Judgment Day: The Ricci Decision

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Tiassa, Jun 29, 2009.

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  1. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Nor do you see any problem using them more or less at random, because they sound good or something, rather than because they apply.
    I made up "preliminary identification by characteristic"?
    I'm going to throw that in with "nadir" and "hocking" and the rest.

    "preliminary" - before investigation, as a first response. check.

    "identification" - as a flawed exam, as a member of a class of exams that should not be used. check

    "by characteristic" - by the visible feature that it produced racially skewed results far more extreme than expected from sound exams, favored the same in-group that actually biased exams favor. It thereby displayed the field marks, as birdwatchers term them, of a biased exam. check.

    How does "Orwellian" fit there? Or do you just react that way to big words?
    How did you get from "WMD" to Saddam's behavior, in your post there? It screwed up your intended analogy.

    What you have there is closer to being analogous to concluding that black people would make poor firefighters, because they did badly on the test.

    And how does discarding a test that exhibits many major characteristics of a biased exam "box you in", or take you anywhere? Seems to me that being railroaded into accepting and employing the results of an exam, regardless of what they look like or how obviously they show characteristics of serious and well-known flaws, is much more rigid boxing.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2009
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  3. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    A difference we often overlook in heated political discussions

    I would merely suggest the difference between a presumption and a (tentative?) conclusion. Obviously, none of us are at this time privy to every detail of what transpired among the parties in this case, and it's almost certain that we never will be. But this case, from the NHCSB's point of view, had all the hallmarks of a Title VII claim against it. As I asked String: What were they supposed to do?

    And this is part of what makes the decision so puzzling. Justice Ginsburg, in her dissent, wrote that if the court had decided to simply remand back to the Second Circuit and said, "Have them fight it out," she would have accepted that. And in the Safford (strip-search) decision handed down last week, the court split an unusual (but not unheard of) hair in saying that yes, the school district violated the student's rights, but it wasn't apparent that the offense was established then. The Court could have done that for the NHCSB, but chose not to. As a result, the chief effect of the decision seems to be a reassignment of burden to the class least empowered to take up the fight.

    Going into this case, the judicial precedent was that Title VII looks mercifully upon employers who cooperate voluntarily. That is, if an employer says, "It looks like we fucked up, and we're trying to fix it," things will go much easier than if they stand pat and say, "Come and get us." Because the government will come to get them.

    This case history was insufficient for the majority; they presumed the City guilty at the outset.

    But as nobody contested the constitutionality of Title VII, the Court didn't strike that provision of the Civil Rights Act, which leaves employers and applicants alike with an odd conundrum. The EEOC and other relevant agencies haven't any clear instruction to change their outlook on Title VII claims, which is part of the reason Justice Ginsburg believes the decision hasn't any real staying power; as Pandaemoni suggested, "You will see it cited, and then conspicuously not relied on by lower courts."

    The devil, as usual, is in the detail; it is unlikely that an identical situation will occur in the near future.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2009
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  5. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Um, not mine, unless I'm having blackouts.
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  7. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Whoops ... damn

    How right you are. My apologies, sir. I've been doing that more of late ... perhaps it was symptomatic of trying to track back through your discussion with Counte as I was writing the post. Nonetheless, that's twice in a week that I know of that I've botched a quote. The last time I remember doing that was like five years ago, although I'm sure I've done it a few times in the intervening period.


  8. superstring01 Moderator

    But it is just as much the Democrat's fault, Tiassa. As I pointed out, there are some things where the blame is equally shared. Others where it is not (well, in my opinion, at least).

