American Elephants

The Democrats’ Baltimore Problem. by The Elephant's Child
May 2, 2015, 10:39 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , ,


“No Justice, No Peace!” Is that a threat or an invitation? The scenes of Baltimore set ablaze make us wonder what can be done for families trapped in an inner-city culture of violence? We had our own copy-cat riot here in Seattle last night, emanating from Seattle Central Community College. I have no idea why. Just wanted to join in the fun.

Clearly the breakdown of the black family has a good deal to do with the problems of youth run amok. The left talks of new programs, more money, The President pushes his free community college idea, early childhood education (which doesn’t work) and blames Republicans (why am I not surprised?) presumably because he wants a big influx of money which a Republican Congress would be loth to deliver. Baltimore has been a Democrat-run city for over 40 years. It’s Democrats’ problem, and the result of their policies. Republicans and a big number of African-Americans call for fathers.

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Stephen Moore writes of the success of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program which George W. Bush signed into law in 2004.”It has so far funded private-school tuition for nearly 5,000 students, 95% of whom are African-American.They attend religious schools, music and arts schools, even elite college-prep schools.” Moore met with about 20 parents and children who participate in the program.” For the seventh straight year, President Obama has proposed eliminating this relatively tiny scholarship fund,which at $20 million accounts for a microscopic 0.0005% of the $4 trillion federal budget.”

Politics is always Obama’s first priority, And the teacher’s union voters trump black voters. The parents have compelling stories of how the voucher program has turned their children’s lives around. “Democrats say they want to make the 2016 election about income inequality, but they stand united in opposition to one of the most effective ways of reducing the gap between rich and poor: better education. Mr. Obama will not even meet with these parents. Democrats always emphasize empathy. They care (and Republicans don’t). But they empathize with taxpayer money and Big Government programs. When it involves displeasing the teacher’s union empathy goes out the window.

The basic choice open to blacks after the civil rights era, according to the Hoover Institution’s Shelby Steele, was between advancing “through education, skill development, and entrepreneurialism,” or “pressuring the society that had wronged us into taking the lion’s share of the responsibility for resurrecting us.” The second course became all but inevitable when the post-civil rights narrative of white guilt and black victim hood decreed that no black problem — whether high crime rates, poor academic performance, or high illegitimacy rates — could be defined as largely a black responsibility, because it was in injustice to make victims responsible for their own problems.¹ “

“An Education Department-funded study at the University of Arkansas found that graduation rates rose 21 percentage points — to 91%, from 70%, — for students awarded the scholarship vouchers through a lottery, compared with a control group of those who applied for but didn’t get the scholarships.”

The parents who are so passionate about the benefits to their children are opposed by almost every liberal group, including the NAACP, and Eleanor Holmes Norton who represents D.C. in Congress but opposes a program that benefits her own constituents.The DC schools spent $18,667 per pupil. The scholarship amounts are $8,500 for elementary-school children and $12,000 for high school.

The teachers’ unions are doing a lousy job of educating our young people, and our teachers are badly trained. Something needs to change dramatically. There is no excuse for the current situation.

For Baltimore, I would suggest significant numbers of charter schools, and hiring retiring Marine Drill Instructors as teachers. They have a an outstanding record of not only shaping up young men, but of installing a significant code of honor. Start them off with fifth grade. They would shape up the kids, and shape up the teaching profession!

¹Shelby Steele, White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era (New York, Harper Collins, 2006).

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