More Administration Talk/Walk Disconnect


Ricci firefighters

They won their case, but it changes nothing – the administration is now imposing racial quotas that will keep their kids out of AP.

(Guest post by Greg Forster)

In today’s post, the disparity between talking the reform talk and walking the reform walk once again “rises to the top.”

Mike Petrilli has again put on his Pollyanna dress and bought into Hope And Change, praising Obama’s NAACP speech in shockingly hyperbolic terms – “It was transcendent. It was inspirational. It was honest, direct, bold, and, I hope, important, maybe a turning point.”

Look, as has always been the case, Obama says a lot of the right things, and that does matter. But come on, Mike, let’s maintain a grip on reality. Of the descriptors you offer, only “direct” seems plausible. Ask the DC voucher kids how “honest” Obama is being when he poses as a reformer. I’m not sure how you can call him “bold” while simultaneously joining the choruses that endlessly sing his praises everywhere I turn – what would he say if he were a coward? (FWIW, McCain has the exact same issue – he’s a “straight talker” who never tells the public anything it doesn’t love to hear. But that doesn’t excuse Obama.) And while Obama’s choice to talk like a reformer is important, if nothing new emerged in this speech – and it didn’t, unless I’m missing something – then this speech adds nothing “important” to the previously established fact that Obama talks like a reformer. (HT Adam Schaeffer, who got to this party before me.)

As for “maybe a turning point” – only in terms of the channel on my radio.

You know whom you should listen to, Mike? There’s this really great blogger on Flypaper who just did an eye-opening post on the Obama administration’s little-noticed threat to bring race discrimination lawsuits against school districts if they don’t have enough “students of color” in advanced courses. Once the threat has been made, of course, the lawsuit never need be brought – school districts across the country have now recieved the message and will quietly adopt racial quotas to avoid attracting the attention of the people playing with matches near the gas tanks at the DOE’s civil rights office. The threat is the quota.

How does that square with the president’s telling the NAACP that black students shouldn’t use social disadvantages as excuses for slacking in school? What will that do to a couple decades’ worth of work you and Checker and so many others have put into promoting rigorous academic standards against all the charlatanry of the radical left?

If I were you, Mike, I’d start following that blogger’s work on a regular basis. A guy who digs up that kind of shocking story when nobody else found it, and has the guts to broadcast it even if it might get him in trouble with the administration – well, in my book, that’s a guy who’s going places.

2 Responses to More Administration Talk/Walk Disconnect

  1. You Cannot Be Cereal says:

    Obama’s talk and his actions are congruent.
    He doesn’t talk like a reformer, in the way Petrilli wishes he would. That’s why the flypaper reform-o-meter is usually luke warm. He talks like someone who cares about kids. I don’t remember Bush making speeches like this, and that’s who you can compare the President to; not to McCain.

    How is ensuring students of color also get to take AP classes a bad thing? It doesn’t mean bad students get into AP just because they are black.

    • Greg Forster says:

      Well, he talks like a reformer in that he talks up charter schools and the value of “competition,” a word that used to be a third rail in Democratic politics, and he has repeatedly brought up the value of merit pay – he was booed at the NEA convention for this. That has some value, even if his actions don’t match it.

      On AP, we are not talking about “ensuring students of color also get to take AP classes.” Minority students “get to” take AP classes now, and if there are any schools where minority students who would otherwise be in AP classes are barred on account of their race, that’s a different issue. I’m all in favor of enforcing rules against discrimination. But the remarks made by the head of OCR will have the practical effect of requiring schools to put at least a certain number of minority students into AP. And I’m afraid that if any factor other than academic merit is used to determine who gets into AP classes, whether it’s race or anything else, that does have the effect of watering down academic standards. And it also has the effect of unjustly denying some students access to AP on account of their race. These are conclusions that simply can’t be avoided. The claim that you can have race impact admission in any way and yet not water down academic standards or unjustly deny some students access is really a claim that you can have race impact admission without having race impact admission.

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