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Educational fraud hurts all

Dumbing down scholastic achievement

MM has sometimes provided articles about Sheriff David Clarke and his amazingly common sense way of dealing with criminals and prisoners. Some time ago he said about an issue, current at the time, “Once again the Left uses black and Hispanic kids as pawns in their insidious strategy of identity politics”. Here he extends that concept further in describing the US education system and it’s fraud on the same kids. All Australians will recognise the issue, almost the same here. Our Universities are full of young, and some old, who do not have the capacity for academic achievement. Where they are pushed through to keep the educators’ tallies correct, they go on to be failures in the work force, hurting not only themselves but the businesses that employ them.

When all 164 of Washington D.C. Frank W. Ballou Senior High School’s graduating seniors last year applied for and were accepted to college, the whole community—students, teachers, administrators, parents, and education reformers—had reason to celebrate the achievements of these obviously hard-working graduates. With a graduating class the school system considered “academically disadvantaged,” someone in the school district should have smelled a rat.

After all, 98 percent of Ballou’s 930 students were African-Americans, and two percent were Hispanic/Latino, according to data from the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) system. One hundred percent of them were considered “academically disadvantaged” by the system. Kids like this deserve the great opportunity that a high-quality, character-building education can help provide. There was a time when good educators, in fact, would tirelessly fight to give it to them. Those days are apparently over.

Sadly, this happy story collapsed in November, when an investigation by WAMU and NPR found that the much-ballyhooed Ballou graduated dozens of these students despite high rates of unexcused absences throughout their senior year. Half of them missed more than three months of school. One in five was absent more than present. When kids don’t show up for class, no learning can take place. And many continue to be perplexed about the growing achievement gap between black and Hispanic kids and their white counterparts. These truancy rates are a big part of the problem.

Some teachers, saying they felt pressure to pass failing students and get them to graduation, cooperated with the investigation. An internal e-mail shows that in April, just two months before the end of the school year, only 57 students were on track to graduate. Many of the others could scarcely read or write.

All of which means the graduation jubilation in June was not, in any way, justified. Put bluntly, Ballou’s administrators and some teachers cooked the books, used taxpayer money to commit fraud, and above all harmed poor black youths and their futures the most. Quite an indictment.

Perhaps even more alarmingly, NPR’s report led teachers from around the country to share similar situations in many other districts. This is a nationwide academic scandal in K-12 urban school districts, not to mention the serious disciplinary issues they have.

As I recall, when the multinational energy corporation Enron cooked the books and committed private-sector fraud that hurt mostly white-collar investors, people were actually indicted and in some cases sentenced to prison for crimes. Shareholders sued. That scandal ended with Enron closing its doors for good. And even that wasn’t considered sufficient accountability in the private sector: the fraud also essentially ended the life of Arthur Andersen, the distinguished accounting firm Enron had used.

I hope the same kind of attention will be paid to the Ballou scandal. So far, it’s being taken with apparent seriousness. In late November, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and DCPS Chancellor Antwan Wilson announced two investigations arising out of the Ballou deceit. One will be conducted by D.C. State Superintendent of Education Hanseul Kang and is slated for completion later this month. Another will be led by two deputy DCPS chancellors who are examining the problem system-wide. I hold out little hope that anything more will come out of this than for the school district to attribute the problem to a lack of teacher training or a misunderstanding with no intent to deceive.

The D.C. Council’s education committee held a lengthy hearing on the matter in mid-December, and Ballou principal Yetunde Reeves has been reassigned, pending the outcome. That is likely the worst of what will happen to her, because the teaching establishment tends to punish only by reassignment.

Two things were left out of the story. First, where were the parents? They had to have some inkling that their son or daughter was not attending school regularly and certainly were not learning. They have a duty to see that their child shows up to school everyday in a state of readiness to learn. Second, what colleges accepted the kids who can’t read or write? They should be outed.

Whoever is responsible for perpetrating, encouraging, or tolerating this Ballou fraud should be held as accountable as those who were behind the Enron scandal. Having helped to deny real opportunity to mostly poor black kids who deserved it, the fraudsters should receive what every such crook deserves. Jail.

But that will require major change in America’s schools. Today, Enron’s cheating is a felony. Teachers’ cheating is job security.

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • Bh 11/01/2018, 6:15 am

    This is not so different from what’s been happening here in Oz. Back in the 80s, the push began to include the disabled in uni education. At the time I was an active member of a particular disabled community, and had already been accepted into uni on my own merit. Many members of that community, some who had not even made it halfway through high school, were encouraged to enrol into Uni and were given credit for ‘life experience’. This is no disparagement on the character of those people, but many of them were almost illiterate, with shocking grammar and English skills. And yet they all (as far as I know) ended up with degrees.

    • Biking Voter 11/01/2018, 9:42 am

      “But many of them were almost illiterate, with shocking grammar and English skills. And yet they all (as far as I know) ended up with degrees.”

