one causes anybody not to apply themselves in school except the person. White people flunk too, do they blame the black man for flunking? Your argument is ridiculous, we don't have white and black schools. You make the assumption that the schools are under funded that is why a minorities have problems. Ok, white kids go there and have no problem, what is the issue? Listen to what Bill Cosby has to say about his own community. If you want to make excuses for colored people, why do Asians not have these problems? Heck they make on average more than the white man makes, they have colored skin, and the Chinese were practically slaves too.

Ever stop to wonder Truth what is its like filling out a job app or a college app that asks questions what is your race and sex, so they can push you to the bottom of the pile because you are not desirable anymore. There are so called “better more desirable people” we want instead of a white male. This so called privilege, I haven’t seen it.

Truth said...

Adam don't take some high-moral ground with me, I'm just as white as you are and yes I do know what its like to fill out scholarship or job or college applications and putting white on the application.

And as it turns out, in your rant which went from the WASL to criminals you failed to address the point I made that people can be too smart for the WASL. Also, your rant about how hard it is to be a white man did not address the reality that, for a number of reasons I'm sure, those who are white pass the WASL in far greater numbers than those who are not. For example "2004-2005 school year administration of the WASL,77 percent of the white and 78.8 percent of the Asian students who took the tenth gradeReading WASL met standard. In contrast, 55.8 percent of the Native American students, 53.1percent of the Hispanic students, and 53.7 percent of the black students met standard inreading. Similar differences were reflected in the other WASL content areas."

http://72.14.253.104/search?q=cache:myDYvJNfwh4J:www.leg.wa.gov/pub/billinfo/2005-06/Pdf/Bill%2520Reports/House/2823.HBR.pdf+%22WASL%22+%22people+of+color%22&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=8&gl=us

Adam J. Niehenke said...

is your point; it has nothing to do with race. Asians passed, so it must not have to do with skin color. These communities who struggle have well known problems and the government itself is not helping. Hispanic pass rates do not surprise me because this is also a national problem, look at the stats Johnson put up at the socio-economical effects of immigration. My Step mom teaches primarily Hispanic kids, and if you want to know why they fail just ask. In addition in that same school white kids succeed with no problem.

Native Americans have all the money in the world to fix their issues, I do not feel the least bit sorry. Once again, look at what Bill Cosby is saying about his own community, it is not White people dragging them down, it is themselves. Racist legislation, such as, this only perpetuates the problem.

Truth said...

"Native Americans have all the money in the world to fix their issues, I do not feel the least bit sorry."

Tell me, do you have any proof that they have all the money they need, or are you spouting baseless information with the idea that casinos must bring in all the necessary funds?

"look at what Bill Cosby is saying about his own community, it is not White people dragging them down, it is themselves."

Yes, Bill Cosby 1) has said that there are no government institutions which help perpetuate racism and 2) is a definitive expert on the socio-economic conditions of all Blacks in America.

And in fact that Asians and Caucasions tend to pass the test while Black, Hispanics, and Native Americans do not shows completly that it has something to do with skin color. It doesnt show of course that its whites > everybody else, but it does present a fairly alarming view of who is and isn't passing the WASL. And yes, the government is not doing enough to help I agree. But one way they can do more is by ensuring that the WASL (which as I have stated and which you have not refuted forces people to be dumber than they are among other things) does not hold people back from graduating high school. If the government were trully serious about helping people then we would not have passed the No Child Left Behind Act which mandates national standards in certain areas while taking away vocational programs, but instead would have given that money to the states so that they had the right to decide how best to spend their money (again the difference between a conservative such as myself and a neo-con such as Bush).

Furthermore Adam, I find it fairly humorous and rather hypocritical that you complain about being labled a racist yourself and then make wild accusations about others being a racist because they have a different political view from you. It would seem like rather than perpetuate a cycle of hate you would be the bigger person and stop with the name-calling.

Adam J. Niehenke said...

I make wild accusations? Are you kidding me, I've only seen General Macarthur back step faster than you in that last post. I destroyed your viewpoint that racism is causing the minority groups to fail. Oh, majority of Native Americans live on Reservations and get a large free hand out every year for living on their lands. In addition, they have their casinos. Hmm, I wonder where my wild accusation is coming from. When I say the government is not helping I am talking about Gregoire lowering the standard so more people can pass and instead of making excuses for them and holding teachers accountable. This whole WASL thing is about Teachers not making the cut, they want to teach what they want to teach. The no child left behind act is awesome if fully utilized. US is lagging behind in high school academics compared to the world. Standards for high school should be raised. It use to mean something when you graduated high school when my parents went to school and it also meant that person was fully educated, but today this is far from reality. The sole reason is we have let our standards slip, and now we are too cowardly to hold up the new and much needed standards.

