News/Comment; Posted on: 2005-01-10 14:16:55
The 'close the achievement gap' education policy is a direct attack on White children and their future.
by Anne Lawford
ONE OF THE MOST vicious attacks on White people in the United States today is the “close the achievement gap” education policy actively promoted by the Federal government. It is particularly cowardly in that it is directed against White children of all ages, even the little ones in grade school. Congress made this discriminatory policy part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in 1994. That same policy has been continued in the deliberately misnamed “No Child Left Behind” Act that President George W. Bush signed into law in January 2002. In fact, Bush campaigned in favor of this policy.
Ultimately, this policy is about jobs. “Achievement” in the slogan “close the achievement gap” is not used in the sense we have always used it; that is, an accomplishment brought about by one’s own efforts. The social engineers who coined this phrase mean “jobs with high salaries” when they talk about achievement. The hidden agenda behind this policy is to position minorities, no matter how incompetent, so they can step into colleges and universities, and from there into well paying jobs; and to position Whites, especially White males, so they can only get jobs that pay poorly. (ILLUSTRATION: St. George and the Dragon, a sculpture at Princeton University, symbolizes the struggle White students face against their hidden and open enemies in the educational establishment.)
The Cheat White Children Act
The statement of purpose at the beginning of the No Child Left Behind Act says that the “purpose [of the Act] can be accomplished by …closing the achievement gap between high- and low-performing children, especially the achievement gaps between minority and non-minority students….” Today the only non-minority student is the White student. State testing, which measures whether the achievement gap between White students and minority students is closing, has made this policy the tail that wags the public education dog, in Kindergarten through high school. The Act requires states and school districts to submit annual “report cards” showing student achievement on a group by group basis for all the groups it defines as “disadvantaged” due to their race, ethnicity, and inability to speak and read English, among other factors. And, of course, scores for the White group, the advantaged group, must be included to show whether the achievement gap between them and other students is closing. Comparative rates of graduation from high school for each group must be reported so the government can monitor whether the gap in graduation rates has been narrowed.
But, for example, in states like Texas, California and Arizona, where thousands of non-English speaking Mexicans stream across the border each year, this policy asks the impossible; unless there is a dramatic shift of resources to the Mexicans and their grades are massively inflated at the same time those of White students are deflated. Truly, this law would more aptly have been called the “Cheat White Children Out of Resources and the Grades They Earn” Act.
Many people are well aware of the fact that “affirmative action” has resulted in White men being discriminated against in the workplace in order to permit less well qualified minority candidates to come out ahead of them in hiring and promotions. For example, employees at the General Accounting Office were told last October that, before being finalized, the performance ratings prepared by their supervisors were reviewed by the Managing Director of the agency’s Office of Opportunity and Inclusiveness to “look for patterns that need to be addressed… particularly regarding protected groups such as… minorities.” And last April five “non-minority” males at Robins Air Force Base filed a reverse discrimination suit after they obtained evidence that the ratings of two minority males were raised while their own ratings (and that of one non-minority female) were downgraded.
So it is widely recognized that, in practice, the so-called “affirmative” action policy depends on unprincipled negative tactics to accomplish its ends. It depends on an employer’s willingness to inflate the job ratings of minority employees and deflate the ratings of Whites.
Falsifying Test Results
But not enough people realize that in school districts around the country teachers are being coerced into robbing White children of their rightful grades, using this “close the achievement gap” policy as the justification. For example, the Heritage Foundation reported in a paper dated April 13, 1999, when George W. Bush was Governor of Texas, that sanctions in Texas for schools that failed to close the achievement gap had resulted in “wholesale layoffs of staff.” Teachers and administrators in other states where the “Close the Achievement Gap” policy is enforced are fearful of losing their jobs, too.
In one Texas school where the achievement gap on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) had narrowed over a 5 year period, White students had made little improvement compared to Blacks and Hispanics, according to the school’s “report card.” In fact, the performance of the White students in writing actually declined compared to Texas Hispanics! The New York Times, on April 7, 1999, reported that officials in a Texas school district had been indicted for manipulating test results data. And there have been reports of fraud in other states as well.
This policy is not only about closing the gap in standardized tests, as bad as that alone would be. It’s also about grades given by teachers on their own classroom tests as well. Writing assignments are particularly vulnerable to manipulation, and, as you can see from the school “report card” discussed above, they are being manipulated to the detriment of Whites.
