American Elephants

The Solutions Often Aren’t Quite What You Expected! by The Elephant's Child

ows_147520558415635_mediumA column at The Daily Signal, from the Heritage Foundation, by Walter E. Williams, a professor of economics at George Mason University draws our attention to a lawsuit filed by Detroit school students against the state of Michigan. The suit claims a legal right to literacy based on the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

Ninety-three percent of Detroit’s predominantly black public school eighth-graders are not proficient in reading, and 96 percent are not proficient in mathematics. According to the lawsuit, “decades of state disinvestment in and deliberate indifference to Detroit schools have denied plaintiff schoolchildren access to the most basic building block of education: literacy.”

In terms of per-pupil expenditures, the state does not treat Detroit public school students any differently than it does other students. According to the Michigan Department of Education, the Detroit school district ranks 50th in state spending, at $13,743 per pupil. This is out of 841 total districts. That puts Detroit schools in the top 6 percent of per-pupil expenditures in the state.

The answer from the bureaucracy is usually the same. Pay the teachers more and reduce class size, which works out well for the teachers’ unions.

It appears that according to a 2011 survey by the American Psychological Association, 80% of teachers had been victimized at school at least once during that school year or the prior year. Detroit schools have the same problems of violence as are faced by other predominately black schools in other cities.

In Baltimore, each school day in 2010, an average of four teachers and staff were assaulted. In February 2014, The Baltimore Sun reported that more than 300 Baltimore school staff members had filed workers’ compensation claims during the previous fiscal year because of injuries received through assaults or altercations on the job.

A January 2015 post at American Thinker documents the problems of racial violence in schools by the author of two books on racial violence in schools—toward teachers. The videos linked are no longer available, except for one, which was captured on a student’s phone, and is startling.

The most popular manual to train teachers how to eliminate racial disparity in grades and discipline is by Glenn Singleton, which is based on Critical Race Theory and insists that teachers must know 3 things to do their jobs: 1. White racism is everywhere. 2. White racism is permanent. 3. White racism explains everything.  Clearly that is not apt to improve much of anything.

The American people invested a lot of hope that the first black president  would improve race relations in the country. Instead we have Black Lives Matter raising animus on campuses and encouraging riots and violence against police. In the assumption that most black men in prison have been convicted because of racism rather than crime, Obama is releasing and/or pardoning hundreds. He has suggested that Trayvon Martin might have been his son, and that police shootings of young black men were unjustified even before the facts were all in, or the grand jury had convened.  The general opinion is that race relations have not only not improved, but have become much worse.

In Minnesota ‘s Cooper High School, “football coach Willie Howard looked at his team and decided there was still something missing. The former Vikings defensive lineman has changed the football culture at Cooper, compiling a more-than-respectable .596 winning percentage compared to the .361 percentage Cooper had in its five previous seasons.”

But, like any football program, there is always more to be done. Black students comprise nearly 37 percent of the student body at Cooper, the school’s largest racial demographic group. Looking to improve their self-esteem and bolster perceptions of them in the community, Howard hit on an idea that has long been a staple in the business world: Two days a week, the Cooper football players dress for success.

“I’d had enough of people thinking negatively,” Howard said. “The only way you can change the way people think about you is by changing things you can control. If you don’t want people thinking you’re a thug, don’t dress like a thug. It you don’t want people thinking you’re unintelligent, show them how intelligent you are.”

Senior wide receiver Emmanuel Ogboru, dressed impressively in a checked shirt, vest and gold tie, said “When you look good, you act good, you do your work good and you play good.”

On Mindset Mondays and We Will Succeed Wednesdays, the entire Cooper football team puts away the hoodies and sweats and dons a more professional-looking attire. If they don’t own such clothes, the school has amassed a large wardrobe with hundreds of shirts and ties, as well as sport coats, vests, slacks and even shoes. Most of the clothes were donated or acquired through the crowdfunding website GoFundMe, which raised $5,000.

“They come in on Tuesdays and Thursdays to get the clothes they need for the next [Dress For Success] day,” Howard said. “When they come to school dressed like that, it says they took the time and energy to prepare. When they’re sitting in that classroom, they feel differently about that class. It reminds them why we’re in this building.

The kids don’t have to do it every day. Howard says some days kids just need to be kids, but dressing for success seems to be catching on. The basketball coach wants to continue it, and kids not in the sports programs are asking if they can take part.

*photo by Jerry Holt,

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