“I think somehow the culture has taught us or we’ve allowed the culture to teach us that the point of living is to get as much as you can and experience as much pleasure as you can, and that the implicit promise is that will make you happy. I know that’s almost offensively simplistic, but the effects of it aren’t simplistic at all.”—David Foster Wallace (via wordpainting)
New York’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, like so many others who call themselves “progressive,” is gung-ho to solve social problems. In fact, he is currently on a crusade to solve an educational problem that doesn’t exist, even though there are plenty of other educational problems that definitely do exist.
The non-existent problem is the use of tests to determine who gets admitted to the city’s three most outstanding public high schools — Stuyvesant, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech. These admissions tests have been used for generations, and the students in these schools have had spectacular achievements for generations….
The biggest political problem is that the teachers’ unions don’t like them — and the teachers’ unions are the 800-pound gorilla among the special interests in Bill de Blasio’s Democratic Party.
The next biggest political problem is that people who don’t pass the tests for the elite public high schools don’t want to have to pass tests to get in….
Black and Hispanic students are rare at all three elite public high schools, and becoming rarer….
If racism is the reason why there are so few blacks in Stuyvesant High School, why were blacks a far higher proportion in Stuyvesant in earlier times, as far back as 1938? Was there less racism in 1938? Was there less poverty among blacks in 1938?
We know that there were far fewer black children raised in single-parent homes back then and there was far less social degeneracy represented by things like gangsta rap. If Mayor de Blasio wants to solve real problems, let him take these on.
“The chaos in Ferguson is but the latest episode of this long, sad drama of resentment and revenge. The drama persists in part because so many journalists and academics, not to mention black activists, have so much invested in it. It’s the conceptual air that they breathe. Sadly, to paraphrase the philosopher Ernest Gellner, some failed practices cannot be the subject of reconsideration, because they already shape the way we think.”—