The Root Causes of Academic Under-achievement ⋆ Politicrossing
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The Root Causes of Academic Under-achievement

The disparity decade after decade, in virtually every U.S. school system, between African American students and adequately performing students groups is disturbing

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On the state and local level, as decisions are made about how and in what form we will educate the nation’s children, an age-old issue remains. The underlying cause of income inequality and brewing civil unrest likely has less to do with media-inflamed coverage and much more to do with the problem that apparently no one wants to discuss: educational disparity.

The disparity year after year, decade after decade, in test scores, math competency, reading proficiency, test scores, honor roll status, and graduation rates, in virtually every U.S. school system, between African American students and other student groups is disturbing.

A Cause for Concern

Any responsible American would be concerned. Here in the 3rd decade of the 3rd millennium, with a disheartening male African American high school dropout rate across the U.S., can anyone view the situation optimistically? Joe Biden can’t remember what he said about the topic, and Kamala Harris has no clue.

“It’s remarkable,” noted Eric Hanushek, who is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, as well as a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

Following Hanushek’s extensive analysis, he remarked, “I knew that the gap hadn’t been closing too much, but when I actually looked at the data I was myself surprised.”

No Sound Effort

When strenuous efforts to bridge the gap, in one town after another, do not bear fruit, invariably someone yells “foul,” as if some grand conspiracy is occurring and a magic wand, yet to be waved, could suddenly redress all. And, as if long-term, hard-working, dedicated teachers aren’t doing their utmost for each of their students.

Consider the school system in Chapel Hill-Carrboro, North Carolina. This locale, deemed, “The southern part of heaven,” by writers, is among the most progressive in the United States.

The teachers and educators here have more than a vested interest in demonstrating that their school system, beyond all others, can succeed in closing achievement gaps between whites and minorities.

Year in and year out, nevertheless, the gap remains. The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education is primed to try anything.

Another in an endless line of supposed “fixes” was to eliminate the advanced math classes in the middle schools and to lump all non-pre-algebra students together, with similar plans to eliminate other advanced classes such as in language arts.

Erected on Quicksand

One cannot easily erect a sound building on quicksand: who expects to solve a decades-old problem by starting with a shaky foundation?

Taking a lowest common denominator approach to developing school curriculum has never consistently worked, anywhere. It frustrates the students and dramatically increases a teacher’s burden – all such students must then be taught at individual learning speeds.

Do you know any superhuman teachers? If so, could you afford them?

Truly closing the academic gap between underachieving students and the rest of the student population requires addressing reality – airing the truth about the disparity – not resorting to politically “correct” psychobabble and curricula finagling for another ten years, and then another ten, and then another.

The Disparity Has Reasons

This disparity encompasses such issues as adult encouragement for completing homework assignments, the number of hours the TV is on in given households,  rules concerning cellphone use and media use, a regular workspace, designated hours for quiet study, periodic performance rewards, penalties for dereliction, and development of long term expectations, among other factors.

Without rational analysis and exploration of programs that address these issues, no amount of political, public posturing, or wrangling with classes will prove to be the “winning formula.” And school boards will have no chance of effectively addressing the continuing problem of poor academic performance among student groups.

Those on the Left, however, have no intention of EVER considering the above factors. These self-proclaimed ‘social justice warriors’ are the first and loudest to proclaim ‘systematic racism’ and to concoct and espouse ‘Critical Race Theory.’ It is all total BS but it enables the Left to virtual signal en mass.

Meanwhile, in the world of reality, Nigerians, Ghanians, Haitians, and other dark skinned immigrant groups get into high gear, seemingly right off the boat, and within one generation or less become a part of the U.S. economic mainstream.

Students Eager to Learn

Detective Sherlock Holmes, in Arthur Conan Doyle’s story The Sign of Four, says, “… When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” The schools in U.S. communities routinely exhaust talented teachers with a task that cannot be solved by them, nor is it theirs to solve.

Satisfactory academic achievement, however improbable to those who wish to pretend otherwise, occurs through individual effort: one boy and one girl after another rising above and cracking the books, then coming to class eager to learn, and primed to excel.

Such achievement is never likely to occur any other way. Otherwise, expect that income inequality and civil unrest will continue for decades into the 21st century.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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Business

What America Do You Want?

