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An Oakland mom’s take on the dropout rate and Tech’s Paideia program

By Katy Murphy
Tuesday, December 14th, 2010 at 12:20 pm in dropouts, high schools.

Kim Shipp, an OUSD parent, responds to a blog discussion on Oakland’s dropout rate and access to Oakland Tech’s Paideia program.

Paideia classroom at Oakland Tech. Photo by Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group

In response to Oakland’s dropout rate and the increasing popularity of the Paideia program at Oakland Tech, topics recently posted on this blog, I decided to give my thoughts about both issues from a parent’s perspective. In my fifteen years of experience in Oakland schools with three children, I’ve spent two of those years in a private school setting and two of those years in Paideia with my oldest son.

It is no secret that Oakland has one of the highest dropout rates in California. The constant change of leadership over the past 13 years has had a negative impact on the school system. In Oakland’s case this includes nine leaders in the form of superintendents or state administrators; no organization can sustain itself in meeting its goals without stability in leadership. This permeates down to the school level.

Take Skyline High School for example. The graduating class of 2011 will have experienced a new principal in each of their four years of high school. My son spent his first year of high school at Skyline, the next two years at a private school and is now back at Skyline for his final year. This year, when he returned to Skyline, I immediately noticed some stark differences between private and public schools. In a nutshell, private schools care about what they are doing and public schools appear not to. These differences have little to do with money, but rather willingness on the part of adults and how one entity values education over the other.

For example, at Back to School Night, I questioned some teachers in Advanced Placement classes regarding their pass rates on AP exams. To my amazement, most of the teachers did not seem to care whether students passed or failed these tests. One teacher’s response was, “we have about a twenty-five percent pass rate.” When I asked about preparing the students for the tests, another teacher responded, “ we do not do a lot of preparation because most of the students have other things to do in their lives, like work.”

Private schools pride themselves in their pass rates and there is a lot of preparation that goes on in those private schools. In private school, every effort is made to ensure student success. This is done by providing advisory meetings with students to address their issues, the dean working with the teachers, detailed e-mail progress reports of notification to parents, putting parents on weekly progress notification if necessary and even informing the parent when this is no longer necessary.

In public school, progress checks are left up to the parent. There seems to be no conversation taking place between school leadership and teachers regarding individual student progress. In private school, there is a tremendous focus on building relationships between students and staff on the premise that each student is an individual with individual needs. In public school, it’s based more upon performance and everyone is viewed in the same light. In public school teachers are protected. In private school they are not.

Now don’t get me wrong, there were other types of challenges we faced in private school, and as with anything else, it is not a perfect entity, but at least it knows its purpose. The dropout rate will continue until people regain their sense of purpose, build relationships, and take responsibility for student failure. One has to get to the point to believe if the majority of students are failing under their care, than they are failing students.

Paideia is a humanities program created by a group of teachers at Oakland Technical High School. Much like several other programs and teachers in some schools, these programs are more about the individual teachers and their philosophy than the school itself. These teachers are also the protectors of these programs, and the principal and school district officials can do little to intervene, change, expand or open them up to others. Paideia can be viewed as a “free” private school within a public school.

In 2001, my son was the only African-American senior in the program at the time. It came to my attention that a young African-American girl, whose family attended the same church as me, was denied access to the program even though she had the grades coming out of middle school; she had attended Westlake. Many of her friends who had attended Montera were allowed to enroll in Paideia. We brought this issue before the school board and this resulted in several people, including district staff, the principal at the time, the school board representative, myself and other parents, to get more sessions for Paideia on the master schedule so more students could participate. The other parents were at the table because they were debating private school or Tech. This attempt was not without objection from the original creators of the program. I even had one of the teachers call me at home to express her concerns about making it available to more students. The program was expanded to include a few more sessions, but I am not sure if it has expanded more since then. Over the years, other students of color have attempted participation but there are rigorous requirements of course work and here the advanced placement pass rate is cared about. In fact, one could argue that the program is selective because they want to maintain their successful pass rate, which at the time was about 85 percent.