    And in this case, specifically dealing with education, it has contributed to the decline of the system as badly as the Republican penchant for stripping funds through vouchers and ignoring the inner-city. While I pointed out that money, is in part, the answer, the other part is under-performing teachers. I had FOUR of them in high school, and they didn't just "under-perform" they were a cancer on my education. My freshmen Algebra I teacher (Mr. Wood) took me from being an "A" student in math to a "D" student. He talked fast, was pretentious (having been one of those people who just picked it all up with little effort; he couldn't understand what we were "missing"), mocked us and ignored the "distractors" in class to the point where, once lost, I no longer participated or asked questions for fear of ever being made to look the fool in class. Parental petitions went ignored. Same for my French teacher (crossword puzzles and word-finds all day long in class). Same for my freshmen AP English teacher (one year from retiring, yet already "retired"), same for my sophomore Economics teacher (too interested in all the young breasts in class). Nothing, NOTHING, was ever taught in class and I went through high school totally lacking whatever vital information they had to impart. And this isn't just a fluke of my white upper-middle-class suburban school district. This is everywhere. Each of these teachers was protected by a powerful union and "tenure" that prevented any meaningful solution being offered to students. Instead, the very people charged with educating me (and, well, hundreds of other kids) were protected by a system that has grown to cater to their lifestyle.

    You don't see this in other countries. And if you take Asian nations out of the equation (because you're right, we don't want our kids committing Seppuku because of an A-), we can simply talk about Canadian, British, French, Dutch, Spanish and Finnish (also, argued in 2004 as the best in the world) schools who all seem to do well, on equal or lesser budgets. I also grant that it will obviously take a LOT more money to educate inner-city children (something I also mentioned, which pertains to the Republican fault in the matter). First off, the food factor (breakfast and lunch), then probably subsidized uniforms (and, yeah, I am a passionate believer in uniforms), books, decaying buildings, pay raises for teachers who work harder than their sub-urban colleagues, MORE TEACHERS and a lot of vocational programs. All money well spent. I'm sure there's some formula for figuring out how much money is lost on housing prisoners, decaying cities, extra police, shootings, destroyed families, hopes and dreams etc.) versus paying for a little (shit, or even a lot) up front in giving them a purpose in life and thus negating all of the factors that result. I'm not banking on some pipe-dream utopian future: there'll always be crime, but surely the money spent on solid education is well worth it when compared to the expenses incurred in the alternative.

    Having gone to high school in Europe for 18 months, I can tell you that the system works. You get to chose from FOUR fixed programs in high school (well, in Spain, at least): math & science, history & literature, business... and another one I can't remember. [Damn!] If you didn't like those options, you went into vocational training. Or got to do some "other" institutionalized education that was a LOT less enjoyable. The result was: a system with right paths for everybody.

    The economic fortunes for minorities steadily improved from the beginning of the 20th century through the beginning of the 1970's where it seemed to plateau. Obviously starting from "rock bottom" the only direction was up, but the fact is, it improved. Affirmative action may have been a boon for some, but the simmering hatred it's breeding in white people isn't really doing a lot to heal racial tensions. Just as importantly this totally ignores the fact that economic success and access in the USA now falls more along "class" lines than racial ones. Rich black parents tend to have well educated, rich[er] black kids. Poor white parents tend to have poor, uneducated kids. Just because more blacks and hispanics fall into the "lower classes" doesn't necessarily mean that it's a racial barrier. Any person seen as uneducated is also seen as undesirable. Compare the economic fortunes of races with the same education from the same institution. What does a Harvard grad earn if he/she's black, white, Asian, or Hispanic? I'm sure there are some disparities (eliminating them totally is a pipe dream), but they probably compare well to the same study done on poor whites, blacks and Hispanics.

    Affirmative action based upon economic standing? Maybe. I have always been of the opinion that the USA has an equally vested interest in preventing a permanent under-class from developing as it does from preventing a permanent aristocracy from developing.

    But I haven't said that at all. I've just said that giving people an advantage based on race is wrong. It's idiotic. What about white people with no economic or cultural standing? It's just retarted to say, "Well, you're white and too many people with white-ties are doing just too well for us to accept you." It should be based upon economic standing. Poverty has absolutely no barriers. The net effect would be practically the same for poor minorities, but would also include the fact that there are more poor white people in the USA than there are blacks--of any class--in the entire country. The purpose of the system should be motivated about bringing people out of poverty, not about making various institutions look more colorful or gender-blended.

