Skip to main content

Thomas Sowell doesn't know what he's talking about in Philly schools

Thomas Sowell says the key to stopping bullying is empowering educators to dispense with the bullies without due process or fear of lawsuits. As proof of educational namby-pambyness, he throws in this aside:
For years, there have been stories in New York and Philadelphia newspapers about black kids beating up Asian classmates. But do not expect anybody to do anything that is likely to put a stop to it.

If these were white kids beating up Hispanic kids, cries of outrage would ring out across the land from the media, the politicians, the churches, and civic groups. But it is not politically correct to make a fuss when black kids beat up Asian kids.
But there was a huge fuss in Philadelphia. It was on the cover of Philadelphia Weekly, and when a mini-riot happened at South High, it resulted in weeks of media coverage—I covered a couple of the protests myself—and a change in the school's administration. That led to the Philadelphia Inquirer's huge week of stories this spring about violence in Philly schools more broadly. If Sowell wants to suggest that Arlene Ackerman's administration hasn't done enough to solve the problem, I'll join him. But he suggests that "the media, the politicians, the churches, and civic groups" are ignoring it—and ignoring it because we're afraid of saying bad thing about black kids. But he's wrong.

So what happened at South High, anyway? It looks like things are getting better, but it's taking real effort.


And for what it's worth, that effort doesn't involve booting the bullies post haste. Instead, it involves taking steps to keep students safe in the moment and creating a better atmosphere at the school:
The doors of student bathrooms are kept propped open - a screen blocks direct sight inside - but staff can hear if trouble starts.

Hackney also changed how Southern handles complaints of harassment and assault, which Asian students say were often not taken seriously. Now, students can write incident reports in their first language, crucial for those learning English.

Something else is different too: There's no trash on the floor. Staffers still bend over to pick up the occasional wrapper, but last year the litter seemed ankle-deep.
As the story indicates, the new principal is willing to get rid of students who make problems—but he's also more focused on stopping violence before it starts. A carrot-and-stick approach seems to be more effective—and proven—than Sowell's stick-first approach.

I'm happy to criticize the district for what it has failed to do. Honesty compels acknowledgement of where things are going right. But Sowell doesn't even bother to check the facts. He's got his headlines and his assumptions, and nothing else seems to matter.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Yoga

I've been making some life changes lately — trying to use the time I have, now that I'm back in Kansas, to improve my health and lifestyle. Among the changes: More exercise. 30 minutes a day on the treadmill. Doesn't sound like a lot, but some is more than none, and I know from experience that getting overambitious early leads to failure. So. Thirty minutes a day.

One other thing: Yoga, a couple of times a week. It's nothing huge — a 15-minute flexibility routine downloaded from an iPhone app. But I've noticed that I'm increasingly limber.

Tonight, friends, I noticed a piece of trash on the floor. I bent over at the waist and picked it up, and threw it away.

Then I wept. I literally could not remember the last time I'd tried to pick something off the floor without grunting and bracing myself. I just did it.

Small victories, people. Small victories.

Liberals: We're overthinking this. Hillary didn't lose. This is what it should mean.

Interesting:
Nate Cohn of the New York Times estimates that when every vote is tallied, some 63.4 million Americans will have voted for Clinton and 61.2 million for Trump. That means Clinton will have turned out more supporters than any presidential candidate in history except for Obama in 2008 and 2012. And as David Wasserman of Cook Political Report notes, the total vote count—including third party votes—has already crossed 127 million, and will “easily beat” the 129 million total from 2012. The idea that voters stayed home in 2016 because they hated Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is a myth. We already know the Electoral College can produce undemocratic results, but what we don't know is why — aside from how it serves entrenched interests — it benefits the American people to have their preference for national executive overturned because of archaic rules designed, in part, to protect the institution of slavery. 

A form of choosing the national leader that — as has happened in …

I'm not cutting off my pro-Trump friends

Here and there on Facebook, I've seen a few of my friends declare they no longer wish the friendship of Trump supporters — and vowing to cut them out of their social media lives entirely.

I'm not going to do that.

To cut ourselves off from people who have made what we think was a grievous error in their vote is to give up on persuading them, to give up on understanding why they voted, to give up on understanding them in any but the most cartoonish stereotypes.

As a matter of idealism, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on democracy. As a matter of tactics, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on ever again winning in a democratic process.

And as a long-term issues, confining ourselves to echo chambers is part of our national problem.

Don't get me wrong: I expect a Trumpian presidency is a disaster, particularly for people of color. And in total honesty: My own relationships have been tested by this campaign season. There's probably some damage…