Over the last decade, a bipartisan consensus has been emerging among politicians, the prestige press, and leading philanthropists: the racial gap in achievement is the fault of ... schoolteachers.
If only schoolteachers were more multiculturally sensitive, or if only they held students to more rigorous standards, or if only they could be fired in large numbers and replaced by young investment banker-types who work 19 hours per day and live on Red Bull and idealism, or if only … well, the cure-all proposals go on and on.
As a certain anonymous teacher wrote in an important essay on Achievement Gap Politics on the National Association of Scholars blog on May 9th:
“Educational policy is consumed by the achievement gap … It's race that generates the most intensity. I don't just mean that this is the number one priority. It's the only priority. The achievement gap pervades every corner of American educational policy discussion. Nothing else matters. No Child Left Behind was entirely about the achievement gap and measuring schools to see if they'd closed it. Obama's Race to the Top is just another take on the achievement gap—again, focusing on testing and this time holding teachers responsible if they can't get low-performing students to improve.”
Unfortunately, nobody has ever been able to point to a single one of the 16,025 school districts in the country where reformers have been able to make the Gap go away.
My question: How much of the current elite frenzy over the supposed failures of teachers stems from unspoken guilt over the educational results of 40 years of open door immigration policy?
Maybe our ruling class is saying to itself something like this:“OK—we’ve now got 48 million Hispanics. And, on average, they aren’t climbing the ladder like the Ellis Island immigrants did. We said they would, but they’re mostly just kind of sitting there, generation after generation, at the prole level. They aren’t earning enough money to pay enough taxes.
“And look what we’ve done to California. That used to be America’s shining future. Back in 1970, California ranked 7th out of all the states in highest percentage of high school graduates in the workforce. Now, California ranks 50th.
“And Texas is 49th, so it’s not as if it matters whether it’s a Blue State like California or a Red State like Texas. From 2000 to 2010 in Texas, the number of Anglo public school students fell from 1.7 million to 1.6 million, while the number of Hispanic students rose from 1.6 million to 2.4 million.
“Together, the two biggest states account for 62 million people.
“Last year, only 51% of the babies born in the country were white, and that percentage is falling about one point per year.
“Uh oh! We’ve really fouled up the whole country.
“Quick—find somebody else to blame! Like … uh … TEACHERS! Yeah, Latino lack of achievement is the fault of the TEACHERS! That will distract the voters for a while!”
June 14, 2010
From my new VDARE.com column on the newly noticed problem of "English Learner Lifers:"
Read the whole thing there and comment upon it here.