June 17, 2012

"If only [racial] change were as swift and simple as a child’s dance recital."

Here's a second article about race giving central, front-page attention on the NYT website this morning. (The previous post discusses the first.)

Reaching out longingly to female readers, this article features a picture of adorable kindergarten girls in pink tutus and white tutus... and — mostly — nonwhite skin. It's a performing arts magnet school, and the serious topic of the article is the federal grant program, dating back to the 1980s, that supposedly helps with racial integration.
The idea was to create a themed curriculum that attracted children from outside a school’s immediate neighborhood to reduce the isolation of one minority group....
About 58 percent of the students in District 14 public schools are Hispanic, 26 percent are black, 12 percent are white and 3 percent are Asian, according to the Education Department. At each of these four elementary magnet schools, Hispanic students represent more than 70 percent of the population.
These are the wrong percentages, for some reason that is supposed to be obvious to you, and the promise of putting their little girls in tutus is intended to lure white parents into doing what the government deems valuable, diluting the minority population. We are assured that "decades of research studies show that children perform better in integrated schools," and then there's much talk about the magnet schools hitting academic targets. But the tutu school in the photo is under investigation for cheating
(because kids did so well on the tests at the school, but badly when they moved on to middle school).
Complicating desegregation even further: a 2007 United States Supreme Court ruling that restricted schools in selecting students. The court, in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, ruled 5 to 4 that schools could not explicitly take race into account when selecting students.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who voted with the majority, nevertheless kept alive the importance of school integration: in a separate opinion, he wrote that school districts could be creative, perhaps reconfiguring attendance zones to spur socioeconomic diversity....

Historically for magnet schools, white middle-class students have been the prize. Despite the odds, one of the Williamsburg schools has been able to attract them in droves.....

Education officials placed Brooklyn Arbor [Public School 414] in a prime location to draw families from the Northside neighborhood: just south of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, near the trendier parts of Williamsburg. The new principal, Eva Irizarry, did the rest. Her aggressive recruiting and her commitment to progressive, hands-on learning helped persuade white middle-class families to try the new school.... [The school's theme is] global and ethical studies. Ms. Irizarry plans to build eco-friendly classrooms and a greenhouse on the roof...

When it came to recruiting, Ms. Irizarry said, she got no response when she went to Head Start nursery schools in the surrounding Dominican neighborhoods.

She had more success pitching a new concept to Northside parents. At Mommy and Me yoga classes, she left brochures that featured the school’s carefully designed green tree logo and 13 children of all ethnicities photographed in green T-shirts....

Ms. Irizarry... was concerned that Hispanic parents might feel they were being pushed out of the school.
White middle-class students have been the prize.... the trendier parts of Williamsburg... commitment to progressive... learning.... So the success of the project is measured in terms of how many white kids enroll, and the theme is designed to appeal to white people... But it's the presence of white people that "decades of research studies show" is what's really best for the nonwhite kids.

Here's the Parents Involved case, in the event that you'd like to brush up on the constitutional law. The Supreme Court has been clear that racial balancing is not an acceptable basis for classifying individuals by race. Diversity — which is — has a different meaning, and, to keep this post from getting much longer, I'll just say the Court has struggled to define diversity and what may be done to achieve it.

Whatever the law says, there are still policy decisions to be made, and here, I'm puzzling over the paradoxical high valuation of white children and their use for dilution purposes.

33 comments:

edutcher said...

The Lefties don't want desegregation.

Once black people see how white people don't spend their every waking moment plotting against blacks and that they don't need the government to spoon feed them, the game is up.

Carnifex said...

Does anyone even trust these "statistics" from the government any more? Or have we all become so jaded by the malefeasance that we just accept it, and ignore it?

The government is its own worst enemy.

MayBee said...

I'm trying to figure out why, if the schools think white middle class students are the real prize, why white middle class families wouldn't also think schools full of white middle class students are more desirable for themselves.

"Dear White Middle Class family-
You are going to do more for this school than this school is going to do for your child. Come join us!"

Michael K said...

White kids in minority, especially black, majority schools are targets for bullying. which is ignored by school officials. My nephew, who can't yet afford Catholic school for his step daughter (whose father refuses to pay child support), sends her to public school in his south side Chicago area. His wife has been going to the school weekly to complain about incidents for several years. Eventually, his salary will catch up and they will pull her out of public school. Another loss for "diversity."

rhhardin said...

