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December 3, 2005

The New White Flight?

Lita Johnson quotes Leonard Pitts:

Consider the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a federal study released last month. It found that, despite some improvement, American kids remain academically underwhelming. Only 31 percent of fourth-graders, for instance, were rated ''proficient'' or better in reading. Just 30 percent of eighth-graders managed to hit that mark in math.

In recent years, I've taught writing at an elite public high school and three universities. I've been appalled at how often I've encountered students who could not put a sentence together and had no conception of grammar and punctuation. They tell me I'm a tough grader, and the funny thing is, I think of myself as a soft touch. ''I've always gotten A's before,'' sniffed one girl to whom I thought I was being generous in awarding a C-plus.

It occurs to me that this is the fruit of our dumbing down education in the name of ''self-esteem.'' This is what we get for making the work easier instead of demanding the students work harder -- and the parents be more involved.

So this new white flight is less a surprise than a fresh disappointment. And I've got news for those white parents:

They should be running in the opposite direction.

Posted by Jim Zellmer at December 3, 2005 6:34 AM
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