Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Certifiably Insane: New York City's Schools

By Nicholas Stix

August 14, 2000
Toogood Reports

Does your children's teacher know her ABCs? If your kids attend a New York City public school, the answer could very well be, "No." What was once the nation's finest urban public school system now routinely hires "teachers" who are at best semi-literate. The reason is race politics, which is the 800-pound gorilla in the living room that everyone is tiptoeing around.

New York State Education Commissioner Richard Mills has just ordered that uncertified teachers may no longer work in New York City's 97 worst-performing schools. In 1998, the city tried to rid itself of incompetent, uncertified teachers, but backed down in the face of attacks from black activists that the firings were "racist," since most of the incompetents were black or Hispanic. However, on July 28, Commissioner Mills' spokesman, Chris Carpenter, assured me, "We have basically ordered the Chancellor to do this, and if he does not do this, the next step is to go to court, and ask the court to enforce the order." So, it's not negotiable? "It's not negotiable; yes, that's exactly the point." On August 1, Commissioner Mills made good on his threat.

At issue are thousands of city teachers who have taken the state teacher certification exam, which is dumbed down anew on a yearly basis, and failed. And failed and failed and failed.

The examination is dumbed-down along racial lines. A committee looks at the results each year, and deletes any questions that were answered incorrectly by large numbers of black or Hispanic testees. The committee works on the assumption that if too many blacks or Hispanics incorrectly answer a question, the question must be "culturally biased." No such favors are done for white or Asian testees.

In the past, the working assumption was that the point of the certification examination was to eliminate people who couldn't answer difficult questions, so that dullards would not be inflicted on the city's school children. Today, such dullards insist that they have a right to teach in the public schools, that they are excellent teachers, and the system supports them in their fantasies.

Flunking the certification exam three times is grounds for dismissal; one unnamed "teacher" has reportedly failed 24 times. In the June 25 Daily News, education reporter Alison Gendar profiled Jesus Estaba. A science teacher, Estaba has flunked the certification exam "at least a dozen times." He points out that he has been recognized as a talented educator by the Chancellor, but just isn't any good at taking tests: "Many people tell me to read The New York Times; that they get the essay-question ideas from The New York Times, but I get scared when I see the Times; it is too big."

Praising the city's pilot "Teaching Fellows" program for well-educated, aspiring teachers who lack traditional edschool background and certification, New York City Board of Education spokeswoman Pam McDonnell told me, "Two hundred-fifty people are going to be on a fast-track" for the failing schools. But the city needs 12,000 new teachers for September, teachers who aren't intellectually intimidated by The New York Times.

To see how a 12-time loser could be acclaimed as a gifted educator, we have to go back to the '60s.

In 1967, a revolutionary, black nationalist plan for "community control," partially funded by the Ford Foundation, was implemented in the experimental school district of Ocean Hill-Brownsville, Brooklyn. The revolutionists sought to replace the district's predominantly white teachers, who were experienced, competent, and dedicated, with people whose only "qualification" was being black. And so, on May 7, 1968, 18 white educators were illegally fired, precipitating the city's longest-ever teachers' strike.

In her classic work, The Great School Wars : New York City, 1805-1973: A History of the Public Schools As Battlefield of Social Change, scholar Diane Ravitch reprinted a letter by Ocean Hill-Brownsville school board president, the Rev. C. Herbert Oliver, in which Oliver admitted that "we were talking about hundreds of [white] teachers in Ocean Hill-Brownsville alone."

Oliver and Co. lost the battle, but ultimately won the war.

Immediately following Ocean Hill-Brownsville, blacks started getting preferential treatment for principalships. As liberal journalist Jim Sleeper reported in his 1990 book, Closest of Strangers: Liberalism and the Politics of Race in New York, one of the most prominent black principals during the 1960s and 1970s, Adelaide Sanford, made it clear that white teachers were unwelcome in her Brooklyn school.

During the late 1980s, as a member of the city Board of Education, Sanford was caught distributing pamphlets in the schools proclaiming black moral supremacy, and in 1997, she used her position as a member of the New York State Board of Regents to call for replacing the teaching of standard English with the pidgin dialect known as "ebonics."

As Sanford said in 1989, when she was the chancellor candidate of the Rev. Al Sharpton, and attorneys C. Vernon Mason and Alton Maddox, of Tawana Brawley hoax notoriety, "It's a new day, and a new way!"

Increasingly, Sanford's "way," has taken over schools serving predominantly black or Hispanic children, costing the children their education. A series of chancellors and mayors — including Rudy Giuliani — has winked at the illegal discrimination. While maintaining silence regarding the day-to-day racism, the mainstream media does report on dramatic cases, such as the mob of black Bushwick, Brooklyn parents that in fall 1998 sought to lynch a new, white teacher, Ruth Sherman. (The parents had had no objection when Sherman, while in edschool, had taught their children reading as an unpaid volunteer.)

Responding to the charge that firing demonstrably incompetent, uncertified teachers who are predominantly black and Hispanic would be "racist," state Department of Education spokesman Chris Carpenter told me, "It's also true that the overwhelming majority of the kids in these schools are poor, and probably minority. Why should the kids in middle-class schools get certified teachers, and not these kids?"

Why, indeed?

1 comment:

Californian said...

In 1967, a revolutionary, black nationalist plan for "community control," partially funded by the Ford Foundation,

Amazing, is it not, how the corporate power structure has funded the radical left.

Indeed, one of the big ironies is that while leftists complain about "corporate control" of the media, or "corporate financing" of astroturf groups, probably the vast majority of corporate foundation grants have gone to left of center causes. Why the corporations choose to act in this way is a matter that ought to be up for public debate.