In terms of some of the equity issues addressed in the blog, my definition of equity is “equity is only afforded to those who demand it and know that they need to.” In other words we live in an unjust, unequal society, and as many of the bloggers suggest, “it is in fact what it is.” As a parent, I cannot wait for a system that probably never will correct itself to provide equal opportunity and access. I have to do the best I can for my family and community with what I know.

Education, employment, opportunities, etc., has always been difficult for most groups to obtain and it remains true today. In fact, people forget that this was the basis on which the country was built, keeping the masses enslaved while allowing only the select few prosper. Remember the old adage, “ a people that forgets its history, is destined to repeat it.” We are almost there.

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  • J.R.

    Nextset,
    If we’re talking about normal IQ which is 90-110(also where the majority of people are nestled). Dulls(as you call them) are below 80 and not all that common statistically(do you see where I’m going with this)? Most people are average or better and thus are capable of meeting state standards(which are minimums relative to grade level). For the majority of people there is no valid excuse for not achieving standard grade level work(aside from retardation, spectrum disability, or mental disorder. For most people it comes down to attitude,effort and fortitude. There are also some valid scientific claims about exposure to lead and low academic performance that no doubt are a factor as well. The fact is you make far too much of this IQ thing, it just does not come into play in the real world that often to be applicable here in this situation.

  • Nextset

    J.R.

    Normal IQ varies by race and by nation. There is just no other way around that – we have too much data. Why is not the issue, the scores are stable. Whether the varience is rooted in genetics, diet, breast feeding habits, or anything else – these numbers are not going to change within the lifespan of the populations involved.

    The life of a CA resident with IQs of 65, 85, 95, 115, 135 are starkly different. And then we have the other personality and behaviorial profiles besides (strictly) IQ. What about the age of onset of puberty? I believe the latest data says 23% of black girls are entering puberty at 8. How does that affect OUSD’s lesson plans? Especially comparing the blacks to the Southeast Asians? And then we have certain other traits which are genetic. Ever work with a groups of native Indians? Maybe OUSD doesn’t have to either. My point is people are different.

    You cannot expect public school teachers to have similar progress or program participation for each group. And you can’t pay based on this or puniosh the teachers based on performance of different groups. People are not the same.

    Granted the basic performance required for High School Graduation should be reachable by most IF we don’t artificially jack up the graduation requirements to screw certain groups which is the trend lately. Liberals want to make college a norm which it can never be. They think all are equal so there’s no harm is steadily increasing requirements (beyond basic) damn the consequences. Remember, it takes only very small increases in requirements to get very big racial variances in graduation rates. Likewise DMV imposing time pressure testing for driver’s licenses.

  • Harold

    @Trevor Vernon, I don’t know all the folks who teach at Tech, but I think your evaluation of the staff (as a whole) is way off. Engineering and Paideia are well known, established programs. But, I have heard wonderful things about the Health Academy, TRYUMF, Performing Arts and PE Department’s (Hockey in Oakland!) at Tech. Does anyone know any other Tech students who might be interested in sharing their opinion(s) of the school?

  • Trevor Vernon

    Oh wow, a lot of things to address.

    Katy Murphy: I don’t think there is much that Oakland Tech can do to get more black and latino students into advanced programs. If you’re struggling to keep up in 9th grade, it seems like a near impossible task to pass a class designed for college freshmen while in high school. Elementary and middle schools have to prepare students properly if they are to have a chance at higher level classes. Easier said than done. The best indicator for a child’s success is the involvement and expectations of a parent/guardian. Minority parents have to be more involved in their children’s education if they are to succeed. I have no idea how to do that. Parenting is hard.

    I want to stress again though that race should not be the issue here. Poverty is the issue.

    Nextset: You have some wild ideas. I disagree with you, but I am a fan of your out of the box style of thinking.

    Yes, my response was an appeal for collectivism. Yes, collectivism fails because it is a system that requires everyone to get on board. No, I do not think the public shares my belief in collectivism. That is why I am frustrated. We need to think like a group but we lose this when it comes to educating each individual child. Turning attention from charter and private schools to fixing public education will probably not happen soon, but that does not mean I should to stop fighting for this change. Just because a majority feels a certain way does not mean they are right.