You can find “report cards” on school district Web sites around the country, especially in states like Texas where the “close the achievement gap” policy has been enforced by firing teachers and closing schools. One can only imagine how academically gifted White children are faring at the hands of teachers under so much pressure to “close the achievement gap.” This anti-White system of grade manipulation masquerades under the high sounding rubric “accountability,” but it is about rigging outcomes. It is not about holding teachers and administrators accountable for providing all children with appropriate opportunities to learn.
In his foreword endorsing a book titled Outcome Equity In Education in 1994, New York’s Education Commissioner let the cat out of the bag by calling for “broadening the definition of equity beyond the traditional concerns with inputs… to move towards outcome equity.”
A Decades-Long Policy
This close the achievement gap education “policy” has been implemented for many years in colleges and universities, where arrogant department chairmen have long been free to treat students arbitrarily. This is the reason why so many high-performing high school students have dropped out of college, and why high SAT scores are no longer a good predictor of graduation from college.
But those at colleges and universities who do this dirty work have been told they need not worry about getting caught. In a 1995 article, the Bulletin of The American Association of Higher Education declared: “If…a student doesn’t do well in college, [people] blame the student.” When I read that statement, I was reminded of the scandal involving the Shell Oil Company’s polybutylene pipes that would burst after being in use only a short time. When company technicians called attention to the product’s poor quality, a company executive responded with a memo saying nothing ought to be done to improve the product because “…people will blame the plumbers.”
Arbitrary and Abusive
In an article entitled “Harvard Faces the Aftermath of a Graduate Student’s Suicide,” the Chronicle of Higher Education, October 23, 1998, reported that a graduate student at Harvard had committed suicide, and in his suicide notes blamed his advisor for his death. The article described the student, Jason Altom, as “by everyone’s estimation one of the best graduate students in Harvard University’s chemistry department.” The article said the student’s death raised questions about student advising, and, according to the author, the suicide is symptomatic of the “skewed power relationship” problem that exists at most universities.
The article said there had been eight graduate student suicides at Harvard since 1980. (Note the year, 1980. The 1980s was the decade when “outcomes assessment” in higher education grew dramatically. See more on this below.) Four of the students were in the chemistry department, and three of the four, including Mr. Altom, worked for the same research advisor: Elias J. Corey. Although Mr. Altom was considered the finest student in the Corey group and helped teach Mr. Corey’s advanced chemistry course, observers at Harvard said Mr. Altom had good reason to fear that “his advisor might turn on him.” They said it had happened to others before, and several students were “kicked out” in their fifth or sixth year by Mr. Corey.
Advising, in a “close the achievement gap” environment, means blocking promising White students from graduating with degrees in math or science, and discouraging their progress in other fields as well.
“They are killing them here”
One day when I was at the University of Maryland posting flyers to announce a meeting of concerned college students and their parents, a graduate of the engineering school there read one and came up to talk to me. He told me that when he was an undergraduate in engineering at the school, he had had to take a job because, as a foreign undergraduate (Iranian), he was not eligible for the American aid that foreign graduate students get. He said that because he was working he did not have all the time he needed for studying. Consequently, he didn’t have a good grasp of the subjects he took and had to rely on help from his American classmates. He told me that again and again, after they had explained the homework to him and prepared him for exams, he would do well on the exams and they would not. He said it upset and embarrassed him. He said the school kept on “weeding out” the American engineering students right through their junior year. He said he couldn’t find any explanation for it. He said, “They are killing them here.”
The Chronicle of Higher Education reported a few years ago that Arkansas State Senator Nick Wilson led a rebellion in Arkansas against so-called “accountability” in higher education because it involved tying institutions’ funding to how well they met goals promoting preferences. They were called “performance” goals. Nevertheless, many colleges and universities, at least as far back as the 1980s, have adopted the “accountability” scheme spelled out in the No Child Left Behind Act. After learning how the No Child Left Behind Act has been designed to “close the achievement gap,” the similarity between the practices this law mandates and what the colleges and universities are doing becomes apparent. For example, academic deans at the University of Pittsburgh were told three years ago that their budgets would be cut if they failed to bring the grades and graduation rates of minority students in line with those of non-minority students.