    You're preaching to the choir here. I've pointed out that, halved, the US military is still about eight times larger than the next guy, half the funds saved--re-invested in education (about $150 billion per year or an 18.5% increase in funding overall; directed mostly at poor schools, or a 37.5% increase in their funding) would utterly rebuild every school within four years with loads of cash to feed & cloth every student, provide for post-high school (vocational or college) education for every UNDERPRIVILEGED STUDENT in the USA, and give performing teachers a salary they deserve (while running circles around the rest of the world). Shit, I can't see how it would take even THAT much money... but I'm being generous. Oh. Yeah. And the other $150 billion could pay down the national debt. But, who am I?

    So, I'm just curious, you've never heard me point out ANY of these thigns? How DOMA is horrible? How our tax code is ridiculous? How Bush was an abortion? How drug criminalization fills both streets and prisons with violent criminals? How Republicans pander to Christian nut-cases? It's just that, well, these things don't come up much in debate here. Perhaps they are just too obvious. Maybe the "liberal" issues are in vogue. Whatever the reason, I find myself unfortunately thrust--by liberals--into the Republican camp, which is just amusing. Can you see me hanging with the likes of Gingrich or Palin? (Well, with Gingrich, at least, there'd be some interesting conversation-- he's supposedly one of Amazon.com's 5,000 top book reviewers). "Yeah, can you tell me your stance on slicing the military budget in half, legalizing drugs, stopping the bull-shit about flag burning, prayer in school and abortion?" Just moments before security guards drag me--kicking and screaming--out of the room.

    Education (school variety) isn't for everybody, and that's the problem with our schools right now. Our system is dominated by people who think a well-rounded education is the ONLY way to go, which is a frakking joke. Some kids should be given ONLY the basics (math and English, NO history, NO art, No anything else: they just aren't going to buy it) and allowed to go directly to vocational or journeyman training of some kind. Forcing kids to school who DON'T want to be there only fills the classrooms needlessley, and contaminates them with unruly elements best left... elsewhere. (St. Elsewhere!)

    Look. I'm an HR manager. If I wanted to, I could discriminate. No law, no quota could stop me. I know how to file paperwork. I know how to fill out an interview sheet to make one thing look SO totally undesirable as to make the person utterly un-hireable. The 20 or so supervisors and managers who work under me could also be educated to do the same (well, if we didn't have so many minorities and women already in those positions... but you get the point). So, stopping racist assholes from doing racist things will come to nothing. The ONLY solution that is effective--and it's going to take a minimum of another fifty years (where it should have started--welll--in the 1960's and would have born fruit already)--is to invest in making young people into educated, trained and focused people. If it means providing all fire fighters with equal access to special classes and training materials in the future, then so be it. But, that's never been my argument, just that applying racial quotas, and denying white fire fighters something they worked at and earned, is only throwing fuel on the flames and perpetuating the myth that blacks need a hand-out and special treatment to get on in life.

    That's over-simplification. Conservatives, at least the ones I know, aren't for some weird Rand-ian uber-individualism that eschews society as an appropriate support network. It's more like, Conservatives reject the perpetual hand-out that liberals seem to advocate. And, well, I'm sure there are Conservatives who want to abolish public institutions as a whole, and I'd say that they are wrong, just as much as I'd say that you are wrong for wanting things like racial quotas and ethnic favoritism to somehow create a more colorful institution and equalize the playing field. My hand-outs end at solid education (including college for those who want it), health care for poor children, social security for the elderly, and a very limited welfare system for those down on their luck. The rest, to refer back to your point, is up to the individual.

    Last edited: Jul 1, 2009
  9. countezero Registered Senior Member

    You're right, Ice. I chose those terms simply because I heard them on Law & Order once and I thought they would sound impressive here.

    It appears to me you strung them together. Or did you hear them on Law & Order?

    I react that way to big words.

    It's preliminary identification by characteristic. If Saddam lied in the past about having weapons and he had them, then when he lied about weapons in 2002 it must have been because he had them. This shows the flaw of your little trick. Or should I use the word legerdemain?