    I don’t want to put a gun to people’s heads to make them go to Oakland Tech. I want to make Oakland Tech a place where everyone has access to a quality education. My whole point is that the people who are “voting with their feet” are screwing over everyone else. I’d much rather have everyone be able to read and write at an average level than have 20% (number off the top of my head) be excellent students while the rest suffer.

    I wouldn’t like to send good student to bad schools either. I’d like to eliminate bad schools and students all together. You seem to think this is impossible. We’re talking about getting kids though high school. Hard work can get the dullest of students through most college level classes. (Believe me, I went to UCSC.) You’re thought on IQ is wrong and borders on eugenics. Prepared students can pass classes.

    As I’ve said before, I’d rather address a public issue more than an ethnic/cultural one. You said on the subject, “you don’t seem to allow for ethnic and cultural value differences in the population.” We’re talking about reading, writing, and low level math. If a culture or ethnicity has a problem with its people achieving these scholastic goals, that part of the culture needs to be dropped. Cultures can be in the wrong. Change is possible.

    One last thing you said: “So what must happen is everybody takes care of number one and we see what the results are.” This is stupid. Lets change the results now. We can avoid an uneducated lower class.

    JR: We’re on the same page. My response was a little pie in the sky, but why not talk a big game on a blog.

    Harold: No doubt there are great parts of Oakland Tech. I got a top class education while I was there. I don’t want to stomp on the reputations of teachers that don’t deserve it. Overall though, the school is in disarray. I kind of think of Paidea and engineering as a SF City hall metaphor. It looks great, but there are a lot of homeless people on the steps. Sit in on a few of the classes that aren’t put in the spotlight and you’ll see what I mean. You’ll be hard pressed to find a Tech student that thinks the school provides a quality education outside of the programs you’ve listed.

  • Nextset

    Trevor Vernon: You’re young. It shows in your thinking. I can say that because I was your age once and I can remember the difference in thought processes.

    Your points are rooted in wishful thinking – magical thinking as some call it. Fundamentally you want things to be as you please and you’re not experienced (yet) in dealing with life as it is. That’s going to come to you soon enough.

    You speak of the black families as if they think the way you do now and they want their kids to “go to college” and all the other great things you seem to think everybody wants. That’s a common liberal thing – they cannot see through the eyes of others. They really think they can (factually, morally, etc) impose their worldview, their pleasures and their desires on other free people who want none of it.

    News Flash – most Oakland black kids and their families don’t want to “go to college” because they have no intention whatsoever of doing the prerequisites (much less the “college” work). Remember this is Oakland, the city where 50% or so of the black students drop out of secondary school. The same people don’t want a lot of other things you might think of as normal – handwashing, for example, sexual restraint, for example, keeping the radios turned down, for example. You get the idea.

    People have different tastes in food, music, narcotics, whatever. That tastes includes doing homework or reading a book also. To each his own, you don’t get to make other people do anything they don’t feel like doing.

    You say: “If a culture or ethnicity has a problem with its people achieving these scholastic goals, that part of the culture needs to be dropped. Cultures can be in the wrong. Change is possible.”

    By this you mean that you are the dictator of these people and by golly they’d better do as they are told.

    Good luck with that.

    As I said, you are young.

    You have only begun to come nose to nose with people who are very much capable of whatever violence they want as you go through your daily routine.

    You don’t get to be the boss of anyone. And neither does this government. You cannot have a welfare state like this one and command people to live life your way. People do what they want.

    And right now that includes cutting taxes and cutting government spending. This isn’t 1965 where we were coming off decades of the post-WWII expansion of budgets and government and there was always more of everything tomorrow.

    And as far as the IQ thing – deal with it, it’s not going away. It’s not here just because you don’t want it to be here. Get to know people in the various IQ bands and understand the differences and the distinctions of how they are going to live and how they are going to die. If you are a parent – or a teacher – and you are trying to “help” 4 boys and 4 girls with the different scores, a 75, a 85, a 95 and a 115 you try and figure an appropriate school schedule, a career path, medical & legal issues – even birth control methods… See what it’s like.