But how does a college implement a policy of making sure that ethnic and other minorities get grades and have graduation rates that match those of White students? Does it achieve this goal by inflating the grades of minority students, by deflating the grades of White students, or both? Does it increase the graduation rates of minority students compared to White students by decreasing the graduation rate of White students?
How does this policy affect the chances that White students can graduate on time, or even graduate at all? How fair are the grades they get?
At American University, White students who have completed all the courses for a PhD have been stonewalled in attempts to go forward with writing a thesis. No thesis, no PhD — another step towards “Closing the Achievement Gap.”
At the University of Virginia (UVA) White undergraduates taking a graduate level chemistry course were denied keys to the Chemistry Building, locked evenings and weekends, where required reading for the course was kept on reserve. Graduate students in the course automatically received the keys. Undergraduates were told it was Chemistry Department policy to provide the keys only to graduate students.
Also at UVA, a White student who had gotten straight A’s in an Economics course received an F as his final grade. When the student questioned him about it the professor said, “Life isn’t fair,” and refused to provide further explanation. The student filed a grievance, but nothing was ever done about it.
So it should come as no surprise that a study of students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) showed the dropout rate among those who tested high in problem solving ability was 3 times the dropout rate of those who did not.
Public Kept in the Dark
Ward Connerly, the Black regent of the University of California who has spoken out against preferences in admissions, has written a book in which he recalls that “[T]he same university administrators who would later defend preference policies [in admissions] as vitally necessary to build a just society were not even willing to acknowledge the existence of such practices.”
The same thing can be said about “outcomes assessment” at colleges and universities. According to “Tracking a Subtle Storm, Assessment Policies in Higher Education” which appeared in the March/April 1998 issue of Change, outcomes assessment in higher education has already been around for at least 25 years.
How many parents know about it? The article says, “Welcomed, resisted or debated, ‘outcomes assessment’ has become a staple of K-12 reform over the last two decades. The eagerness of state legislators to use outcome measures… has brought with it… political controversy. What has passed with much less public fanfare [Italics mine], but no less fervor, is the implementation of similar assessment initiatives for higher education… The movement is now two decades old.”
A 1995 article, “Measuring Up: The Promises and Pitfalls of Performance Indicators in Higher Education,” says “The 1980s was also distinguished by the growth of the movement toward assessment and accountability. While higher education in the United States was affected by several phenomena during this decade, surely none created more fundamental change than the movement toward assessment.” [Emphasis mine.]
One of those fundamental changes that coincides with the movement toward “performance indicators” in higher education is the phenomenon of large numbers of high-achieving high school students failing to graduate from college in four, five, six, or even seven years. According to a study by the Educational Testing Service, of the top performing students on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) exam who went on to college in 1980, only half had graduated within seven years. The Department of Education did a study of “persistence” in college attendance, and concluded that if a student has not graduated in seven years, he probably never will.
With this policy of “closing the achievement gap” between Whites and other groups, the federal government went beyond “affirmative action” into the realm of “reverse discrimination.” Not surprisingly, the escalation of this destructive policy in the early 1980s happened at about the same time as the creation of the Citizens’ Commission On Civil Rights. The Commission was established in 1982 with a mission “to seek ways to accelerate progress” in civil rights.
It is a policy that breeds hostility toward high-achieving students. How many parents know that this policy is driving federal involvement in elementary and secondary education? Parents are even less likely to know the role this policy plays in education at the college and university level, where the federal government exercises enormous influence over accreditation.
If there is one thing high achievers have in common it is hard work, no matter what their line of endeavor. Gene Kelly, the well-known star of 1950s Hollywood musicals, said of his better known colleague, Fred Astaire, “Audiences never knew the incredible effort that Fred put into every number. He made it all look so easy.” The same can be said of those who excel in math, chemistry, and dozens of other challenging subjects. Robbing them of the fruits of their labor is stealing; whether it is done at gunpoint, or by a federal department, or by an Act of Congress or a state legislature, or by the actions of a university cabal. It is stealing whether it is done by dishonestly grading writing assignments to lower the grades of White students, or by lying about White students’ standing in classes where grading is done on a curve.
The U.S. Department of Education is funding a massive “research” effort by the National Center for Postsecondary Improvement (NCPI) at Stanford to try to discover how to accelerate the adoption of outcomes assessment in higher education. One of the so-called “studies” by the NCPI group is on how to restructure higher education to make it more amenable to the assessment agenda. The overall head of several of the projects is Michael T. Nettles, the first Executive Director of the Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute at the United Negro College Fund.