    I have no idea what kind of firefighters they make. But if they do poorly on the test, then my "preliminary conclusion," until the test was proven to be flawed, would be that the failed people, regardless of their color, were not fit for promotion.

    Your stating a premise as a conclusion again. I don't agree with either.
  10. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    How did you get from "preliminary" to "must have them"?

    Let's try your reasoning in this recent event on Saddam: Saddam lied before, he has often lied about this, he looks like he's lying again, we handle the situation by assuming he isn't lying and investing, deploying resources, etc, accordingly.

    Make sense? That's what the white guy in the lawsuit wanted enforced.

    Somehow, the whole notion of "investigation" and "burden of proof" seems to have escaped you. The central uncertainty of the event in question was what to do before the facts have been established, or without establishing the facts. The most important feature of the situation was the fact that the bias of the test was not known, and not established.
  11. countezero Registered Senior Member

    That's right it escaped me.
  12. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

    I think you're being too generous. I think the problem is mostly caused by incompetent teachers and only minimally (if at all) due to lack of funding. My son had a similiar experience with a bad teacher. I pretty much forced him to take Spanish every year because it's useful and, having a Spanish last name, he'll be pretty much expected to speak it. Unfortunately, his senior year Spanish teacher was completely incompetent.

    Every other teacher in the school constantly updated the school website where you could see how your child was doing. Not this one. So when we got my son's first report card showing he'd gotten a D (I think, it was a bad grade), we were surprised and I chewed him out asking how in the hell did he let himself do so poorly in such an easy class? He said he also had no idea he was doing poorly as the teacher never gave them back their tests or homework or even told them their scores.

    We didn't believe that, so my wife and I went to visit said teacher and asked to see the tests/homework that his poor grade was based on. She first claimed she wasn't sure where they were. When pressed, she said it was a privacy issue and she wasn't allowed to release information to the parents. We then asked our son to see her and she also gave him the runaround. Ultimately, we spoke to the principle who admitted we were far from the only parents to complain. They had the course changed to pass/fail so it wouldn't fuck up everyone's GPA and 90% of the class dropped the course at the semester break.

    My son with Down's syndrome was saddled with what my wife (who is also a teacher) described as the "worst teacher in the world". She was his special ed teacher and my wife is convinced that she took up special ed hoping to "teach" only vegatables who sit around and drool. That is, she's not interested in teachering at all.

    Special ed teachers are supposed to adapt the curriculum to the level at which the child performs. This teacher never taught anything, never adapted any part of the curriculum, she just wanted to sit around and relax. My wife and her were constantly at odds and ultimately she was transferred out after it was proven that the teacher had forged documents to get my son kicked off the school bus. Did she get fired? Of course not. That's all but impossible. She was simply transfered to another school.

    These are just two incidents at what is a very good school district. Most telling of all, no teachers were fired. They're like Catholic priests. If they get in trouble, they're just transferred somewhere else because union rules and tenure make it all but impossible to fire them. What other profession, or even job, operates under such ridiculous constraints?

    Check out this thread on tenure:

    And as to funding being a problem, read the story of the Kansas City School District that, with no limit on funding whatsoever, built a bunch of beautiful buildings in which the children still didn't learn jack shit

    Catastrophe in Kansas City

    The effort to integrate the Kansas City public schools is one of the most costly, misguided, and ineffectual programs ever undertaken in America in the name of racial equality. This billion-dollar effort has been so utterly a failure that only good can come of it. Catastrophe as complete as this may shake even a liberal’s confidence. This may well be the high-water mark of the astonishing efforts whites have made to build a society in the name of an illusory equality.

    Kansas City came to national attention ten years ago, when federal District Judge Russell Clark ordered the school district to build and staff the best, most expensive public schools in the country—perhaps in the world. They were to be so dazzlingly good that they would both lure white students out of their safe suburbs and raise black student achievement to the white level. Judge Clark was even willing to wield dictatorial power to get what he wanted, looting both the city and the state to fund the gold-plated schools that desegregation was thought to require.

