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

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Florida Curriculum Puts Focus on the Sunny Side of Slavery

Under the fascist renegade governor, Ron DeSantis, the State of Florida has become the destination for where decency and truth go to die. The latest example: Florida's public school curriculum now teaches middle school and high school students that enslaved people benefited from valuable skills that they would not have learned had it not been for slavery. 

This kind of rationalization first became part of the school curriculum during the post-Civil War period when Northern philanthropists promoted Hampton Institute's industrial education model as the solution to "the Negro problem." At Hampton and at other black schools inspired by Hampton's dehumanizing approach, white men taught black children and adolescents that slavery had, indeed, saved the black race from complete moral depravity by making sure that enslaved people were taught good Christian values and, thus, rescued from the certainty of eternal damnation that, otherwise, would have been their plight.  

Never mind that the enslaved were worked like mules, sold like cattle, and forced to accept the rape of their women as the legally-inscribed right of white men.

That we would ever see this kind miseducation written into public school curriculum could only have become possible with the rise of white supremacy as the ideological bedrock of the Republican Party. Read it and weep.

Saturday, July 01, 2023

How Six Conservative Zealots in Black Robes May Have Gravely Injured A Racist and Classist Testing System

The 6-3 decision this week by the majority on the U. S. White Supremacist Court to kill affirmative action in college admissions underscores an elite antiquarian fixation as old and as morally debauched as the white supremacist plantation owners of the antebellum South.  

By stepping backwards toward a return of an apartheid Jim Crow society, this time attempting to hide its hideous naked racism behind the fig leaf of color-blindness, today's white power structure, ironically, may accomplish a feat that generations of social progressives and anti-racist education reform have been unable to pull off: the eventual elimination of racist and classist standardized testing for any high stakes purpose--be it at the individual or the institutional level).  

From the ACT and SAT up to the GRE and LSAT, and down to the TCAP and MCAS and a slew of other state exams suffered each year by K-12 students, this malign decision to kill affirmative action by the six right-wing radicals on the Court will highlight the roadblocks standardized tests impose on marginalized students, whether from income or ethnicity. 

To the extent that higher ed institutions continue, moving forward, their efforts to promote diversity among their student bodies, such tests, I predict, will be minimized or dropped entirely from admissions criteria (as they have been already in California's state colleges in universities).

Of course, in states with white nationalist super-majorities controlling legislatures, don't expect state institutions to be allowed any strategy to block the proliferation of the kinds of testing tools that have been used for over a hundred years to assure the dominance of a phony meritocracy based on white privilege and the oppression of minoritized groups.