Identity politics is failing our kids.
Treating people as members of a racial socio-economic class is Marxist and counter-productive (but we repeat ourselves). Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction now lectures white classroom teachers on how to teach black boys. Doesn’t matter if daddy wears a prison I.D. number or a surgical smock like Dr. Ben Carson — black is black to the Woke folk who run public education in America. We excerpt freely from:
Daniel Lennington and Will Flanders of the WI Institute for Law & Liberty
Last week, Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction Jill Underly put out a press release broadly outlining her plans to address Wisconsin’s racial achievement gap. … The release offers a disturbing window into the way the public school establishment sees the achievement gap problem, and the misguided ways in which they plan to solve it.
Underly referred to Wisconsin’s racial achievement gap as “egregious” in her release, and indeed it is. … On average, African American students scored 47 points lower in math and 39 points lower in English than their white counterparts. But Underly misdiagnoses the cause of this gap, which is almost entirely poverty.
In groundbreaking research released in 2019, scholars at Stanford University … found that concentrations of poverty — not the race of students — was the main driver of achievement differences. This is highlighted in the finding from our research in 2017 that student proficiency in rural school districts which suffer from high poverty is often indistinguishable from that of our urban districts that routinely bear the brunt of scrutiny. …
Underly’s DPI promotes the current fad of “culturally relevant teaching.”… The agency’s strong emphasis on categorizing students first as members of racial groups is exactly the type of “race essentialism” promoted by … Critical Race Theory. …
The troubling, and likely illegal, results of this type of culturally relevant (or its close cousin, “culturally responsive”) instruction … is not just about putting books in the library with black faces. It’s about treating students differently based on race: different standards, different discipline models, and different support. As just one example, the Madison Metropolitan School District employs an invidious policy requiring teachers to “[p]rioritize your African American students meeting with you first and more often.” This is the exact type of explicit race discrimination called for by “culturally relevant instruction.”
But the achievement gap, as explained above, is not caused by a student’s “culture,” however DPI defines it (which, more times than not, seems like just a proxy for race). So why teach to the “culture”? We should teach to the individual student. A student’s personality, strengths, weaknesses, and academic needs are so much richer (and frankly more interesting) than DPI’s shorthand use of “culture.” Students are individuals with individual needs. They should be taught as individuals and teachers should aim for individual success. Lumping students into racial groups is not only morally and legally wrong, it won’t work and hasn’t worked.
Read the whole piece here.