- “Mercury News Craps the Bed on the Achievement Gap“, TMAO. Room D2.
- “An Idiot’s Assessment of the Gap“, Mr. AB. From the T.F.A. Trenches.
Both bloggers respond to a piece in the San Jose Mercury News, which engages a provocative but thoroughly false dichotomy best repped by the headline, “Smart v. Cool,” the thesis of which is that smart Latinos are stigmatized while smart Asians are vaunted, an article in which the Mercury and Nature take Nurture back behind the shed and shoot it.
The put-downs are clear: Smart is not cool.
And too many Latino students are choosing cool over school.
But a few miles away at Hyde Middle School, in the heavily Asian Cupertino Union School District, Tiffany Nguyen detects the opposite attitude. If you’re not smart, “you’re really looked down on,” said the Vietnamese-American eighth-grader.
These attitudes, to the extent they exist when reporters aren’t around, are the effects of a massively under-performing school system. This is what happens when you take children who already have less, and then you give them less of everything that matters in education. This is what happens when adults have failed, for generations, to harness the human capital, technical knowledge, and simple will to make good on the promise of work-hard-get-ahead. This is the type of ideological blowback that occurs when poor kids receive fewer resources, crappier facilities, teachers unable to teach, principals unable to lead, and school districts unable to identify problems and formulate even the most basic plan to remediate them.
Get this straight and send it to your friends: Children of color don’t devalue a good education and therefore fail to get it, they’re never given it and eventually, sensibly, stop caring.
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