Category Archives: Racism

In which I explain why this blog has been silent since October, 2021

The Dead Collector: Bring out yer dead.
Large Man with Dead Body: Here’s one.
The Dead Collector: That’ll be ninepence.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn’t: I’m not dead.
The Dead Collector: What?
Large Man with Dead Body: Nothing. There’s your ninepence.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn’t: I’m not dead.
The Dead Collector: ‘Ere, he says he’s not dead.
Large Man with Dead Body: Yes he is.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn’t: I’m not.
The Dead Collector: He isn’t.
Large Man with Dead Body: Well, he will be soon, he’s very ill.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn’t: I’m getting better.

NEW YEAR’S DAY, 2022

I wasn’t able to breathe and gasped for air. They moved me to the ambulance…wheeled me into the hospital…someone cut off my shirt (one of my favorite tee shirts!) and inserted an IV in my arm. I don’t remember much else for the next few days.

On January 1, 2022, I went to the hospital, was diagnosed with COVID-19, and spent the next seven weeks in the hospital and in rehab. At first, I was on a ventilator — which prompted the ER doctor to tell my spouse that she should call our kids and have them come home to say goodbye to their father. I spent about a week in the ICU, then time in the COVID-19 Unit, and then another three and a half weeks in rehab to rebuild my strength and regain some of the forty pounds I had lost (not a recommended weight loss plan!).

Drifting in and out of consciousness, I thought “if this is what dying is, it’s not so bad. I should just let go.” Of course, I had the benefit of pain-killers, sedatives, and paralytics so I didn’t really know what was happening to me.

Later, in the ICU, I couldn’t get out of bed. I was unable to move enough to get up. I was too weak to stand. I couldn’t move from the bed to a chair. I couldn’t lift my legs onto the bed. It was a helpless, and humbling experience.*

Thankfully, my body, modern medicine, and, according to the doctor, the COVID-19 vaccines, conspired to keep me alive until I could improve a bit. I decided that it was worth it to hang on so that I could experience more of life. Like the Dead Body That Claims It Isn’t in the scene above, I’m getting better!

Unfortunately (or the way 2022 is going so far, perhaps “fortunately”), I was unable to keep up with the news and unable to update my blog for the first three months of 2022, but I’m getting better…so I’m back.

CATCHING UP ON THE NEWS

One of the reasons I got so sick from COVID-19 is because I’m immunocompromised and have “underlying conditions” which make me more susceptible to illness. I was vaccinated, wore a mask everywhere, avoided crowds and unvaccinated people, and stayed out of stores. It wasn’t enough and the highly contagious variant got me (I assume it was Omicron since that was the variant that was going around at the time). There are millions of immunocompromised folks in the U.S. It’s to keep us safe that you wear a mask and get vaccinated. Maybe this will help you understand…

COLLATERAL DAMAGE — THE IMMUNOCOMPROMISED

Vulnerable to the Virus, High-Risk Americans Feel Pain as the U.S. Moves On

Millions of Americans with weakened immune systems, disabilities or illnesses that make them especially vulnerable to the coronavirus have lived this way since March 2020, sequestering at home, keeping their children out of school and skipping medical care rather than risk exposure to the virus. And they have seethed over talk from politicians and public health experts that they perceive as minimizing the value of their lives.

As Year 3 of the pandemic approaches, with public support for precautions plummeting and governors of even the most liberal states moving to shed mask mandates, they find themselves coping with exhaustion and grief, rooted in the sense that their neighbors and leaders are willing to accept them as collateral damage in a return to normalcy.

See also: The Millions of People Stuck in Pandemic Limbo

EDUCATION NEWS

Now for some of the articles…on the topics…that filled education news while I was gone…

RACISM IN SCHOOL

History of Institutional Racism in U.S. Public Schools

One of the biggest educational/political uproars this year was, and is, Critical Race Theory. It’s not being “taught” in our elementary and secondary schools, but it’s premise, that racism is inherent in our lives and intersects with the law and society is proven by our history.

Racism is part of the U.S. Constitution. It didn’t disappear with the Emancipation Proclamation, or with the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments, or with various voting rights and civil rights legislation. It still sours and poisons our nation and by extension, our schools and our children.

