Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Extreme Equality

"If the educational system in America, and Racine Unified School District being no exception, spent the same amount of money per student on urban schools as they do in suburban schools, there could be significant improvement in academic achievement of youngsters attending urban schools. There are differences in financial support from their parents to augment what the district spends per student in the district. There will continue to be disparities in the academic achievement gap of some students until equal spending per child is fixed.This general degradation of urban schools and now segregation not inherent racial inequality remains one of the major obstacles of the American educational system." These are the words of Beverly Hicks, president of the Racine chapter of the NAACP, and they highlight the dangers of extreme egalitarianism.

Many people would not consider the quest for equality to carry with it any particular danger. But please note that Hick's is concerned that some parents will augment their child's public education with some of their own spending. And this is bad, in her view, and a degradation of urban schools, because it would increase the achievement gap between urban (read black) and suburban (read white) students. One can safely conclude that Hicks believes that if white parents did not augment their childrens education, things would be more equal, not a degradation, and therefore better. However, I suspect that student achievement among blacks will not improve if suddenly all white parents agreed to discontinue the augmenting. Thus equality is more important for Hicks than actual student achievement. And this mindset is particularly harmful to blacks, of course, because they are provided an excuse for failure by their supposed advocate. Instead of decrying the fact that some parents will make financial sacrifices in order to help their children become more successful, Hick's could better serve her black constituents by suggesting that they emulate the parents who are helping their own children.

I will try to highlight the dangers of extreme egalitarianism with a personal example. I have one son, whom I love dearly. I try my best to teach him the values that I think are important and I spend a lot of time with him. While I am certainly not a perfect parent, I can safely say that I am doing a better job than, say, an absentee father. Thus, if I am able to improve my fathering, I will of course widen the parenting gap between myself and the absentee father. And of course, my son will be increasingly better off than the child of the absentee father. Thus I will be contributing to a widening parenting gap, which would be unfair to the orphaned child. I could only decrease the parenting gap, and achieve greater equality, by becoming a worse father.

So starting today, I will begin to beat and neglect my child. I will do so in the name of equality.


a parent said...

This just goes to show that the NAACP has become irrelevant, just as unions have. They once both did great things, now they cause more harm than good. The NAACP's purpose now seems to be to remind black people that they are "different", and to blame others for their woes. They should be hammering it home that parents NEED to be involved with their kids to help make sure they succeed. Is it not the job of parents to make sure their kids are more successful than they were? That is what I'm trying to do.

I went to the open house at my child's middle school last night. There were some minority families there, but only a small percentage. Those that did, have a much greater chance of making a positive impact in society. Being present is a much greater service to the kids than any amount of money (within reason of course). Without it, the money is wasted.

Wade said...

I will follow your lead and attempt bring equality to society. Unfortunately, I just got done helping my daughter read a story for school and find the Sates we read about on our globe(this part was beyond what was assigned). Of course this did not cost any money so I am certain it did nothing to help educate my child, only more money does that. I will try to do worse tomorrow.

Brenda said...

I say "Let the beatings and neglect begin!" - I will be sure to encourage other parents to do the same. We will vow to no longer provide books (free from the library) to them, and or help them with their homework!

I don't know about you, but this frees up a lot of my time. Maybe we can all meet weekly for drinks??

Kathy said...

I've always wanted to take up drinking but could never fit it into my schedule!! Being a tutor, chauffeur, cheerleader, mentor, nurse, and maid for a family of 6, my time is quite limited. But now, it can finally be all about me...Thanks Beverly!!!

Denis Navratil said...

To a parent,
I wish the NAACP were merely irrelevant. Unfortunately, their relentless focus on external causes for black failure is most harmful to blacks.

Wade, Brenda, Kathy,
Thanks for your committment to equality.

a parent said...

You’re right, irrelevant is not the correct term. Ineffective may be more appropriate. They no longer “advance” colored people, just permit them to lag behind. They are very effective at giving excuses and blaming others.

p.s. Bloody Marys, my house, tomorrow, 8:00 am sharp.

Independent said...

NAACP's backward looking strategies do a diservice to its constiuents. They need to recognise that defacto school choice has made the Brown vs BoE decision OBE. The greatest single factor in student failure at school is the lack of the parents' involvement in education and this is where efforts to correct educational ills should be focused. Positive motivations that make the African-American community understand what a great deal a free education is are needed. In today's global competition we shouldn't write off this segment of our population - but how can we correct what has taken generations to mess up? It will take time. First, achieving African-Americans should be held up in that community as good examples - the Colin Powells and Condi Rices, the Ray Wilkersons and Capt Art Howells in our own area. Second, guarantee a college education to any black student that can gain merit admission to a college of their choice. Continue such a program until blacks are proportionately distributed throughout the various strata of our society. Another caution to the NAACP, not only are your strategies dated, but your relative political power is eroding as your group makes up a smaller percentage of the overall population. It is a stark contrast to watch Hispanic leaders argue for greater access to college education for their constiuents, while the NAACP argues that non-black families spend too much on education and that suburban kids should be bused into unsafe city areas. Clearly the empire that is the NAACP is nearing collapse.

Denis Navratil said...

Thanks for your comments Independent. Parental involvement is critical, I would agree. I am not so sure that our free education system is such a deal, however. I think it would be a far better deal if parents were empowered by our education system. This could be achieved if we went for school vouchers. Then the schools, public and private, would have to compete for these kids. The education product would improve. And as nice as it sounds to offer free college for blacks, I can't support racial discrimination, and I suspect the ensuing backlash and racial division would more than offset anything positive that might come out of that kind of program. Thanks for checking out my blog Independent. Keep those comments coming.