Moral, intellectual limits: "Bigotry," the columnist said, right in his opening sentence.
He never explained who the bigots were! That said, everyone knows who the bigots are:
The bigots are The Others, of course.
This very morning, atop the fold on page A1, that columnist's newspaper offered a startling news report—a report about a magical plan which has failed.
The craziness of the magical plan is occasionally matched by the oddness of the reporting. In light of this newspaper's endless bomb-throwing, the report betrays the moral and intellectual squalor of a "human" tribe which has failed.
The report concerns a magical plan concocted by Mayor de Blasio. It was one of his several magical plans concerning New York's public schools.
Within the past year, we've discussed the absurdity of the mayor's various "desegregation" plans. Like "bigotry" and its many first cousins, "desegregation" is a talismanic term the tribe which reads the New York Times very much likes to toss around.
The magical plan in today's news report wasn't a "desegregation" plan. In hard copy, these headlines sit atop Eliza Shapiro's front-page report:
New York Kept Children in Schools Likely to FailThe top line in that headline makes no particular sense. People at this self-impressed newspaper care so little about low-income kids that, even after all these years, they remain unaware of such facts.
A $773 Million Rescue Program That Has Achieved Little
Judged by normal national standards, almost all of New York's public schools are in fact "likely to fail." That said, Mayor de Blasio conjured a plan, and Shapiro's report starts like this:
SHAPIRO (10/26/18): Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to “shake the foundations of New York City education” in 2014 with a new program called Renewal, a signature effort to improve the city’s 94 poorest-performing schools by showering them with millions of dollars in social services and teacher training.We're sorry to be the ones to tell you. but so it typically goes with the "education plans" of our self-impressed, name-calling tribe.
A year later, aides raised a confidential alarm: About a third of those schools were likely to fail. The schools were not meeting goals that the city set for higher test scores, increased graduation rates and other academic measures—and probably never would, staff members in the Department of Education warned in an internal memo prepared for the mayor.
“In order for these schools to reach their targets for 2017, the interventions would need to produce truly exceptional improvements,” read the December 2015 memo, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times. “Historically, it has been quite rare for schools to improve that much in two years.”
Mr. de Blasio kept most of the schools open. Now, after sending thousands of children into classrooms that staff members suspected were doomed from the start, the administration appears ready to give up on Renewal. Its cost: $773 million by the end of this school year.
No, really—good God! As of 2014, after five decades of such under-cooked efforts, who could possibly have thought that this alleged "plan" would "succeed" in the manner predicted? Who could have thought that New York City's "poorest-performing schools" would magically produce high test scores if you simply "shower[ed] them with millions of dollars in social services and teacher training?"
Who in the world could have thought that? Should we possibly drop our R- and B-bombs on de Blasio, who had apparently paid so little attention to the lives of low-income kids that he could have dreamed such a thing?
Should Kristof call him a bigot too? Should we call Kristof a bigot?
We were alerted to Shapiro's report by future anthropologists huddled in caves—the caves to which they were forced to repair in the aftermath of Mister Trump's War. (We've described this situation before.)
They came to us, as they sometimes do, in one of the startling nocturnal visits which may resemble traditional dreams or invasions by intensely skilled trick-or-treaters. They said today's ludicrous news report betrayed the moral and intellectual failure of the vastly self-impressed "liberal" tribe, the tribe which had always been so sure of its racial greatness in the years during which they helped elect and sustain Mister Trump.
"Be sure you're seated when you read this report," one mournful scholar advised us. And indeed, who could possibly be so daft as to devise a plan of this type, predicting it would “shake the foundations of New York City education?”
Who could be as dumb as that? Who could be so uncaring? Who could be so completely clueless about the actual lives and interests of low-income black and Hispanic kids in our nation's public schools?
Mayor de Blasio is one such critter! Shapiro continues like this:
SHAPIRO (continuing directly): Cheryl Watson-Harris, the top deputy to the schools chancellor, revealed at a meeting with principals last month that the city is poised to end Renewal, according to a recording of the meeting obtained by The Times. Eric F. Phillips, a spokesman for Mr. de Blasio, said a final decision had not been made.A national model for fixing schools! Who could possibly be that clueless, that uncaring? With a rebuke to Bloomberg to boot!
