Recently I had a lucky find: the article “Suburban Chicago High School District To Implement Race-Based Grading By 2023” hosted on GOPUSA. It was signal-boosted from an Accuracy In Media piece by John Ransom. By itself, the material isn’t too hot for them to handle, of course; one must read between the lines to get the full impact. I’ll be happy to point out the things that they can only hint at vaguely.
I confess that I found the article on a Republican Party e-mail list. To those who feel that I’m insufficiently radical, this doesn’t mean that my resolve is slipping further. Really, I forget how I got on their list. Rest assured that I’m under no illusions that the GOP is going to save the country, since they’ve missed plenty of opportunities to do so already. (I’m not hating on the rank-and-file, but the party itself leaves something to be desired. Since its unofficial motto might as well be “At least we’re not as bad as the Democrats,” then it’s clearly not all that and a bag of chips.) Occasionally the newsletter does have something worth reading amidst the thin neocon gruel.
My Tech Tyrant e-mail provider usually tries to make the decision for me by sorting the GOP’s messages into the spam bucket. (To their algorithm, it doesn’t matter if it’s a news bulletin or some RINO begging me for money.) Sometimes I’ll see what shows up in the spam bucket, other than dick pills and “419” schemes. Occasionally, digital dumpster-diving uncovers a hidden gem, like this one.
It came from Chicago
A new idea in education is to be rolled out in a couple of high schools in Chicago, the city where the beautiful mayor Lori Lightfoot seems to have her hands full lately. This initiative is named “Transformative Education Professional Development & Grading.” That’s certainly an evocative name — but what does it mean? As so often with Leftist initiatives, it takes a lot of unwrapping to get the full implications of what The Agenda is going to be about. Early on, we have a telling clue:
The plan is for the staff and teachers to read books in common that promote grading equity during the rest of the 2022 year and then implement the ideas as proposed in the half-dozen books by 2023.
All right, then, but what could this interesting phrase “grading equity” mean? According to some slides from the meeting where this was announced, “[t]raditional grading practices perpetuate inequities and intensify the opportunity gap” and therefore teachers “are successfully exploring and implementing more equitable grading practices such as: utilizing aspects of competency-based grading, eliminating zeros from the grade book, and encouraging and rewarding growth over time.”
The details are still pretty sketchy, and we’re hardly closer to getting a firm idea of what they’re really planning with this “grading equity” stuff. For one matter, if a student doesn’t turn in a homework assignment or doesn’t answer a single test question correctly, what should the score be other than zero? I’m guessing that whoever came up with this stuff wasn’t a math teacher. Either way, we do have their motive:
In 2019, the school adopted a racial equity policy, because white students, who make up 56 percent of students, outperform Black (20 percent), Hispanic (12 percent) and multi-racial students (9 percent).
The district did not address the performance of Asian students, who make up 3 percent of the [student] body and outperform all students.
“We believe it is our responsibility as an institution to identify and remove unconscious biases and system-wide barriers that inhibit success for all students,” said the racial equity statement at the school district.
“To achieve racial equity we must work to address the root causes of inequities, not just their manifestation,” the statement said.
Sure, let’s look at those root causes. The first two lines, about who outperforms whom academically, accord with what is well-known about race and intelligence. What a surprise, right? Obviously there’s a correlation between intelligence and academic potential. Note that this doesn’t have anything to do with “unconscious biases” or any other vaporous forces that race denialists conjure up when trying to explain away inconvenient facts.
Is the author of the original Accuracy In Media article aware of these things? Does the GOPUSA editor who signal-boosted the article understand the relationship between race and intelligence? I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that they know. (Or is it doughnuts to dollars now, after all this inflation since Resident Bidet was installed?) If so, then they’re too chicken to discuss it, or their editorial policies declare that sort of thing to be off-limits. I’m under no such constraints, so I filled in the obvious that they tiptoed around, because I’m deplorable that way. I also would advise them of something I’ve learned over six years of writing my fascist tirades, namely that you can’t always count on the audience piecing together dropped hints or unfinished thoughts, so you might as well clearly say what you have in mind.
The article continues, discussing statistics such as black students earning 43% of the district’s “F” grades in 2021, a figure noted in a report by their “executive director of equity and student success.” Then it mentions that lowering standards won’t help. Then this:
One of the leading books about equity in grading, Grading for Equity by [Joe Feldman], is essentially a front for consulting services sold by the author.
Behind [Feldman] stands the Crescendo Education Group, which makes money by charging school districts by offering consulting services that do everything from teaching teachers to evaluating schools to changing the grading systems of entire school districts based on Feldman’s theories.