    Now try envisioning being a OUSD teacher with a class of 35 with the typical distribution in a 9th grade.

    OUSD has a terrible job to accomplish. It’s tough. What they’ve done is say adios to most of the blacks (dropouts) – that is their solution.

  • Nextset

    In rereading that above post I don’t want to go off on a tangent about the stats on VD and such. They are a problem but that’s not to say everybody has the problem. Just way too much of certain people. Anyway the schools have decided to ignore health and race because there’s only so much they can be expected to cover and the racial disparity in health outcomes is not an OUSD responsibility. Sorry about bringing that up here.

    It’s another sore subject with me. Some people are getting worse on health and mortality since the glory days of the 1960s.

  • Trevor Vernon

    Nextset: You are old. I can say that because you called me young.

    What’s wrong with wishful thinking? This is how I think the world can be. Hard work can get us there.

    Black families don’t want their children to go to college? They don’t wash their hands or show sexual restraint? Dude, you’re a racist. I’m sure that’s not the first time you’ve been called that, so don’t let it get to you. Who cares what some young idiot thinks?

    I don’t want to be the ruler of anything. I want to argue for my position, have people see the logic in my thought, and hopefully get them to agree with me. I’m just a broke dude with a computer, not some sort of socialist obama-appointed czar.

    The civil rights movement was only half a century ago and now the president is black. The status quo (like a high drop out rate) can change.

    Really though, we’re just a couple of dummies butting heads on the internet. Go ahead and think what you want to think.

  • Can’t believe it

    I kind of like what Vernon says Nextset. You are old…But Vernon remember that Nextset’s generation had to be better than equal to get ahead. you owe him that respect.

    Vernon has probably given an accurate picture of many schools, not just Tech- a few spots of competence and even brilliance surrounded by lackluster educators treading water and blaming “the kids” for all their troubles. However if the Padeia program is “great” it would raise all boats in the harbor, not just the performance of Asian and Caucasian students with a small smattering of Blacks. Tech’s CST scores clearly show this program is elitist, and what is teaching but taking what you have and making it better. It is not enough to say “the kids are not prepared” and let it go at that. Where are the recruitment efforts, where are the feeder honors classes in middle school, where are the seminars and articulation efforts to get more students into the program, where is an open enrollment program which allows anyone with the desire to take Padeia classes? They are afraid. This is clearly an administrative failing as well as a failure of the teachers in that program. What is their legacy- we taught all the smart kids? Anyone can do that.

  • Harold

    Is it “fair” for students who studied hard in Middle School to sit around why the Teacher is trying every type of differentiated instructional tool, to catch up half of the classroom?

    Everyone can’t got to UC Berkeley. Or, are we going to let every one in there too (sink or swim)?

    Why does everyone expect public schools to make miracles, but don’t have the same expectation for higher education?

    College prep for all (high school students) is the DUMBEST thing to come out of OUSD in decades!

    The Engineering and Paideia programs have been at Tech for nearly thirty years. There’s no secret. No racism keeping anyone out. You just have to have the requisite knowledge to get in and thrive.

    Here’s a question i know won’t get answered: Why does OUSD socially promote unprepared Middle School students to High school? I know a few kids from a couple of OUSD Middle Schools who earned all F’s in eight grade, but somehow the High School Teacher is supposed to turn that child into someone ready for College Prep coursework by the tenth grade at a school like Tech? Really??

  • J.R.

    “Why does OUSD socially promote unprepared Middle School students to High school? I know a few kids from a couple of OUSD Middle Schools who earned all F’s in eight grade, but somehow the High School Teacher is supposed to turn that child into someone ready for College Prep coursework by the tenth grade at a school like Tech? Really??”

