MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2019

Starting tomorrow, The Little School System That Could:
The mayor has a simple-minded plan for New York City's "elite" high schools—a "seven percent solution."

The plan is strikingly simple-minded. For that reason, the New York Times loves it.

The plan tilts toward vacuous all the way down. Last week, our reports on this unsurprising piece of collusion went exactly like this:
Tuesday, April 9: Mayor de Blasio has a plan. It's rich with winners and losers!

Wednesday, April 10: Though the Times supports the mayor's plan, Gay doesn't want winners and losers!

Thursday, April 11:
Asian kids, report to the door! The roll call of winners and losers.

Friday, April 12: Throwing most black kids under the bus, the Times and the mayor collude.
So we reported last week.

Starting tomorrow, we'll present a series of reports on "the rise of the novel." More specifically, we'll be discussing a long-standing, favorite press corps novel:

The Little School System That Could.

Sometimes, the little school system is really a single school. Sometimes, the little school system is just a single classroom.

Sometimes, the little school system is really a large school system, like those in D.C. and Atlanta. Sometimes, the little school system is Finland.

But the press corps has been writing and rewriting this heart-warming novel for at least the past fifty years. In our experience, the novel can be said to track at least to Herbert Kohl's high-profile 1967 memoir, 36 Children, in which a nice guy shows up in a sixth-grade Harlem classroom and the kids start writing books.

Let's get more specific! In last Saturday's front-page report in the New York Times, The Little School System That Could is the I Promise Elementary School, a brand-new school, still in its first year, in low-income Akron, Ohio.

In these press corps "news reports," it's almost always a low-income school which has shown that it can. That said, these upper-end "news reports" are almost always pure novels, filled with rearranged, often comical facts.

So it was with that Times report, a masterwork of the genre. This new school in Akron hasn't even administered its first batch of annual Ohio state tests, but already it has allegedly shown that it can!

(For Saturday's preview, click here.)

Upper-class newspapers like the Times love The Little School System That Could. Through repetitive presentation of this heart-warming novel, we liberals are told that there's nothing much to worry about when it comes to the lives and the interests of our low-income black kids.

Nothing to look at! Keep moving along! Starting tomorrow, a treasured novel:

The Little School System That Could!

A look at where we'll start: Tomorrow, we'll be starting with the magnificent presentation highlighted below. This heart-warming passage comes right at the end of the Times' 1900-word front-page "news report:"
GREEN (4/13/19): Lining the walls of the school’s vast lobby are 114 shoes, including those worn during the 2016 season when Mr. James led the Cleveland Cavaliers to the N.B.A. championship, a reminder that he once walked a path similar to these students. Mr. James was also considered at risk; in fourth grade, he missed 83 days of school.

Nataylia Henry, a fourth grader, missed more than 50 days of school last year because she said she would rather sleep than face bullies at school. This year, her overall attendance rate is 80 percent.

“LeBron made this school,” she said. “It’s an important school. It means that you can always depend on someone.”
The gods on Olympus laughed, then cried. Tomorrow, The Rise of the Novel!


  1. "This new school in Akron hasn't even administered its first batch of annual Ohio state tests, but already it has allegedly shown that it can!"

    Yeah. Goebbelsian establishment media don't need no freaking tests, to keep spewing their 'narratives'.

  2. "Nataylia Henry, a fourth grader, missed more than 50 days of school last year because she said she would rather sleep than face bullies at school. This year, her overall attendance rate is 80 percent."

    9 months x 22 days per month = 198 school days per year

    50 / 198 = .25 or 25%

    This year her absentee rate is 20%

    How is that much of an improvement, or any improvement beyond chance?

    If the actual length of the school year is 220 (closer to what many schools use) then the figures are 22% and 20%, which are even closer to "no difference."

    Of course, the problem is that she is being bullied. Since her attendance hasn't changed, do we assume she is still being bullied?

  3. I would much rather see stories such as "The little school who could" than the opposite, "The little school who couldn't."

