Commenter Calls Me ‘A Dangerous Presence in the Political Discourse’

by Christopher Paslay

Instead of addressing my arguments, “social justice advocates” attempt to bully me out of the debate. 

Several days ago I posted a blog headlined “Inventing Racism in America’s Public Schools” which explored the notion that there are folks, mainly on the political left, who exploit race and racism in education for their own benefit; the Philadelphia Public School Notebook went on to link the piece in their January 23rd “Notes from the News.”  The blog also talked about the existence of racism in public schools, data on achievement and discipline, and linked no less than 17 sources as evidence—a book on racism, a speech by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, five education policy reports by Princeton’s Educational Testing Service (ETS) that spanned 25 years of American public education, an interview with a NYT bestselling author on racism, eight newspaper articles, and two public school related websites.

My conclusion was that although episodic racism still exists in isolated cases in classrooms, systematic racism is dying and other causes of the racial achievement gap—such as culture and home environment—should be explored.

Geoffrey Winikur, a White Philadelphia public school teacher, social justice advocate and facilitator for the Philadelphia Writing Project, publicly commented on my blog that I was “a dangerous presence in the political discourse” and claimed I made my arguments “without offering a shred of evidence.”  I guess 17 sources, including five from ETS covering 25 years of public education, isn’t “evidence.”  Winikur also said, “I love it every time you write a new article, because I know I’m in for a good laugh.”  Yes, a highly intellectual response to my arguments indeed.

This, of course, is nothing short of bullying—the kind of thing that happened to Samantha Pawlucy at Carroll High School last fall, the young lady who was asked to remove her Mitt Romney T-shirt by none other than her own geometry teacher because, allegedly, the teacher claimed “this is a Democratic school.”

Ben Shapiro analyzes this topic in his recently released New York Times bestselling book Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences Americans.  In his introduction he highlights how on March 10, 2011, President Barack Obama led a White House conference on the crisis of bullying:

The strategy here was simple. Obama and his friends in the media and on the organized left picked the one thing all Americans can agree on: bullying. They strategically placed President Obama at the head of the anti-bullying cause. Then came the brilliant gambit: they appropriated bullying to apply only to anything remotely conservative.

The Tea Party? A bunch of bullies. Religious people? Bullies. Global warming unbelievers, defense hawks, venture capitalists, fans of voter identification or traditional marriage, opponents of affirmative action, right-to-work advocates, supporters of Israel, haters of Glee? Bullies. Those who dislike President Obama? They were the biggest bullies of all. Liberalism and anti-bullying, it turned out, were—miracle of miracles!—one and the same.

Their twisted logic was deceptively easy. Liberals claim that they are all about protecting victim classes from bullies. Conservatives oppose liberals. Therefore, by definition, conservatives must be bullies. And bullies must be stopped.

The irony here is that the true bullies are the ones who callously attack those who disagree with their worldview, like Winikur’s statement that I’m “a dangerous presence in the political discourse.”

I’m not sure why fighting for colorblindness in society—judging people by their core values and not their skin color—is dangerous.  I’m not sure why treating minorities as equals and not as enslaved and oppressed is so worrisome.  I’m not sure why teaching young people that they are the captain of their own ship and not the victim of a corrupt system is a cause for alarm.  Or why the notion that there exist universal human values that transcend race, gender, sexuality and culture—values such as honesty, respect, integrity, loyalty, and hard work—is “Eurocentric.”

The lack of manners from disapproving social justice advocates didn’t stop with Winikur.  Another commenter wrote, “You’re doing what’s called ‘blaming the victim’ and it’s lame.”  The irony of this statement is that the issue of “blaming the victim” was addressed in the video interview I included with my blog post by NYT bestselling author of The End of Racism Dinesh D’Souza.  Interestingly, neither Winikur nor any of the other commenters took the time to click on the link and watch the video (one did, however, reference an article in The Daily Beast that smeared D’Souza because he had the audacity to respectfully challenge President Obama’s policies in a recent documentary titled “Obama’s America: 2016”).

Since none of the commenters took the time to even listen to what D’Souza had to say before smearing him, I’ll include his quote about “blaming the victim”:

“For a generation, people have said you cannot point at these problems because to do so is blaming the victim.  When Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote his report on the Black family in the sixties, the illegitimacy rate for Blacks was 25 percent.  He said it was a national tragedy and people said ‘you’re a racist, stop talking about it.’  And he did.  He hasn’t said a word about it since, and the illegitimacy rate for Blacks today is close to 70 percent.   So when these problems are ignored, they metastasize and become far worse . . .”