    This is exactly one of the points of contention, in many cases the whole system is breaking down and letting far too many kids slip through the cracks(which in some cases are chasms). Kids are not being educated, they are just being passed through the system.Why aren’t these kids even learning the basics early on? Multiple people are not doing their job of educating children. We are in fact running a jobs program for adults within the education system(there are of course exceptions to this rule). The point is Harold, these students were passed on through the early years without mastering the basics and therefore weren’t able to handle much of anything resembling rigorous work later on. Parents,admin, children and teachers are all to blame when this happens.

  • Gordon Danning

    Harold (#109) brings up a good point. Suppose Mary is a visual learner, and Egbert is a kinesthetic learner (assuming that those terms have any scientific validity [see discussion here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning_styles#The_2009_APS_Critique.

    Classroom A uses one form of instruction. Mary learns 80% of the material, and Egbert learns 40%

    Classroom B uses differentiated instruction. Mary learns 60% of the material, and Egbert also learns 60%.

    It is not even remotely obvious to me that Classroom B is more “fair” than Classroom A. In each case, one student is falling short of his or her potential.

  • Nextset

    Trevor Vernon: Don’t think just because you are young that you can spout off all the fantasy ideas for as long as you like. It’s later than you think. I know of people younger than you (likely) who were years away from their peers in their teens and very early 20s in classwork and in career placement. They worked with adults as equals and they started college early and fit in as peers with those who were older. You don’t sound like you will make that cut.

    So what I’m saying is that Childhood’s Over – you need to get into life and participate as an adult. That means seeing first hand what works and what doesn’t and watching people you like “not make it”. It doesn’t take too long to become far more pragmatic that you are. In the meantime you would do well to analyze contrary views rather than at 18 or whatever you are, climbing on a horse taller than you are.

    Cries of “racist” are the sign of a weak mind. That you’re resorting to that in public discourse marks you. Not only do you have a pie in the sky idea of how people are (typical for a product of your “schools”) but you think you can emote and discount strangers decades older than you without analyzing their points and perspective. You need to realize you have been trained not to do that – someone like me – a more educated and experienced person in the professions can see you coming and simply hire a better applicant. These debates are not about whether we like each other. They are about policy.

    Perhaps because you know I’m black you have become emotional thinking I am some how betraying some obligation to you or your politics. Again, very bad school training for a young graduate. Typical training at OUSD I understand. You are perhaps going to work in industry or attend higher ed where you will certainly run into competitors who can make roadkill out of you. The more lethal ones might actually smile at you. Do you think strangers owe you anything? Your training as displayed is not that of someone I expect to do well in a competitive college program, any competitive program. That is my experience and it’s no fun to see people I’d like to do well fail because they won’t change and they enjoy thinking about life as you do now. (The behavior persists across many fields of thought and endeavor – refusal to be analytical and being driven on emotion once established gets in the way of all higher study.)

    Back to the points at hand. What part of 50% black drop rate do you not understand as you argue for more college prep at OUSD? What part of the Black scoring gaps in basic literacy and skills do you not understand? This thread is about the drop rate in the College Prep program & OUSD in general. My point is that OUSD needs to stop the emphasis on college prep and raising graduation requirements, slam all of it into reverse, and start fielding programs that get the black population safely into basic literacy, deportment skills and job readiness reserving the college prep programs for those (of any ethnicity) that say they want it and satisfy the prerequisites to go to the smaller separate campuses where such programs would be housed. Cramming unwanted college prep into the dull students is what’s creating the historically high black drop rates and the higher requirements create bars to graduation that are unreasonable.

    And I don’t care if you or anyone else thinks this is “racist”. Save us from white liberals.

    Brave New World.

  • Jim Mordecai

    J.R.:

    You asked the question: ““Why does OUSD socially promote unprepared Middle School students to High school?”

    The short answer is that the School Board ignores the fact that the policies the Board passed ending social promotion in the 90s was dropped by the State Administration under Randy Ward and the Board has not acted to put promotion policy in place. Few principals had been trained in the Board’s policy ending social promotion prior to the Board’s promotion policy being dropped when Randy Ward replaced most of the Oakland School Board policies with the model policies of the California School Board Association. Even today there is no School Board policy on promotion prior to the Board policy on graduation.

    When the District’s policy was in place, the District put in place a report card that is standard’s based and is still used for elementary schools.

