FRIDAY, APRIL 30, 2021
And no, we don't mean the kids: Ineducable is as ineducable does—and no, we don't mean the students.
Some kids are better students than others. Just as a simple matter of fact, some kids are much better students.
Also, some kids are "behind" in school. But none of these kids would be so dumb, or so defiantly performative, as to keep flunking this annual test:
SHAPIRO (4/30/21): The city’s new chancellor, Meisha Porter, called on the state to eliminate the exam in a statement Thursday. “I know from my 21 years as an educator that far more students could thrive in our specialized high schools, if only given the chance,” she said. “Instead, the continued use of the Specialized High School Admissions Test will produce the same unacceptable results over and over again.”
The city in question is New York City. This annual report in the New York Times concerns the relatively low number of black and Hispanic eighth-graders who have been offered admission to Gotham's high-powered "specialized high schools" for nest year's freshman class.
Admission to these high-powered schools is determined by means of a test. In the passage we've posted, the school system's chancellor, Meisha Porter, is saying that plenty of kids who failed to gain admission would be able to cut the mustard at these high-powered schools.
We have no idea if that's true, but let's suppose it is. This is the way the New York Times' Eliza Shapiro has managed to flunk this annual test again:
At no point does Shapiro raise the world's most obvious possibility. If plenty of additional kids could handle the challenging courses of study taught at these high-powered schools, why doesn't the system simply double the number of seats at these schools and the number of kids who get admitted?
Stuyvesant could take over some pre-existing school, creating a Stuyvesant II. So too with the Bronx High School of Science. Twice as many kids could gain the benefit of being challenged in the way these legendary high schools are said to do.
Given the premise the Times accepts, this would be a obvious course of action—but so what? Every year, Eliza Shapiro writes this report and no one makes this suggestion (or some similar suggestion). Instead, people like Shapiro, and her bosses, pursuer an ugly path:
They suggest that the number of seats stay the same, but that higher-performing Asian-American kids should get booted out of these schools so that other kids can attend.
There have been times in the recent past when representatives from the Times have pursued this approach in truly unpleasant ways. No one ever seems to be bright enough to suggest that the number of seats in these schools should simply be expanded.
There is, of course, a dirty little secret standing in the way of such plans. Asian-American kids score so high on tests of this type that, even if you expanded the number of seats, the large bulk of those additional seats would simply go, under current arrangements, to additional Asian-American kids.
The large "achievement gaps" in question exist all over the country. This situation isn't unique to Gotham, or to Gotham's schools.
Indeed, the problem here starts somewhere else, including way back in our history. That said, the gaps in question are very large, and the New York Times has plainly decided that we must never—repeat, never—report or discuss the apparent size of these gaps.
At the Times, reporters and editors are too lazy, and are much too uncaring, to take part in any such discussion. Instead, they write this same report every year. Every year, they flunk this test!
They refuse to have a real discussion about the real interests of actual kids. More than fifty years after Death at an Early Age, they still refuse, on their way to the Hamptons, to create a real discussion of how we got into this situation, and about what needs to be done.
(Not that they would have any idea how to conduct that discussion.)
The Times has flunked this test again. It happens every spring.
More than fifty years after Kozol's book, this annual displays remains purely performative. The term "segregation" is tossed all around to prove the Times' vast moral worth.