Among the NCPI’s findings is the fact that research universities are more likely than other institutional types to have an “informal” undergraduate student assessment policy in place, and to provide reports on specific student subgroups. An “informal” assessment policy means faculty members and administrators decide among themselves in secret which White students to sabotage, without bothering to justify their tactics by invoking a trumped up “policy.” Approximately half the schools in the study disaggregate assessment data by subgroups of students; that is, they provide scores for Blacks as a group, Whites as a group, and so on, just like the No Child Left Behind Act requires states and school districts to do.
The NCPI group also learned that compared to other types of institutions, research universities make the highest use of rewards or incentives for administrators as a means of promoting student assessment. Research universities are also most likely to decentralize decisions concerning student assessment to academic units or programs. In other words, these decisions are left to department chairmen, many of whom are Jews.
Jews and Asians the Chief Beneficiaries
The chief beneficiaries of this “close the achievement gap” policy in post-secondary education are Jews and Asians, who have come to constitute a disproportionately high percentage of the student body at most of our more prestigious colleges and universities. At Harvard, for example, they constitute approximately 50 percent of the students, as Ron Unz, Pat Buchanan and others have pointed out; although the percentage of Jews in the entire U.S. population is generally estimated at less than 4 percent.
Yet, according to an article by Stuart Silverstein that appeared in the Los Angeles Times on December 20, 2002, American students identifying themselves as Jewish averaged only 1161 on their SATs in 2001. That is barely above the national average of 1020, which includes the scores of Blacks and Hispanics. A perfect score is 1600, and every year there are students who get a perfect score in one or both of the SAT exams. So Jews as a group are not extraordinarily high achievers on the SATs.
Just before World War II, Jews were brought to the United States from Germany, Austria, Sweden, and other countries that did not want them, and were handed professorships at some of our top universities. These positions were sinecures, since pressure to “publish or perish” came years later, after the Jews felt confident they were in control of academic journals. They gradually brought other Jews into the universities as faculty members and administrators until, for example, again according to Stuart Silverstein, currently one third of the deans at the University of Southern California are Jews. Deans are among those who advise and counsel students at colleges and universities. And academic deans are often the officials responsible for graduation rates.
The Jews also brought in lots of Jewish students. A political science professor at Cornell, Andrew Hacker, quipped while handing back exams with unusually poor scores, “Cornell has become so liberal it’s now letting in dumb Jews.” That was in 1961. Many “dumb Jews” have since become professors at our universities, where bright students are constantly at risk of embarrassing them with questions they can’t answer.
Foreign Students: Their Labor is Very, Very Cheap
During the past couple of decades, while “performance funding” and “accountability” in higher education were gaining momentum and providing a rationale for forcing White Americans out of our colleges and universities, the number of foreign students in our science and engineering programs has skyrocketed. In many departments most of the graduate students are foreigners, and in some departments all the graduate students are foreigners. The English of many of them is very poor, but they are provided with instruction in remedial English — and with inflated grades. Along with low-achieving minority undergraduates, they are being “mentored” through to graduation by virtue of participation in various taxpayer funded programs established for that purpose.
American undergraduate science students carry a workload that is often double that of non-science students, while foreign students are admitted to our graduate science programs on the basis of a multiple choice test. Foreigners got 28 percent of U.S. doctorates in 1999, according to a report issued in 2001 from the University of Chicago. Why? In part, because their labor is very, very cheap. In testimony presented in support of a bill introduced back in 1992 that would have encouraged American universities to use federal research funds for the support of more American students, a witness said, “alien students” were working 90 or more hours per week to get a PhD. This system was described as one of “indentured servitude under the disguise of education.” The claim that these students were brought into our country for their brains is ludicrous.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) opposed the bill to encourage American universities to use federal research funds for the support of more American students. The NSF did not dispute the fact that foreign students far outnumber Americans in many of our graduate science departments. The federal government is the primary source of financial assistance for graduate science departments.
As people come to know more about what has been happening to many White youths who were admitted to our colleges and universities, they will realize that the current debate over getting rid of affirmative action in admissions is a side issue. All the hype about court decisions ending admissions policies that include racial quotas is a red herring. Those affected by race-based admissions quotas are marginal students. And most of those whom Curt Levy’s Center for Individual Rights has represented seem to be Jews. The Jews are chameleons who pose as Whites when it suits them, but emerge as an ethnic minority whenever they can benefit from preferences. The really ugly situation is the abuse genuinely White students are subjected to inside the universities, including arbitrary grading.
