Saturday, June 03, 2006

Ward Connerly's World--OK, This is the Final Version 

The thing with Proposition 209 and Ward Connerly, is that if you are truly ashamed of yourself; on that same level that allows you to feel shame even though you are successful and self confident to the rest of the world, you can find a way to drag others into your destructive self-critical logic.

See this article from Saturday’s Los Angeles Times. The ramifications of Proposition 209, which disallows racial preferences in college admissions, will see only 96 African-American students admitted for the Fall 2006 semester. That’s out of a freshmen class of 4,800.

Let’s face it. For each perfectly eligible African-American student, there are probably 5 that need a little help. Of those 4, one-half will probably not make it through college AT THAT TIME, and the other half not at all. That’s my own unscientific summation. But the more important fact is that 6 kids get into college.

Prop 209 is the semi-realization of the liberal dream to make poverty an economic problem. If poverty could be seen as an economic problem instead of a racial problem, it could be better dealt with through solutions that touch everyone in society. Like welfare, or unemployment insurace, etc. I believe it would be easier to deal with, because it's based on the safety net model.

I believe safety net type solutions are the key to reforming education.

Prop 209 is fatally flawed because educational inequity is fueled by inequities in per pupil spending, and the general affluence of the school district, property tax base, etc. As long as these inequities exist, you'll have a public school system that can perpetually underperform for it's poorest students. Poor neighborhoods are more likely to stay poor, and the kids in it are doomed to starting in community college, or spending much more to go out of state. They'll never get a shot at UCLA, and that's OK under Prop 209.

Making the funding structure result in equal per-pupil dollars is the true foundation upon which a law like this should rest.

Instead of Prop 209 addressing the solutions needed to increase minority graduation and subsequent college attendance, it acts as a legal impediment for kids smart enough to get into a good college, but left unprepared due to the school system they were educated in. It punishes minority kids on the borderline.

I can easily imagine Ward or one of his ilk saying the following. "Kid, you look smart enough to get into UCLA." But since your crappy high school didn't prepare you properly, you'll have to go out of state or to a community college. We used to have a program that could have brought you up to speed with the educational experience. But why should we help you learn? Look at all those white kids over there. They prepared themselves. Forget the fact that their parents had the time and money to ensure they got a good secondary education. You should have come to us ready to go."

Prop 209's value is in pointing out things like the CA public school system's inability to graduate smart kids. Whether or not Prop 209 was needed to let us know this is a good question

So we get 96 African-American students of 4800 incoming UCLA freshmen and we’re supposed to say to ourselves “gee isn’t it great that nobody gets preferential treatment?” Let’s look at that number again. 96 of FOUR THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED.

Here's where the self-loathing and politics of self-destruction comes in. Instead of Connerly saying that his next fight will be to create a public school system that could increase that number 40-fold, the says "But most of the black students who don't get in go to other top-notch schools — Harvard, Duke, Michigan. We're losing students who could be here."

So his interest isn't in the betterment of the system, it's in punishing people with skin color like his. He's making excuses. His interest isn't in using conservative principles to solve the problem, it's more of the African-American problem known as "crabs in a bucket." There's no chance to really

It would be nice to live in Ward’s world. A world where the problem is even more apparent, but the politics of self destruction stand in the way of the solution.

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