Over the past couple of decades, I've attended neighborhood reunions. I've asked whether any of us recall classmates who couldn't read, write or perform simple calculations, and none of us does. Back in those days, most Philadelphia school principals, teachers and counselors were white. At Stoddart-Fleisher junior high school, where I attended, I recall that only one teacher was black, and at Benjamin Franklin, there might have been two. What does that say about the role model theory? By the way, Asian-Americans are at the top of the academic ladder, and, at least historically, they rarely experience an Asian-American teacher during their K-through-12 schooling.
Many black students are alien and hostile to the education process. They are permitted to make education impossible for other students. Their misbehavior and violence require schools to divert resources away from education and spend them on security, such as hiring school police and purchasing metal detectors, all of which does little for school safety. The violent school climate discourages the highest-skilled teachers from teaching at schools where they risk assaults, intimidation and theft. At a bare minimum, part of the solution to school violence and poor academic performance should be the expulsion of students who engage in assaults and disrespectful behavior. You say, "What's to be done for these students?" Even if we don't know what to do with them, how compassionate and intelligent is it to permit them to make education impossible for other students?
The fact that black parents, teachers, politicians and civil rights organizations tolerate and make excuses for the despicable and destructive behavior of so many young blacks is a gross betrayal of the memory, struggle, sacrifice, sweat and blood of our ancestors. The sorry and tragic state of black education is not going to be turned around until there's a change in what's acceptable and unacceptable behavior by young people. That change has to come from within the black community.
Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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