    In the 90s the State legislature passed Ed Code that requires each school board to pass regulations ending social promotion in compliance with the following:

    48070. The governing board of each school district and each county superintendent of schools shall adopt policies regarding pupil promotion and retention. A pupil shall be promoted or retained only as provided in the policies adopted pursuant to this article.

    48070.5. (a) In addition to the policy adopted pursuant to Section 48070, the governing board of each school district and each county board of education shall, in those applicable grade levels, approve a
    policy regarding the promotion and retention of pupils between the
    following grades:
    (1) Between second grade and third grade.
    (2) Between third grade and fourth grade.
    (3) Between fourth and fifth grade.
    (4) Between the end of the intermediate grades and the beginning
    of middle school grades which typically occurs between sixth grade
    and seventh grade, but may vary depending upon the grade configuration of the school or school district.
    (5) Between the end of the middle school grades and the beginning of high school which typically occurs between eighth grade and ninth grade, but may vary depending upon the grade configuration of the school or school district.
    (b) The policy shall provide for the identification of pupils who should be retained and who are at risk of being retained in their current grade level on the basis of either of the following:
    (1) The results of the assessments administered pursuant to Article 4 (commencing with Section 60640) of Chapter 5 of Part 33 and the minimum levels of proficiency recommended by the State Board of
    Education pursuant to Section 60648.
    (2) The pupil’s grades and other indicators of academic achievement designated by the district.
    (c) The policy shall base the identification of pupils pursuant to subdivision (b) at the grade levels identified pursuant to paragraph(1) and (2) of subdivision (a) primarily on the basis of the pupil’s
    level of proficiency in reading. The policy shall base the identification of pupils pursuant to subdivision (b) at the grade levels identified pursuant to paragraphs (3) through (5) of subdivision (a) on the basis of the pupil’s level of proficiency in reading, English language arts, and mathematics.
    (d) (1) If either measure identified in paragraph (1) or (2) of subdivision (b) identifies that a pupil is performing below the minimum standard for promotion, the pupil shall be retained in his or
    her current grade level unless the pupil’s regular classroom teacher determines in writing that retention is not the appropriate intervention for the pupil’s academic deficiencies. This written determination shall specify the reasons that retention is not
    appropriate for the pupil and shall include recommendations for interventions other than retention that in the opinion of the teacher are necessary to assist the pupil to attain acceptable levels of
    academic achievement. If the teacher’s recommendation to promote is contingent upon the pupil’s participation in a summer school or interim session remediation program, the pupil’s academic performance
    shall be reassessed at the end of the remediation program, and the decision to retain or promote the pupil shall be reevaluated at that time. The teacher’s evaluation shall be provided to and discussed
    with the pupil’s parent or guardian and the school principal before any final determination of pupil retention or promotion.
    (2) If the pupil does not have a single regular classroom teacher, the policy adopted by the school district shall specify the teacher or teachers responsible for the promotion or retention decision.
    (e) The policy shall provide for parental notification when a pupil is identified as being at risk of retention. This notice shall be provided as early in the school year as practicable. The policy
    shall provide a pupil’s parent or guardian the opportunity to consult with the teacher or teachers responsible for the decision to promote or retain the pupil.
    (f) The policy shall provide a process whereby the decision of the teacher to retain or promote a pupil may be appealed. If an appeal is made, the burden shall be on the appealing party to show why the
    decision of the teacher should be overruled.
    (g) The policy shall provide that pupils who are at-risk of being retained in their current grade be identified as early in the school year, and as early in their school careers, as practicable.
    (h) The policy shall indicate the manner in which opportunities for remedial instruction will be provided to pupils who are recommended for retention or who are identified as being at risk for retention.
    (i) The policy adopted pursuant to this section shall be adopted at a public meeting of the governing board of the school district.
    (j) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the retention of a pupil not included in grade levels identified pursuant to subdivision (a), or for reasons other than those specified in
    subdivision (b), if such retention is determined to be appropriate for that pupil. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit a governing board from adopting promotion and retention policies that exceed the criteria established in this section.

