Cut Out The Eugenics And Transform New York City’s Schools

Recently I saw a movie, which brought tears to my eyes. I was first a little embarrassed by the uncontrolled water leaking from my eyes. I let the river flow freely feeling a sense of relief and validation. Looking around at my fellow movie mates, I saw emotional expressions of tears shed in empathy for human pain and suffering. Making my way to the rest rooms, it was possible in the light to see these silent weepers of the dark. Listening to the conversations  – I became aware that many of these were teachers, I dare not ask them were they weeping for the children, the disappointed mothers and fathers, or were they weeping for themselves as silent victims caught in this mass destruction of human life and future.

The unintentional power to decide who goes to a university and who goes to prison was not the choice consciously made by teachers who only wanted to make a difference in student’s lives. To devote years of study and thousands of dollars in still unpaid student loans – just to discover that you have been part of a system, which destroys lives, create slums and gives birth to the class of the walking dead, can be devastating. Were these the tears of the oven builders, or the people  – to organized the orderly walk into a future of death? Would someone come by later and wake up these oven builders and blame them for the deaths of millions of minds? Would they say they did not know what they were doing and that they were just following orders? Were these tears of the silent awakening? I do not know, I did not ask. I cried because I saw my life’s work on the screen, and I said, it is a beginning.

         If children are failing in school, it is because the schools are failing the students. Students fail because teachers are failing students. Teachers fail because universities are failing teachers.  

    What are universities saying to teachers that result in teachers expecting low performance from some students, and withholding quality expectations and instructions from the students?

 Has it missed the attention of tax payers, paying billions of dollars for failure, that this same poor performing population can operate sophisticated smart phones and advanced technological devices, suggesting they are cognitively ready for academic work. If Apple and Windows operating systems can create operating systems in phones and computers, tapping into the intellectual abilities of poor students, then why is there a problem with the educational system in New York City?

It is time to look at the teacher training institutions in New York City, to determine if there is a core of racism and anti poor “Hidden Curriculum” causing problems of failing schools.

 New York City has the best higher education system in the world, attracting the best and the finest, if we can educate the world, why can we not educate our own children?

        It also has the worst education system designed to keep the status poor in its place. Money is the determing factor in who gets what, in terms of a quality teacher in New York City.  Many new teachers learn needed teaching skills by working in poor under performing schools, it is there that the reality of student potential meets the reality of preparation, and many drop out.

 I am proud to say that Columbia University, the university from which I graduated, has built a school in Harlem serving staff members children and the children from the Harlem community. Columbia was able to find private individuals who would pick up the cost of educating students of the community. Columbia University sits in the middle of Harlem and uses its resources and power to make a difference in the lives of so many. The public schools however, is a government responsibility, and it is the government through departments of Curriculum and Instructions that determine, what teachers will learn and what students will learn, and what teachers should expect from certain populations. In America, the past does not predict the future, and conditions of birth and social class is not the determing factor in future success. In America, miracles happen all the time, and the miracle starts in the public school. The public schools educated the masses of immigrants coming to this country, and the public schools turned many African Americans into millionaires, suggesting that the public system can do the job, they have just lost the way.

         Many  institutions and private individuals are  attempting to fill the void, this of course is private education, and private schools do not use Eugenics in its education practices.  Billions are still paid for public schools, and it is time to demand top quality for all for the money invested.

         It is not the student or the family, it is the zip code of the school, some schools are feeder schools for prison industry; take these same minority or poor students place them in a different educational environment with different teachers and they succeed.

Years ago, president Bush advised parents that they did not have to keep children in low performing school, the money follows the child.  Changing the system of planned failure will be difficult, because many have a vested interest in failure. Failure in public schools  is a multi- millions dollar business, in remediations staff and resources. There is also the question of whether the privileged classes are willing to share a piece of American pie with the other classes? Eugenics works well in the public schools because it sustains the status quo, the rich will get richer, and the poor will remain poor, receiving a poverty based education traping people in a culture of poverty. If China is educating her billions of citizens for the future, America needs to rethink this idea of under-educating the poor and minority.