“Think about it — in the professional world, you get redos all the time,” Feldman told the Los Angeles Times in support of eliminating homework, attendance and bad grades.
“When you’re late to a meeting at work, it’s not like they dock money from your paycheck. Your boss might ignore it the first time, and then the next there might be a conversation about why you’re showing up late, and the importance of meeting expectations,” Feldman said.
If Joe Feldman ever has occasion to sue a doctor for malpractice, will the defense attorney bring up the “in the professional world, you get redos all the time” quote in court? The irony will go off the charts if the doctor barely squeaked into medical school as the beneficiary of a race-based social levelling initiative. It’s hardly too difficult to imagine that this very sort of racial number-fudging might also be implemented in the name of “grading equity” if the other measures don’t produce the desired results.
What do they mean by equity?
The key to what may be at stake is that magic word “equity” that’s become so popular in recent times. The article doesn’t explain the trick, so I will. The word has several contexts, including in finance. It sounds like it has something to do with equality, and most people will be favorably inclined, since they assume this means equality of opportunity. In ordinary usage, equity does mean something like fairness. However, in the Left’s typical usage of the term it means equality of results, but sounds a lot nicer. With a bit of verbal legerdemain, a pernicious concept is dressed up to appear positively noble. This isn’t merely another Leftist word game; it’s directly implied by absolute egalitarianism, which is an essential pillar of their faith.
For an example of such usage, equity (in the context of Leftist jargon) undergirds the entire concept of How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, a skintellectual well paid by the literary-industrial complex for his bellyaching. One thing I can say for Joe Feldman is that at least he tried to find answers rather than complaining incessantly. Still, despite riffing on the same equity theme, he’s only a bare fraction as prominent as the heavily-promoted Professor Kendi. Surely it must be profoundly humbling to stand under the shadow of a golem.
How to Be an Antiracist contains numerous special definitions the author uses to build his fortress of unfalsifiable tautologies. Ibram X. Kendi didn’t come up with this, since these ideas had been cooked up in academia long before. Nonetheless, he did a pretty good job of bundling it up in a single book written in plain language, such that anyone can see what The Narrative about it is. Here are two notable paragraphs where the lauded skintellectual explains what he means by equity:
Racial inequity is when two or more racial groups are not standing on approximately equal footing. Here’s an example of racial inequity: 71 percent of White families lived in owner-occupied homes in 2014, compared to 45 percent of Latinx families and 41 percent of Black families. Racial equity is when two or more racial groups are standing on a relatively equal footing. An example of racial equity would be if there were relatively equitable percentages of all three racial groups living in owner-occupied homes in the forties, seventies, or, better, nineties.
A racist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial inequity between racial groups. An antiracist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial equity between racial groups. By policy, I mean written and unwritten laws, rules, procedures, processes, regulations, and guidelines that govern people. There is no such thing as a nonracist or race-neutral policy. Every policy in every institution in every community in every nation is producing or sustaining either racial inequity or equity between racial groups.
The problem with all that is obvious. For equal results to be expected in socioeconomic metrics between disparate populations, there can be no meaningful differences between them in terms of biology, culture, or behavior. Not only does Leftist dogma take it on blind faith that there are no such differences, this absolute egalitarianism is a central premise of their ideology. Well, what if their pivotal assumption simply isn’t true? Leftists will never admit they’re wrong, even when the evidence is overwhelming. Instead, they’ll argue disingenuously to explain away inconvenient facts, or more likely demonize anyone who dares to contradict The Narrative.
More to the point, what happens when real-world results turn out differently for different populations — as it so often does — contrary to what absolute egalitarianism predicts? The following Kendi tautology has that one covered: “Racism is a marriage of racist policies and racist ideas that produce and normalize racial inequalities.” It goes without saying, of course, that only whites are capable of “racism.” The implications spelled out in the assertion are clear. Any socioeconomic shortcomings undergone by non-whites are our fault, and are produced by malicious policies. No real evidence is required for such claims, of course. Moreover, it’s a “racist” idea to say that any deficient statistic about non-whites could be a matter of biology, culture, or behavior. It goes without saying that truth is not a defense whenever any such ideas are deemed taboo by liberal opinion.
Are non-whites accountable for anything they do? That’s another discussion for another day. Absolute egalitarianism is hardly a new idea, and can be traced back to Rousseau’s “blank slate” concept, but the cultural forensics of all that is another discussion as well. Clashes between The Narrative and observed facts typically result in demands to force reality to conform to the theory. This either will take the form of some sort of social levelling program, or outright rent-seeking graft like quota systems.