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What have we done to the shared values that made America great? Do you shake your head as you listen to the nightly news or the latest Biden gaffe or executive order? Yes, it has been amazing to watch Americans come together to help their neighbors in the face of Hurricane Ian, but hurricanes have an end to their destruction. Between now and November, we must remind Americans of the disaster we face if we do not elect candidates who will put a stop to the Biden Administration’s destructive policies and priorities. America’s future depends upon it.

We know that every improvement is the result of change, but we are now learning a very painful lesson—not every change is in improvement! Biden’s America hardly resembles the country our Founding Fathers envisioned. Fake news abounds, unchecked by mainstream media. Dissent is silenced or, even worse, labeled hate speech. The value of work, personal responsibility, and perseverance are replaced with honoring victimhood, fueling racism, and encouraging dependence.

We might heed the words of the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 5:20) when he warned: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” The prophet could say the same thing about Biden’s America today!

We are becoming the fake news capital of the world. Speaking to Democratic governors recently, President Joe Biden compared Italy’s new and conservative prime minister Giorgia Meloni to Chinese dictator Xi Jinping. Meloni campaigned on God, pride in country, and defense of family values to win the election. Even the direct rival she defeated, ex Italian PM Matteo Renzi, defended her: “Personally I was against Giorgia Meloni, I’m not her best friend. We are rivals, but she is not a danger to democracy. The idea there is a risk of fascism in Italy is absolutely fake news.” Biden’s reckless diplomatic statements are dangerous and irresponsible. America has and must expect more from her presidents.

When most Americans are concerned about their own safety and the rise of crime in their communities, Biden’s Washington remains focused on a never-ending investigation into the “January 6th Insurrection.” The Democrats seem to feel it is the worst travesty to hit America since 9/11. While many who participated in the “insurrection” remain in jail, Democrats are still calling for police budget cuts, an end to bail, fewer prosecutions, and early release for true criminals. To prevent criminals from being homeless after serving time, President Biden has even promised housing for 100% of those who have done criminal crimes. At the same time, his administration has done little or nothing to improve housing for veterans, seniors living on fixed incomes, or working Americans on the verge of losing their homes in the face of the inflation-driven increases in the cost of living.

Instead of challenging and encouraging all Americans to earn their own American Dream, today’s Democrats are arguing for a guaranteed income for all Americans, In America, we promise the freedom to work in pursuit of one’s own happiness. Now, Democrats want to provide a guaranteed income whether you earn it or not. Why work when you can be dependent on your tax-paying neighbors?

Americans wonder why there is inadequate housing, but Washington seems to ensure that building and owning rental property doesn’t pay. When government mandates rent moratoriums, property owners are left holding the bag. Owners must still pay their mortgages and maintenance expenses while renters get a free ride and can’t even be evicted. Why would anyone want to own rental property in today’s America? Want more housing, let capitalism work.

And just what has happened to our guaranteed freedom of speech? If you dare say that you are a MAGA voter who still believes there was rampant fraud in the 2020 election, you must be shamed into silence as an obvious domestic enemy worthy of scorn. In today’s America, the Left can say anything they want about Trump or conservatives and still post away on social media, but even mention election fraud or tyranny from the left, and your freedom of expression goes away. “Hate speech” rules are one-sided and a true threat to our freedom of speech.

Democrats try to tell us that the Southern border is secure, and they rail against conservative border governors sending even a few illegal immigrants to Democrat-controlled cities like Washington, Chicago, and New York. They claim they are “sanctuary cities” ready to protect illegal immigrants. But when put to the test, they plead for National Guard troops and for President Biden to do something! He has been doing something; he has been sending illegals by the bus loads to red states for well over a year. We do not have a secure border, and even Democratic mayors in border cities know something needs to be done. President Biden, it is time to finish the wall and secure our border. It’s time to elect candidates who will demand just that.

If this is the America you want, vote Democrat. If not, embrace the GOP’s Commitment to America and get ready to take back the future of this great country. Yes, it is time to Make America Great Again!

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Life

Like a Category 5 Hurricane, Kamala Harris is a Threat to All in Her Path

Nations that strive for ‘equality of results’ dampen the spirits of their citizenry

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Vice President Kamala Harris is proving to be the perfect complement to Joe Biden. She mangles what she says almost every other time she’s in public. You can count on her for ‘word salads’ that are either cringe-worthy or all together unfathomable.