Another objection made by Geoffrey Winikur (the White uber-liberal teacher who publicly commented that I was a dangerous presence in the political discourse) was one of cultural relativism, that my idea of “colorblindness” was really an effort to push America back to a Eurocentric state.  This was not only a humongous misinterpretation of what I argued constituted colorblindness (I don’t know how judging a person by their actions and values instead of their skin color is “Eurocentric”), but Winikur didn’t bother to click on the link to the D’Souza interview either, which already addressed this objection.  To quote D’Souza:

“That’s the legacy of cultural relativism . . . which says in effect that all cultures are equal and no culture can judge another by its own standards, and cultures should not impose values on each other.  I argue that this relativism played an important historic role . . . relativism was a way to undermine the old racism, which was based on a hierarchy . . . but it’s created a new problem.”

The new “problem” D’Souza explores is one of the functionality of culture, and how relativism has come to hide the dysfunction of some cultures.  Although it may be argued that no one culture is inherently better than another and that one culture cannot judge another by its own standards, things such as quality of life and manageability of life do exist.  I don’t think anyone would disagree that certain cultures in America as a whole have a better quality of life and have lives that are more manageable and functional than other cultures.  The racial achievement gap is one example.  The wealth gap is another.  So are homicide rates within cultures.  So are incarceration rates.  Out-of-wedlock birth rates, quality of nutrition, literacy rates, dropout rates, and the rates of college graduation are still other examples.  (To read the ETS reports on this click here, here, here, and here).

To suggest that all cultures are equal in terms of quality and manageability of life is ridiculous.  To suggest that the differences in quality and manageability of life among cultures is primarily the result of racism is also ridiculous.

In 2009, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Americans were “a nation of cowards” because we were afraid to talk about race.  What he seems to have meant by this was that not enough Americas were willing to talk about how White people oppress minorities.  I’d like to take Eric Holder up on his proposition.  Let’s talk about race in America, but let’s really talk about it—dirty laundry and everything.

But to truly talk about race would mean many folks, like Geoffrey Winikur, would have to address opposing arguments head-on and refrain from attempting to demonize those they disagree with.

Tragically, with the exception of publications such as The Philadelphia Public School Notebook—who have recently had the courtesy and open-mindedness to link my articles in their “Notes from the News” to open-up the much needed avenues of discussion (I’d like to publicly thank them for this, by the way)—it doesn’t appear as if honest and frank talk about race and racism in America is going to happen anytime soon.

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All My Babies’ Mamas Reveals Liberals’ Opinion of Blacks

by Christopher Paslay

Conservative African American writer Lloyd Marcus exposes liberals’ typical bigotry of lowered expectations regarding minorities.

From “All My Babies’ Mamas Reveals Liberals Opinion of Blacks” by Lloyd Marcus, published today on American Thinker:

As a teen in the 1960s, I idolized Jim, my slightly older street-smart cousin who lived in a tough area of Baltimore. Murders were common at the bar on the corner from his home. I was Jim’s nerdy, naïve preacher’s-kid cousin who visited from suburbia. Sleepovers at Jim’s home in the city were exciting. “Downtown, where all the lights are bright…” You know the song.

Walking from the Yakamee joint, “Casanova” Jim coached, “Just say you love them.” While I wanted my experience to go beyond the stimulation of excessively close slow dancing to Marvin Gaye songs at un-chaperoned dark basement parties, lying to a girl to have my way with her did not set well. Doggone home training! I was nagged by the truth that it is wrong to use someone solely for my pleasure, not caring about how it affected her.

“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). In college, I tried to muzzle my conscience with drugs and alcohol. Fortunately, I did not produce any children out of wedlock.

Tom, another cousin of mine, had babies all over town, which destroyed his life. He was incarcerated numerous times for non-payment of child support. In those days, serial impregnators were considered dishonorable men.

Today, in 2013, the liberal Oxygen channel had planned to celebrate dishonorable behavior as representative of the “hip” modern black experience with a new reality show titled All My Babies’ Mamas. Canceled due to public outcry, the star of the show was a rapper whose serial sperm-donating produced eleven babies by ten women.

All My Babies’ Mamas is characteristic of liberals’ typical bigotry of lowered expectations regarding minorities. Liberals accuse black conservatives who reject liberal racist stereotypes of being traitors to their race, trying to be white, and “selling out.”

Long-suffering courageous black conservatives offer blacks real empowerment: liberation from crippling victimhood and entitlement mindsets. Due to liberals’ resentment/hatred for America and traditional values, they are repulsed when black conservatives encourage blacks to get an education, work hard, revive traditional black community morality, and go for their dreams.

In the 1950s, most black kids grew up in two-parent households. Today, most black kids grow up fatherless as a result of liberal policies that destroyed the black family. Only half of black males graduate high school. Clearly, something is wrong in the black community, and it ain’t the white man’s fault. . . .

To continue reading, click here.