You want to drive out dysfunctional black and hispanic institutions with white institutions.

Getting white students is the way to do that.

The hope is that it doesn't take many white students, but it always seems to take more.

Q said...

White kids in minority, especially black, majority schools are targets for bullying. which is ignored by school officials.


There was a story in the news recently about a white kid who committed suicide after being repeatedly beaten up in school by his "diverse" schoolmates.

It's a small price to pay for "diversity" though. Omelets, eggs.

Jews in NYC get around this problem by sending their children to Jewish schools.

It's a enduring mystery to me - how do liberals live with their own hypocrisy? How do they manage to constantly say one thing, do the opposite, and maintain their (remarkably swollen) opinion of themselves?

slumber_j said...

With a surname like Irizarry, that's a Basque principal right there. Doesn't that fulfill like 1000% of whatever diversity criteria you could possibly invent?

Okay: she's not a student. But aren't the students gonna absorb such a powerful hit of diversity through some sort of osmotic process, like a contact high?

To think about this correctly, revert to first principles: any room containing at least a single person of Basque ancestry is automatically the most diverse room possible. QED.

John M Auston said...

Integration is a clown goal.

It is in our DNA to be tribal, and to prefer it.

Here is an example that should especially resonate with Ann.

I can't think of too many situations where folks have more in common than to be in the student sections of Camp Randall, cheering on our beloved Badgers.

Yet what to these students almost unfailing do? Find a way to distinguish themselves, from "Others".

You've heard the cheer, haven't you, pouring from Section P?

"O sucks!" "O sucks".

I rest my case.

rhhardin said...

Black institutions, a nice line from a much more global article

..[W]hile institutions frame all human behavior, it is through organizations that people carry out complex social interactions. Understanding human development requires understanding how institutions shape the kind of organizations available for sustainable human cooperation pdf

Think of what happens in your workplace if you're a black guy concentrating on what society owes you instead of what the job is that you're there for.

That's a black institution that prevents black employment in sustainable form, without the slightest ill will from society.

TosaGuy said...

There are whole first tier suburbs that exist to provide public education to white liberals. They get to live like they are in the main city but get to put their kids in a school they control.

Roger Sweeny said...

The Supreme Court has been clear that racial balancing is not an acceptable basis for classifying individuals by race. Diversity — which is — has a different meaning, and, to keep this post from getting much longer, I'll just say the Court has struggled to define diversity and what may be done to achieve it.

Before my first round of parent-teacher conferences, an older and wiser teacher told me never to say, "You child is failing" or "Your child is doing badly." Say, "Your child is struggling."

Balancing v. diversity. It makes me think of one of the great bits of legal jargon: a distinction without a difference.

The Drill SGT said...

Michael K said...
White kids in minority, especially black, majority schools are targets for bullying. which is ignored by school officials.


Of course those Catholic schools are just as "diverse" yet they always seem to be able to keep order and discipline.

wonder how...

Perhaps because they expect order to be kepy?

T-Steel said...

"Once black people see how white people don't spend their every waking moment plotting against blacks and that they don't need the government to spoon feed them, the game is up."

DAMN! I hate freakin' comments like that. You know how many of we BLACKS don't go around worrying about the "menacing whitey"? The majority of us. It's the reason why you don't see mass numbers of black folks roaming the cityscapes terrorizing the good folks (and we would be in constant nationwide physical war if that was true). We working, raising our kids, doing of damn best to make it. The Black Democratic Establishment (BDE) if who projects the mass image of what they think black folks feel. You know what we black folks are guilty of? Not challenging the BDE when we know they full of crap. I hear it every time in the barber shops, the church, etc. Black folks bashing Sharpton and Jackson but just kinda letting them slide. I call it "struggle fatigue". The "struggle" is mentioned so much and bashed on our heads so many times that we just roll with it. That's a sizable problem since it runs counter to the situation on the ground.

buwaya said...

- Basque names in former Spanish colonies aren't rare at all. I am guessing the lady is of Latin American ancestry. Even if she isn't, Basque ancestors straight from the seven provinces (four Spanish, three French) aren't so rare out here in the West.

- The overriding emphasis on integration comes straight from the original Great Society programs, guided by the extremely influential 1960's study by James Coleman. Look him up, interesting stuff.

