As California education declines, one district doubles down on virtue-signaling
Back in the 1960s, California was invariably ranked as one of the best places in America to get an education. Now it's fallen to somewhere around the middle. Even that high ranking, though, relies upon the heavily funded schools in affluent, mostly white coastal communities. There, Democrats can congratulate themselves on how well the system works.
Things are less lovely when one heads inland, where ordinary people live. According to 2018's National Assessment of Education Progress, California ranks 49th out of the 50 states for minority student academic attainment.
"Minority," by the way, is code for blacks, hispanics, and native americans. (And yes, they're deliberately all lowercase. I believe in the equality that comes from refusing to capitalize any race.) Kids who are asian or southeast indian are doing fine.
Joel Kotkin explains, however, that California has an answer (albeit a lunkheaded one) for these grim statistics:
San Francisco, the epicenter of California's woke culture, has the worst scores for black students of any county statewide. Yet educators, particularly in minority districts, often seem more interested in political indoctrination than in improving scholastic results. Half of California's high school students can barely read, but the educational establishment has implemented ethnic-studies courses designed to promote a progressive, even anticapitalist, and race-centered agenda.
Thanks to pressure from the Black Lives Matter movement, even those school districts that have been doing a decent job educating their students are feeling the pressure to divert funds to racial indoctrination. One example is the Tamalpais Union High School district, which sits in the heart of Marin County, just north of San Francisco. It is one of the most affluent communities in America.
The students can be broken down into two parts. On the one side are white, asian, and southeast indian kids, most of whom come from affluent homes and all of whom come from homes that put a premium on education. On the other side are black and hispanic kids.
The black kids come from Marin City, a primarily black community that is part of the wealthy Sausalito K–8 school district. The non-black kids in Sausalito go to private schools. The black kids go to public schools that are heavily funded yet perform poorly. This poor performance continues for many when they enter high school.
Marin also has many hispanic students, some from families here legally, some from families as to which it's better not to inquire about their immigration status. The immigrant parents are hardworking and want their children to benefit from the opportunities available. Sadly, many of the kids do not share their parents' views.
What Marin could do to help these kids is double down on the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic, along with life coaching about behaviors that breed success.
What the Tamalpais Union High School District has chosen to do is double down on teaching minority kids that they are victims. That's why, the other day, the district sent a slobberingly virtue-signaling message to parents informing them the school will be addressing systemic racism:
To address systemic racism, the District will be creating new policies in collaboration with our students and staff of color, we will be engaging in a full audit of our courses of study for inclusion of social justice curriculum and convening a task force to monitor the implementation of anti-racist educational actions. We have seen the stories many brave young people of color have shared about their experiences in our schools and we pledge to change the climate and cultures of our campuses. We will be engaging the community in a series of public forums on racism in the Tam District. These will be an opportunity for leadership in the District to listen and hear thoughts, ideas and concerns of students, parents, staff and community members. The feedback from these forums will be used to inform our action plan for addressing racism on our campuses.
Further, in keeping with honored Stasi traditions, the district created an anonymous hotline by which people can squeal on each about "incidents of racial abuse against BIPOC and staff." The possibility that non-white students might abuse white kids isn't contemplated.
The district will also spend $190,000 a year on an "equity leader." Ms. Armstrong, who fills that role, had some uplifting, but incoherent, thoughts to share: "As an African American woman going in to do work that almost always anchors in racial equity, for me I know that I have to be with a team where I can be open and honest." Ooookay.
If Ms. Armstrong really wanted to provide a service for black and other minority students in the school district, she would have them watch Larry Elder's Uncle Tom. The movie looks at conservative black Americans, all of whom repeatedly make the point that blacks who leave leftism also leave behind the shackles of victimhood and despair.
The Tam Union District gets an A+ for virtue-signaling. I suspect that time will show that it gets a much lower grade for actually educating its minority students.