In modern times, “New Racism” arose; concealed, more subtle, and much harder to detect, this New Racism operates deep under the radar. The Black Lives Matter Movement and the looming Trump administration have propelled the conversation of race and racial issues to the forefront of American consciousness. It is argued, however, that while these conversations are crucial, we are not recognizing the systemic racism that has been present in our educational system for decades. Racism is so deeply innate that it is believed that racism no longer exists in our country. But in our public schools, another story is being told.

In this New Racism, blame for underachieving students of color is shifted to their parents, who are portrayed as slacking or uninvolved with their children’s education. This shifts attention away from the policies and structures in action that put a student of color at a disadvantage.

See also: Racism In Education: what we know and where we go from here

CENSORSHIP

Book-banning law is another way to keep voters focused on culture-war distractions

If books can turn kids gay, why didn’t the gay kids who read books about straight kids turn heterosexual?

The books can be burned, but the ideas will survive.

But Republican leaders in Florida are acting like books are turning children gay, socialist or whatever group they’re marginalizing or villainizing this week. The GOP-controlled Legislature passed a bill making it easier to ban books from school libraries.

In signing the measure into law last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis said “it’s going to help give parents a lot of confidence that they can send their kids to school and they’ll get an education but they’re not necessarily going to be indoctrinated into things that are very, very questionable.”

See also: The Top 10 Challenged and Banned Books of 2021

THIRD GRADE PUNISHMENT PLANS

The focus of this blog has often been directed at the misuse and overuse of standardized testing, and retention in grade. The two topics come together in laws passed by states that require schools to hold students back a grade if they don’t pass the state’s arbitrary third-grade standardized reading test.

The Harm Caused By the Third Grade Reading Ultimatum

There’s no research indicating we should be hurrying
children to read early, which started with No Child Left Behind (NCLB), or earlier. Formal reading used to begin in first grade. But with NCLB, formal reading instruction has been pushed down to kindergarten. It has become the norm.

NCLB, however, was poorly conceived. Those who wrote NCLB chose third grade as a pivotal year. Yet, studies from years ago indicated NCLB failed to increase reading achievement in fourth grade (Dee & Jacob, 2011).

Supporters of this policy promised at the time, that by following punitive accountability measures all third graders would read at grade level by 2014! That did not occur (here are excuses why) and children, who are told not to have any excuses, have been paying the price ever since.

See also: Academic Freedom Isn’t Free: Don’t Buy It: The Marketing Scam of MSM and the “Science of Reading”

TEACHER SHORTAGE

America’s Teachers Aren’t Burned Out. We Are Demoralized.

Where will tomorrow’s teachers come from? Who will staff our schools?

Often in education we hear that teachers are burned out, but that isn’t quite accurate. As teacher demoralization expert Doris Santoro says, “burnout tells the wrong story about the kinds of pain educators are experiencing because it suggests that the problem lies within individual teachers themselves.” Those outside education assume that the teacher can’t hack it in the classroom. But in reality, teachers are forced to operate in systems that aren’t functioning properly, which makes teachers feel demoralized, discouraged and overwhelmed. According to Santoro, demoralization occurs because teachers “care deeply about students and the profession, and they realize that school policies and conditions make it impossible for them to do what is good, right and just.”

See also: Missing: Future Teachers in Colleges of Education

JACKIE ROBINSON

Finally, it’s baseball season…and this season marks the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s major league, barrier-breaking debut. Racism was present when the country was founded. It was present after the failure of Reconstruction. It was present during the Jim Crow era which includes the 1947 integration of Major League baseball. It’s present today (see RACISM IN SCHOOL, above).

April 15, 1947: Jackie Robinson’s major league debut


April 15, 1947: Jackie Robinson’s major league debut
This article was written by Lyle Spatz

Jackie Robinson’s major league debut was more than just the first step in righting an historical wrong. It was a crucial event in the history of the American civil rights movement, the importance of which went far beyond the insular world of baseball.

