Carol Platt Liebau: The <i>Real</i> Civil Rights Issue

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Real Civil Rights Issue

Thankfully, Ruben Navarrette is up in arms over the unconscionable effort by some parents to litigate to obtain a high school diploma for their children, even if they fail the state exit exams (discussed previously on this blog here).

What's amazing, though, is that he's mostly angry at the parents for suing -- not at the schools for doing such a terrible job at educating California youth. And note that, in the first paragraph of the piece, he hastens to assure readers that he does not support vouchers.

Vouchers would empower parents to leave underperforming schools, not just sue them -- and we can't have that.

The ability to obtain a decent education -- whether in public schools or elsewhere, at the parents' option (just like the Clintons adn Gores have) -- should be the real civil rights issue of the day. Unfortunately, it isn't.


Blogger suek said...

>>What's amazing, though, is that he's mostly angry at the parents for suing -- not at the schools for doing such a terrible job at educating California youth.>>

Why does that amaze you? I don't want to excuse schools, but there are three sides to this problem...schools, of course, parents and children. The fact that a parent is willing to sue for a high school diploma which is undeserved gives me an indication that some of the blame here can be laid at the feet of the parents. "Giving" and "deserving" are words that don't belong here. "Earning" is the word to use. To get a HS diploma, the student has to pass all of the required courses and also the exit exam. The exit exam is actually about the level of a qualified 8th grader. The student can take the test in 10th grade, 11th grade and 12th grade. Shouldn't it have occured to parents to question why their child didn't pass the test and ask for help? If the help was not forthcoming, that becomes a different issue, but if you set standards, _somebody_ is going to fail. The assumption here is that the schools failed...maybe the _students_ failed.
Again - substandard schools need to be accountable also.
I'm not sure about vouchers - there are problems associated with them. I'd rather see the public schools up at a level that makes vouchers unnecessary. This is not going to happen while you have unions controlling the quality of teachers and having an active voice in the choice of administrators and board members. Get unions out of schools and then hold administrators and boards accountable.

11:02 AM  
Blogger Desertmoon said...

I agree with Suek, the CAHSEE test is designed to assertain if the student is capable of performing at 8th grade level when he/she graduates. Why would this be difficult? It is obvious that the students perform generally according to expectations. Students who perform far below standards simply are following role model examples set by their parents/guardians.

Foreign exchange students come to our schools and are amazed at the low standards that we have in place, we have definately "dumbed" down our curriculum and our standards. We allow our students only a half chance because we don't enforce a general cultural maxum, but allow every squeeky wheel to have their day.

San Bernardino School District high schools are some of the least successful in the state of California, and the school board there wanted to introduce "Ebonics" to allow some measure of success. Why not just enforce the cultural maxum, and support higher standards for everyone?

1:25 PM  
Blogger COPioneer said...

How about mandatory military service for all underperforming students where they spend the first year learning to perform a military job? Okay, there's a lot wrong with that...just an idea. Many of the liberal countries that the American left-wing love have manditory military service for ALL. I wonder if the ACLU would like that?

10:42 AM  

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