Days ago Harris explained, “I know we’re all thinking about the families in Florida and Puerto Rico with hurricane Fiona, and what we need to do to help them in terms of immediate response and aid… We have to address this in a way that is about giving resources based on equity, understanding that we fight for equality, but we also need to fight for equity.”

Huh?

She went on, “Understanding not everyone starts in the same place, and if we want people to be in an equal place, sometimes we have to take into account those disparities.” Harris, you see, is all about chasing the illusive notion of ‘equality of results,’ whether it’s following a natural disaster or any other aspect of society.

Fixated on Illusions

Following her ill-conceived message, Christina Pushaw, the rapid response director for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, jumped on Harris’s words, and rightfully so:

Harris is fixated on the equality of results trap, in which most Marxists and socialists are ensnared for their entire lives.

Away from hurricanes, Harris believes that equal opportunity in the U.S. is not sufficient. Her raison d’être is championing equal results. Wikipedia says, “Achieving equal results generally entails reducing or eliminating material inequalities between individuals or households in a society and usually involves a transfer of income or wealth from wealthier to poorer individuals, or adopting other measures to promote equality of condition.”

As with so many on the Left, Harris thinks sees the role of government and society at large as ensuring equality of outcomes. ‘Residents’ of America, illegal aliens included, ought to enjoy the same benefits as everybody else. In her view, it’s not nearly enough to offer individuals a sound education, counseling, job training, apprentice programs, equal employment opportunity, and unemployment compensation.

Leftists in Never Never Land

As with nearly all ideas that the Left supports, if something sounds good then, gosh, it must be so! Let’s have it passed in Congress!

The itty-bitty, unrelenting problem with this political viewpoint is not everybody gives the same effort. Do you recall the kids in your high school class who constantly were slacking off? How about the ones who smoked behind the school building? And the students who often were tardy or absent? Or, who constantly made trouble?

Some of these students were regarded as the cool kids, showing up in all the right places around town and having a fun time (largely because they were not doing much homework). They didn’t study hard as you did. Hey, no problem! In the world of Kamala Harris, they each receive a free, all-encompassing, lifetime, ‘hall’ pass.

Do you also recall the kids who cheated on exams? Or, perhaps their lesser sin was cramming the night before a test and barely passing. You, however, prepared days in advance by reviewing the homework assignments and exercises in the textbook.

So What’s New?

In the workaday world today some of your ex-classmates, the ones who slacked off, are still proceeding in the same way. They drink or smoke or are chemically dependent. They look forward to taking the easy way out. Predictably, they desire more and more government benefits. They vote Democratic because the party keeps dangling proverbial carrots in front of them.

“Equality of results” is a socialist/Marxist if not communist platform. The notion reveals the major inherent flaws in the thinking of its advocates. Globally, nations that strive for equality of results dampen the spirits of their citizenry.

Invariably the intrusion of government elites, such as Harris, into so many aspects of people’s lives yields the emergence of a ruling class that is above all others. These puppet masters contend that they uniquely possess the wisdom to ascertain what is best for everyone, and exactly how these remarkable outcomes will be achieved.

In reality, the elites gum up the works. Favoritism rules. As in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, some animals (people) are “more equal” than others. Societies that mandate “equality of results” drive people to emigrate to places like America, or at least the few free parts of Europe.

Conversely, nobody risks their lives and their fortunes to live where a privileged ruling class, who are ‘more equal than the rest, determines what is best for everyone.

Reality Strikes

Individuals throughout the world simply do not approach their careers or jobs with the same vigor, smarts, or dedication. Many adults exert little effort or mis-directed efforts, and merely get by. They are unlike those who carve a path for themselves, generate wealth, and provide for their families. Most kids know this by age nine.

The U.S. Declaration of Independence rightfully declares that all men [/women] are created equal. This does not imply that everyone has the same capabilities. Skills and aptitudes vary! Some people are knowingly suited for a certain field of endeavor; others spend years or decades unsure where to best apply themselves. They settle into a work routine that might earn them a living but doesn’t offer a great life.

Welcome to reality. The government is not omniscient. The government cannot legislate equality of results. The government can’t delve into the lives of each and every citizen to provide some gilded path for each to follow. It is not possible and even if it were possible, it would not be desirable.

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