Monday, October 30, 2006

Guest Blogger: The Achievement Gap

This will be my third guest blogger to present his/her opinion on this blog as a post. I chose two bloggers previously who disagreed with me on several issues to post their opinions for the world. Paz y amor, from the blog the path contributed Why George Bush is an Idiot. The other guest blogger was Lynn, but for some reason I can’t seem to find her post. I know I transferred several posts to my archives and some got accidentally deleted. I hope hers wasn’t one of them. I’ll keep looking.

Criteria and Purpose of the Guest Blogger

My criteria for choosing a guest blogger is that they touch upon an issue that is vital to our society. I’m not going to censor what they say. They don’t have to agree with my point of view. What they say, though, will represent at least a sizeable number of others in their way of seeing things. I will always add my own comments to what is said. Then, I’ll gladly accept opposing points of view as a separate post, if that is offered by someone with a reasonable approach.

The purpose is to open a dialogue and present true feelings and opinions from people grappling with the important issues of our day. This site does not support political correctness. I believe we need to be honest with each other, in a respectful way of course. I honor you more with my honesty, I believe, than with just regurgitating what you want to hear.

Today’s Guest Blogger and Related Posts

Today’s guest blogger is Tom, a school board chairman in Conyers, Georgia, from Tomsbloggerspot. He feels strongly on the issues and leans to the conservative side. The topic refers back to my recent posts,

Democratic Fear Mongering About Voter Fraud Bites Them in the Butt and

Blacks Face Their Biggest Enemy

See also my previous posts:

Black Conservatism

Racism versus Culturalism

Racial Discrimination Against Whites is Impossible and

Closing the Black-White Economic Gap

Tom’s Post: The Minority “Achievement Gap”

As I mentioned before, I am the School Board Chairman of a suburbia school system that is primarily black and Hispanic. The “achievement gap” is a well-used term that implies bigotry but is well received by white school officials racked with guilt. Most school systems offer the same education to all that show up. In fact, they even try harder with those that can’t speak English or come from areas of poverty. So where does this “gap” come from? Why isn’t there an Asian gap? I was intrigued when I first heard the term because I was convinced I could make a few policy changes and close this darn gap and be a political hero to the downtrodden. So I studied our policy and found nothing that separated the races. I went to the schools and found the classrooms were of mixed races. We didn’t separate the blacks into the “dumb” classes. So I dug deeper. What I found was that blacks didn’t value education as much as other races. Why?

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Historical Causes

I can understand that not too many decades ago blacks were given little or no education. It wasn’t right but we had an agrarian culture and they could always find work. (The same thing happened to the Irish when they migrated). So finally, a few decades ago, school systems were required to offer equal education to all. One might expect a “gap” for a number of years. Maybe even a generation might go by until there was an educational model established in the family. Someone to look up to and follow into a better education. So now years later we haven’t seemed to make much progress.

NAACP Involvement

I was intrigued and thought I would go ask the fountainhead of all black knowledge, the NAACP. I met with the local chapter head and was told that we need more black, male mentors. Simple enough. We decided to go recruit successful black businessmen, church leaders, NAACP, etc. and have a meeting to discuss how to influence the black males in our school system. We invited the NAACP and about 40 men to attend a breakfast at our office. 12 showed up and the NAACP stayed home. I was fascinated. I could see 38 busy guys not making it; they have careers. But where was the NAACP? AWOL. I started to assume they would rather have the issue than the answer.

Minorities and the Democratic Party

Well, five years later I have come to a few conclusions. First, when a race is that embedded into one political party they listen exclusively to one voice. That voice tells them that life is unfair and white people WILL keep you back. Don’t even try. Flashback to the voting story about blacks not showing up since it’s all rigged anyway. This is the headline for most blacks. These ideas about life being rigged against you ae propagated by the Democrats exclusively.

Liberalism in the School System

I deal with the typical educational culture of liberalism and welfare. Schools have a tendency to “do good” and make sure that the community is taken care of. Free lunch. Free breakfast. Outreach for clothes, glasses, medical care, English classes for the parents, etc. The school is the first place to go when you need help. I recently (last week) had a call from a parent complaining that we wouldn’t provide her son with glasses. I was intrigued because we have good partners in the business community that do help kids like this. The whole story was that we did get the child glasses. He broke them. We got a second pair. He broke them. Mom wanted a third pair. Found out he was breaking them on purpose because he didn’t like wearing them. So mom calls the Board Chairman to complain. She said, her words exactly, “You have violated my Federal Homeless Rights………”. She is 25 years old and has six kids. My fault I am sure.

Why the Gap Continues

There are countless stories like this and it seems pervasive in our culture. The gap will continue for many reasons but mainly because black leadership and the liberals in government want it to continue. It sustains the Doctrine of Unfairness and Racism that allows them their only purpose in life. I argued this point with a mom who said I didn’t understand because I was white. She said whites would always keep the blacks down and poor and we wouldn’t allow them to succeed. I pointed to my black neighbors, all of whom are black, and asked her if the whites got together and decided to let “a few of ya’ll in” or did they work hard and make it regardless of the system put against them. I told her to go ask them and see what they said. I have become jaded I suppose because it’s difficult to see an end to this supposed racism that infests education and life. For many blacks it’s an expected result to be nothing but poor. They have become resigned to this fate because of their skin color.

They vote Democrat almost exclusively. They get the same results from their leadership. I remember the Seinfeld episode where George does the opposite of everything he has ever done. The results were a change in outcome. I challenge the black people of America to do the same.