It would be a disappointing end to a program that Mr. de Blasio had hoped would be a national model for fixing broken schools and a political rebuke to former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who closed more than 100 schools, sometimes with punitive rhetoric that angered the city’s teachers’ union and parents.
We won't reproduce this whole report, remarkable though it is. We do want to address one obvious question:
Even if this plan was clueless, why do we call it uncaring? Isn't it fair to assume that de Blasio acted in good faith? Isn't it fair to assume that he had good intentions?
On balance, we're forced to say no. This takes us back to that "bigotry."
Plans of this type have been tried, and have failed, since the mid-1960s. At this late date, a man this clueless must be seen as a man who doesn't much care—a man who hasn't cared enough to have the first freaking clue about the needs and interests of low-income children.
We've urged you to view Gotham's "desegregation" plans in much the same light. These plans makes no apparent sense, except to the extent that they let our tribe deploy our favorite bombs.
Last evening, the future scholars implored us to understand human limitations.
We simply aren't the "rational animals" we enjoy pretending to be, these scholars thoughtfully told us. When we describe ourselves that way, we may be "seeing ourselves from afar," they said. But that doesn't make us evil.
In the end, we strongly agree. But you must understand the way our conduct makes us look to Others.
The Others see us as perpetually posturing moral frauds. We'd say they have a strong point.
We like to call The Others names. We like to pretend that We're engaged in high moral activities in the area of race, such as the "desegregation" of a sprawling school system which is 15% percent white.
This posturing is silly and stupid and morally empty. That said, the New York Times has been throwing black kids under the bus for a large number of years.
(They do so from parties in the Hamptons. This is one way our tribe works.)
Eliza Shapiro is very young and very new to the Times. She seems to be six years out of college (Columbia 2012). We very much hope that she will improve the Times.
Much of the history which prefigured this nonsense happened before Shapiro was born. Over the summer, she joined a newspaper which likes to posture about matters of race, while producing god-awful education reporting every step of the way.
Today, Shapiro writes respectfully about a remarkable gong show. This gong show helps us liberals see who and what we actually are.
For ourselves, we first encountered magical planning like this in the early 1970s. We were told about the failure of a magical plan by two Baltimore public school teachers who were older and more experienced than we were.
These teachers worked in an elementary school which was part of the federal "Model Cities" program. As part of this well-intentioned experimental program, their school had unusually small class sizes; teaching assistants in every class; and a wealth of classroom supplies. (There may have been other federal infusions.)
Apparently, these infusions weren't working well enough. A representative from the federal program came to the school for a faculty meeting. At this meeting, he told the teachers what they had to do to get their test scores up.
Otherwise, federal funding would be stopped. Or so we were told he said.
These teacher described the comical cheating which followed the bureaucrat's visit. This comical cheating produced comically impossible test scores, whose comical impossibility we eventually described in the Baltimore Sun.
Roughly forty years later, the "mainstream press corps" finally noticed the existence of widespread cheating on standardized testing programs. Needless to say, it wasn't the Times which figured this out. It was USA Today and the Atlanta newspaper.
That early program was well-intentioned, then resorted to fraud. More than forty years later, a gong-show like this could still occur:
SHAPIRO: Mr. de Blasio announced the Renewal plan at an East Harlem school less than a year after he took office. Its goals were ambitious and its methods, by the mayor’s own admission, untested.For some reason, we always flash on Wilfred Owen when we read such gruesome accounts. ("Bent double, like old beggars under sacks/Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge...")
“We’re going to do something that, bluntly, has rarely been tried,” the mayor said. He explained how the city would consider closing schools only “as a last resort.”
New York City has never found a universal solution to transform its most troubled schools, but Mr. Bloomberg’s plan to replace large failing high schools with small schools was showing results when it was halted in favor of Renewal...
In interviews, about a dozen researchers who study failing schools—some of whom have publicly criticized Renewal in the past—said the theory behind the program was not based on evidence...
Meanwhile, "New York City has never found a universal solution to transform its most troubled schools!" It's hard to say that's wrong!
The Others are bigots, the columnist said. But how odd! All through the columnist's newspaper, the people who posture and preen about race routinely turn out to be Us!
The Others frequently see Us this way. As our society starts to expire, can we say that they're wrong?
Next week: Many loose ends remain, including Rachel's fourth accuser and the New York Times' latest attack on Candidate Hillary Clinton
Tomorrow: The data you never get shown