God bless Lloyd Marcus for having the courage to reject today’s suffocating and racist groupthink coming from the American left.

 

Inventing ‘Racism’ in America’s Public Schools

by Christopher Paslay

“Social justice” advocates create the illusion of discrimination in America’s classrooms in order to maintain the status quo and control resources.  

Today is MLK Day.  This summer—August 28th, to be exact—will mark the 50 year anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech.”  One of the key points of Dr. King’s address was about judging a person by his values, not by his skin color:

“I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Interestingly, the concept of judging a person by his character—by his beliefs, choices, and most importantly, his actions—has been systematically abandoned by so-called “social justice” advocates claiming to have the best interests of minorities at heart.  In fact, the attempt to create a colorblind society is railed against by multiculturalists because in their view, the failure to analyze every word and deed in terms of race is to allow discrimination to go unchecked.

I have an M.Ed. in Multicultural Education.  I have read the standard books by Kozol, Anyon, Freire, Howard, and the like.  I have sat through hundreds of hours of lectures by Marxists education professors on “White privilege” and other such guilt-provoking topics.  All of this has taught me a cold hard truth: The left is not interested in any way in colorblindness. Why?  Because the left has a monopoly on the exploitation of race and racism in America.  Race and racism, real or manufactured, are too powerful a commodity for the left to give up.  They will do everything they can to keep it alive and kicking, so they can use it for their own political, financial—and yes, educational—advantage.

In 1995, the Indian-born bestselling author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, former president of King’s College, published a book titled The End of Racism.  In it he argues that the debilitating systematic form of racism that once oppressed minorities is over, and that the traditional grievances used by Blacks are outdated.  D’Souza states in an interview that African American failure is not the result of discrimination but stems primarily from a breakdown in culture:

I reject the liberal view, which holds that Black failure is largely or mainly due to discrimination . . . I focus on cultural differences.  And I point out for example that on virtually every measure of academic achievement or economic performance we find not just Whites but immigrants . . . Cubans, West Indians, Koreans . . . leap-frogging ahead of American Blacks and claiming the fruits of the American dream.”

In his article “Obama and the End of Racism,” D’Souza reinforces this point:

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that racism does not exist. This is a big country, and surely one can find several examples of it. But racism, which used to be systematic, is now only episodic. In fact, when I ask young blacks on the campus today whether America is racist, many say yes. But if I ask them to give me examples of how that racism affects their lives, they are hard pressed to give a single one. The best they can do is to mention “Rodney King” or provide some well-known, recycled horror story.

D’Souza explored this topic with Jesse Jackson in a 1988 debate on Stanford’s campus, questioning the existence of the kind of debilitating systematic racism that liberals continually claim is causing African Americans to fail.  Jackson responded by explaining that racism in America has changed, that it’s no longer overt but covert—that it has gone underground and now exists in subtle coded forms.

The interesting thing about “coded” racism is that it’s not what a person says or does that’s racist, it’s what they were thinking when they said or did it.  Thus, to ultimately prove coded racism, the accuser has to be a bona fide mind reader.  Coded racism reminds me of a skit by the late great comedian George Carlin when he poked fun at a brainless football referee haphazardly officiating a game: I call it the way I see it, and if I don’t see it, I make it up.

This is exactly what social justice folk on the left do when they want to explain away the educational failures or chronic misbehavior of minorities in America’s public schools when there is no legitimate systematic discrimination to use as an excuse: They make it up. Why?  To keep the status quo in order to control the raw materials that go along with pubic education.

They do this systematically (ironically enough) in four stages:

First, social justice folk deliberately misrepresent data.  They use a classic propaganda technique known as using correlation to prove causation.  Example: 84 percent of America’s public school teachers are White.  Studies show that Black students are three times as likely to be suspended or expelled from school than their Whites counterparts.  Therefore, Blacks are being unfairly discriminated against, consciously or unconsciously, by racist or culturally insensitive White teachers.

This, of course, is not the case.  There is a third variable that liberal “research studies” refuse to address—a lurking variable: Poverty.  Black students are three times as poor as their White counterparts, and poverty has a devastating effect on academic achievement and behavior.  Black students are also much more likely not to have a father in the home, not to have books in the home, to watch excessive amounts of television, have poor nutrition, regress academically over the summer, and have parents who are not involved in homework and school.

These are cultural and environmental issues, not matters of racial discrimination.  But this doesn’t keep the New York Times and the Huffington Post from running stories about “harsh discipline” of Blacks in Mississippi and the “racial segregation” of minorities in gifted programs in New York City.  It doesn’t keep U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan from pulling the race card, either.

Sure, episodic racism still exists in American classrooms in isolated instances (although actual documented cases are practically nonexistent), but debilitating systematic racism—the kind that has a direct impact on a student’s education—is a thing of the past.

