A note on our changing demographics: Friend, we have something to tell you today:
“Education is the quintessential American hustle. Schoolmen and con men have one thing in common: They both believe they can talk their way out of anything.”
So speaks Professor Robin, writing in Salon.
As a professor, the gentleman would seem to be a bit of a “schoolman” himself. This doesn’t stop him from letting us know that “schoolmen,” whoever they may be, are running a major con.
We’re not quite sure what Professor Robin is trying to say in his piece. That’s often the case when we read the work of Salon’s top professors.
In this instance, the professor starts by mocking his friends for their hopeful Facebook posts on Martin Luther King Day. He closes by letting us know that education is a hustle.
Along the way, he offers some ridiculous thoughts about what private schools could and should do with their students. He complains about the heavily white school his first-grade daughter attends without saying why she attends the oppressor's school, or why he lives where he lives.
Whatever! Professor Robin is one of the progressive professors of the moment. We found one point in his generally puzzling piece which we thought was worth discussing a bit.
As he angrily stumbles along, Professor Robin complains about public school “resegregation.” This is an interesting, important topic. We’re not sure that Professor Robin explains it real well in this passage:
PROFESSOR ROBIN (3/8/15): In school, white children are taught to be conscious of race and racism in a way I never was when I was as a kid in the 1970s. Yet they go to schools that are in some respects more segregated now than they were in the 1970s. In 1972, under Richard Nixon, 36 percent of black students in the South attended white-majority schools. By 2011, under Barack Obama, that number had plummeted to 23 percent. In every region of the country, a higher percentage of black students go to nearly all-minority schools than was the case in 1988. The same is true of Latino students in the South, the West and the Midwest.Etcetera, and so forth and so on. A few paragraphs later, the professor suggests that private schools could or should “organize workshops to teach students how to lead a mass movement that would divest private schools of federal tax benefits.”
Microsoft Word recognizes the word “desegregate.” It doesn’t recognize “resegregate.”
After that, the fiery sophomores would almost surely take control of the world!
Meanwhile, why do fewer black kids in the South attend white-majority schools? We’re fairly sure there are several reasons. But just for starters, consider the change in student demographics in Florida, the most populous state in the South.
Why don’t more black kids in Florida attend white-majority schools? Could it be because Florida’s public school students (fourth grade) were only 40 percent white as of 2011?
(That was down from 63 percent in 1992. See Table A-12 on page 83 of this NAEP report.)
Florida’s fourth-grade students were 40 percent white in 2011. If you magically spread those kids around evenly, no one would go to white-majority schools in this large southern state!
This isn’t true in other southern states. But consider the national change since 1968, when Richard Nixon first won election:
In 1968, the national public school population was 80 percent white. By 2011, the number was right at 50 percent.
(Click here for one of Robin’s own links. Scroll down to Figure 1.)
For our money, that change is producing a glorious new American school population. That said, this almost surely helps explain why fewer black kids attend white-majority schools.
Professor Robin was angry and mad as he screeded his way through this puzzling piece. That’s how professors frequently roll at the new and frequently silly Salon. We thought you might enjoy a shot at a couple of basic facts.
Do schoolmen and con men have one thing in common? That’s what one of our own progressive professors has memorably said!