FoxNews has a couple of articles up that are bound to disappoint supporters of our leftist American education industry. First, Joanne Jacobs describes the ghetto of bilingual education in New York (pointing to a NYT article by Samuel Freedman):

Bilingual education became a source of patronage jobs, Freedman writes. It has defied reform. Its advocates are bureaucrats and teachers. Its opponents are “Spanish-speaking immigrants who struggled to reach the United States and struggle still at low-wage jobs to stay here so that their children can acquire and rise with an American education, very much including fluency in English.”

It’s not just New York City. In my experience, Mexican immigrant parents in California prefer teachers who can talk to the family in Spanish but teach in English. Non-English-speaking parents are very aware of the handicaps of not being fluent in the language of the country.

And in California we eliminated bilingual education in 1998 overwhelmingly, and with great success (and over the heads of our legislators).
Begun with the best of theoretical intentions over thirty years ago, bilingual education has proven itself a dismal practical failure. For decades, millions of mostly Hispanic immigrant students have remained trapped in these Spanish-almost-only classes.

Then in 1996, immigrant parents began a public boycott of Ninth Street Elementary in Los Angeles after the school administration refused to allow their children to be taught English. Their example inspired the 1998 California "English for the Children" initiative, which won in a landslide and successfully dismantled most bilingual education programs in that state. As a direct result, the test scores of over a million Hispanic students rose by an average of 40% in just two years.

Ms. Jacobs also links to an article by Clarence Page, who claims that immigrant minorities outperform native minorities because they work harder. Almost unthinkable, I know.

Meanwhile, Marie Gryphon, with the Cato Institute, writes that affirmative action is a failure because preferences can’t deliver the results desired.

But affirmative action in this sense is a myth. Admissions preferences do not offer practical empowerment to struggling citizens. They do not bridge society’s racial chasms. They do not address real social problems.

For one thing, affirmative action does not send more minorities to college. Most four-year colleges and universities in America are not selective; they take anyone with a standard high school education and a Pell grant (search). ...

The reason that more minority students don’t get college degrees has nothing to do with competitive admissions policies. The truth is that most minority students leave high school without the minimum credentials necessary to attend any four-year school, selective or not.

Freshmen must be “college ready” at virtually all four-year colleges. This means that students must be literate, must have a high school diploma, and must have taken certain minimum coursework. Overwhelmingly, minority students are not college ready. Dr. Jay Greene of the Manhattan Institute found that only 20 percent of black students and 16 percent of Hispanic students leave high school with these basic requirements.

Minority under-representation in college is the direct result of the public schools’ failure to prepare minority students. It is a failure that affirmative action does not remedy – college-ready minorities already attend college just as often as their white counterparts.

But getting into a top university is the key to success, right? Or do people mistakenly think that getting into a good school is success itself?
But economists Stacy Dale and Alan Krueger found that name-brand colleges are the modern equivalent of the Dutch tulip craze (search). Prices go up and up, but elite colleges offer no financial benefit that less selective schools do not.

Dale and Krueger compared students rejected by selective colleges with students who attended those schools. They discovered that when students’ entering credentials, such as high school grades and test scores, were the same, the rejected students made just as much money as those who attended “top tier” universities.

The failures of bilingual education and affirmative action should deal stunning blows to the left's educational philosophy and approach to racial equality, but instead many leftists fight tooth and nail to maintain these programs just because they feel -- to them -- as if they should work. The fact that they don't work is irrelevant. If anything, it means we need to try harder and spend more money. But you can try as hard as you want and spend as much money as you want on the wrong things and never see a positive result. That's what the left can never admit.



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