The Dodgers signed Robinson to a major league contract just five days before the start of the 1947 season. Baseball people, especially those in Brooklyn, were still digesting the previous day’s news of manager Leo Durocher’s one-year suspension (for conduct detrimental to baseball), when the story broke of Robinson’s promotion from the Montreal Royals. He would be the first black American to play in the major leagues since catcher Moses Fleetwood Walker played for the Toledo Blue Stockings of the American Association back in 1884.

*[NOTE: Thank you to all the nurses, nurses aides, and medical techs who took care of me during the first few months of 2022. You don’t get paid enough! Oh, and the doctors are appreciated, too.]

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Filed under Baseball, Censorship, CRT, Pandemic, Personal History, Racism, retention, TeacherShortage, Testing

Blogoversary #15 – Ignorance, Allied With Power, is a Ferocious Enemy

Today marks the fifteenth blogoversary of this blog. When I began it on September 14, 2006, I was in my late 50s, teaching Reading Recovery in a small public school in northeast Indiana (which has since closed), the US was at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, there had just been a mass shooting at Dawson College in Montreal, and George W. Bush was the US President.

In September of 2006, Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake released their second albums and Elton John released his 29th; naturalist Steve Irwin and former Texas governor Ann Richards died; the Cubs finished last in the National League Central (a year later they would finish first); and Star Trek celebrated 40 years of television and movies (premier Sept 8, 1966).

Public education in the US was deep into the mess of No Child Left Behind. Testing defined everything taught in America’s public schools. In Indiana, we hadn’t started spending millions of dollars of tax money on vouchers and charter schools. Hoosier teachers still had seniority rights, the right to due process before getting fired, and collective bargaining for things like prep time and class size.

My blog’s focus was on 1) the overuse and misuse of standardized testing, 2) the overwhelming intrusion of politics and politicians into public education, 3) my students, and small, occasional forays into music and baseball. I was reading education authors like Richard Allington, Gerald Bracey, Susan Ohanian, and Alfie Kohn.

I taught part-time for a few years, and then retired in 2010, taught a semester at a community college, volunteered in three different elementary schools after retirement, and joined with others to advocate for public education. Since retirement, and in no particular order, I moved to a new house; made a few trips to the hospital; fought and beat cancer (so far); voted in seven elections; watched the Cubs win the World Series (Bucket List item #1); signed up for Social Security and Medicare; welcomed two more grandchildren, a grandchild-in-law, and a great-grandchild into my life; made new friendships and said good-bye to some old friends and family members; drove Route 66 from California to Illinois; celebrated a fifty-first wedding anniversary; reached half-a-gross years in age, and written 1423 blog posts (this one is #1424).

Here are some quotes about life and education that I’ve gathered the last year.

EDUCATION

“Three years ago, we started to learn how to run from armed intruders. Last year we learned how to pack bullet wounds. This year, we’re trying to figure out how to bring back learning in a pandemic.” — St. Louis psychology teacher Amanda Kaupp

“We live in a country where the state legislature must mandate play but congress doesn’t need to approve a war.” — Tweet by Fred Klonsky

“Public education isn’t important because it serves the public, it is important because it creates the public.” — [Attributed to] Neil Postman, former chairman, Department of Culture and Communication, New York University

“I have stayed true to my own memories of childhood, which are not different in many ways from those of children today. Although their circumstances have changed, I don’t think children’s inner feelings have changed.”Beverly Cleary, 1916-2021

APHORISMS

“Don’t be afraid of walking away from a mistake just because you took a long time making it.” — Unknown

“The moment you’re in now is the moment that matters.” — Don Lemon in This is the Fire.

“Silence in the face of evil, is itself, evil…Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”Misattributed to Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant.”Maximilien Robespierre

“Don’t be in such a hurry to condemn a person because he doesn’t do
what you do, or think as you think or as fast. There was a time when you
didn’t know what you know today.”
Quoted by Maya Angelou
(quote reproduced in James L. Conyers, Andrew P. Smallwood, Malcolm X: A
Historical Reader, Carolina Academic Press, 2008, p. 181 and Elaine
Slivinski Lisandrelli, Maya Angelou: More than a poet, Enslow
Publishers, 1996, p. 90)

“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”Misattributed to C. S. Lewis

