Progressivism leads to poorer education outcomes for blacks and latinos

Progressivism leads to poorer education outcomes for blacks and latinos. By John Hinderaker.

Is the West better off for all that leftist “progress” since the 1960s?

Apparently not blacks and latinos in education, according to a new report by Chris Stewart of Brightbeam, titled: “The Secret Shame: How America’s Most Progressive Cities Betray Their Commitment to Educational Opportunity For All.”

Stewart is a liberal activist from Minnesota who undertook to find out why the Twin Cities’ left-wing public schools have some of the country’s worst achievement gaps between white and minority (black and Indian) students.

Stewart compared achievement by race in a number of cities that he classified as progressive or conservative. The results didn’t surprise me, but they shocked Stewart. Conservative cities (as ranked by political scientists used as a reference for the study) consistently did a better job of closing student achievement gaps — sometimes, to zero — than progressive cities.

Stewart’s group looked at a number of variables that they thought might help to explain these findings. The result:

Of all the factors we looked at, progressivism is the greatest predictor.

The Brightbeam study does not attempt to explain the causation that its numbers clearly reveal, but calls on those who run progressive school districts to rethink their assumptions. Bacon’s Rebellion offers some obvious possibilities:

* Agency. By blaming racism and discrimination for the woes afflicting minority communities, progressives deprive minority students of agency — the sense that they control their own destinies and that their efforts will make a difference. If minority students see themselves as victims of systemic racism, why bother working hard and “acting white”?

* Discipline. Progressives have implemented “social justice” approaches to school and classroom discipline on the grounds that suspensions and other punishments disproportionately affect minorities. The resulting breakdown in classroom discipline has the perverse effect of disproportionately harming the minority students whose classes are being disrupted.

* Lower standards. As an offshoot of the “self esteem” movement, progressive educators don’t want to damage the self-esteem of minority students. Accordingly, they have lower expectations and set lower standards for minorities to offset the advantages that white students have from “white privilege.”