    Jim Mordecai

  • J.R.

    Jim,
    Thanks for the post, I have always been aware of the systemic shortcomings and the manner in which politics plays a part. To address another angle of this issue, the very parents who scream loudest about their child being retained are often ones who don’t even pay taxes(except sales taxes). Districts,principals,and teachers should not have to fear reprisals from substandard parents any more than a child should be subjected to a substandard teacher. The disastrous progressive ideal of -SOCIAL JUSTICE- has played a large part in the self induced crippling of our education system.

  • Trevor Vernon

    Nextset: What’s wrong? You seem upset. We we’re having a somewhat civil conversation and you had to go and blast my future. I’ve already told you I’m an idiot. Do you have to rub it in so hard?

    Here’s the thing though, you’re totally right. I don’t know how I could have thought that way for so long. I guess I am just a child and need to grow into an adult. Come to think of it, I’ve never had an adult conversation, this one included.

    I love standing by and watching people I like “not make it.” I kind of get off on it. That’s why I tutor disadvantaged students. My dumbness rubs off on them and they fail like I have. I have a few questions for you though. Seeing as how you have seen into my life and know I am going to not make the cut or ever get hired, should I give up on life in normal society? If so, what should I move on to? I’m partial to jumping off the bay bridge.

    Your wisdom astounds me. My weak mind did not realize that one could say that black people do not show sexual restraint while not being a racist. You’re clear reasoning has show me this. I have to ask you, black man to black man, don’t you hate washing your hands? I sure do.

    Good for you for not caring if anyone calls you a racist. Public perception is overrated. I have a plan I think you’ll like. Lets only prepare white students for college and make minority students vocational workers. With a little work, we can take this country all the way back to 1776.

    You’re brilliance must be a burden, but it has helped you make the cut. As a black man, it’s incredible you made it to the middle class. You’re doing great working at what I assume is a white collar job, making enough to be fine even if everything crumples around you. Why help anyone out while you’re doing so well?

    Once again, you continue to be right. As a child, I can’t spout off fantasy ideas all day. The first amendment was not written for children. I’ll try to keep my opinions in line with yours. You’ve earned control of my thought process. I didn’t really get your Brave New World reference because I’m stupid. The old me would have thought it was about the government controlling your life and opinions, but I was confused back then.

    The nicest thing about all this is that you know I’m too dumb to write satire, so you know everything I say is genuine. Save us from white liberals.

    1984.

  • Nextset

    Now we are getting somewhere, Trevor. That’s better.

    The next step is for you to pose an argument that the OUSD black students are collectively improved in their quality of life by college prep programs and imposition of college prep classes for a diploma. (as opposed to the small percentage of students who are, Jewish, for example? Persian? Egyptian, Asian Whatever else??

    Mind you, we are not talking of “some” black students, say a fraction of the current 6th graders for example. We are talking about the group as a whole.

    I’m waiting…

    What percentage of the current black OUSD 6th graders do you suppose are statistically likely to get a 4 year degree? Even using 6th graders at OUSD from 12 years ago, or 15 years ago. This is where that drop rate becomes problematic. A 50% drop rate for OUSD blacks or thereabout. So tell me how you are going to “help” with the college prep thing.. Increase the algebra requirements a bit more?

    You assume I think from your post above that I points are a matter of making the poor black folk take voc ed. You seem to think that I would take away the college prep, maybe reserve it for whites. (if you can find any (significant number) in LA Unified or OUSD).

    Your arguments are flawed because you don’t want the population to choose of their own free will what educational program to enroll in. It’s not like you’re supporting a wide variety of options (Charters?).

    As far as preparing white students for college and deliberately not preparing blacks – or mexicans (which is what I really believe OUSD and LA Unified are actually doing) – Try preparing blacks for prison, welfare and early graves and not having any white students to speak of, the whites having sidestepped ghetto districts in favor of white (ie Negro Free) districts.

