LaShawn Barber has an interesting post up dealing with the No Child Left Behind law, specifically its failure.
She calls NCLB “a classically noble bit of social engineering,” and posits that it will never work because of the true diversity inherent in our society, (I.E., Asians score higher on standardized tests than whites, who score higher than Hispanics, who score higher than blacks, as well as the observation that everyone has unique abilities and talents, which will automatically place students on different levels, some lower and some higher).
She also says that people need to stop relying on supposedly institutionalized racism as a crutch, and seize the opportunities placed in front of them.
…we’re almost two generations past the beginning of the Civil Rights movement, and the idealistic among us envisioned a future Utopia where all the
races would get along and have an equal amount of stuff — however you want to define “stuff.” This became the goal, and falling short of this goal is evidence
to some people that the Civil Rights “dream” has not been achieved and that racism is “institutionalized” and must be eradicated by any means necessary,
hence, race preferences and quotas.
But the goal itself was unrealistic. Equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome, is the best you can do in a free, capitalist country; otherwise,
you have to start discriminating in the other direction to ensure that people with vastly different talents and skills will end up with equal outcomes.
Such a notion is legally, morally, and logically unsustainable. (The word equal has been an idol, by the way.)
The emphasis should be on opportunity. If people don’t seize it when it’s right in front of them, which I argue it is most of the time in a country like
the United States, they can’t blame “the system.” …
While I believe that generations immediately after Emancipation
had a lot of catching up to do, we are too far past slavery for that excuse to work anymore. In my admittedly lay and amateur opinion, I don’t think we
can even blame Jim Crow
for the achievement gap and other ills. Many ethnic groups throughout the world at some point in the history of the world have been discriminated against,
demeaned, enslaved, subjugated, beaten, and killed. There is nothing unique about the “African American” experience in this regard.
What is unique about the “African American” experience is that we live in a country that has bent over backwards to make amends for past injustices. That
some people are “left behind” is not evidence of racism. I believe that in 2006, it is imperative that blacks understand this and embrace the idea of self-help,
self-improvement, and accountability for our lot in life as individuals.