POLITICS, RACISM, AMERICAN HISTORY, AND THE AMERICAN EXPERIMENT

“You can’t teach American history without talking about race, it’s impossible. If you do that, what are you really teaching your students?” -— Rodney D. Pierce

“Assertions that CRT is being taught in America’s elementary and high schools is ludicrous–as I have been complaining pretty much forever, schools aren’t even teaching the most basic concepts required for civic literacy, let alone a theory that requires a familiarity not just with the Constitution and Bill of Rights, but with significant elements of America’s legal structures.”Sheila Kennedy

[Frederick] Douglass announced that the abolition of war and peace he envisioned, would never “be completed until the black men of the south and the black men of the north shall have been admitted fully and completely into the body politic of America.”Race and Reunion by David W. Blight.

“It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”James Baldwin

“It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America.”Molly Ivins, great American newspaperwoman

“This country once led the global effort to eradicate deadly diseases for the benefit of all.
“It’s a sad testament of our decline as a nation and the selfishness of who we’ve become as a people that we no longer lead the way in something as easy to do as getting a vaccine.”
Jim Wright

“We must all live together and work together no matter what race or nationality. If you have an opportunity to accomplish something that will make things better for someone coming behind you, and you don’t do that, you are wasting your time on this earth.”Roberto Clemente

“We either overcome our innate tribalism and learn to live amicably together, or this experiment we call America is over.”Sheila Kennedy

 

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It’s not as though we don’t know what works

One of the most distressing aspects of the Covid pandemic has been seeing governors and state education officials abdicate responsibility for managing the worst disruption of public schooling in modern history and leaving the heavy lifting to the localities. Virtually every school in the nation closed in March 2020, replacing face-to-face schooling with thrown-together online education or programs that used a disruptive scheduling process to combine the two. Only a small portion of the student body returned to fully opened schools the following fall. The resulting learning setbacks range from grave for all groups of students to catastrophic for poor children.

From the start, elected officials seemed more concerned about reopening bars and restaurants than safely reopening schools that hold the futures of more than 50 million children in their hands. Failed leadership continues to be painfully evident as the states enter yet another pandemic school year without enforcing common-sense public health policies that would make a much-needed return to in-person schooling as safe as possible. These policy failures are compounding at a time when the highly infectious Delta variant is surging and the coronavirus seems likely to become a permanent feature of life.

The New York Times editorial from last week, The School Kids Are Not Alright, quoted above, decried the “learning loss” of American students during the pandemic. A closer reading, however, should remind anyone that the “learning loss” is, was, and always has been a feature of inequality — racism and poverty.

Just like standardized tests BP (Before the Pandemic) those kids who were poor and/or who attended schools filled with low-income students (mostly children of color), scored lower on standardized tests than their wealthier, and mostly white, peers. The current assessments of students show significant differences between those who have access to the internet and those who don’t — between those who can afford to have at least one parent stay home and help them with school work, and those who cant — between those who live at or near the poverty line, and those who don’t.

Which parents found it easier to stay home with their children during the school lockdowns? Which parents have (or had) low-wage jobs that we now know are “essential?” Which students had access to the internet for online instruction? Which students often had to share one smartphone among the members of their entire family to get their lessons?

Are current test scores a “scalding rebuke of those who have minimized the impact of the school shutdowns” as the editorial says, or are they simply more of the same. And btw, who among those who wanted to shut down schools to keep families safe has minimized the impact of the pandemic? No one wanted to close schools…least of all educators, but a global pandemic sometimes means that we have to do things that we don’t want to do.

The editors wrote, “Perhaps the most grotesque of these minimizing arguments holds that concerns about learning loss are being manufactured by educational testing companies with dollar signs in their eyes.”

Grotesque?

Is that why the NYT Editorial Board, in looking for sources about “learning loss,” started with N.W.E.A. — a testing company? “NWEA is the company that generated a lot of buzz with their covid-learning loss “research.” NWEA sells standardized math and English testing.” Grotesque? I don’t think so.

As if that wasn’t enough, they also checked with the “educational experts” at McKinsey & Co…because financial consultants always know the best things to do for public education, right? The McKinsey report stated that “the pandemic has widened existing opportunity and achievement gaps and made high schoolers more likely to drop out.”