    Of course, the grand experiment failed. The wondrous schools were duly built but blacks learned no more in them than before. Whites stayed in the suburbs. And now a recent Supreme Court decision will probably cut off massive subsidies from the state, leaving the city with a hugely expensive system to run and no money. If Kansas City cannot dream up new ways to make whites pay for them, the dream schools will slide back into the ramshackled mediocrity from which Judge Clark thought he had lifted them.

    Separate and Equal

    The Kansas City, Missouri school district first opened in September 1867, with four schools for whites and one for blacks. The state constitution, like that of sixteen other states at the time, required segregation. A law passed the following year reaffirmed segregation, but required that black schools be equal to white.

    Eventually the city was operating one high school and 14 elementary schools for blacks. Almost all of these schools were north of 27th Street, which was the traditional boundary of the Negro quarter. The city also made a serious effort to make the schools equal. Black teachers were paid the same salaries as white, and in most years the city spent approximately as much on black students as it did on whites. During the 1936-37 school year, for example, it cost $79.31 to educate each white elementary school pupil (about $825 in today’s money) and $69.10 to educate a black pupil. In 1940-41, however, the district spent $118.61 on each black high school student but somewhat less—$110.43—on whites.

    Even if there was rough equality in the operating budget, blacks were sometimes slighted in the capital budget. Their schools were often old and overcrowded. In 1949, parents of students at the all-black Bruce elementary school sued the city to replace rickety buildings. The Missouri Supreme Court upheld a lower-court denial of relief, arguing that although the Bruce school had no auditorium, gymnasium, or cafeteria, there were white schools in the state that were no better off. Moreover, since the curriculum at the Bruce school was equivalent to that of white schools, the black parents had no grounds for complaint.

    The 1950s are now acknowledged to have been the salad days for Kansas City public schools. Sixty-nine thousand students (77 percent of them white) got what was, by today’s standards, a superb education in their segregated schools. The beginning of the end was, of course, 1954.

    That year, the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that segregated schools were unconstitutional. Kansas City obediently prepared to desegregate. A color-blind plan was drawn up whereby students would simply attend the schools nearest them, whether they had been all-black or all-white.

    Desegregation proceeded so smoothly in 1955 that the Kansas City Star did not even write a story about it. There were no disturbances because housing in the city was so segregated that only a handful of students were affected by integration. Moreover, almost 90 percent of the 921 white children who were to have attended formerly-black schools quietly moved out of their neighborhoods over the summer. When the school year began, only 117 of them were left to integrate the black schools. Their numbers dropped very quickly, and soon voluntary desegregation in Kansas City fit the pattern found all over the country: Almost the only people who crossed the color line were the children of ambitious black parents who wanted their children to attend white schools.

    Whites began to drift towards the suburbs, and in 1970 the school district lost its white majority for the first time. Most schools, however, were still either overwhelmingly white or overwhelmingly black. By the mid-1970s, two-thirds of the students were black, and the district was showing all the stigmata of a black institution: crumbling buildings, poor discipline, declining test scores.

    With so few white students to go around, meaningful integration was no longer possible, and by 1977, the school board was desperate. That year, it sued everyone in sight, in the hope of dragging 18 white, suburban school districts into a single, huge district. Forced busing would then flush precious white children out of the suburbs to rejuvenate Kansas City; and the suburbs would be taxed to pay for it.

    Judge Russell Clark got the case but did not make important decisions until six years later. In 1984, he let the terrified suburbs off the hook. Following a 1974 U.S. Supreme Court decision, he argued that since the suburban districts were not responsible for residential segregation they could not be forced into a shotgun marriage with Kansas City.

    It was the next year, 1985, that he hit upon the final solution to the segregation problem: urban schools so extraordinary that bigoted whites would voluntarily abandon their suburbs and private schools to flock to the city and sit next to blacks.

    Judge Clark was realistic enough to realize that these schools would have to be spectacular, and spectacular they are. Of the more than $1.4 billion that has been spent in ten years on this “desegregation” plan, $418 million has gone for renovation and new construction, though not always wisely. After a $1 million patch-up of Central High School did not raise it to Judge Clark’s standards, the old school was torn down and the district sank $32 million into a gleaming new one.