        America should be ashamed because this is planned failure of children’s lives. American lives are not cheap, and just as we will fight any foreign power that beheads one of our citizens, so we will find any home grown entity attempting to cut off the future of a child through programming the mind for failure. It is time for America to remove Eugenics as the hidden curriculum of universities preparing teachers to teach the poor, and schools serving multicultural populations.

Eugenics is the science used by Germany during WW2, it teachers that certain groups are inferior and subhuman, therefore they should not be treated as human, or expected to perform cognitive assignments successfully. This Eugenics caused the loss of 6 million of our brothers and sisters in Germany, it is a dangerous science.  The message is hidden, but the intent can be observed in schools serving the poor and minority.

           Waiting for Superman, waiting for Moses, waiting for Jesus or Mohammed may not be the answer, we are called to find the Superman, Moses, Jesus and Mohammed within ourselves to transform and educational system that is man made and must be man saved. The best and the worst education comes out of this system, let us intentionally choose the best for all children and teachers.

  • A survey by the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality (Immerwahr, Doble, Johnson, Rochkind & Ott, 2007) compares responses of new teachers from three alternative programs (Teach for America, New Teacher Project, and Troops for Teachers) with those of new traditionally prepared teachers also teaching in high-needs schools.  Only 50% of the alternate route teachers said they were prepared for their first year of teaching, compared with 80% of the traditionally prepared teachers.
  • Over half (54%) of the alternative teachers in the above survey said they had too little time working with an actual public school teacher in a classroom environment, compared with only 20% of the traditionally prepared teachers.  Whereas 94% of traditionally trained teachers in the above survey expressed confidence that their students are learning and responding to their teaching, only 74% of alternative route teachers so responded.
  • Teacher Preparation and Retention

A study of teachers in the New York City school system provided information on what percentage of new teachers were remaining in the system, and the relationship between the educational preparation of the teachers, and the length of time they were remaining in the system. The study looked at the traditionally prepared teacher completing a teacher education program and those who may have selected alternatives routes to the classroom. The research suggested that traditionally prepared teachers stayed in the field of teaching longer than those who took alternative routes. (Boyd, Grossman, Lankford, Loeb & Wyckoff, 200). In an additional study, the data suggested that alternative teachers left at a rate of fifty percent in four years. The Teach for America fellows had a drop out rate of eighty percent. However, the teachers with the traditional preparation had a drop out rate of thirty seven percent ( Kane, Rockoff & Staiger, 2006). The results were similar for teachers working in schools in other parts of the country.  On average of 80% of TFA teachers left their jobs in Houston by the 3rd year (Darling-Hammond, Holtzman, et al., 2005). The Chicago Public Schools, employed about one hundred Teach for America staff teachers each year reported that, fewer than fifty percent remained for a third year (Glass, 2008).    Reporting on the national situation in teaching, the data show that 49% of uncertified teachers left teaching after five years, while only 14% of those who entered teaching fully prepared were leaving early (Henke, et al., 2000).

 

Sensitivity to the needs of teachers would require colleges and universities to review their policies about teaching to the test. The test is the classroom and the school environment. Teachers need the relevant coded skills necessary to remain in the system and deliver quality education to students. This is segregation education. This is second – class education. Those teachers strong enough to remain in the system for five years, usually transfer to upper income school. These schools are ready to welcome the transferring teachers, and take advantage of their on the job training received at the low income schools.

 

Grossman, P.L (1990) The Making of a Teacher: Teacher Knowledge and Teacher Education. New York: Teachers College Press.

[1] Lankford, H.S. Loeb, and J. Wyckoff. “Teacher Sorting and the Plight of Urban Schools: A Descriptive Analysis”, vol. 24(1) 2002, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, pp.38-62. Pre publication version available at http://www.teachpolicyresearch.org.

 

 

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