Raise your hand if you’re an educator who could have guessed that would happen! Raise your other hand if you’re an educator who knew that the pandemic would hit children living in poverty harder than those who never went to bed hungry.

The problem with school achievement has always been poverty. And the problem with poverty is that it’s built on racism (Read The Sum of Us, and The Color of Law to get started). It’s true that the pandemic made things worse, but that’s because during economic declines those at the bottom always suffer most.

Kids who live in poverty, just like their parents, suffered (and still are) more during the pandemic because our economy is a plutocracy made for the rich to get richer. Don’t blame teachers, administrators, and school boards for closing schools. The schools closed because we didn’t want children to die…or bring home COVID-19 to their parents and grandparents for them to die.

I’m seriously tired of the politicians, pundits (looking at you, NYT Editorial Board), and policy-makers telling teachers and public schools to single-handedly solve the problems of racism and poverty by increasing test scores. Public schools and public school teachers are not the only ones who have anything to contribute to growing our society!

Linda Darling-Hammond had this to say nearly a decade ago.

Why is Congress redlining our schools?

It’s not as though we don’t know what works. We could implement the policies that have reduced the achievement gap and transformed learning outcomes for students in high-achieving nations where government policies largely prevent childhood poverty by guaranteeing housing, healthcare and basic income security. These same strategies were substantially successful in our own nation through the programs and policies of the war on poverty and the Great Society, which dramatically reduced poverty, increased employment, rebuilt depressed communities, invested in preschool and K-12 education in cities and poor rural areas, desegregated schools, funded financial aid for college and invested in teacher training programs that ended teacher shortages. In the 1970s teaching in urban communities was made desirable by the higher-than-average salaries, large scholarships and forgivable loans that subsidized teacher preparation, and by the exciting curriculum and program innovations that federal funding supported in many city school districts.

These efforts led to big improvements in achievement and attainment from the ’60s through the ’80s. The black-white reading gap shrank by two-thirds for 17-year-olds, black high school and college graduation rates more than doubled, and, in 1975, rates of college attendance among whites, blacks and Latinos reached parity for the first and only time before or since.

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2021 Medley #9 – Culture War, Teacher Shortage, and NCTQ Fails

The CRT Wars,
Teacher shortage? Blame the legislature,
NCTQ Fails again

CRITICAL RACE THEORY IS STILL A PROBLEM FOR THE RIGHT-WING

Critical Race Theory has faded somewhat from the national news as local school boards work to pacify (and protect themselves from) folks who think it’s the end of the world as we know it. On the other hand, it’s still alive in state legislatures either through bills passed, bills introduced, bills planned, or lawsuits filed. The fact that CRT isn’t taught in probably 99% of U.S. K-12 public schools doesn’t matter…any more than the fact that masks and vaccines are effective tools against COVID-19 matters (odd how many of those who fight against CRT are the same folks who fight against masks and vaccines). It’s all political now and one’s “tribe” determines what position one takes.

In order to defeat what they claim is Critical Race Theory, the right wing has edited and expanded its definition. Anti-CRT theorists claim that it encompasses Social Emotional Learning, Marxist indoctrination, and anti-racist brainwashing. They believe that it encourages segregation, racism, and is anti-Christian and anti-American. In other words, anything that the religious right wing has been against for decades. They don’t want to accept the truth of American history (See the US Constitution, Article 1, Section 2, and the Declaration of Independence. See also the failure of Reconstruction, Jim Crow, red-lining. The list is endless).

If CRT means teaching the truth about both the positive and the negative parts of American history, then I’m all for it. Americans should be mature enough to acknowledge our failings and work to correct them. “If nonwhite students are old enough to experience racism, white kids are old enough to learn about racism.” — Frances McGovernor

Why choice won’t solve the CRT panic

School choice won’t solve our social issues, no matter what the privatizers say.

Some choices are not healthy.

We have seen the use of school choice to avoid conflict before. After Brown v. Board of Education, lots of folks decided they had a problem sending their white children to school with Black students, and they “solved” that conflict by creating schools that let them choose segregation. When it comes to the current CRT panic, there may well be some schools that have gone a step too far with their anti-racist work (though–plot twist–those schools keep turning out to be not public ones). But an awful lot of the panic is fueled by folks opportunistically whipping up some good old-fashioned white outrage over encroaching Blackness, and we’ve been here before.