- Essentially, Coleman (and pretty much everyone else subsequently) found that adding resources to minority education doesn't improve results. The only thing that does, and that uncertainly, is to exploit the "peer effect" - black kids tend to do better when in a majority-white school. The other kids are appparently a more powerful influence than teachers, or arguably, beyond a certain age, even parents.

- It isn't odd to see black kids improve greatly in testing in elementary grades. Many schools have implemented strict curricula and management processes that have nearly caught up black kids test scores to the white average in elementary schools. These methods are controversial but they work far too often to dismiss. However, this progress almost always fades away in middle school and is hard to detect in high school.

CWJ said...

Second verse - same as the first!

Simon Kenton said...

"I'm puzzling over the paradoxical high valuation of white children and their use for dilution purposes."

Perhaps this anecdote? My friend is discussing his son's high-school career with the black principal of the public school. She says, "I'll deny it if you quote me, but one Jewish kid with an IQ like your son's is enough to help out the whole school's scores for No Child Left Behind. Please don't take him out." It's not dilution the boy was being used for.

EDH said...

To think about this correctly, revert to first principles: any room containing at least a single person of Basque ancestry is automatically the most diverse room possible. QED.

Bask in my Basqueness?

Fred Drinkwater said...

@Simon Kenton:
"help out the whole school's scores for No Child Left Behind"
So that "educator's" goal is to beat the metric, and if the easiest way to do that is to game the system with your friend's kid, then that's what will happen.
One gets what one can measure; the "intent" of the law is practically irrelevant.

tim maguire said...

I live in a neighborhood with a large housing project and small white, asian and hispanic communities. The public schools are predominantly project kids and the school receives and spends large resources trying to attract asians and whites.

I toured the pre-k program last year and they ahd done a good job--great program, 4 teachers to 18 students, good mix of kids so nobody was majority.

In a neighborhood like ours that is up and coming but can slip back easily, eternal vigilance (and an active police force) is needed. If a school wants stability, if it wants and active PTA, it needs white kids. It just does.

The alternative to this very good racially mixed "free" (public) program is a very good nearly all white very expensive private program.

So I enrolled my daughter in the public school, only to find to my wife's horror that all the white parents we know (hard left liberal without exception) were sending their kids elsewhere.

Doesn't matter what other values I might have, I don't want my daughter being the only white kid in class. Fortunately, we know of at least one other white child and I expect asian kids, but that first week of school I'm going to be paying attention to who shows up and whatever the cost, she's coming out if it's more than 50% project kids.

wyo sis said...

I wish we never had to discuss race again. It's like when my sister used to tell me not to think about something just to make sure I didn't forget it. A subtle form of torture at bedtime. She'd say "Now don't worry about mountain lions." Thus ensuring an hour of fearing to look out the window in case there was a mountain lion out there, but somehow being compelled to look anyway.

Jane said...

These days, it's an article of faith that diversity is a net plus. Not that by our history we are a nation of diverse cultures and we need to make the best of it, but that our diverse cultures make us better off than if Americans were all a common ethnic group.

It is, of course, ironic that diversity-philes would never take that to its conclusion and state that America is in any sense superior to all those other mono-ethnic countries.

Michael said...

Tim Mcguire. It is the same everywhere. Do not make it about what the lefties are doing or what you think a public school should be like. Sacrafice all, everything if you must, and put your kid in that private school. Do not rationalize keeping her in a school that just barely fits your criteria when an obvious choice is nearby. If you can possibly afford to.

Balfegor said...

Re: Fred Drinkwater:

One gets what one can measure; the "intent" of the law is practically irrelevant.

That's true, as far as it goes, but I think there's been a broader failure to fulfill basic ethical duties among public educators. The first thing that comes to mind is those cheating scandals in Georgia. People blame high-stakes testing, but that's no excuse. I mean, people commit insider trading and accounting fraud --the fact that something was really important for your job isn't viewed as an exculpatory factor; it's viewed as a reason to throw the book at them. Every principal and teacher involved in this kind of behaviour should have the book thrown at them. If they could be prosecuted for honest services fraud and thrown in jail, it would be no more than they deserve. At the least, they have no business working in public education ever again.

