"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Kati Haycock and Wish-Based Reform

It is not uncommon for the oppressed to take on the characteristics of their oppressors as they adopt strategies to escape their own oppression. Such is the case with the Color-Blind Sorority Sisters of the Education Trust, who have made it their mission to make wishful thinking the basis for a national education policy intended to maintain white privilege and subjugation of the poor.

Like do-gooders from previous generations, Kati Haycock and Amy Wilkins continue to function as mouthpieces for an all male Board of Directors who stupidly promote social policies based on the ideology that treating people the same, regardless of how they different they are. In doing so, they function as the post-affirmative action poster ladies whose blindness has very pre-affirmative action effects on the poor and the brown children of America. Their joint blindess to racism and economic exploitation works to maintain the same historical power structures that are now reforming urban schools into mindless and emotionless test-preparation camps.

You see, Kati and Amy, if I may address you by first name, poverty among families is a most reliable predictor of children's (and adults') test scores, a fact that you continue to ignore in your ignorant and misguided insistence that somehow the same demands for all students will produce the same results. While this kind of self-imposed blindness will guarantee you a chair at the table of the elite educational know-nothings owned by Bill Gates, there is nothing good in it for the poor that you purport to help, except more and more draconian re-education that will multiply the past failures, while providing a moral fig leaf for white elites (and the Booker Ts who join them) to continue a practice of apartheid and economic subjugation. The result, of course, will turn the differences that you ignore, and that poor children feel, into a predictable self-loathing that will, no doubt, show up in pathologies that we cannot yet imagine. We can only wonder what strategies will be selected to deal with the next generation of victims that outfits like yours would prefer to cure.

The denial of inequities based on a psuedo-egalitarian premise inevitably must lead to distortions of a reality that poor people have been clear about since the beginning. These distortions, now embedded in the wish-based No Child Left Behind, lead to yet new layers of failure that necessitates yet subsequent layers of cures. We only have to look a hundred years back to see how this kind of visionary blindness can lead to the "scientific" cures of eugenics that we otherwise would have recognized as the sadistic seeds of a philosophical necrophilia aimed at extermination of differences.

So while we wait for Kati's and Amy's unlikely enlightenment, we must contend with a never-ending supply of studies inspired by the education privatizers and the chain gang model schoolers that show the public schools as failures for not accomplishing what no school can (Primary Progress, Secondary Challenge pdf).

Kati's response to Ed Trust's latest study that shows a continuing chasm between rich and poor test scores : “If there are huge differences, you need to ask, ‘Is our state really expecting enough of our kids?”

Or as she quipped to ABC News, in a line that shows clearly what she believes about public schools, "States worry about how much truth the public can handle without losing confidence in public education."

Kati--how much truth can you handle? Do you know you are helping to destroy that confidence?

Are you, a) a dupe, b) a dunce, c) a dope, or d) just devoted to your own advancement?


  1. jim -- just so you know, i think this post crosses the line from vigorous disagreement on the issues to personal attack. kati and amy are people just like you. it's fine to disagree with them but not, in my opinion, to call their character into question without any real evidence. i've posted about it on my site.

  2. Anonymous11:25 AM

    I kept reading and reading, knowing that sooner or later, I would encounter the EVIDENCE to support this attack. Where is it, Jim?


  3. Anonymous3:32 PM

    Kati Haycock was the first director of student affirmative action for the UC System, at age 24. Your accusations seem unfounded.

  4. Kati Haycock, like everyone in the system has the best of intentions, but has never actually been a teacher or a district administrator. I wish she could spend 2 years as a "data coach" in an urban school district to see how instrumental rationality makes zero sense in a chaotic, complex "organization."