Second, social justice folk promote White guilt and generate resentment in minorities.  At Delevan-Darian High School in Wisconsin, progressive educators offer an American Diversity course that teaches students that minorities are disadvantaged by White oppressors.  The course also teaches “White Guilt” as well as “White Privilege.”  According to The Huffington Post:

Yet another assignment asked questions of a lecture by anti-racism activist and writer Tim Wise, inquiring, “Why is the colorblind model of America ineffective,” “Why is it important to talk about whiteness in America,” and “Explain the irony of the phrase ‘United We Stand.’”

Race baiting and identity politics are hardly the way to bring people together and close achievement gaps.

Third, social justice folk preach victimhood and create a grievance culture.  As D’Souza noted in an interview about his book The End of Racism:

Blacks are always marching on Washington, looking to the government for answers.  Meanwhile, other groups are setting up entrepreneurial associations, rotating credit systems, and within a generation their daughters are valedictorians and have moved to the suburbs.

Case in point: Officials in the Philadelphia School District have recently enacted a plan that calls for the closure of 37 schools.  The majority of these schools are in predominantly African American neighborhoods and disproportionally affect Black students.  With that said, however, many of these schools are also in disrepair and running at less than half capacity.  The students in many of these schools have high rates of STDs, lead the city in assaults on teachers, assaults on fellow students, weapons charges, drug possession, and unwanted pregnancy; the students in many of these schools also have some of the lowest SAT scores in the entire state.

How do the families and communities react to the closure of these schools?  They play the role of victim and turn to what they know best: the grievance.  They march on School District headquarters, waiving signs and shaking their fists—engaging in street theater and using outrageous hyperbole to convince School District officials and all else who will listen that they are victims of an oppressive, unjust system.

The Philadelphia Student Union recently lead such a march.  Several dozen teens, spurred on by the agendas of their adult mentors and organizers, converged on Philadelphia School District headquarters dressed as zombies acting out a scene akin to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” titled “Student Apocalypse: A Brainless Future.”  According to the Philadelphia Public School Notebook which covered the protest:

Chris Riley, a 12th grader at South Philadelphia High School said, “This event symbolizes what would happen if they go through with the school-closure plan.”

Instead of protesting, why not spend that time and energy campaigning for the improvement of their own community?  Why not call for more parental involvement at school?  For neighborhood men to father their children?  For city residents to pay the $500 million they owe the School District in delinquent property taxes?  Why not do a creative dance about literacy rates and the need for mothers and fathers to read to their children, say no to drugs, stand up against violence, and make education the community’s main priority?

Lastly, social justice folk move in and seize control of resources.  Marxist hustlers, after successfully maintaining the status quo, are free to divvy-up the money and wealth to their own people—friends, vendors, politicians, etc.  From 2008 to 2011, the Philadelphia School District went through nearly $10 billion dollars of mostly state and federal funds with amazingly little to show for it (besides a gargantuan budget deficit and across-the-board cuts to legitimate education programs).  Where did the money go?  Can you say Foundations Inc.?  Universal?  IBS Communications Inc.? Duane Morris LPP?  Trujillo Rodriguez and Richards LLC?  Can you say Queen Arlene?  Robert Archie?  Dwight Evans?  Kenny Gamble?  Chaka Fattah Jr.?  Need I go on?

Tragically, as evidenced by the fact that the racial achievement gap in the United States stopped closing right around the time the multiculturalism and social justice movements came into full bloom—when their toxic postmodern mantra of “cultural relativism” was naively adopted by well intentioned educators—things aren’t getting much better for minorities in American public schools.  Nor are they getting better for American minorities financially; the wealth gap continues to grow and poor minorities continue to fall further behind.

This begs the following question: Is social justice style race-baiting and identity politics really the best thing for America’s children?  Somehow I think Dr. King would call for a totally different strategy for empowering the poor and disenfranchised, perhaps one that acknowledges that the only real change is the kind that comes from within.

Should Philly Schools Ban the Burqa?

by Christopher Paslay

After kindergartener Na’illa Robinson was abducted Monday from Bryant Elementary School, some have questioned the safety of adults picking children up from school wearing Muslim garb.     

According to a Daily News column by Helen Ubinas, the recent kidnapping of five-year-old Na’illa Robinson has caused some citizens to question whether an adult woman showing up at school with her face covered to pick up a child is a legitimate safety concern.

Ubinas wrote:

You want to talk about the burqa and whether it should be banned—as France and Belgium have done—in the name of public safety or gender equality or integration? Bring it on.

Ubinas feels religious freedom supersedes safety.  What do you think?  Take the poll below:

America’s Future Doctors: Less Qualified, Less Trained

by Christopher Paslay

Affirmative action policies and doctor shortages are prompting medical schools to accept less qualified students and shorten training.  