Truth said...

"I destroyed your viewpoint that racism is causing the minority groups to fail."

Yes, because the fact that Black, Native American, and Hispanic students are about 20% less likely to pass the WASL than White or Asian students are doesen't means that there are no correlations between race and passing the WASL.

"Oh, majority of Native Americans live on Reservations and get a large free hand out every year for living on their lands. In addition, they have their casinos."

I would encourage you to read the following article. A sample however would be "27.2 percent of Native American families lived below the poverty level while 10 percent of all American families fell into this category".

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0254/is_4_60/ai_80802018


"When I say the government is not helping I am talking about Gregoire lowering the standard so more people can pass and instead of making excuses for them and holding teachers accountable."

Yes, what we should do instead is fire all of the teachers who do not meet an arbitrarily set standard (nevermind that there is a shortage of teachers as it is). Then we should stop all of the people who don't pass the WASL from graduation from high-school (so that our schools can be even more overcrowded). Meanwhile the number of people who can continue on to a higher level of education will also drop, because once again there are a number of people in calculus who have forgotten how to do basic algebra (but can get the correct answer with calculus), and yet still get the question wrong. Yes how dare the government not impose a broken test on schools.

"This whole WASL thing is about Teachers not making the cut, they want to teach what they want to teach."

Once again, I didn't realize allowing teachers to be individuals rather than forcing them all to teach the same things in the same way was a bad thing, because for me it was always the fun teachers with different perspectives that I learned the most from.

"The no child left behind act is awesome if fully utilized."

And if its fully funded, but mandating new standards and then not delivering on the promised funds makes it somewhat hard on teachers.

"It use to mean something when you graduated high school when my parents went to school and it also meant that person was fully educated, but today this is far from reality. The sole reason is we have let our standards slip, and now we are too cowardly to hold up the new and much needed standards."

I disagree completly. If anything high schools today teach children far more than in the past. For example, in the past would you have had a world religions class, would foreign languages have been so important, how about critical thinking and writing? What has occured is what has occured throughout history, namely that more people are recieving a better education and as a result for someone to get ahead academically takes more than it used to. This is seen if you look at the 13th and 14th century, where even knowing to read and write was amazing, while nowadays its more unusual to find someone who cant do those things.

The WASL wasn't meant for the purpose people want to use it for, it was originally designed to give rough ideas as to how schools were doing. Why people continue to advocate it as a requirement for graduation from high-school thus seems quite bizarre.

Adam J. Niehenke said...

"Yes, because the fact that Black, Native American, and Hispanic students are about 20% less likely to pass the WASL than White or Asian students are doesen't means that there are no correlations between race and passing the WASL."

I'm not going to even address this again, you can't make a claim that racism is causing this when other kids specifically white and Asians are fine. This is a community problem and people need to say to these communities, “You have problem and need to address it and the rest of us are not causing. This is what Bill Cosby has been advocating. I’m sorry to tell you Truth, but I didn’t have the smallest effect on a black kid not applying himself in high school. In fact when I talked to one of my black friends in high school his excuse he told me for my grades being substantially higher than his was I was a white boy. He later left the school saying we were all racist, but he in fact was the most racist person at the school harassing a Hispanic student daily. I know this is one example, but don’t act like I have never seen the BS behind some of your statements.

" Once again, I didn't realize allowing teachers to be individuals rather than forcing them all to teach the same things in the same way was a bad thing”

Once, again I didn’t realize that teaching a certain of math in a class was a sin or saying you have to learn basic grammar by 4th grade was such a bad thing. I didn’t learn the basics to commas till sophomore year of high school. That is an absolute joke.

“And if its fully funded”

When did funding have anything to do with teaching a set content. Sounds like an excuse to me. Compare to what our parents needed for school and what they have now days. They learned better than us with less funds. It is all about excuses.

“I disagree completly. If anything high schools today teach children far more than in the past.”

We teach them how to think critically, but don’t teach them how to communicate it….absolutely fabulous idea. US high school have gone down against the rest of the world since my parents and its not because the others got better. It like my professor said today, a high school education in my day is like a bachelors today.

“Why people continue to advocate it as a requirement for graduation from high-school thus seems quite bizarre.”

