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June 04, 2005

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Temple3

It took white conservatives to write this book about the success of Blacks in public schools because of three elements of broader argument:

1) Money does not matter. There is no reason why Black children in underfunded urban schools cannot succeed academically.

2) Since money does not matter, little time and effort should be expended to ensure equitable funding of schools - at all levels.

3) Resources do not determine success. The children are not biologically inferior. The weak link must be the teachers. Break the teachers union, privatize public schools and extend voucher/charter school choice programs. Provide flexibility, reduce oversight, replicate "successful" models and change American education.

How could Black folks in any walk of life articulate something like this since the overwhelming majority of Black folks make less money than their white counterparts. We know money matters in building equity in a home, in establishing and restoring credit, in limiting interest rates - and so do white conservatives. Prep schools never make such ludicrous arguments. Universities don't even think about saying such dumb-ass things. My high school tuition was $7300 per student in 1981. Do you think they believe money doesn't matter? Do you think the alumni like James A. Baker III think money doesn't matter? This book should be classified with the Boondocks and Garfield and Beetle Bailey.

At the heart of the issue of underfunded schools is the national disincentive for highly-qualified Black folk with serious quantitative skills to participate in public education. The opportunity cost is too high. Public education, then, is left to less educated folks with a less-than-organic-interest in the success of Black folks. Teachers and principals are seldom fired because 25% of Black boys and girls are reading at grade level.

Typical red herring BS from folks identifying themselves as conservatives - and by the way, the Black Conservatives are usually second in line - they seldom introduce something innovative or substantive.

Temple3

Oddly enough, a century ago, it made financial sense for conservatives to argue that Blacks were intellectually inferior. Spending money on teaching black folks was deemed tantamount to pissing away public dollars.

With the emergence of a viable private-sector in education, the fulcrum of the argument shifts to teachers and "liberal" excuse-makers who can't get the job done.

Truth be known, Black folks did a lot of learning during slavery and afterwards in 1-room schoolhouses where children of different ages collaborated with instructors to provide mentoring and tutoring. Of course, many more fell through the cracks.

Still, the issue has not been the skill of schools and teachers, but the will...People who don't treat you right will not/cannot/shall not teach you right.

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