Monday, August 30, 2010

Drastic Education Reform

National Review's John Derbyshire has a plan for reforming education. Fed up with the fleecing the educational establishment and their political enablers have administered to the public, Derbyshire delivers himself of the following proposal:
Here is my prescription for a reform of the nation’s education system. First, destroy all the schools. Cart away the rubble for landfill and sow the ground with salt. Abolish the federal Department of Education and all state equivalents. End all education funding from public sources. If the inhabitants of any district then wish their kids to be educated in schools, let them raise the necessary funds themselves. Then let them build the schools themselves, like zeks. There should be just one federally approved model: an unheated wood-and-tar-paper structure with plastic sheeting for windows.
Any person above the age of twelve who wishes to attend school should have to stand outside the school gate for a month, in all weathers, pleading to be admitted. There should be a constitutional amendment banning any community from employing non-teaching staff in its schools at any ratio to teaching staff higher than one percent. And let’s have a federal penalty of 25-to-life for anyone attempting to form a teachers’ union.
Crazy, you say? No: Spending half a billion dollars you don’t have on a school to educate 4,200 students, some high proportion of whom are in the country illegally, is crazy. Shoveling seven hundred million dollars into the public sector of a state whose private sector is withering on the vine is crazy. Pretending that by spending enough money you can turn every child into a bookish child is crazy.
The proposal is satire, of course, but like all good satire it conveys a lot of truth. There is much waste in public education. The taxpayers are being squeezed to throw a lot of money on needless programs and hopeless causes. If Tea Party folks want to do something really constructive in their local communities they might publicize a line item breakdown of their school district's budget. It'd be an eye-opener.

Tolerating Terror

Andy McCarthy offers a test for distinguishing between moderate adherents of Islam and extremists: Simply ask them whether they agree with the Obama State Department that Hamas is a terrorist organization. If they refuse even to acknowledge that Hamas is a terrorist group, much less condemn them for it, they are implicitly condoning terrorism and can hardly be considered "moderates." It's not unlike someone refusing to condemn the KKK lynchings during the Jim Crow era. One would have to wonder why someone couldn't bring himself to renounce such atrocities.

It turns out, by the way, that when Feisal Rauf, the promoter of the Ground Zero mosque, was given this test he failed:
During a WABC radio interview, Aaron Klein three times pressed Rauf to admit that Hamas is a terrorist organization. Rauf bobbed and weaved in classic Islamist style. “I’m not a politician,” he replied, as if only politicians trouble themselves over whether terrorists are terrorists. “I try to avoid the issues. The issue of terrorism is a very complex question.” Avoid the issues? You don’t say!
I'm reminded of the young college student who, at a David Horowitz lecture, stood up and, sounding very reasonable, asked for a clarification about something Horowitz had written. In the course of his response Horowitz asked her if she would condemn Hamas. She refused. He then cited the statement by a leader of Hezbollah who said that he hopes all Jews return to Israel because it'll save Muslims the trouble of hunting them down and killing them. They can just kill them all in Israel. Horowitz asked the young lady whether she agreed with that statement, and her immediate, straightforward reply was that she did. Pretty chilling:
Surely there are pious, peaceful Muslims who are aghast at this young student's reply to Horowitz and who will not hesitate to speak out against terrorism and violence and those among their co-religionists who employ it, but unless they rise up and seize their faith back from the extremists and those who abet them, non-Muslim Americans will more and more come to think that the concept of the "moderate Muslim" is really just a myth. When all one hears are the radical voices it's inevitable that one begin to think that radicals are the mainstream.

Whites Need Not Apply

It wasn't long ago that the lament was frequently heard that minorities and women had to be twice as good as white men just to have the same opportunities as white men enjoyed. The complaint might still be heard today, but it certainly doesn't have the resonance it once did. Indeed, it could with justification be turned on its head.

According to a column by Pat Buchanan,  being a white applicant to Harvard is a real liability to a prospective student. Minority students have an enormous competitive advantage just because they're not white:
Being Hispanic conferred an admissions boost over being white ... equivalent to 130 SAT points (out of 1,600), while being black rather than white conferred a 310-point SAT advantage. Asians, however, suffered an admissions penalty compared to whites equivalent to 140 SAT points. To have the same chance of gaining admission as a black student with a SAT score of 1100, a Hispanic student otherwise equally matched in background characteristics would have to have a 1230, a white student a 1410, and an Asian student a 1550.
Buchanan goes on to ask:
Was this what the civil rights revolution was all about -- requiring kids whose parents came from Korea, Japan or Vietnam to get a perfect SAT score of 1600 to be given equal consideration with a Jamaican or Kenyan kid who got an 1150? Is this what it means to be an Ivy League progressive? What are the historic and moral arguments for discriminating in favor of kids from Angola and Argentina over kids whose parents came from Poland and Vietnam?
Of course there are no historic or moral justifications for this. When liberals decide they're going to promote diversity, morality and fairness become expendable. Buchanan concludes with this:
Lower-class whites prove to be all-around losers at the elite schools. They are rarely accepted. Lower-class Hispanics and blacks are eight to 10 times more likely to get in with the same scores. Many of these elite public and private colleges and universities benefit from U.S. tax dollars through student loans and direct grants. The future flow of those tax dollars should be made contingent on Harvard and Yale ending racial practices that went out at Little Rock Central High in 1957.
There's much more in the column to make you wonder what ever happened to the idea that a just society is one which does not discriminate on the basis of the color of one's skin.