I was the first class to take it when they came out with the idea and this was the sole intention communicated to my classmates and me. You might want to check your sources next time because mine our first hand and are 100% more accurate than yours…. In addition, this test was cake; if you cannot pass the test, you should graduate high school. Think about it! If you cannot pass, your drivers license test do they lower the standard and give you the license still. You go back home(take another year of school) and take it again until you can fully understand the material and pass the test.

Truth said...

"This is a community problem and people need to say to these communities, “You have problem and need to address it and the rest of us are not causing."

Its true it is a community problem, I never meant to imply that teachers or the educational system are discriminating against students. The point I am trying to make is that for some reason there is an acheivement gap between different races, and that is something which needs to be studied and it is something which needs to be addressed.

"Once, again I didn’t realize that teaching a certain of math in a class was a sin or saying you have to learn basic grammar by 4th grade was such a bad thing."

There is nothing wrong with ensuring that people have these basic skills. The problem comes when for the first half of my second semester in high school every teacher in every subject suddenly stopped actually teaching and began telling us how to answer questions on the WASL. This was not becasue we didn't have the knowledge to do so, but because the requirements and how they grade are so pecilure and some of the information so useless outside of the test that we hadn't studied it. And of course, once the test was over then we could get back to actually learning something.

"When did funding have anything to do with teaching a set content. Sounds like an excuse to me. Compare to what our parents needed for school and what they have now days. They learned better than us with less funds. It is all about excuses"

A lack of funding is not an excuse, it is one of the main problems facing education today. For example, while setting new standards with No Child Left Behind, President Bush's 2006 budget "underfunds No Child Left Behind’s Title I funding, which provides resources for school systems with disadvantaged students, by...$9.4 billion nationally". This again is not the only problem, but if anybody expects No Child Left Behind to actually work, then perhaps we should try fully funding it.

"US high school have gone down against the rest of the world since my parents and its not because the others got better. It like my professor said today, a high school education in my day is like a bachelors today."

What is your definition of schools getting worse. Because it seems to me that improving critical thinking skills along with more areas for people to study is good. The reason that they seem to be getting worse is in part because schools from other countries are in fact improving.


"I was the first class to take it when they came out with the idea and this was the sole intention communicated to my classmates and me."

I'm assuming (just for clarity sake) that you mean you were the first class who had to pass it to graduate. However if you ask the designers of the test (and probably most high-school teachers) what the WASL was originally designed for they will tell you is was not designed to act as a pass/fail test, but rather to generally measure how well schools were doing, not how students were doing, it has been just been assigned to that role.

http://www.senate.gov/~rockefeller/news/2005/pr020805a.html

Adam J. Niehenke said...

Once again, you back peddled on the race issue, thank you. we can now establish the policy is not racist and its a community issue.

schools getting worse is when my dad and all his brothers are better writers than me, but only have high school educations. Its not the genes either becasue I have the same ones. In addition, talk to people who are older and what they have to say. Kids are no longer held back becasue it hurts their feelings. We don't give As and fs out becasue its too negative instead we give a 5 - needs improvement. We don't grade in red because its too negative too. Give me a break! the list goes on too. I did not have to take it to pass, my class was the experiment one 8 years ago when I was a sophmore in highschool.

The problem is teachers and schools are not teaching to the level they should and instead of fixing the problem we have these teachers at higher level who are forced to say here this is how to pass the test.

Truth said...

"we can now establish the policy is not racist and its a community issue"

I never said the test was racist. What I said if you will please read is that more people of color fail the WASL, and that something needs to be done to adddress that problem.

"Kids are no longer held back becasue it hurts their feelings. We don't give As and fs out becasue its too negative instead we give a 5 - needs improvement. We don't grade in red because its too negative too."

What school did you go to? Because the public high school I went to did every one of those things, as did every other school I went to. I again encourage you to provide some facts to back up any part of your argument.

"The problem is teachers and schools are not teaching to the level they should"

So tell me what they should do, and what you think the government should do. Here is what I think needs to happen

1)We need to pay teachers more...a lot more. If we make teaching a more lucrative career than more teachers will apply for jobs and there will be less mediocrity in the teaching staff of the US.

2)FUND EDUCATION!!!! We wonder why our schools are failing, perhaps because they don't have the funding they need. Not the funding for computers, or arts, or vocational programs, for cutting edge classrooms or even just supplies for chemistry and biology classes.

3)Get rid of arbitary standards. Let me be clear here, standards are both good and necessary. A test (such as the WASL) which penalizes students for being too smart is not productive.

If you have any other suggestions let me know, but bitching about the system without any actual alternatives is pretty damned useless.