    Somerby used to rail against that negative narrative. He would point out that those ratty teachers were constantly being maligned by a narrative that said our schools are failing when they are not. But it has been a long time since he has defended teachers or schools.

    Part of the difference is that no one justifies defunding schools any more. They just take the money, crying austerity. That's because of the widespread belief that school success doesn't depend on funding or resources. Examples of charters who supposedly work miracles without funds encourage such defunding while they steal resources from the public school system.

    It is time to look past the narrative to the motives served by the stories. Schools need funding. Kids need good schools. Good schools require investment, if only because good teachers will not continue to work without reasonable pay. It is time for people to properly fund public schools and teachers (not Somerby -- teachers) are demanding the resources needed to properly serve children. Those are today's narratives -- not little schools who could, communities taking teachers and schools seriously and funding them properly.

    As I've watched Somerby evolve over the years, I find myself wondering when he stopped being an ally of teachers and schools and started joining the efforts to mock school efforts and portray schools as ineffective charlatans who do nothing but indoctrinate children with leftish ideas while ignoring all the beautiful black kids (whose scores keep unaccountably increasing despite neglect).

  4. The latest violent racist crime caused by leftist grievance pimping was a random white 5 year old off thrown a fourth floor balcony at Mall of America by a black man with a long violent criminal history.

    1. "leftist grievance pimping"

      Like what? Making believe 9/11 was important?

  5. Your point? There is no evidence other the criminal is an idiot. But of course, when you get a hangnail, it is the left's fault.

    1. What would Democrats be screaming if it was a black kid tossed over by a white? Racist attacks are more common by blacks than whites right now.

    2. "Racist attacks are more common by blacks than whites right now."

      I don't know if this is true, but it definitely should be.

    3. This chart shows in 2016, 533 whites murdered by blacks and 243 blacks murdered by whites.

    4. Now tell us how many were motivated by racism, David.

    5. The disparity is similar between blacks and "other race", which is no doubt mostly Asians. In 2016, 37 "other race" were murdered by blacks and 17 blacks were murdered by "other race".

      I do not know how to find the motives of all these attacks. The exact magnitude of the "knockout game" is disputed, but it does represent one category of racist attacks against Asians and whites.

    6. Or you could, you know, look at the official statistics on hate crime:

      FBI statistics are linked to within the report.

      Here’s a sample:

      “Of the 6,370 known offenders:
      50.7% were White
      21.3% were Black or African American”

    7. Thanks @2:43. There are 6 times as many whites as blacks. (76.9% vs. 12.7%) Whites committed 2 1/2 as many hate crimes as blacks.

    8. There were 2,013 anti-black incidents, 741 anti-white incidents. Using your figures, that shows that blacks are 15.5 times likelier to suffer a hate crime than whites.

      Good going.

    9. Hate crimes committed by blacks are never prosecuted. Including the ones blacks commit against themselves and blame whites for.

    10. Why prosecute blacks, when you can have them shot by the police while unarmed?

  6. Somerby says: “This new school in Akron hasn't even administered its first batch of annual Ohio state tests, but already it has allegedly shown that it can!”

    Where did he learn this apparently damning information? He had to go all the the very article he is quoting from to find this out:

    “The students have a long way to go to even join the middle of the pack. And time will tell whether the gains are sustainable and how they stack up against rigorous state standardized tests at the end of the year. To some extent, the excitement surrounding the students’ progress illustrates a somber reality in urban education, where big hopes hinge on small victories.”

    The “progress” was described this way in the article:

    “the inaugural classes of third and fourth graders at I Promise posted extraordinary results in their first set of district assessments. Ninety percent met or exceeded individual growth goals in reading and math, outpacing their peers across the district....
    The students’ scores reflect their performance on the Measures of Academic Progress assessment, a nationally recognized test administered by NWEA, an evaluation association.”

    The story hardly seems like full-on pleasing novelistic propaganda. It contains enough information to make a sober judgment and strikes its own note of caution about getting carried away with enthusiasm.

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