Thomas Sowell

Even the use of standard English is presented as a form of oppression. "Standard language," she says, "is about power -- who has it and who doesn't."

It is much the same story on the other side of the country, where a Brooklyn public high school called the El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice pursued its ideological agenda by teaching the students how to spray-paint graffiti. Its students' test scores are even lower than the below-normal scores for the city as a whole. But they had time to spare for graffiti classes.

Considering the severe academic deficiencies in too many minority schools -- and the lifelong handicap that inadequate education will be for these children -- one has to wonder what good it is going to do them to have school time used to make them resentful of society, rather than educated enough to function in it. No doubt it may do teachers and education gurus a lot of good, if only by giving them a feeling of being morally superior and "agents of change."

Moreover, mind games and ideological indoctrination are a lot easier and more "exciting" than providing students with a foundation in math, science and English.

It is easy to understand why the education establishment has gone off on such tangents. What is harder to understand is why parents and voters stand for it. With the future of your children at stake, why would you allow yourself to be snowed by pious self-serving talk from people who call themselves "educators" but who are in fact not doing much educating?

With American school children repeatedly coming in at or near the bottom in international tests, why do elected officials act as if what the schools need is more money and more time -- especially after ever-increasing amounts of money have already been poured down a bottomless pit over the years, with no visible educational results, and with so much time currently being squandered on "projects" and "activities" rather than education?


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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