When it comes to healthcare, I don’t care what color the doctor is, as long as he or she is qualified and properly trained; Ben Carson, the world-renowned African American neurosurgeon from Detroit and winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, is a case in point.

I’d be willing to bet most Americans feel the same way.  There are those folks, however, who are obsessed with skin color and believe that everything should be balanced—even a profession as important as medicine.  In other words, racial quotas and percentages should dictate acceptance into America’s medical schools, not just ability or merit.

As Chris Mondie writes on American Thinker:

In examining documents made public by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), it becomes apparent that race plays a disturbingly large role in the medical student application process.  The documents provide data about the applicant pool from years 2009-2011 — namely, the number of applicants within a given GPA and MCAT score range, and how many of those applicants gained acceptance to a school.  These data, it turns out, are organized by race.

A quick scan of the documents reveals that white students applying to medical school with a GPA in the 3.40-3.59 range and with an MCAT score in the 21-23 range (a below-average score on a test with a maximal score of 45) had an 11.5% acceptance rate (total of 1,500 applicants meeting these criteria).  Meanwhile, a review of minority students (black, Latino, and Native American) with the same GPA and MCAT range had a 42.6% acceptance rate (total of 745 applicants meeting these criteria).  Thus, as a minority student with a GPA and MCAT in the aforementioned ranges, you are more than 30% more likely to gain acceptance to a medical school.

In other words, there are some individuals who are less qualified to be doctors yet are walking around with stethoscopes simply because of the color of their skin.  If this doesn’t make you nervous, consider the fact that some of America’s premier medical schools—like New York University—are considering shortening their training programs from four years to three in an effort to help students save money on tuition and better meet the growing shortage of doctors in America.  According to a recent story in the New York Times:

Not only, they say, will those doctors be able to hang out their shingles to practice earlier, but they will save a quarter of the cost of medical school — $49,560 a year in tuition and fees at N.Y.U., and even more when room, board, books, supplies and other expenses are added in. . . .

The deans say that getting students out the door more quickly will accomplish several goals. By speeding up production of physicians, they say, it could eventually dampen a looming doctor shortage, although the number of doctors would not increase unless the schools enrolled more students in the future.

Just what America’s healthcare system needs: cheaper, faster trained doctors who are proportionately representative of every color of the rainbow.  This ethnically diverse brand of doctor who is a graduate of a “fast-track” medical school will nicely complement the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which President Obama insists will save Americans hundreds of billions of dollars and increase the quality of healthcare.

Speaking of Obamacare, Americans for Tax Reform reported the following:

In a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid, 18 Democrat senators and senators-elect have asked for “a delay in the implementation” of the Obamacare medical device tax.  Like most of the significant tax increases in Obamacare [there are 20 of them], the medical device tax is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2013, conveniently after the 2012 presidential election.

Now even Democrats (who voted for it in the first place) are realizing the medical device tax will serve to hamper—not stimulate—America’s struggling economy.

There are, to be sure, infinitely more goodies to come from Obamacare, and the 1,500 new IRS agents that are being hired by the federal government just to figure out the new tax laws.

I hope I don’t get sick anytime soon.

Duncan and Obama Remain, but America is Different

by Christopher Paslay

America, and its public schools, have changed.

Despite my bold November 1st proclamation, Arne Duncan remains the U.S. Secretary of Education, and Barack Obama remains president.  Last Tuesday, nearly half of all voters—some 58 million of them—called for change . . . or put another way, called for a return to the values and traditions America was founded upon.

Curiously, “values and traditions” in the 21st century are now a matter of cultural perspective.  No longer are there universal human truths that transcend time and gender and race, but a kind of orthodoxy revolving around a concept of “fairness” that has become known as social justice.  Some 61 million Americans—made-up to a large extent of minorities, agnostics, the young, the single, and those on various government assistant programs—voted for the status quo . . . or put another way, called for a bigger intrusion of government into all of our lives.

Here’s a closer look at the changing trends of America and as a result, public education.

The Institution of Marriage and Family

For the first time in the history of the United States, there are now more single women than married.  Likewise, there are now more single households than married.  One of the great pillars of America—the institution of marriage and family—is now in the minority; in President Obama’s “The Life of Julia,” the interactive website feature that showcases the benefits of various Obama-backed welfare-state programs, the 31-year-old single Julia “decides” to have a baby all by her lonesome–no husband in the equation.  Does this impact education?  You bet.  It impacts everything.  But when it comes to schools, research shows children from single parent families do far worse academically as well as behaviorally than do children from two parent families.