    Not only are we not preparing the black students for a 4 year degree, we are (at ghetto school districts such as OUSD & LAUSD) quite carefully making them unemployable and non-competitive. Basic education, deportment and voc ed is vastly more important than the college prep programs for white OR black students in the urban public schools. If we have to cancel all the college prep courses for the few to maintain the basic ed for themasses – especially the 50% dropouts who had no program they found worth showing up for – it could be justified.

    It’s the local school board that decides the balance of what they will sacrifice on basics to fund the strivers. There is a balance. Right now OUSD is throwing the majority of the black kids under the bus (no driver’s ed and training, for example) in order to fund college prep for some. Good for the school board, they are elected to make those decisions and somebody has to get defunded.

    I just think we are WAY too eager to consign a huge percentage of the blacks to non-education. When the Mexicans complete their takeover of the municipalities you can bet the priorities are going to change. They are under far fewer illusions of what is what – elitism notwithstanding.

    The problem with OUSD is the unacceptably small percentage of black “products” that can even get a job at McDonalds or get accepted in the Army. Spare us your pious comments about college prep. The role of OUSD is to provide a floor below which the average black student can’t fall. Not to feed to Stanford. OUSD doesn’t do a good enough job providing a floor. The district needs to concentrate it’s energies there.

    Your satire is better, by the way.

  • Trevor Vernon

    There is no getting through to you so I’m going to say a few last things and leave it at that.

    You keep putting up statistics, saying that’s the way it is, and that’s that. That’s wrong.

    The key to making OUSD better is getting the students to a higher level, not lowering the difficulty of the classes. As an OUSD alum, I know the classes are plenty easy. I want to make students better. You want to make classes worse. It’s clear to me that I’m right. Look at your own logic before critiquing mine.

    Just because you think so low of me, I’d like to point out a few of the highlights of my life. I spent a month in New Orleans gutting houses post Katrina/Rita. I graduated from UCSC with a 3.5 GPA and will be attending Colorado State to receive my masters in mechanical engineering. I tutor at the Boys and Girls Club and bring fruits and sandwiches for the kids with money out of my own pocket. I’m not worried about making the cut you are so interested in. I am concerned with improving the quality of life of the people around me, even if mine has to take a hit. I’ll be fine regardless of what you think.

    I’m not going to change your mind so you’re not worth talking to. I’d say have a good life, but you haven’t earned that type of respect from me. Here’s your chance to have the last word.

  • Nextset

    Oh, the young…

    Notice the snide remark at the end… classic.

    Notice the inability to answer the main point of contention. Does pouring money and “education” on students with lower IQs and/or unwillingness to pursue education magically transform a dull student to a college ready student? Libs believe so, mainly because it’s job security. Experiences says absolutely not.

    So Trevor, the purpose of America’s Public School System is to prepare (mainly the proles) for Industry, Military Service or Higher Education. Only a percentage of students are fit for higher education. This is not a new concept.

    Everybody cannot reasonably go to college. Only a fraction of public school students have any business in a real college. Especially now that the taxpayers have reduced their contribution to the cost and the students have to sign non-dischargable debt to pay for the experience. If they don’t have a reasonable expexctation of earning power to carry the debt they don’t belong in “college”. So much for Black Studies and the other basketweaving majors.

    The party days of the 1960s with UC costing less than $300/year are over.

    Good luck with your career in Mechanical Engineering. Good luck with altruism. I don’t approve of that so much. I tend to agree with Ayn Rand on things like Habitat for Humanity and I’d have had nothing to do with the Katrina cleanup, leaving that to the stakeholders.

    Tried thinking the other way. I grew up. You will too. While I “help” people, I am nowhere near as indiscriminate and unfocused as when I was your age. Not complaining, it’s just how life works.

  • Nextset

    Typo above on “expectation”.

    And a final thought..

    One of the things I did learn from when I was your age and running around “helping” people indiscriminately was that I helped them get worse – or persist in their bad behavior. Oh they said they would change, but in the end I learned that my “help” was really part of the process where they worked (even without planning to) to maintain the status quo or worse. And another thing – people you age cannot tell when they’re being lied to – by anybody.

    So you really have to be careful with your “help”.

    Good luck with that.