      And now they are all politicians and parliamentarians 😂😂😭😭🎉🎉

    • Neville 11/01/2018, 2:43 pm

      Typical really, Bh, of pretty much all education since about then. My kids were in primary in the early 80s, and I found that I particularly had to ensure a complete education in the basic stuff, literacy, numeracy, etc, because the school just was not cutting it.
      I see these days WAY too many people whose basic literacy is simply appalling; ranging from basic business communications to fundamental stuff in advt copywriting! Horrible. Resulting from the egregiously stupid ‘whole-language’ movement of the egregiously stupid lefty-greeny teachers’ unions and their egregiously stupid adherence to a completely debunked education “system” promoted and used in north America years before!

  • Penguinite 11/01/2018, 8:33 am

    Everybody gets a useless degree becomes a perennial student on the government teat. Or become an essential part of the Parliamentry circus. Eventually the scum will boil to the surface and need to be skimmed off to start running the place. Some even become educationalists and create more clones and drones to keep the cycle of mediocrity going.

    • Lorraine 11/01/2018, 9:10 am

      The Labor party and the Greens love young minds that they can control. Learning gives that young person freedom something that the Left is surely against. As of today it is participation that everyone gets a lolly pop

    • Albert 11/01/2018, 2:03 pm

      Penguinite, you are correct and our educational system from kindergarten to universities has become one great big mediocrity factory.

  • DB8tr 11/01/2018, 9:10 am

    University, especially the Humanities are nothing more than a Year 12 extension with more freedom to party, smoke weed, do very little (or the minimum), become a neo-Marxist without even being told you are becoming one and end up owing tens of thousands. A graduate in a Bachelor of Arts has what kind of expertise exactly? Basically none. They’ve read a few books and been indoctrinated and lectured to by a person who couldn’t get a real job if they tried. Now all of a sudden they cant get a job either (not surprisingly) and they have a 30K debt. (Im guessing on the $).

    If they actually wish to get somewhere they have to add on a number of other degrees (and the government and university make more money). And then one day they may get paid 50-60K a year as a start.

    The Humanities has been growing over the years to include degrees in all kinds of non-sense. Where are the parents to say ‘dont be so stupid’? All my kids are highly successful because they chose job specific training or followed their creativity. Not one went to a University and my eldest is a millionaire with no debt at age 32. Just by hard work. The other owns a business. We are teaching the younger generations the wrong thing – or put another way, parents have been in absentia and allowing TV to raise their kids.

    I say shame on parents. You have a duty. Stop giving up your responsibilities to MSM, Government and “Schools”.

    • Neville 11/01/2018, 2:44 pm

      Right on, DB8tr!
      And, “allowing TV to raise their kids”; yes, and also marxist teachers!

  • Biking Voter 11/01/2018, 9:47 am

    Forced compulsory education has nearly the same outcome as forced compulsory voting, you never end up getting the best people for the job‼️‼️

    • opa 11/01/2018, 2:07 pm

      And the end result of compulsory education is exactly the same as what it was before it was installed. Billions of dollars spent on state schools to conquer the problem of illiteracy and apathy amongst the poorer parts of society. And the result? Zilch, exactly the same as before, they don’t give a stuff! Except that the ‘teachers’ are now also as stupid as their disinterested pupils and can’t be bothered either to put in the hard work. But that’s alright, they’re too busy social engineering and teaching homosexuality as the great and wonderful alternative lifestyle.

      • opa 11/01/2018, 2:11 pm

        But thanks to the private schools we will still end up with the best people running the shop. No wonder Labor would love to close down all private schools, especially those Christian ones. Can’t have people thinking for themselves now, can we?

      • Neville 11/01/2018, 2:46 pm

        Yes opa. Billions extra in running the education system, and still we find grades are steadily falling!

  • zoltan 11/01/2018, 10:38 am

    A pal in the UK was quite shocked to discover his daughter was/is dyslexic and could barely read and write. The secondary school had happily passed her onto the university where her disability was first diagnosed/discovered.
    In days gone by the universities were for the truly intellectually elite, seems anything goes these days, but then nobody can be allowed to fail at virtually anything, can they…….

    • Albert 11/01/2018, 2:05 pm

      No, they are not allowed to fail and as Lorraine says above, participation alone gets you the lollypop

      • opa 11/01/2018, 2:18 pm

        Well, not in Nursing, Engineering and Medicine; they still demand the ultimate and best of their students. However, if you want to be a social worker…., that’s different. My granddaughter switched from that to nursing in disgust for the Marxist claptrap being forced down their throats. What made her leave was this idiot female lecturer teaching them how wonderful and fulfilling it would be to try out the life of a prostitute and how fulfilling and satisfying the experience would be for their future as social engineers, oops, sorry, workers.

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