Some choices are not good for the country. We do not benefit from having a bunch of white kids taught that slavery wasn’t so bad and the Civil War was just about state’s rights. We do not benefit from having students taught that science isn’t real. We do not benefit from having students taught that Trump is really still President and 1/6 was just some unruly tourists. And we so very much don’t benefit as a society from schools that segregate both students and content based on race. Not all possible choices should be available.

The culture war over critical race theory looks like the one waged 50 years ago over sex education

We have all been here before.

…cynical political operators have weaponized…anxiety. Turning to the Nixon playbook, they’ve brought the culture war to the schools, knowing that the wedge will drive deep when it comes to children.

Families often know only the broad contours of what is being taught in classrooms, and that makes them vulnerable to claims that young people are being exploited, manipulated, or indoctrinated. So it should come as no surprise that public education is a ripe target for politically manufactured controversy.

The irony, of course, is that our schools may be the best place for learning how to live together across our differences. Given the withering of public life in America, they may even be our only such place. If we turn on each other in the schools, where else can we hope to make ourselves a nation?

Opinion: Students need to learn about the haters and the helpers of our history

Students need to learn the full story — the haters and the helpers — and years from now, looking back on this moment too, they should know that a group of hesitant scolds tried to keep America’s schools from addressing the forces of racial bias and white supremacy that have shaped almost every aspect of American life.

Their effort to sweep away an uncomfortable history is like trying to step out from under the sky. Go ahead and try. In the end, you can’t escape.

Nikole Hannah-Jones just proved the correctness of critical race theory

Here’s an example of how Critical Race Theory is right about the racism embedded in our society.

2017 MacArthur Fellow and Pulitzer Prize winner, Nikole Hannah-Jones was insulted and disrespected by the University of North Carolina. They offered her what would normally be a tenured position, but neglected to include the tenure. They backed down after she exposed their actions. They relented and finally offered her tenure. You might ask why on Earth would she want to work at a University where she wasn’t treated like white professors offered similar positions?

She wouldn’t…and doesn’t. She declined the “Ok-we’ll-let-you-have-tenure” offer meant to appease her, prevent a lawsuit, and end the bad press. She has since accepted a position at Howard University.

Nikole Hannah-Jones, and the epic failure of the University of North Carolina to recruit the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist to its faculty, just proved the correctness of critical race theory. The controversial legal doctrine has been vilified by conservatives but, as this episode illustrates, it also challenges those liberals who worship at the altar of “diversity.”

According to some leading critical race theorists, integration — the traditional progressive route to racial justice — does not actually work for minorities. In this view, white supremacy is so embedded in most American institutions that people of color will never be accepted as equals — even when they are formally granted entry.

UNC demonstrated that point after its journalism school offered Hannah-Jones, an investigative journalist for the New York Times, a prestigious professorship. The MacArthur “genius” learned that her initial appointment would be without tenure. She said she knew of no “legitimate reason” why “someone who has worked in the field as long as I have, who has the credentials, the awards, or the status that I have, should be treated different than every other white professor who came before me…”

TEACHER SHORTAGE TO MI LAWMAKERS, THIS IS ON YOU!

Survey Says: Lawmakers the top reason Michigan teachers are leaving the profession

Read this; Academic freedom for teachers is as important as money. This is why there is a national shortage of people who want to go into education. Who will teach our grandchildren…and their children. “Public Education is a promise we make to the children of our society, and to their children, and to their children.” — John Kuhn

“The survey results are telling us that [teachers] even perceive that there’s a lack of support from parents and the public,” said Dan Quisenberry, president of the Michigan Association of Public-School Academies, on a Zoom call discussing the results. “Empowering teachers in the classroom ranked roughly the same as educator compensation. Think about that for a second.”

“Teacher retirements are up 44% since August of 2020,” added Paula Herbart, president of the Michigan Education Association. “Too many educators are leaving, and not enough people are following in their footsteps…ultimately we end up with a generation of learners that is unprepared.”

