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.

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“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

A Way Forward after Trump Found Guilty

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This is not the America we have known and loved. This is legal warfare striking at the heart of our republic. For the first time, an American President has been found guilty on 34 counts in a New York courtroom. As it now stands, he will be sentenced on July 11th. It may be unlikely Trump will be sentenced to prison, but even if the verdict ends up being repealed, what will be the result of this unanimous conviction on the November election and our growing political divide?

Will Americans rally behind a President wronged by a partisan assault on our legal system? Those who support him will clearly rally to his side. Within hours Trump doubled the record for daily contributions with a commitment of over $34 million, over twenty percent of which was from first time contributors. Right now, his support is growing.

That small New York jury, influenced by a biased judge, will not decide the future of America, voters will in November. Americans will have the opportunity to vote the verdict that counts most by reelecting Donald Trump President. But as positive as polls may appear right now for the past President, those voters who hate Trump are happy with the result and will show up at the polls to defeat that “felon” Trump.

The “Hate Trump” vote gave Biden the Presidency in 2020. Biden didn’t win on his personality or platform; it was the “hate Trumpers” who came out in record numbers to defeat Donald Trump. They have not gone away, and they now have more ammunition to fuel their hatred of the man.

Conservatives know that this next election is critical to the future of our republic. Candidate Biden presented himself as a harmless centrist ready to unite the country. But he governed as a progressive extremist using executive orders to end our energy independence, open our border to millions of illegal aliens, and spend our way into crippling inflation leaving many living paycheck to paycheck. Biden will claim that the rate of inflation has come down, but the result of months of inflation remain, putting more and more American on the brink of insolvency.

If people vote on whether they are better off after 4 years of Joe Biden, Trump’s conviction will mean little. Far too many Americans are hurting. No matter your age, politics, or race, if you can’t put food on the table for your family, you want a change. You remember what your life was like under Donald Trump. They will compare that to life under Joe Biden. The choice should be easy for another Trump victory.

But will that be the case in November. Now, there are strong reactions engendered by this kangaroo court and the travesty of these convictions. But it is a long way to November, and we are yet to see what the long-term impact of this court decision and possible additional convictions that may yet come. Some legal analysts have suggested that the New York case was the least likely charge to result in a conviction. Will Americans get weary of a wounded warrior, a President that is fighting against one partisan persecution after another?

Republicans are united in the belief that they must win this next election. Will there come a time that the baggage Trump carries into the election make his election unlikely? As of now, he is facing a failing opponent who has a hard time putting sentences together. But more and more Democrats are calling for Biden not to run and to find a new candidate to put forward.

What would happen if Biden steps down as President Johnson did? Who would Democrats put in his place? Would it be Michelle Obama? Some question putting a person up for election that has never been elected to any office. On the positive side, Michelle has no record to defend, she would bring back the aura of President Barack Obama’s Presidency, and she could easily disavow support for Biden’s controversial decisions. In short, she could be the Democrats dream candidate to rally behind.

On the morning after the verdicts and record donations to his campaign, Donald Trump said to America, “I will do what I have to do to save our country.” What if the early poll numbers for Trump begin to fade the closer we get to November? Would Donald Trump put America first if it looks more and more like he might lose to the candidate Democrats choose? Could he step down and campaign in support of a candidate with no negative baggage and powerful Contract with America? The Republicans have a strong bench of ready candidates and winning issues to support.

Right now, it is not clear his stepping down is necessary. But if it is, I hope that Donald Trump would put his love for country first. He has been wronged, but winning in November is more important than whether Donald Trump is our next President. Whoever Republicans elect would bring the right people to Washington and the policy priorities that matter to Americans would once again drive the focus of this great country.

Rest assured that if Trump is the Republican candidate in November, we must work to rally support for him. Just know that with the election irregularities that are sure to surface, our candidate must win big. If the GOP wins big, Democrats can’t cheat their way to victory. May Trump live up to his promise to do whatever he has to do to save this country, whether that means running himself or supporting someone else better positioned to win. But win we must! May it be so.

