Beyond Diversity

Well that was an interesting day! All the First Student drivers and staff were required to attend a meeting today at 9:30 and again tomorrow. We did not know the topic(s) of the meetings until we arrived. As we signed in we were handed a packet of 77 pages titled Portland Public Schools presents “Beyond Diversity – An Introduction to Courageous Conversation & A Foundation for Deinstitutionalizing Racism & Eliminating Racial Achievement Disparities.” Kehaulani Minzghor was the Faciliator.

School administrators know they have a problem. No matter the income level, Black and Latino students underperform their White and Asian peers in the same income strata. Why? Is it Economics (poverty), Family support, Language or Mobility? Kehaulani pointed out that those four reasons may seem like the answer(s), but she demolished all four reasons. Something else is going on that is causing our Black and Latino students to fail.

Kehaulani showed us a graph of end of Kindergarten evaluation. All four races were equally prepared for first grade. Then evaluation was done at the end of the third grade and the study found that while all students slipped some, Black and Latino students dropped close to 50%. What happened?

My immediate thought was teachers, but I believe we are being led to answer “systemic and institutional” racism. The literature says “Anti-Racism is…Our conscious and deliberate, individual and collective action that challenges the impact and perpetuation of systemic/institutional White racial privilege, positioning and power.”

One page in the packet drew some fire from the audience. It’s titled “Do we have the will to educate all children? A Salute to Dr. Asa G. Hilliard. Wikipedia says of Dr. Hilliard:

In 1981, Hilliard introduced the concept of “Baseline Essays” (short stories “of the experience of a particular geo-cultural group within a particular academic area from earliest times to the present” to the Portland, Oregon school district. This resulted in a collection of essays advocating Afrocentrism…

While Hilliard presented to PPS, the recommendations, as I understand, have never been implemented. Hilliard said: “The knowledge and skills to educate all children already exist. Because we have lived in a historically oppressive society, educational issues tend to be framed as technical issues, which denies their political origin and meaning…” He also believed that whites attempt to keep Black history away from Blacks and for just themselves. The effect is that Blacks are unaware of their history.

I immediately asked, “Who is this “we”, you are talking about? “All of us,” was the answer. The White people didn’t feel oppressed. Blacks did, was my impression. Kehaulani said Whites were oppressed that’s why we left Europe and came here. Then we set up our documents that only gave Liberty and Equality to men with property. So every one, excluding men, were still oppressed. Gradually, more people have Liberty and Freedom.

There have been some frank conversations among the drivers who are a diverse lot. That’s been great!

I agree there is a problem. Too many Blacks and Latinos are underachieving. They are not dumber than Whites or Asians. They don’t have parents that care less about education than White and Asian parents. Kehaulani said at one time there was a big disparity in the math skills between males and females. The educators found that females were treated differently than males. When they changed the teaching methods, females improved so much that now girls outperform boys in math.

That’s what this conference is all about, I assume. How do we boost the performance of Black and Latino kids? I assume their answer is racism. My answer might be the teaching methods.

6 Responses to “Beyond Diversity”

  1. Max, today we learned about white racism!

  2. Well, that’s truly disgusting.

    And it’s utter BS.

    Teaching methods have nothing to do with the disparities. The plain and simple fact is that it boils down to culture. Democrats have deprived blacks of any such, beginning clear back in the days when they implemented Jim Crow laws and founded the KKK. Everything they’ve done since has been geared toward undermining them and removing the family unit. Some 80% of blacks born today in the US are in “single-parent families”. The most significant cause of mortality among young blacks today is: other young blacks.

    This is the outgrowth of deliberate policies, and has nothing to do with “teaching methods”.

    Ditto with many latinos: Teaching methods have nothing to do with their failure rate; it’s a cultural thing. Large families are prized in many cases, and education is not. When my daughter attended Hayhurst, many latino kids were in class only one to two days a week – if that. Changing teaching methods isn’t going to do squat in the face of their cultural priorities.

    Asians, by contrast, tend to value education, and with minimal accommodation, tend to excel. We have to “accommodate” latinos by printing things in Spanish – but you don’t see much of that extended to Asians. Why is that? It has nothing to do with teaching methods; it’s about cultural priorities. They’ll damn well learn English, and excel academically. Why? Because as a rule, they value knowledge.

    If blacks and latinos don’t – that’s kind of their problem; not a taxpayer problem.

  3. Only whites can be racist; that’s common knowledge. It’s perfectly okay to have BET (Black Entertainment Television), but having WET would be racist.

    Don’t even think about holding a white pride parade. Gay pride’s cool, latino pride’s fine, black pride is wonderful – but if you tried to hold the same event, you’re a racist.

    I no longer respond to that sort of “minority” racism directed toward folks with pink skin.

  4. I live in a cultural area where a teacher has to accept that the student probably won’t be in school on Monday or Friday.
    And when they come to school, they probably won’t be on time.
    The clock and calendar are not as important to them.

  5. I’ve been told that one aspect of White culture is lateral time. Where most everything is time oriented, whereas in Mexico, time is le3ss important and relationships have precedence.

  6. The above comment should have read “I’ve been told that one aspect of White culture is lineal time.”

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