Trying to pack your student population with high-IQ people to bring up your scores, well, that's reprehensible too (since you're not even trying to help the low-scorers at that point, just cover them up) if not fraudulent. But it's part of atmospherics surrounding the corruption of public education.

The law and the public are always going to look at metrics and measures, because without them, you can't make comparisons. Without a culture of good faith and honesty, yes, all we'll get is Holmesian "bad men" working to the metric and nothing else. But we shouldn't be content with that.

Balfegor said...

Re: Q:

There was a story in the news recently about a white kid who committed suicide after being repeatedly beaten up in school by his "diverse" schoolmates.

I don't know the specifics of this story, but I suspect it's more because children and teenagers are awful little beasts than because of diversity (even if there was racial animus behind some of the taunting). If it weren't race, children would be targeting someone for something else. Just look at South Korea and Japan, two of the least diverse nations in existence -- their schools have been dealing with terrible bullying problems for a generation.

Americans reserve a special moral horror for racism, so I suppose to Americans racially motivated bullying seems more horrible somehow than other bullying, but it's all pretty horrible, and children can be driven to suicide all the same.

tim maguire said...

Thank you for the thoughts, michael. But it's a great program that large resources are being poured into. My concern is bullying--too large a proportion of harder, rougher project kids and my daugter being small enough of a minority to personally be a target. I'm annoyed with the local lefties because all this school needs to be really great is for a handful of them to live up to their professed ideals.

I know most of them won't, but will enough of them for me to feel my daughter is safe?

That's what we'll find out in september.

Simon Kenton said...

Wyo Sis said, "I wish we never had to discuss race again."

We don't. But we do have to discuss culture, and we have to do so without the defensive drivel about being "non-judgmental." Thomas Sowell's "White Liberals Black Rednecks" is the touchstone here. He has two basic points:

-- there's little enough genetic variation across "races" to use it as an explanation or an exculpation. Black children from the Caribbean have done perfectly well in demanding schools. Blackness doesn't make you a dolt.

-- the relict 17th - 18th century Scotch-Irish redneck culture that centered in Appalachia poisons academic achievement whether it is adopted by crackers or blacks. De-brained acculturation makes you a dolt.

Michael said...

Tim. You understand, of course, that the project kids will be bringing their culture and their homelives to school with them everyday. That is what you can neither change nor defend against. The programs at the school may be dandy but they will not be enough to overcome culture and culture is what you are responsible for for your own child.

If you think the strong culture of your family will overcome that of the projects you are mistaken. The "system" will be as satisfied to pull ypur kids down as to bring the project kids up.

PatCA said...

They don't really care about or even recognize racism any more. They are really mourning their own failure at creating a utopia. Utopia is just beyond their grasp. Thankfully, they haven't killed too many people in this latest misguided idyll.

PatCA said...

Simon, if you read the article you will see the school has been accused of cheating on test scores. Is this why the whites and asians are being recruited?

They will learn to "fix the world" if they mix races in schools and take yoga? Really? Racism is the cause of war?

So much wrong in this article, in these schools. It is a sick system set up by the government, like the old Soviet Union. Lies stacked on lies, help up on a shaky platform of money, which is quickly running out.

DADvocate said...

She'd say "Now don't worry about mountain lions."

Just last night I told my daughter and her boyfriend to watch out for mountain lions (really) when they went to the gas station to pick up some drinks. Maybe, I should use your approach.

halojones-fan said...

Diversity is good. Diversity means pizza for dinner, szechuan beef for lunch, jazz and rock on the radio.

Unfortunately, most people's concept of "diversity" is "fuck whitey".

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

halojones-fan,

Diversity is good. Diversity means pizza for dinner, szechuan beef for lunch, jazz and rock on the radio.

Nah. Diversity means gyros for lunch, a Parsi beet salad and Indian shrimp fritters with mint/coriander/pepper dip for dinner, and waffles for breakfast. To a soundtrack of, oh, Anton Wranitzky, Eugene Ysaye, Handel, and Celia Cruz.

Largo said...

Mmm. Dim Sum for breakfast. Clear the head with some Frank Zappa. Coffee with Glenn Gould for lunch. Italian supper. Drift off to sleep with "Blue in Green". Then, tomorrow, another mix. Life is good.

h-j & MDK. If you are ever in Hong Kong, contact me :)

largo AT pobox DOT com