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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Elections

EXCLUSIVE: Arizona Senator Gives Audit Update

Update from AZ Senator JD Mesnard

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Former Speaker of the Arizona House and current Arizona State Senator JD Mesnard gives his update and analysis of the ongoing Arizona audit saga. Check out the video below:

About JD Mesnard:

J.D. Mesnard is a state senator in the Arizona Senate, serving Legislative District 17 (Chandler, Gilbert, and Sun Lakes). He was elected to the Senate on November 6, 2018, after serving eight years in the Arizona House of Representatives, including as Speaker of the House during his final term.

J.D. is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Arizona State University with a Bachelors degree in Music Composition. He also holds two masters degrees, one in Business and the other in Public Administration—exemplifying his interest in both the public and private sectors. Prior to running for office, J.D. spent eight years working at the Arizona Senate where he served as a policy advisor on issues ranging from education, transportation and retirement, to family services and government administration. He is a small business owner, investor and consultant, and has always sought to be an active participant at all levels of the community. He works with charities, churches and non-profits, and is adjunct faculty at Mesa Community College and Arizona State University, where he teaches political science courses. He has been teaching for 14 years.

J.D.’s compassion for those less fortunate—who struggle in places outside of the greatest country on earth—led him to help establish Voices of the World, a non-profit Christian charity whose mission includes providing humanitarian aid to the poor and destitute of the world.

Born at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, FL (his father is a retired fighter pilot), J.D. has lived in Arizona for nearly 30 years. He resides in Chandler with his wife, Holly, who is a registered nurse, and their daughter, Calielle.

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Business

Your To-Do List: Unforeseen Events Will Arise

No matter how well we organize our lists and how productive we are in handling tasks, unexpected obligations and interruptions arise that could throw us off our plan.

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Each day you compose your to-do list and begin proceeding merrily down it, do you take into account what is likely to occur in the course of a day? No matter how well we organize our lists and how productive we are in handling the tasks, invariably, unexpected obligations, interruptions, and other developments arise that are going to throw us off our plan.

How do you react when you are humming along and, suddenly, you get an assignment from out of left field? Perhaps your boss has asked you to jump on something immediately. Maybe a client calls. Maybe something gets returned to you that you felt was complete.

If you are like most professionals, you immediately will become flustered. The intrusion on your time and your progress means that you are not going to accomplish all that you set out to before the end of the day. Is there a way to proceed and still feel good about all that you accomplish?

A Supplemental To-do List

I believe there is, and it involves making a miniature, supplemental to-do list that accurately and completely encapsulates the new task you now need to handle.

Why create this supplemental to-do list? It gives you focus and direction, reduces anxiety, and increases the probability that you will remain buoyant at the time of its completion and be able to turn back to what you were doing before the task was assigned.

If you don’t compose such a list, and simply plow headlong into the unexpected challenge that has come your way, you might not proceed effectively, and you might never get back to the to-do list on which you were working.

Unforeseen tasks that arise represent more than intrusions on our time; they represent intrusions on our mental and emotional state of being. Some people are naturally good at handling unexpected situations and often work as public servants, such as police officers and firefighters, or in health care, as nurses and orderlies.

Most of us, however, are not wired like this. Interruptions and intrusions take us off the path that we wanted to follow, and tend to be at least momentarily upsetting. Hereafter, when executing the items on your to-do list, proceed with the mindset that there will be an interruption of some sort. You don’t know when it is coming or how large it will be, but it will pull you off course.

Equanimity Reigns

The key question for you is: Can you develop the capacity to maintain balance and equanimity in the face of such disruptions? The good news is that you can, and it all starts with acknowledging that the situation is likely to happen, devising a supplemental checklist to handle the new task, and as deftly as possible, returning to what you were doing.

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