Detroit pupils get lowest scores in the history of testing; parent group says teachers should be jailed

This typical liberal/black response to black failure reminds me of the intellectual meltdown, ten or twelve years ago, of the overrated black conservative intellectual Shelby Steele (see my critical articles on him here, here, and here), when he said, in an appearance broadcast on CSPAN, that if we drop affirmative action, discrimination should be made a felony punishable by imprisonment.

The story is from the Detroit News:

Detroit parents want DPS teachers, officials jailed over low test scores

Detroit—Impassioned parents demanded jail time for educators and district officials Saturday following the release of test scores that showed fourth- and eighth-graders had the worst math scores in the nation.

City students took the National Assessment of Educational Progress test this year, and 69 percent of fourth-graders scored below the basic level in math and 77 percent of eighth-graders scored below basic.

The Detroit scores on the progress test were the lowest in its 40-year history. The sample of students included 900 of Detroit’s 6,000 fourth-graders and 1,000 of the district’s 6,000 eighth-graders.

Sharlonda Buckman, CEO of the Detroit Parent Network, called for jailing and civil lawsuits against anyone in the city’s educational system that is not doing his or her share to help properly educate children.

“Somebody needs to go to jail,” she said in a tearful address to 500 parents gathered Saturday for the organization’s annual breakfast forum. “Somebody needs to pay for this. Somebody needs to go to jail, and it shouldn’t be the kids.”

Detroit Public Schools Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb told the crowd the test scores weren’t the result of children who were incompetent or parents who didn’t care. He blamed the scores on the district not doing its job.

“This is an abysmal failure,” Bobb said. “It is not the fault of our kids individually, and it is not the fault of our kids collectively. It is not the kids’ fault. It is the adults’ fault. It is a failure of leadership.”

The scores were so low that DPS parent Tonya Allen said she thinks students could have stayed home and done just as badly on the tests.

“No other city in the history of this test has done this bad,” said Allen, a founding member of the 7-year-old network. “They could have took this test in French and done just as bad.”

Celia Huerta, also a DPS parent, said the scores show how much work is needed in the schools.

“I am hoping and praying there will be investments in the schools, but I am not seeing it,” she said. “Our kids are smart, the problem is the way they are being taught.”

Bobb said he is going to announce a new reading initiative Monday in which he will be calling for 100,000 volunteer hours to help children with reading. Reading was one of the reasons cited for the low math scores.

Attendees gave Bobb a rousing reception and loudly applauded him during his remarks. They had harsh words, though, for Mayor Dave Bing, who was not in attendance.

“Where is the mayor?” Buckman asked. “Don’t release a statement. Do something. Show up.”

But according to the mayor’s office, Bing did not receive an invitation to the event. Mayoral spokesman Edward Cardenas said Bing not being there shouldn’t be construed as the mayor not having an interest or not wanting to be involved.

Buckman also had harsh words for a group of teachers who are in favor of striking instead of approving a new contract that forces them to give up $500 per month or $250 per paycheck as an investment. The money will be given to the district to help plug a $219 million deficit, and it will be returned when they retire.

“If they strike, I hope we start a homeschool movement,” she said in a fiery rebuke. “If you want to walk out on us now, when we have all of our kids failing … you can’t do it.”

A group of teachers was to prepare Saturday evening to get out the word to vote against the proposed contract and seek to remove Detroit Federation of Teachers president Keith Johnson. The Vote No and Prepare to Strike Committee, made up of a limited number of teacher activists, is prepared to take action against the district, according to a release.

But Bobb said teachers should understand that Johnson negotiated a better financial deal for members than Johnson is being credited for.

“I proposed a 10 percent pay cut,” Bobb said. “Mr. Johnson and his team are actually saving the teachers financially from what I was proposing. The negotiations are over. Our final and best offer is on the table.”

Teachers begin voting on a three-year contract next week.

[end of article]

Richard W., who sent the article, writes:

This is funny. This is the problem with failing to deal with reality. You start out telling lies, or not admitting the obvious and then more and more lies are needed.Implications based on absurd statements compound themselves until you end up with demands to jail teachers because of bad test scores.

Erik M. writes:

I was notified by a friend that the Wikipedia article which used to be “Race and Intelligence” has become a disambiguation page with much of the content going to “Between-group differences in IQ” and “Heritability of IQ”. Looking at the former, I noted this gem:

Some scholars argue that it is impossible for genetic differences to cause test score difference between racial and ethnic groups,[1] but others reject this position, arguing that evidence is needed to decide the question.[5]

The citation given in [1] is worth reading. It doesn’t actually seem to argue this.

Ferg writes:

The article says:

The scores were so low that DPS parent Tonya Allen said she thinks students could have stayed home and done just as badly on the tests.

“No other city in the history of this test has done this bad,” said Allen, a founding member of the 7-year-old network. “They could have took this test in French and done just as bad.”

Could it be she means the kids could have done “just as well” under these theoretical circumstances?

Could this level of educational attainment on the part of these people have anything to do with the performance of the kids? Perhaps Tonya could have phrased this just as bad (not badly) if she had phrased it in some language she does not know? What if she had “took” this interview in German?

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 21, 2009 12:35 PM | Send

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