Over in Detroit, unionized public school teachers have shut down schools attended by 46,000 students, of whom, Lindsey Burke points out, large percentages can’t achieve proficiency on key academic subjects. That’s just what labor unions do: rig things in members’ favor, limit options for fixing problems, and then shut the system down when even friendly Democrat administrations can’t keep up with the demands.
Meanwhile, in Providence, some students are demanding that standard topics of history — key to the rationale of publicly funding education in order to maintain the nation’s sense of itself as a nation — be displaced in favor of telling them more about themselves and their ancestral backgrounds:
“We should be learning about more of the world than the United States,” said Diane Gonzalez from Central High School. “I’m Guatemalan and I have no idea about my history. They make it seem like our countries are meaningless…”
Licelot Caraballo, from E-Cubed Academy in Providence, said he wants students to “feel connected to their history, not to lose it because they can’t access it. Our history matters. We can make history in Providence, our history in Providence.”
According to the 2015 PARCC results, only 7.4% of Central High students are performing up to expectations in language arts, with E-Cubed doing a little better, at 14.8%. In math, the schools do much worse, with 2.7% and 1.9%, respectively. The proposal to dilute the school day with more history from other countries should be viewed with great skepticism, notwithstanding an academic study finding grade improvement with ethnic studies in California. Even if we assume the results of that study are not biased or simply resulting from a flawed methodology, what they might mainly illustrate is that progressive obsession with race and ethnicity is a much more palpable detriment to students than most people would guess. (That is, these students are so hindered by the racial-grievance mindset that even mild alleviation brings improvements.)
What’s most stunning about the Providence students’ statements, though, is the sheer passivity. Nothing is stopping students from learning about the countries of their ancestors. Moreover, the fact that the government doesn’t hand something to somebody doesn’t mean that he or she has no access to it. (There’s a lesson that begs for expanded application.)
Both teachers in Detroit and students in Providence appear to have the attitude that activism is the only initiative that one need take. Going out to achieve things on your own is out; demanding that other people give you things is in. Look no farther for evidence that we need more American history, not less.