Category: Belief Gap

The Demagogues of the Left

Last night I made the mistake of jumping into a comments thread about the Opt-Out Movement, the teacher-led campaign to persuade students and parents to refuse to take the annual assessments used to identify academic achievement gaps.

Written by Brooklyn civil rights attorney Charles F. Coleman, the piece laid out why black learners are the ones most hurt by the trend. And correctly pointed out that most of those who opted out last spring were from wealthy white communities.

“To put it plainly: white parents from well-funded and highly performing areas are participating in petulant, poorly conceived protests that are ultimately affecting inner-city blacks at schools that need the funding and measures of accountability to ensure any hope of progress in performance,” Coleman wrote.

“This is one of the more obvious examples of the sort of ‘double bonus’ that privilege can create. The ability to opt out of standardized testing without serious concern for the consequences on parents’ school districts is only buttressed by the notion of having greater availability of alternative options.”

It’s a solid article. Yet within minutes it acquired a comment thread rife with hyperbole and venom. Much of it, a little Facebook backtracking revealed, from white commenters who it’s hard not to imagine neatly illustrate Coleman’s point.

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Thank You for Believing in My Son

This weekend my family will find a moment amid the turkey and the pie, the football and the Minecraft, to acknowledge things we are grateful for. This year, my heart is full to bursting. My younger son, who has Asperger’s, is in a new school. For the first time he is an academic and social rockstar. He’s surrounded by teachers and other adults who see and talk about him as gifted.

All of that adult faith has made him a different kid, and me a different parent. Continue reading

Filmed classroom arrest of South Carolina schoolgirl spotlights police brutality, prison pipeline

Could the cellphone do for the school discipline debate what car dashboard and body-worn cameras have done to ignite the movement to curb police brutality?

The young South Carolina woman whose violent arrest was captured by phone-wielding classmates has not yet been identified publicly. But the images of Richland County Deputy Ben Fields flipping her, still in her chair, onto the floor and dragging her across the classroom have galvanized critics of the school-to-prison pipeline. The student is black. Fields, who was fired Wednesday, is white. Continue reading