How well do you suppose universities treat those they have tried so hard, by means of admissions quotas, to keep out? Victims of discrimination in admissions had only to endure the letter of rejection. Those who are admitted under a Close the Achievement Gap policy endure years of torment from administrators and faculty members who do not want them to take their rightful place in the professions.
This policy has given rise to “informal” assessment, which is often no different than malicious hazing. On some campuses, minorities even have preferences in getting into classes. And access to classes is fundamental to graduating on time. Preferences in class enrollment is especially discouraging for White students when required courses are not made available as needed. For example, a few years ago, the chairman of the chemistry department at the University of Hawaii admitted that classes there for chemistry majors are not offered regularly.
Bonds and Ditching Whites
International credit rating firms contribute to this situation in colleges and universities that issue their own bonds, like Harvard and UVA. High bond ratings mean schools pay lower interest to bond holders. Colleges and universities are judged more selective and, therefore, more deserving of higher credit ratings, the higher the average SAT scores of entering freshmen. But the credit rating firms do not consider whether any of those students with high SAT scores ever graduate.
For example, the credit rating firm Standard & Poors (S&P) rates colleges on “student quality,” among other criteria. It considers the average SAT scores of incoming freshmen to be a prime indicator of student quality. But it does not downgrade a school’s bond rating if none of the high scoring freshmen graduate. In fact, S&P looks favorably on what it calls the practice of “weeding out” students. And, according to a firm representative, some schools that have adopted the practice of weeding out students have presented this fact “very effectively” as a basis for being viewed as selective. Specialized programs, especially science and engineering, like to use the weeding out practice, she said. Consequently, marginal minority students are transferred into prestigious colleges and universities from colleges without stringent entrance requirements to take the places of more capable White students who were deliberately forced out.
S&P’s penchant for dabbling in social engineering became apparent when, in March 1995, S&P went so far as to threaten Howard University, an historically Black school, with a downgrade for, among other things, “sharp declines in the number of transfer and international students enrolling.”
Every White Child an Advocate
I came across an account of a seven-year-old boy who used a toy tape recorder to record his teacher’s remarks in class because he wanted to let his mother hear how mean she was. It occurred to me that, in those states where it is permitted by law, it would be a wise precaution to send all college students off to school with tape recorders, and instruct them to tape each and every conversation with academic deans, department chairmen and other advisors. A specialist in audio electronic security applications showed me a variety of affordable recorders and microphones, some as small as a fountain pen. In fact, the listening device in one instrument he showed me is concealed in a fountain pen.
Opportunities abound at our colleges and universities for lawsuits, including class action suits, in defense of White students who have been the victims of the “close the achievement gap” policy. We need more White lawyers to step forward and aggressively defend the many White students whose careers have been undermined by the discrimination inherent in these grading and graduation policies. The past and future lost earnings of White students, especially those who entered a college or university in the 1970s or 1980s that had this policy, amounts to billions of dollars. The pain and suffering they have endured is immense; especially if they dropped out without a degree but with a heavy burden of student loan debt. It is time that every White student who goes to college goes with a view to compiling evidence for his or her own lawsuit.
And we need White lawyers to provide support to White students while they are in college. White administrators and faculty members with a conscience can help, too. They are in a good position to make copies of incriminating memoranda. The lawsuit by the White employees at Robbins was made possible by the interception of an internal memorandum, as was the successful suit against the Shell Oil Company for damage caused by polybutylene pipes.
We have been harmed, grievously. They are the guilty. Let’s make them pay.
1. By “White” in this paper I mean Caucasian, since that is how the term is usually defined in statistical studies and also how it is used by the journalists who are, in many cases, my sources.
2. See, for example, in the Washington Times for March 25, 2000, an article entitled, “Minority Support Sought by Bush.”
3. In 1982 the Supreme Court ruled that children who are in the United States illegally must be permitted to attend public elementary and secondary schools.
4. Two programs established to help minority students enter “and complete” college are the TRIO and GEAR UP programs. Taken together, they represent more than $1 billion each year in annual funding, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
Anne Lawford is a freelance writer in Virginia who specializes in education issues.
State education statistics
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