Curiously, the racial achievement gap is proportional to out-of-wedlock births.  On nearly every standardized test, from the NAEP to the GRE—from 3rd grade to graduate school—Asians score the highest, followed by whites, followed by Hispanics, followed by blacks.  Here is the percentage of out-of-wedlock births to women under the age of 30 by racial/ethnic group from 2003 to 2004: Asian 16%; white 34%; Hispanics 46%; blacks 77%.

Institution of Religion

Today, one-fifth (20%) of Americans consider themselves atheists, agnostic, or unaffiliated with a religion.  In fact, in August of 2012, the Democrats removed the word “God” from their party platform.  In a May 2012 speech at the prestigious Roman Catholic Georgetown University, President Obama not only failed to mention Jesus once in his remarks, but also persuaded the school to cover the name of Jesus–IHS–at Gaston Hall where he made the speech; Obama did the same thing in April of 2009 when he delivered remarks on the economy at Georgetown.

What does religion have to do with the quality of public education?  Morals.  Or, the lack thereof.  Crime and violence in schools is on the rise.  In Philadelphia alone, there were over 4,500 violent incidents reported during the 2009-10 school year.  According to the Inquirer, “on an average day 25 students, teachers, or other staff member were beaten, robbed, sexually assaulted, or victims of other violent crimes.”

Embracing religion doesn’t necessarily mean following a particular deity per se.  It means letting go of ego–the self centered perspective that teaches that man is the end-all-be-all of the universe, that there is no broader consequence for immoral behavior.

 Competition and Individualism

In 2010, for the first time in America, minority births (50.4%) outnumbered whites.  This is significant because the values of the dominant white culture are now viewed as oppressive by progressive education scholars.  According to Vernon G. Zunker, a noted expert on career counseling, “Career choice, for example, may be driven by goals of family as opposed to individual aspirations.  In the individualistic cultures of Europe and North America, great value is placed on individual accomplishment.  In the collectivist cultures of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, the individual focuses on the welfare of the group and its collective survival.”

In other words, “individualism” and “competition” are a white thang, and should be discounted in the career and academic world.  Hence, the advent of “group work” as opposed to direct instruction, the notion of “student-centered” lessons as opposed to “teacher-centered” ones, and the great push for schools to lower admission standards to elite schools and AP courses; from this also stems the recent opposition to suspensions and expulsions of public school students–a movement which values the rights of the violent and unruly few over the rights of the hardworking many.

The results of this brand of educational socialism?  Academic mediocrity, and a horrible decline in SAT as well as AP scores.

Thanks to the systematic deconstruction of marriage, religion, and American individualism, Duncan remains, and so does Obama.  It appears Big Government–and a Marxist brand of educational socialism–is on the rise.  But hey, America asked for it.

To quote the classic line from H. L. Mencken: “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.”

To those who asked for it–I’m sure you’ll get it good and hard.

Obama Demands Race-Based School Discipline

In plain English, if different races have different incidences of disciplinary action, those of a favored race who act worse will be punished less, or those of a disfavored race who act better will be punished more, or both.

President Barack Obama recently signed an executive order hiring race-sensitive bureaucrats to hold meetings and mandate racial discipline quotas.

The order charges his new racial justice team, in part, with “promoting a positive school climate that does not rely on methods that result in disparate use of disciplinary tools.”  In plain English, that means that if different races have different incidences of disciplinary action, those of a favored race who act worse will be punished less, or those of a disfavored race who act better will be punished more, or both.

It’s true that a higher percentage of black students than white students receive school discipline such as suspensions or expulsion.  A recent, representative study of nearly half the country’s school districts found that 17.3 percent of black students were suspended in 2009-10, whereas 4.7 percent of whites and 7.3 percent of Latinos were.  Only 2.1 percent of Asians were suspended that year.  The black graduation rate is 64 percent.  For whites, it’s 82 percent, and for Asians, it’s 92 percent.

Given these and similar statistics on practically every measure of academic success and self-discipline, the president wants to require schools to punish equal proportions of white and black students, regardless of how individual students behave.  That will mean overlooking infractions by black students or punishing more white students for pettier infractions.

Punishing students differently based on skin color — that’s not racist? . . .

This is an excerpt from an article published today on American Thinker called “Obama Demands Race-Based School Discipline” by Joy Pullmann.  Pullmann is managing editor of School Reform News and a research fellow in education at The Heartland Institute.  To read the entire article, please click here.

Which Students Deserve Amnesty? Only Obama Gets to Decide

by Christopher Paslay

Obama himself–not Congress or the people–will decide which students should be held responsible for the crimes of their parents.   

America is the land of the free and the home of the brave.  It has also been home to slave masters, segregationists, and illegal aliens who’ve crossed the border or over-stayed their visas.  These sinners and rule breakers have given birth to children–some in the United States, some on foreign soil.  Many of these children are now students in American schools.  Which should be granted amnesty and which deserve a penalty?

