DimWit Politics

Why are urban black schools still segregated and unequal? Natalie Wexler provides a hint.

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Why are urban black schools still segregated and unequal? Natalie Wexler provides a hint.

Why are urban black schools still segregated and unequal? Natalie Wexler provides a hint.
September 04
15:42 2019

(Before getting into the gist of this commentary, allow me to note that I have spent a lot of time consulting in the field of education – and have served as senior consultant to both the Chicago and Detroit School Boards.)

The young people in the above photo are protesting school segregation in New York City in MAY OF 2019.  Yep! That is no old photo pulled up from the historic archives.  In most of our major cities — run-by long entrenched Democrat machines — black schools are as segregated and unequal as they have been since the Civil War – in some cases, worse than the supposedly enlightened civil rights era of the 1960s.

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The failure to produce quality education for a large segment of the black community has been a constant in America going back to the days of slavery.  While it was morally, ethically and constitutionally wrong way back then, it had a rationale – sinful as it was.  Negroes were not provided education during the days of slavery because they were considered intellectually inferior – and, after all, they only needed to know how to pick the cotton.

While the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution took away that argument, the slave-loving Democratic Party was not about to allow Negroes to achieve the equality that was promised.  In both the old Confederate states and in the major cities to which southern blacks migrated in the hope of greater acceptance, Democrats created a structure of social, civil and political inferiority.

Well educated people cannot be oppressed.  And that is as true today as it was then.  Of course, to continue to oppress blacks, the denial of quality education was essential.  In the south they used unconstitutional legislation to create separate and Unequal school systems.  The black schools were inferior BY DESIGN.

In the north, the Democrat political machines did exactly the same thing by using de facto racist policies to segregate the black population — and then to structure municipal school systems that produced separate and Unequal education.  It was BY DESIGN.

I have long argued that the failure to educate inner city blacks is among the more immoral actions of public governance because it has figuratively and literally destroyed the lives and opportunities of millions of black Americans – and denied our society the benefits that would have come from more productive lives.

What got me thinking about all this was the appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” of Natalie Wexler, who had written a book entitled “The Knowledge Gap – The hidden cause of America’s broken education system, and how to fix it.”   She generally differentiates between “low income” kids and the more affluent.  In terms of public education, however, “low income can be considered as a euphemism for “minority” – especially black kids in our major cities.

Wexler claims that education for the low income (minorities) has been bad for more than 50 years – which should come as no surprise to anyone.  But the use of the term “low income” obfuscates that fact that there is a huge education gap between low income whites and blacks.

The MSNBC panel was led by program side-kick Willie Geist — in one of the increasingly frequent absences of Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.  The panel brought up all the old canards that have served as the Democrats excuse for the (intentional) failure to deliver quality education to blacks.  It was the lack of family support.  It was a social problem.  They came very close to suggesting that Negroes were less able to learn.

The panel offered up more money and more pre-school education as solutions – a smoke screen that has been in place as long as I can recall.  Pre-school was initially designed in the 1960s to bring minorities up to grade, and “Sesame Street” was Public Televisions contribution to the effort.  Of course, nothing changed – other than a lot of progressives felt good about themselves. (Sort of like the old War on Poverty).

Wexler would have none of the old bromides offered up by the elitist panel of non-experts.  While she recognized the issue of family life, Wexler pointed out that the schools have those children in their care seven hours a day.  That is more than enough time, she argued, to produce quality education.  She said, “Education can do more despite family and culture.”  That was proven with the successful work of Father Clemens of Holy Angles School and Marva Collins’ private Westside Prep School — both giving Chicago inner city kids a high-quality education despite both family and cultural backgrounds.

In terms of pre-school, Wexler noted that the education industry recognizes something called “pre-school fade out.”  Basically, it means that by the second or third grade any early advantages gained from pre-school evaporates.

Think about what that means.  It means that the schools in which minority children are being warehoused fail to keep the advantage of pre-school going forward.  It peters out because the schools do not build on that advantage, but actually undermine it.  The black students in segregated urban schools are being denied educational information.  And that was exactly Wexler’s point.

Wexler did not call for more federal funding.  In fact, she said that the federal government was limited in what it can do to improve classroom performance.  It is up to the local school boards – and they have been the problem.

Wexler noted the obvious by pointing out that minority kids do not do well on tests because they have been denied basic education as they go through the inferior schools.  Well duh, to that one.

In summing up Wexler’s points, it is the failure of delivering quality education in the classroom that is the problem – and that is the fault of the administrators and those in city hall who have long engineered unequal education for their segregated black citizens.

I once wrote an opinion piece in a newspaper headlined, “Get Democratic politics out of schools.”  That yet may be the simplest and most effective solution to improving minority education.  Wexler did not zero in on the role of the Democratic Party, but she should have.

So, there, tis.

About Author

Larry Horist

Larry Horist

Larry Horist is a conservative activist with an extensive background in economics, public policy and politics. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman, as well as the White House. He has testified as an expert witness before legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress, and lectured at major colleges and universities. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He can be reached at lph@thomasandjoyce.com.

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  1. Bill
    Bill September 06, 18:48

    A good start to getting Democratic Party politics out of schools is to break the power of the teachers unions. School vouchers which allow a choice of ANY school, including parochial, would help to break up the government (ie, Democratic/NEA/AFT) monopoly. If the teachers unions can’t be outright banned then all contracts should have a no-strike clause that allow only binding arbitration by an independent third party. It is utterly disgusting to see grown adults out on strike and using our children to manipulate the process of negotiation.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Gourdhead
    Gourdhead September 06, 22:57

    This article is BS. This may be the case in Chicago but it’s certainly not in most of America. Blacks are thoroughly and heavily interspersed throughout every school system. In addition, they alone have all black schools.

    Reply to this comment
    • Larry Horist
      Larry Horist September 08, 19:43

      Dear Gourdhead. You seemed to have missed that the lead in the commentary was about New York City. It is more segregated than it was in the 1960s … same with Los Angeles. Most of the major cities have highly segregated school systems. You even mention that blacks have all black schools. What do you think segregation looks like?

      Reply to this comment

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