Rock’s Comments

Thank you, Tom. I know that your concern is heartfelt.

Unfortunately, I’d like to say that I disagree with Tom on this issue, but I can’t. I was a social worker for several years and so I was invited into the homes of Hispanics, African-Americans, and Caucasians.

They were all good people, volunteering to house the unfortunate children among us who have no homes or who come from broken homes. I’d have to say, honestly, that most of these folks were intelligent, hard-working, dedicated and loving.

I loved my foster parents and what they did for the kids.

Different Expectations

On the other hand, attitudes about education were quite stark. It was crystal clear that some differences existed among the families. Since I am a former research scientist I have to caveat my statements with the fact that what I report on this issue is anecdotal, and not a true scientific sampling, but it is at least representative of a large number of experiences.

Hispanic Homes

Most of my Hispanic families (again, I don’t want to generalize to all Hispanics from my relatively small sample, but again, the differences seemed consistent. Now they might be tested.) were very interested in the children attaining a good education. They set high standards for the children in their care on this issue. They made sure they did their homework and tried to get good grades. On the other hand, many of them were not interested in the children learning English. In fact, several of them wanted only Spanish spoken in the home. The other problem was gangs. These parents seemed relatively blasé about their kids getting involved in gangs. They let the kids dress in gang attire, hang out with gangs, and were not strict about enforcing things like curfews.

African-American Homes

Most of my African-American homes were run by women. These women were tough, lovely human beings, mostly church-goers, with lofty ideals and strong bonds with their children. They were bright and responsive. They were friendly to me and did not seem racist. On the other hand, their expectations for their children were low. They were thrilled when the kids got C’s for grades. They expected the minimum with regard to homework. They let the children mostly play for most of the day. The TV’s were always on, and the music. They were tolerant of their kids misbehaving outside the home. Inside the home, the children were among the most disciplined children I’ve ever seen. These girls and boys showed great respect for these women. Outside the home, though, many of them were acting out, fighting, stealing, and hanging out with gangs. Also, the women in these homes openly stated, and even preached to the children, that the world was against them because they were black.

Caucasian Homes

My Caucasian homes, like the Hispanic and African-American homes, were run by good people, with good hearts and a sense of wanting to contribute to the world and help these children. They seemed, though, to have higher expectations for the children with regard to grades, and with behavior outside the home. They were feeling overwhelmed a lot by the sheer numbers of kids in their schools involved in gangs. They felt there was reverse racism against their kids because their children were white. Several of my white kids who had very high G.P.A.’s could not get into the major universities because they were white.

The Point

I don’t want to blame anyone, or any race or culture for these phenomena. Each race has its foibles. Each culture contributes enormously to society, but also has faults.

My point, and Tom’s, I think, is that hard work; learning English; reading, writing and arithmetic; parental involvement; and an optimistic outlook are the only sure keys to success, for Hispanics, African-Americans, and Caucasians. For parents, of any color, love your children; expect them to work hard; and keep them on the straight and narrow, away from gangs and into positive things. Stop blaming racism for everything. Get involved in your child’s school. Succeed and help them succeed by ignoring every obstacle in your path and working long and hard; being active in your community; loving your neighbors; and worshipping God or taking part in some kind of spirituality as a family. Have fun, yes, but after homework. Turn those TV’s off during the school week. Shut that rap off when it’s time for study.

Raising kids is a struggle, a fulltime occupation. I admire you for it. God loves you for it. Do it right. I don’t want to hear excuses.


(*Wikipedia is always my source unless indicated.)

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Sarge Charlie said...

I must say that I am impressed with Tom, and Rock knows his blog has made me think for the past few weeks.
I must say that I agree, low expectations generate low results. Both of you far exceed my formal education but I have learned from the school of hard knocks that results follow effort. I belive that most those of us that fail, learned to fail, I do not believe anyone was born to fail. We are all a product of our enviroment, if you are exposed to the victim mentality you will become a victim. In this old soldiers mind, education starts at home, if it dose not happen ther, it will not happen at school.

PS; Thank you rock for you kind comments on my blog. You are on my sidebar.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

to both of you, tom and rock, this was beautifully written and easy to understand and i could not agree more. why do you suppose no one talks about this? pc environment? sigh........

thank you.....bee

Rock said...

I must say that I am impressed with Tom, and Rock knows his blog has made me think for the past few weeks.

I'm impressed with Tom too. It's difficult to be courageous enough to say what's really going on when political correctness so strongly keeps us quiet. None of us wants to demean anyone. We want our society to work.

I'm happy I'm making you think. It's nice to know you're out there.

Rock said...

Empress Bee

to both of you, tom and rock, this was beautifully written and easy to understand and i could not agree more. why do you suppose no one talks about this? pc environment? sigh

Thank you Empress Bee for your kind words and support. I think the time has arrived to be honest with folks. Honesty can be cruel when it is said to hurt, but it can be kind when it provides a way out of misery. I think kids and society have been misled for so many years that no wonder they are angry. Hearing the truth might allow them to refocus on achievement rather than on victimhood.

Thanks again and I hope we hear from you often.


Rock said...

PS; Thank you rock for you kind comments on my blog. You are on my sidebar.

Thank you Charlie. I'll reciprocate this weekend. It's good knowing you are out there blogging with the rest of us.

Tom said...

Ol' Tom here.........but not the one in Conyers. I am Chairman of the Marietta City School Board. I too am impressed with Tom in Conyers and have his blog as a favorite place.