Flattening the bell curve?
Let’s put together a more complete picture of the grading equity initiative from the hints that have been dropped. First of all, it takes as a premise that “unconscious biases and system-wide barriers that inhibit success for all students” are what prevent achieving equality of results. They’ve already made up their minds that this is causing racial disparities; no further explanations or discussion needed. Although this much is rather vague, it’s not too far from the rhetoric in the Kendi fortress of tautologies which engages in a lot of finger-pointing.
As for what The Agenda will really involve, the picture is still rather murky. The “equity” rhetoric implies that they expect equality of results among all the racial groups. As for how they’re planning to get there, we have to piece it together from the two sound bites: the first by the Transformative Education Professional Development and Grading initiative, and the second by Joe Feldman, who is one of its likely sources of inspiration. (This probably isn’t exhaustive, and may be subject to change, but this is what we have to work with.) Again, these quotes are:
- Utilizing aspects of competency-based grading, eliminating zeros from the grade book, and encouraging and rewarding growth over time.
- Eliminating homework, attendance, and bad grades.
All this seems rather like further outgrowths of the touchy-feely 1990s trends in education — “everyone gets a trophy for participating” and all that — as well as reminiscent of some of the hippy-dippy 1970s experiments in pedagogy. It might make students feel better, but only at the expense of achievement and striving for excellence. It doesn’t seem to be the sort of thing that would promote good work habits, no matter what the student’s background happens to be. Eliminating homework would give the kiddos more leisure time to pursue television and video games, and surely they’d be happy about it. On the other hand, it would take away vast opportunities for studying and the repetition necessary for learning. Moreover, is it really such an onerous expectation that kids should learn positive habits like being punctual and turning in projects on time? How are they going to hack it in adulthood if they never learn to get their act together?
Finally, changing the grading system seems to be a top agenda item. There’s no getting around it; fiddling with the numbers will lower the standards. The fuzzier the math, the worse it will be. But what happens if they still aren’t getting equality of results after cooking the books? Since they refuse to accept that different races have different average IQs, this does not bode well. It seems they’d rather do anything — up to gnawing their own arms off — than acknowledge the painful truth that absolute egalitarianism is incorrect.
What, then? One possibility is assigning different passing grades for different races — you know, to compensate for institutionalized this and structural that and whatever other invisible forces they care to invoke. It’s hardly unprecedented; that’s already how it rolls with college admissions.
How far will this go?
This is one of those moments in which we see The Narrative coalescing as The Agenda. This foolishness is a small beginning, with only two high schools scheduled to be on board thus far. Still, it smells like yet another rotten Leftist trend that could go places. This is so because of the unchecked advance of the anti-white Woko Haram cult calling itself “anti-racism.” Will this feel-good stuff and further dumbing down of education really do any good for non-white students? We’re about to find out.
What will happen if the effort to eliminate bad grades results in a black valedictorian who can’t read his commencement address? If the usual pattern holds, Leftists will say that the project didn’t fail because the theory is flawed, but because they just didn’t believe in it enough and need to try harder at implementing it. (Either that, or they can go back to blaming Trotskyists and wreckers.) They typically have a lot of trouble learning from their mistakes. Their default solution for every hare-brained Leftist scheme that fails is therefore not to abandon it, but rather to double down on it. We can expect the zombified acolytes of Woko Haram to keep marching onward until we stand up as one man and one woman and pronounce the “N” word; to wit: no.
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 That was some mighty slick propaganda in How to Be an Antiracist. Just for starters, no context whatsoever is given for the factoid about home ownership, such as (for one matter) much of the “Latinx” population being relatively recent economic migrants largely concentrated into blue-collar niches such as construction, landscaping, and homemaking, and will therefore prefer inexpensive apartments to bougie bungalows. Neither are those details evidence of discrimination. Garden-variety Mexican and Central American immigrants usually aren’t doctors, engineers, and rocket scientists; these are unskilled laborers who come by the millions — legally or otherwise — because they found the grass a lot greener on our side of the border. Their children usually pursue the same labor niches. All this should be obvious to anyone who isn’t a hatchling. Still, the way the book tells it suggests that this housing disparity is our fault because of some malicious policy or another. The truth is that whites have been bending over backwards for non-whites to a ridiculous degree since the 1960s, all in the name of social leveling. We’ve granted them countless advantages at our great expense, but when’s the last time you heard them so much as thank us for it?