This is a decision best left up to the president–at least in the mind of Barack Obama.

Let’s start with granting amnesty to America’s undocumented residents. President Obama’s recent executive decision to override Congress and implement parts of the DREAM Act–granting immunity to an estimated 800,000 illegal aliens residing in the United States–is a case of the president deciding that certain students should not be held responsible for the crimes of their parents.  In other words, youths brought to America illegally by their parents shouldn’t be forced to leave the country.

President Obama stated this in his June 15th speech on immigration policy:

Put yourself in their shoes. Imagine you’ve done everything right your entire life, studied hard, worked hard, maybe even graduated at the top of your class, only to suddenly face the threat of deportation to a country that you know nothing about, with a language that you may not even speak.

That’s what gave rise to the DREAM Act. It says that if your parents brought you here as a child, you’ve been here for five years and you’re willing to go to college or serve in our military, you can one day earn your citizenship. . . .

(The DREAM Act does make a lot of sense and has received some bipartisan support . . . a version of it was actually introduced by George W. Bush . . . unless of course you are one of the thousands of legal immigrants following the law and patiently waiting your turn to become a citizen.)

On the other hand, President Obama’s support of Affirmative Action–a policy that uses skin color to decide which students get into which schools and receive preferential treatment–is a case of the president deciding that certain students should be held responsible for their ancestors’ past crimes.

Jason Kissner, associate professor of Criminology at California State University, Fresno, said it best:

Why should today’s White youth be held accountable, via affirmative action measures, for Jim Crow laws?  Why should they be accountable, via affirmative action measures, for the enslavement perpetrated not by their parents but by people who acted several generations ago?

How about today’s Asian youth?  Why on God’s green earth are they forced to limp around with the lead ball of affirmative action lashed to their ankles?

And what, exactly, is the justification for extending affirmative action to Hispanics anyway?

Also, has anyone inquired whether the beneficiaries of Mr. Obama’s immigration pronouncement are now lawfully entitled (which, given Mr. Obama’s proclivities, is admittedly not the same as asking whether they will in fact receive) dispensations such as affirmative action small business loans?

Can anyone at all explain how it makes sense to distribute government benefits, on the basis of “innocence,” to those whom all parties admit are unlawfully here and then discriminate–in spite of innocence–against those whom all parties must admit are lawfully here?

The most interesting part of this all is that President Obama himself–not Congress, not the people–gets to decide who gets amnesty and who gets a penalty.  Despite the fact that Congress shot down the DREAM Act, the president recently used an executive order to implement portions of it anyway.  Many Americans believe that this was an overreach of presidential power.  In fact, President Obama thought so himself.

In March of 2011, the president clearly stated that he could not stop deportations of undocumented students through an executive order when he addressed a town hall forum hosted by the spanish speaking network Univision.

With respect to the notion that I could suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed and I know that everybody here at Bell is studying hard so you know we have three branches of government. Congresses passes the law. The executive branch’s job is to enforce and implement those laws and then the judiciary has to interpret the law. There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system, that for me through simply an executive order ignore those mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as president.

Last month, the president ignored his own best judgement, overrode Congress and gave amnesty to nearly one million unlawful aliens anyway.

As for the hard working American students being penalized for their ancestor’s sins via affirmative action?  The president has offered no such amnesty to these children.

Apparently, these students and their parents will have to hope that President Obama wakes up on the right side of the bed one day and changes his mind.

Obama’s Missing Records Make Research Assignments Difficult

by Christopher Paslay

While preparing a research assignment on our country’s first African American president, I was startled to find much of Barack Obama’s records are missing or sealed from the public.

With the Philadelphia School District now officially adopting Pennsylvania’s Common Core Standards, I’ve been spending time this summer developing lessons and assignments for the coming 2012-13 school year.  In particular, I’m in the process of creating a research essay for my 10th graders, one that meets standard CC.1.4.9-10.W—research writing.      

My initial idea was to have my 10th graders write about our first African American president—Barack Hussein Obama.  The reason I chose President Obama is because of the “Obama Effect,” the premise that Barack Obama’s presence in office has provided a psychological boost and helped African American students achieve academically.

Using President Obama as a subject might indeed serve to inspire my students.  He is the ultimate role model, and all the things he’s done my students could strive to do: they could work to succeed in school; win scholarships and get awarded financial aid; excel in the Ivy League and go to law school; write scholarly articles as a law professor; and maybe one day become president.

To make this real, to show my students firsthand what the president has achieved, I wanted them to go to the primary sources of all of Obama’s personal and academic history over the years.

But when I began researching Obama’s background for my assignment, through the Internet, books, newspaper articles and other sources, I was shocked to find that most of the things I looked for were either missing or sealed from the public by Obama’s lawyers.

