Why Johnny Can’t Read

News Flash:  The citizens, taxpayers and parents of Osseo, MN have discovered what the parents of Saint Paul, Edina and some other Twin Cities’ area communities have found out:  focusing to exclusion on “white privilege” as the reason for the achievement gap doesn’t actually change, or even affect, the achievement gap.

Unlike other Twin CIties communities, Osseo’s actually been able to do something about it; they’ve bagged their contract with Pacific Education Group – the company that has turned privilege-shaming into an eight-figure business model – the company:

In 2012, the Osseo Area School District hired Pacific Education Group (PEG) to help with the high suspension rate amongst its non-white students and achievement gap issue the schools faced. Last year, the school board cancelled its contract with the racial equity consultants after abiding by its suggestions for five years and watching the racial achievement gap grow.

Wait – grow, you say?

What is clear for Osseo according to statistics obtained from Minnesota’s Department of Education, math scores for black students in the School District have steadily declined, dropping from 33 percent in 2014 (which was above the statewide level) to 29 percent in 2017. In the same time period, math scores for white students remain largely unchanged at 73 percent. In reading, black students maintained a 36 percent proficiency in the same time period, while the gap with their white counterparts grew from 73 percent in 2014 to 74 percent in 2017.

No huge surprise – it’s pretty much true everywhere.

The surprise?  We’ve actually found a school board that’ll tell the Emperor he’s walking around naked:

“The problem is hard to fix when you have good teachers who are thinking about quitting, but you can’t help them because you’ve been sworn to not reveal their names,” Gerhart told Alpha News. “We have a staff that is currently about 80% white, so in effect we are using taxpayer money to systematically shame 4/5ths of our staff for simply being born.”

Gerhart describes an environment where teachers were afraid to step forward – teachers who were physically and verbally threatened and abused on a daily basis by their students.

The problem, of course, is that like most “progressive” “efforts”, the end results end up being indistinguishable from Stalin’s CHeKA, or the Spanish Inquisition:

“PEG has instilled a culture of fear among a number of teachers,” Gerhart states. “PEG likes to talk about having ‘courageous conversations,’ however in reality they have a number of ‘protocols’ in place that you have to agree and adhere to before taking part in the ‘conversation.’  These protocols frame the context of the discussion before the conversation even takes place, in essence disallowing true discussion much less debate or disagreement. If a person does not agree to these basic protocols, it is regarded as evidence of that person’s inherent racism. And remember, according to PEG, all white people are inherently racist no matter what, so a number of our teachers simply keep their mouths shut for fear of being labeled “racist” and getting fired or bullied out of their jobs.”

The “Conversation” is always defined by them.  Which means it’s never a conversation.

Congratulations, people of Osseo.  Your elected officials have exhibited just the faintest shred of courage.  It almost beggars the imagination.



7 thoughts on “Why Johnny Can’t Read

  1. Blaming the faculty and the “system” for endemic racism is like blaming the gun for “gun violence”. Ignore the true problem: The people causing the problem in the first place.

  2. Does this actually mean you can oust the fox from the henhouse? I am still skeptical. Usually, these moves are followed by doubling down. Wait for the next story to break to see what PEG was replaced with. I am willing to be pleasantly surprised, but will not hold my breath based on the closing statement: Instead, the school will look at other ways to instill racial equity training and closing the achievement gap.

  3. What JPA says. Until the DOJ’s “disparate impact agreements” are dealt with, how do we change things?

    I saw a hint of this just last night; I help with my church’s AWANA program, and one little girl–no dummy mind you–simply could not read a simple Bible verse in order to memorize it. She is in second grade, and I had the privilege of giving her (apparently) one of her first lessons in “sounding it out.”

    Lesson learned; disparate impact is gone only when the DOJ and BLM agree that it should be gone, or they are forcibly evicted from the schools. In the same way, look-say whole language reading instruction is not gone until all of the elementary school teachers start teaching phonics.

    It’s really a lot like the end of WWII; the war was not over when Doenitz and Hirohito surrendered, but rather when the German and Japanese populations had been occupied for a while, and people taught about the monstrous actions their governments had committed.

  4. White students read at proficiency level X because they have unfair advantages at home – their parents are educated, mature, married and read to them.

    Students who do not have those unfair advantages read at proficiency level Y.

    X minus Y shows an achievement gap. We cannot reform the families of disadvantaged students, give them smarter parents with better parenting skills. How to eliminate the gap?

    Stop testing. If we don’t test, the gap won’t officially exist, the same way no Democrat politician’s party is ever stated in the news article about their arrest, the same way certain races are never stated in the news article about their crimes, the same way illegal voters are never prosecuted. If there is no evidence of a problem, there is no problem.

  5. Pingback: In The Mailbox: 10.26.17 : The Other McCain

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