NCTQ – STILL TRYING TO BECOME RELEVANT

NCTQ: “The data was effectively useless”

The National Council on Teacher Quality reports on schools of education by looking at their course syllabi rather than doing the hard research needed. Read more about them and their pro-privatization agenda HERE.

You can count on two things with the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) releases one of their “reports.”

First, media will fall all over themselves to report NCTQ’s “findings” and “conclusions” without any critical review of whether the “findings” or “conclusions” are credible (or peer-reviewed, which they aren’t).

Second, NCTQ’s “methods,” “findings,” and “conclusions” are incomplete, pre-determined (NCTQ has a predictable “conclusion” that teacher education/certification is “bad”), and increasingly cloaked in an insincere context of diversity and equity (now teacher education/certification are not just “bad” but especially “bad” for minority candidates).

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America – Exceptionalism or Ignorance?

ANTI-FACT EDUCATION – AGAINST SCIENCE

We’re used to ultra right-wing, anti-intellectuals screeching against schools teaching real science.

School boards, individual parents, and state legislators argue against teaching accepted science such as evolution, safety during the pandemic, and climate change. Indiana, as one of the reddest of the red states, is no slouch in that regard. For example, the National Center for Science Education and the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund have published a report, Making the Grade: How State Public School Science Standards Address Climate Change. Indiana rated a D which may be a surprise because it’s too high. Why isn’t it an F?

One reviewer commented…

“Interestingly, there is a good deal of focus on science and engineering solution-oriented perspectives, and this is why I scored the ’there’s hope’ section higher. This … focus could be very effective if it was used to address and ideate climate adaptation and mitigation solutions.”

Notice the “if.” So, despite the poor showing for Indiana, “there’s hope,” though I doubt I’ll live to see a positive outcome.


…AND HISTORY

The current insanity over Critical Race Theory has added history and social studies to the mix.

Many of the same science-denying activists and legislators who are trying their best to “protect” American school children from climate change, public health efforts, and evolution, are now trying to “protect” students from actual history which doesn’t always present the “American Experience” in a good light.

Instead of teaching children that the freedoms so eloquently described in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution should be taken as goals, not reality…that such freedoms were not available to women, native people, and hundreds of thousands of Africans and their descendants enslaved throughout the entire country, they want us to focus on “American Exceptionalism” — that the USA is somehow God-ordained to lead the world morally as well as militarily. Somehow, if we hide the ugly side of our history it will be ignored and forgotten.

Apparently, they don’t want the next generation of Americans to learn…

  • that the founding fathers included slave holders
  • that Reconstruction ended when white supremacists in the former Confederacy decided that formerly enslaved people shouldn’t have the right to vote despite the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments
  • that racism existed in the Union states as well as the South
  • that redlining was a thing
  • that Black veterans weren’t allowed to reap the benefits of the GI Bill
  • that the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s was fueled because of the racism of white supremacists
  • that we still need the 1965 Voting Rights Bill

Instead, their goal is to instill our children with “alternate facts.”

But if we hide the true facts the goal of of the Declaration and the Constitution will never be achieved.

TEXAS LEADS THE WAY

Derek Black reported today that Texas is leading the charge to hide our history…

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Texas Senate Passes Bill to Remove Required Lessons on Civil Rights Movements from Public School Curriculums

It’s amazing how out of all the things to spend endless legislative time and energy on, hamstringing teachers from talking about the messy parts of American history solely because it makes white people uncomfortable is what gets the most attention and the fastest action from Republican lawmakers.

Well, both that and also speedily passing restrictive voting legislature because it’s the only way Republicans can stay in power.

In fact, this bill on teaching curriculum is currently stalled in the Texas House of Representatives because House Democrats are in Washington D.C. advocating on behalf of equitable voting rights. This is all in opposition to a voting bill that would place more restrictions on the state’s already restrictive voting process.

There is a concerted effort on behalf of many Americans to hide the truth from our children…the truth about science, and the truth about our history. How “exceptional” can America be when we’re sending our children to school and encouraging them to remain ignorant?

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Filed under Anti-Intellectualism, CRT, History, Racism, Science