Here is a list:

Obama’s High School Records and SAT Scores

President Obama attended Punahou School in Honolulu, one of Hawaii’s top private institutions.  However, Obama has refused to release his high school transcripts and SAT scores to the public, despite numerous requests by citizens and journalists.

Financial Aid and Scholarship Money

Obama’s financial records at the Punahou School and Occidental College have not been released.  This is an ongoing controversy, because some have suggested that Obama enrolled in Occidental College as a foreigner (not a U.S. citizen) to receive aid reserved for foreign students.  World Net Daily writes:

In a legal action, handled largely by Gary Kreep of the U.S. Justice Foundation, officials at Occidental College were served with a demand to produce records concerning Barack Obama’s attendance there during the 1980s because they could document whether he was attending as a foreign national.

Kreep petitioned the college with a demand for its records concerning Obama.

Obama’s lawyers had the petition thrown out.  Both Obama’s Occidental College transcripts and financial records remain sealed; the Obama “foreign national” issue popped up again this spring when a 1991 booklet published by Obama’s literary agency surfaced listing him as being “born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.”

Columbia University Records and Thesis

In 1981, at age 20, Obama transferred from Occidental College to Columbia University.  His transcripts at Columbia also remain sealed.  According to a September 2008 story in the New York Sun:

The Obama campaign has refused to release his college transcript, despite an academic career that led him to Harvard Law School and, later, to a lecturing position at the University of Chicago. The shroud surrounding his experience at Columbia contrasts with that of other major party nominees since 2000, all whom have eventually released information about their college performance or seen it leaked to the public.

His thesis on “Soviet Nuclear Disarmament” also remains unavailable.

Harvard Law School Records

Obama’s Harvard Law School Records are sealed.  So are his LSAT scores.

University of Chicago Scholarly Articles

Obama lectured at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 until 2004.  Reporters have been unable to find any scholarly articles authored by him.

Medical Records

It is customary for presidents running for office to disclose their medical records.  Obama’s medical records have yet to be released.

Passport       

Obama’s fully visible passport has not been released (in 2010, the White House posted a partially blurred version on their website).

Needless to say, learning that so many of President Obama’s records are sealed or missing was quite startling.  This will clearly change the direction of my research assignment.  Perhaps I will require my students to read one of Obama’s two memoirs—either Dreams From My Father or Audacity of Hope, although Obama himself has admitted that these books are not wholly factual and based on “composites,” shaped and rounded by him and his editors to evoke just the right emotions from readers; some even suggest Obama’s two memoirs were ghost written by a third party.

It would be quite disheartening to learn that the Obama Effect is based on a hoax.  I guess I’ll have to make some adjustments to make my research assignment on Barack Hussein Obama work.

Teaching in Black and White: Thoughts on Race and Education Reform

Notebook blogger Samuel Reed and I go toe-to-toe on issues of race and education reform.  

Yesterday, public school teacher Samuel Reed (who wrote a very insightful review of my book The Village Proposal) published a blog post on the Notebook headlined, “Education reform sparring match with Christopher Paslay.”  Although the two of us have corresponded via email over the past several years, I finally had the pleasure of meeting Sam in person at a recent teacher leadership event; it was there that Sam pursued his idea of having an honest and friendly education reform “sparring match” between the two of us. 

Here is an excerpt of Sam’s post covering our discussion:  

I finally had a face-to-face chat with Christopher Paslay at an end-of-the-school-year celebration with the Teacher Leadership Professional Learning Community (PLC). We agreed to put some padded gloves on and have a sparring match on education reform.

Samuel Reed: Chris, in your response to my review of your book, The Village Proposal, you state, “To my chagrin, not a whole lot of people gave a crap.” Why should people care about education reform?

Christopher Paslay: Schools and education do not exist in a vacuum.

Everyone is part of schools and education — teachers, students, parents, administrators, community members, business leaders, clergy, lawmakers, etc. Yet somehow our society seems to think schools are cut off from all this, that they are some free-floating entity that operates independent of all these factors.

Politicians talk of “broken schools,” as if they aren’t the ones writing the policy.

Parents speak of “low achievement,” as if they have nothing to do to with helping their children complete assignments and practice new skills.

Community leaders speak out against “school violence,” as if the drugs and crime in their own neighborhoods do not carry over to their schools.

The fact is, everyone is part of schools and education, which is why everyone should care; schools stem from communities, not the other way around.

Reed: I received many comments offline responding to our discourse about social justice. Some folks are not buying that we should strive for a color-blind society. What’s wrong with confronting the impact race and class issues have on teaching and learning? . . .

Click here to read our discussion in its entirety.

Thanks for reading.

Christopher Paslay