August 24, 2003

the usual malarky ...

Betsy Newmark writes:

The Madison, Wisconsin schools are shutting down school for the day and spending $50,000 for a workshop on "institutionalized racism." They are concerned that it is racism that is maintaining the gap in achievement between whites and blacks. How about setting high standards and holding all kids to those standards? How about communicating to parents what your expectations are and encouraging them to support you in asking the best from their children? How about focusing on content rather than fluff? How about holding kids accountable for lack of effort? All that is harder to do than paying some guy to speak by TV to all your teachers, janitors, and cafeteria workers
Good. And how about lighting a fire under the schools by giving them a little competition?. Works wonders in the private sector. Nothing stimulates customer service like the prospect of being laid off due to lack of customers...

Actually our public schools provide splendid service to their "customers." Unfortunately that means bureaucrats and politicians, not parents or students...

And the stuff about "institutionalized racism" is the worst malarky. It's dogma. No other opinion is allowed. But when I go to our local library at night at finals time, who do I typically see poring over the books? 20 asian kids, 5 white kids, and one or no blacks.

* A friend sent this comment:

It's certainly a heartbreak to see such PC misguidedness. On the otherhand, 90 min away in Milwaukee the voucher system seems to be going gangbusters�not so much because the voucher kids themselves are doing a lot better, but because the REALITY of the voucher program is forcing the P.S. system to shape up. Like you said. Competition. It's an amazing tonic.

Interestingly, the academics who are busily studying voucher kid performance vs. P.S. school performance are missing the main point. It's the P.S. response, not their relative performance, that matters. No one ever thought voucher education was going to replace public schools�just make them more competitive.

Posted by John Weidner at August 24, 2003 4:46 PM
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