November 17, 2019

The Lie that Keeps on Giving

Did you ever hear of Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C.? Founded in 1870, it was the first public school for black students in America. Academically, it was a remarkable success, with a high number of graduates who went on to make a mark in all aspects of life. Families moved to Washington so their children could attend Dunbar, where many of the faculty had Ph.D.’s

For years, Dunbar was considered the best high school for blacks in the United States, with 80 percent going on to college. This status remained until 1976, but, with desegregation, standards began to fall. Today, Dunbar is considered a failing school, and there is talk of shutting it down.

How was it possible that black students back then, many from difficult backgrounds, were able to succeed, while many black students today drop out at an alarming rate? If you are looking for an answer, don’t look to Arne Duncan, who, until last month, had been President Obama’s Secretary of Education for the past seven years. He can’t explain Dunbar’s success, but he sure knows how to lie to explain drop-out rates of black students.

Last month, Duncan made his last official speech as Secretary in his home city of Chicago. One would think that Duncan would focus on educational issues, but, you see, he’s on shaky ground there because the Obama Department of Education has only exacerbated the problems in the black schools. So, he had to deflect the failures of public education by focusing on phony issues.

In his speech, he declared that his biggest failure as Secretary was his inability to get more gun control. No, I’m serious. The Washington Post described the moment: “Fighting off tears as he looked ahead, he said, ‘We have to get guns out of the wrong people’s hands. We have to make sure our babies our safe.’”

This was no epiphany for Duncan. After the Supreme Court ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) that the Second Amendment protected the right of individuals to own guns, Duncan opined, “I’m still trying to figure out who we are more in love with, our children or our guns.”

Duncan also told his audience that police “unnecessarily use deadly force and aren’t held accountable.” He added that the “police culture” needs a “seismic change.”

The lie that education failure is due to guns and bad police serves only to distract parents and students from the failures of public education, particularly in large urban areas. The hoped-for conclusion goes like this: “Man, it’s not the school’s fault that my son can’t read; it’s those darn guns and honky cops.”

A few weeks earlier, Duncan decided to play the ever-effective race card to explain student failure. In a speech before the National Press Club, he argued that inferior student achievement must be seen through the prism of race and class: “In the wake of Ferguson, Baltimore, and elsewhere, this has become a central discussion in America, and rightly so.” To be more specific, he added, “Suspensions, expulsions, and expectations for learning track far too closely to race and class.” In other words, black students do not get suspended or expelled because they are doing destructive things in the classroom. No, these punishments take place because of racism on the part of teachers and administrators.

Does Duncan have a solution? Of course, he does. The government must spend more money:

As long as children in Ferguson are getting less that half the money spent on them as children in other communities, we’re going to have real challenges; we’re going to leave a lot of talent on the sidelines and we’re going to lock up far too many young people.

Again, the message is, “Your daughter is failing because of racism and a lack of financial resources, which inevitably will lead her to prison.”

What Duncan and his ilk will never do is look at the black community itself. They will never address the issue of the destruction of the black family, a direct result of liberal attitudes toward sex. Nor will they admit that removing religion from the schools has left children with no moral compass, resulting in schools overwhelmed by crime, cruelty, and chaos.

G.K. Chesterton wrote, “Because the elementary school does not teach theology, it must be excused when it doesn’t teach anything. This bias of the modern world is so enormous that it will allow a thing to be inefficient as long as it is also irreligious.” How prescient Chesterton was.

The great tragedy is that the vast majority of blacks accept these fabricated myths about student failure, and their children pay a horrible price for their parents’ blind adherence to a political party that wants to keep them on the plantation.

Oh, by the way. Duncan and his wife will now move back to Chicago. His children will attend one of the most dangerous public schools in the country. No, no. I’m kidding. They will attend the University of Chicago Laboratory School, a prestigious private school that has ignored virtually every “school-improvement” policy promoted by Duncan and his Department. So, not only does Duncan lie, but he is also a shameless hypocrite.

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Written by
Thomas Addis

THOMAS ADDIS is a retired high school teacher and published author, most recently authoring a children's book, A Gift of Light, which is available at Amazon. An M.A. graduate of Oakland University, he is Associate Editor of Catholic Journal. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and cycling.

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Written by Thomas Addis
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