New York State is failing our children. It was just recently announced by the New York Board of Regents that passing standardized test scores for English and math are being lowered to allow for the fact that kids fell behind during the Covid-19 pandemic. What they’re saying essentially, is that due to the horrible decision by New York State Governor Cuomo, his staff and educators, our kids suffered a serious setback in their educational development. This should not be accepted by anyone, or we permanently condemn scores of kids to lives of poverty and underprivilege that has nothing to do with far right polices or systemic racism. In this instance, liberal policies are to blame.
Instead of lowering standards, we must raise them. We must not allow children to be taught that they live in a country where the outcomes are rigged against them. Critical Race Theory is just that, a theory. And while claims are made that it’s not being taught in schools, some form of it has definitely infected our classrooms. It’s a non-scientific theory, that in no way, provides what’s truly needed to help our children. There are too many people realizing the American Dream from all backgrounds to buy into that nonsense. One thing is certain. If you’re from a neighborhood like Compton California or Brownsville Brooklyn and you get good grades in school, you will be accepted into many colleges and universities, with money, depending on academic credentials. That’s the way out of poverty. Teaching systemic racism will result in no change and simply accepting poverty as predetermined. Therefore, the only solution, is to bring down the institutions of power, and No One, has a better alternative! Stop the nonsense and give our kids a real shot at the American Dream.
What’s saddest about this, is it will only widen the gap between rich and poor. Children from privileged backgrounds have parents who have the ability to teach their kids 5th grade math or English. If they don’t have the time, they hire tutors for as many sessions a week, as needed. They won’t suffer educationally, because their parents will do everything necessary to help them. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds, don’t have those resources. So, we need to change the way we approach education.
It’s time to do what this country has always done during periods of crisis. And make no mistake, we are in an educational crisis. We must come together to fight one common enemy and that isn’t each other. It’s illiteracy and falling test scores. It’s about deficiencies in math and Science. Every student should be required to take classes in Algebra and Biology. Narrowing the gap in education is the only way to end the resulting poverty. Attempting to right things that can never be righted is a losing strategy. We’re not returning the island of Manhattan to Native Americans. Human beings cannot be held accountable for the sins of their ancestors. All we can do is move forward, seeking a better future. So, what do we do? Here’s my plan that may seem radical to some.
Starting in the next school year, implement longer school days and weekend classes. Summer school for everyone regardless of grades or test scores. That way it’s fair and includes enrichment. Stricter guidelines for teachers, holding them accountable for poor results, the way it works in the rest of the real world, and rewarding them with financial compensation for excellence. Eliminate all teaching about gender and systemic racism. It does absolutely nothing to further educational aspirations. Instead, the message should be that if there is systemic racism in these United States, it’s something to overcome. A hurdle perhaps, but not insurmountable. You may have to work harder, spend less time on social media and hanging out with friends, but don’t let anyone deter you and accept no excuses. We have now had a two-term black President. Our Vice President is a woman of color. Ketanji Brown Jackson now sits on the Court, alongside Clarence Thomas, so I suppose it’s possible to overcome systemic racism. That’s what the lesson needs to be.
We can no longer accept excuses. Schools need to be institutions of learning first and foremost and focused on social issues and athletics, only after reaching and maintaining high educational standards, not minimal educational standards. Educators have lost focus on what’s really important and because of that, our children are suffering. If we are to turn this around and close the income/wealth gap, it will only be accomplished by improving educational outcomes. It won’t be accomplished be reparations and theories.