Abandoning tests and other standards of success as measurements of admittance to better schools, and no longer requiring even minimal proficiency in reading, writing or math prior to graduation from high school, is far worse than what it has been labeled: The soft bigotry of low expectations. It should be called what it is: cruel and dysfunctional application of racist beliefs. Those determined to succeed, despite their strong academic record and test scores, will find a way to earn a great education even in this anti-merit environment. And the elites will be there to tax these hard working students as they succeed in life, and give those tax proceeds to the people and groups they cruelly allowed to slide by.
Let’s start with an example from the Wall Street Journal. “Politicians and school officials in Oregon are embarrassed that too many minority children fail tests designed to confirm they’ve mastered the ‘essential skills’ that high school is meant to teach. So in the name of racial equity, they’ve now done the progressive thing. Instead of lifting graduation rates by boosting student performance, they’re eliminating the proficiency requirement. Governor Kate Brown signed the bill on July 14, but the Oregonian reports her office never issued a press release and the bill was not entered into the legislative database until two weeks later—a ‘departure from the normal practice’ of entering bills the same day they are signed. The Secretary of the Senate blamed the delay on a staffer experiencing medical issues. But it’s hardly surprising that Gov. Brown and the Democratic Legislature would not wish to draw attention to this attempt to dumb the state down.” BTW, when blacks and browns graduate without the basic skills expected of a high school grad, disaster looms. If it turns out that they cannot either get or hold a job, they will be very tempted to blame racism. After all, other grads, like whites and Asians, have the same degree, and they have jobs. Must be racism, yes? Yes, and it is the racism of cruelly low expectations.
And this from Bloomberg. “Opponents of standardized tests for college admissions were jubilant after the University of California system agreed May 13th to extend its policy of test-free admissions. But the SAT and the ACT are the thermometer, not the fever. Getting rid of them only makes it harder to identify, and ultimately to fix, the very real problems of educational inequity in California and the nation.
“The decision by the regents of the University of California—whose 10 campuses educate 280,000 undergraduate and graduate students—resolves a 2019 lawsuit charging that the SAT and ACT are biased against the poor and Black and Hispanic students. Another lawsuit filed last year, and aimed mainly at protecting students with disabilities, said that even making the tests optional didn’t go far enough and that they should not be considered under any circumstances.”
And now from Revolution 2.0™. “A Baltimore high school student failed all but three classes at Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts over four years and almost graduated this June near the top half of his class with a 0.13 GPA, 62nd out of 120 students. The single Mom blamed the school. ‘The school failed at their job. They failed. They failed, that’s the problem here. They failed. They failed. He didn’t deserve that,’ she said after learning that her son was being sent back to 9th grade to give high school another try.” Both the Mom and son are part of the groups being “protected” from needing to achieve. The Mom is not only fully brought into the not responsible because I am a victim philosophy, she is actively selling this destructive thinking. This is from “I’m not responsible! Well, then, who is?” EP 312)
The elites making these anti-testing and anti-merit decisions are far from naive; they know exactly what they are doing. The world is filled with examples proving that hard work and preparation are necessary to succeed in any and all phases of life. Without consistent hard work and preparation, no one can reach their potential, and very few can achieve any level of success at all. Everyone knows that. When Harry Belafonte, one of the most successful Jamaican American pop stars in history, was “discovered” in the late ‘50s, he was declared to have been an overnight success. His response was immediate and a life lesson for me: “It took me almost 20 years to become an overnight success.” I was in my late teens when Mr. Belafonte’s quote taught me that hard work and preparation–over time–is necessary to make it in life. The people and groups punishing hard work and preparation in favor of skin color know that, so why are they calling the basic building blocks of success racist, and ignoring them in favor of rewarding skin color?
The answer is Today’s Key Point: The academics, politicians and media elites are using their attack on merit to further add to the rapidly growing millions of people–voters–who through ignorance or manipulation, likely both, embrace the role of helpless underachievers in exchange for growing financial and political support. “You are a deserving victim. Your lack of success, lack of what you want and need, is not your fault; it is the fault of your oppressors. Let me tax your oppressors to give you what you need and deserve. For the rest of your life.” They make it sound easy, and even moral. All while robbing their victims of their best chance, perhaps any chance, or growing in their skills, and being able to enjoy the pride that comes with succeeding on your own. And forgoing virtually any chance of experiencing the intense pride that comes with being a model for and teaching others how to succeed, ideally achieving even greater success than your own.
Diet pill pushers have long been selling the same false message to their targets, in this case consumers and not voters. “Overweight? Tried many diets over the years and none of them worked? It’s not your fault. Take this pill, and watch the pounds fall off. Without dieting, and absolutely no exercise.” How familiar does that sound? BTW, the pill pushers are stealing your money and giving you false hope. The “you are a victim” pushers are stealing your future.
Let’s paraphrase Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous quote. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the results of their hard work.” The substitution of hard work for character is an easy one; a work ethic is merely a part of character.
The people and groups who are pushing the victim mentality are clearly judging people by their skin color, and if it is black or brown, the judgement is that not only are they not measuring up, but that they cannot measure up. And we all know that skin color by itself is not a bar to achievement, academic or otherwise. But something needs to be done. Like, taking positive action, or if you will, call it affirmative action. I am not against the concept of affirmative action; I am against how the term is now being defined and implemented. Right now the term means giving certain individuals and groups unearned advantages in order to give them a leg up, to catch up. The problem is that they will never catch up and will forever need unearned advantages and benefits. This results in the well known consequence of generational poverty; now we are trying to add generational poor education and generational underachievement. The positive action, the affirmative action, if you will, that needs to be done and done successfully is taking on the task of helping individuals succeed. Believing in them. Underscoring their capabilities and strengths. Leading by example. Showing up in their lives. That’s hard work. And necessary. And deeply rewarding. The polar opposite of the easy and destructive task of telling people they are victims and them sending checks from taxpayers.
Exacerbating an already destructive situation, the population of those who are falsely and cruelly identified as victims unable to be educated is growing faster than the general population. All this on top of overall declining educational results in our public K-12 schools.
We all have the personal responsibility to show up in other people’s lives. And to vote for candidates and policies that support personal growth, and not ethnic victimhood.
Speaking of personal responsibility, it does not stand alone; the two main and interdependent principles at Revolution 2.0 are:
1. Personal Responsibility; take it, teach it and,
2. Be Your Brother’s Keeper. The answer to the biblical question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is a ringing, unequivocal “Yes.” There is no other answer.
Where do you stand? What are you going to do? Remember, it does not matter where you stand if you don’t do anything. You can start by subscribing to these episodes, and encouraging others to subscribe with you.
As always, whatever you do, do it in love. Without love, anything we do is empty. 1 Corinthians 16:1.
As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, @willluden, Facebook, facebook.com/will.luden, and LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/in/willluden/. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and wherever you listen to podcasts.
This is Will Luden. We’ll talk again in a few days.