March 25, 2022

Odds & Ends…And Again, The Ed Sector’s Eliteness

By Bellwether

Share this article

What I’ve written: I have a short commentary in The 74 today about the Spencer Cox veto of a bill aimed the transgender students and sports issue.

What I’ve read: A few interesting things this week, with implications for education.

This survey data on special education parents is worth your time. People keep talking about pandemic disruptions in the past tense, for these parents they’re a present tense thing.

Love is a battlefield. So are the suburbs. 

There were a lot of tweets in the mold of ‘this is so surprising!‘ about this Ruy Teixeira column. This should not be surprising!

“Racial achievement gaps are bad and we should seek to close them. However, they are not due just to racism and standards of high achievement should be maintained for people of all races.”

Democrats are becoming increasingly associated with an approach to schooling that seems anti-meritocratic, oriented away from standardized tests, gifted and talented programs and test-in elite schools, generally in the name of achieving racial equity. This has led them to a de-emphasis on high and universal academic achievement standards, an approach popular in progressive education circles but not among ordinary voters, including nonwhites.

In the Massachusetts poll, the above statement received 73-19 support, including 3:1 support among black voters. Progressive educators may think differently, but the common sense of voters is that the road to high academic achievement is through high standards and hard work, not the lowering of bars.

Ignore the narratives, please. If you don’t get the broad landscape across race and class then what’s happening now won’t make a lot of sense. Also, while we’re on it, people like testing and school choice more than you probably heard. The research base on pre-K isn’t as bulletproof as you’ve been told. Direct Instruction probably works better than you think. It’s really a wild world out there and so much more interesting.

Speaking of narratives, Jon Chait jumps into the debate about what the Dem narrative should be on education,

Convincing parents to stop caring about whether schools help their children get a good job is definitely a strategy. But it’s not a good strategy. If Democrats care about social mobility and winning elections, they need to recognize that an important faction within their own party has a program that is inimical to both goals and fight as hard as they can to keep them out of power.

Recently we talked about how sometimes people just disagree – and that’s ok. But there is growing tendency to find bad faith reasons. And that’s on top of the more longstanding nonsense of presuming to know what people “really think.” Freddie de Boer gets into all that more,

Here’s the deal. I am opposed to the “social justice movement,” while being very much in favor of social justice, for a few reasons. The first is that I think the social justice movement is legitimately wrong on a variety of core issues. For example, civil liberties – I think they’re good; the social justice movement thinks they’re a con on the part of bigots. That’s a genuine disagreement. There’s people in the social justice movement who are explicitly, unambiguously opposed to free speech as a principle. And that’s cool. They’re wrong, is all. You can find plenty of books written that define the reasons free speech is good. But that disagreement between me and them is real. It’s not code for “I think trans people are faking.” (I genuinely don’t have the slightest idea what that could mean.) Unlike many in the social justice movement, I believe that civil liberties are essential even while I understand the vital need to fight racism, sexism, and transphobia. I simply believe that those fights have to be balanced with the defense of civil liberties, and in fact think that waging those fights requires a respect for civil liberties…

…Could it be that, in the complex and ever-shifting scrum of political life, some people who you disagree with are arguing in good faith, even if you’re sure they’re mistaken? Could it be that I’m just wrong? Not secretly opposed to the broad principles I’ve dedicated my adult life to fighting for, not an agent out to defend a status quo I hate, but just incorrect about the social justice movement and its pathologies? Could it be that I’m sincere?

Nah, couldn’t be. Now please be good social justice liberals, put a sign in your window, donate to a nonprofit that will spend your money on itself, and nod along to every call for “justice” that rings out. That’s what real allies do.

This article is about “radical monogamy.” Yes, why monogamy needs radical as a modifier is a good question. The larger phenomenon Christine Emba describes, though, seems present in the elite ed sector these days,

But this inclination to view only the present as enlightened can veer into overcorrection, creating new forms of silencing and new stigmas that evoke their own kind of shame. Voguish new relationship styles become prescriptive in their own right. An overemphasis on testing out the new can make it hard for people to recognize which among the old way of doing things — whether monogamous or non- — might serve them well, or to declare what they actually want (an emotional bond, say, or a committed relationship). Thus a generation loses sight of, and loses out on, goods they might have had all along.

This essay in the Chronicle of Higher Ed about snitch culture….just wow.


More from this topic

Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.