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Antisemitic college demonstrators should be expelled

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Jewish students are being assaulted on American and European campuses with a viciousness that is reminiscent of 1938 Nazi Germany. The demonstrators, many of whom are professional agitators in their 40s who have been trained to cause mayhem, scream “kill the Jews” as they physically prevent Jewish students from attending classes. Jewish students were told to “go back to Poland.” In New York City, Jewish students at Cooper Union sheltered in a library while pro-Palestinian demonstrators banged on its glass windows and doors. Protesters at Tulane University assaulted a Jewish student, breaking his nose.

“This truly has been the worst antisemitism crisis on campus that we have seen for a generation,” said Edward Isaacs, president of the Union of Jewish Students in the UK, “and its impacts run deep throughout the Jewish student population.”

With few notable exceptions, college administrators have coddled the demonstrators instead of expelling them for committing assault, destroying university property and creating an unsafe environment. Local police have been told to stand down instead of enforcing the law.

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When it comes to choosing sides between violent antisemitic demonstrators and Jewish students who simply want an education, I am clearly coming to the defense of the innocent students. Instead of hearing angry responses from people who object to the flagrant contempt by the demonstrators for law and order, we have witnessed members of Congress, led by Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Cori Bush (D-Minn.), express their demands that police should protect the violent demonstrators.

Omar and Bush have compared police responses after pro-Hamas protests on campus to the so-called Kent State massacre of May 4, 1970, where four students were killed by the Ohio National Guard. The students in that case were protesting against American military involvement in Vietnam. “On the 54th anniversary of the Kent State Massacre, students across our country are being brutalized for standing up to endless war,” Bush tweeted on X. “Our country must learn to actually uphold the rights of free speech & assembly upon which it was founded. Solidarity with our students.”

Are we denying the free speech and assembly rights of the demonstrators? The real question is, should we protect speech when it becomes violent? The answer is straightforward. When violence occurs, it is no longer about protecting free speech—the rule of law must be upheld. “Violence, vandalism, and antisemitic harassment and intimidation are not free speech and those engaging in this behavior should be held accountable,” read a statement from Congressman Adam Schiff’s office.

When it comes to free speech, the pro-Hamas protestors are intolerant of opposing points-of-view. One student at Columbia University made that clear when she expressed sympathy with pro-Palestinian protesters and not with students of opposing views. “At the end of the day,” she said, “I don’t want a relationship with students who don’t support the cause.” Free speech for me but not for thee.

Many of the current crop of demonstrators who are physically assaulting Jewish students, shouting “death to the Jews,” believe they have the right to exercise violence in support of their views and think they should bear no consequences for their violent actions. They are upset at the prospect of being suspended or expelled. Most of them wear keffiyeh and Covid masks, presumably to protect their future Goldman Sachs job prospects.

“I think that the university needs to start with dismissing all their charges against the students if they want to rebuild trust,” said a deluded student at Columbia. Alex Morey, director of campus rights advocacy at the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, disagreed. “That doesn’t mean that students are immune from the consequences of their actions,” Morey said. “You don’t want to see cops in riot gear descend on peaceful student protests. But if they’re breaking the rules and engaging in civil disobedience … sometimes that’s what has to happen,” she says.

Beating up Jewish students and destroying campus property do not come under the heading of civil disobedience. They constitute a flagrant contempt for law and order. Such activities must be stopped right at the outset. Jewish students across America are terrified, as they should be. They will not feel safe on their college campuses as long as hateful, antisemitic rhetoric, violence or intimidation go unaddressed.

Violent, antisemitic demonstrators deserve to be arrested, put in jail, and then expelled from the university. Campus administrators like Minouche Shafik at Columbia who attempt to negotiate with the neo-Nazis are doing a disservice to our republic. University leaders should take “personal responsibility” for protecting Jewish students on campus, said UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. This is not 1938 and we must not give an inch to the haters.

Ed Brodow is a conservative political commentator and author of two No. 1 Amazon Best Sellers, AMERICA ON ITS KNEES: The Cost of Replacing Trump with Biden, and THE WAR ON WHITES: How Hating White People Became the New National Sport.

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