    Paseo High was another school that Judge Clark pronounced unsalvageable. Built from a type of limestone found nowhere else in the country, it was a cherished architectural landmark. The judge didn’t care. Protesters watched in tears as the school was dynamited on his orders.

    The district now has 12 brand new schools—scores of houses had to be bulldozed to make way for some of them—with equipment to make a teacher’s head swim: planetariums, olympic-size swimming pools with underwater observation windows, dust-free diesel mechanics rooms, at least one mock-United Nations wired for simultaneous interpretation, radio and television studios capable of real broadcasting, video editing and animation labs, a moot court complete with jury room and judges chambers, a model Greek village to teach participatory democracy, elementary schools with one personal computer for every two children, etc. etc. These are the famed “magnet schools” that were supposed to attract white children like so many iron filings.

    Another $900 million has gone for special staff to operate these wonders, and across-the-board raises for teachers and administrators. There are German- and French-language elementary schools which, of course, must be staffed with native speakers. The former coach of the Soviet Olympic fencing team has been hired—along with an interpreter—to teach Missouri rubes the finer points of sword play. It has been, in short, an unprecedented orgy of spending, overseen by school superintendent, Walter Marks, who has been pleased to see the salary for his position leap from $75,000 to $140,000.

    Where did the $1.4 billion come from? Judge Clark raised it through two astonishing acts of judicial dictatorship. In 1987, he unilaterally raised Kansas City property taxes, first from 2.05 percent to four percent and eventually 4.96 percent—the first time in American history that a federal judge has levied taxes. This breath-taking usurpation of power simply ignored an amendment to the Missouri constitution that requires a two-thirds supermajority vote to raise property taxes past 3.25 percent. Judge Clark even tried to impose a surcharge on income taxes, but an appeals court struck this down as an invasion of the province of the state legislature.

    When it became clear that Kansas City could be bled no further, Judge Clark decided to pillage the state—but on what grounds? In a flourish of legal non-reasoning, he decided that the state had contributed to segregation in Kansas City by permitting such things as restrictive covenants in deeds and by doing nothing to mix up the races. In penance for these past crimes, the state has been forced to pay more than $800 million to make the city’s schools fit for suburban white people. Needless to say, the state attorney general has repeatedly contested this exaction, but until June (see below) had lost every court battle.

    The astonishing thing is that ever since 1955 there has been no school segregation in Kansas City. By the time of Judge Clark’s decisions, no one was even pretending that the city or the state or the school district was discriminating. By no sane reading of civil rights laws can Kansas City be found guilty. It had bad public schools and two-thirds of the students were black. In the never-never land of Judge Clark’s mind, this was unacceptable. It could only be the result of racism, and not just any old racism; this was Government-perpetrated racism in violation of the United States Constitution.

    Because he was springing to the defense of that holy document, he appointed himself school district dictator, with the power to eliminate everything he considered a “vestige” of discrimination. In a crowning act of folly, he decreed that he would continue to run the schools until the test scores of black children were appreciably the same as those of whites. So long as blacks did not do as well as whites, the segregation of ages past was still doing its evil work.

    Complete Failure

    What have been the results of this grand experiment? Instructional costs, not including costs of the building program, have more than doubled from $3,094 per pupil per year to $8,000 (during the same period, the state average rose from $2,470 to $3,760). Average classroom size has decreased from 38-47 to 22-27, and the number of school librarians has shot up from 13 to 56. Ten years ago the district had no “counselors” for elementary school students. Now it has 53 of them. All this luxury is lavished on only 36,350 students as opposed to a high of 69,000 in the 1950s. The overall operating budget has leapt in seven years from $142 million to $500 million while the number of students has stayed the same.

    Whites have not behaved like iron filings. A comparison of the 1985-1986 school year—the first year of the “magnet” program—with that of 1992-93 shows that white attendance has continued to drop slightly, from 26.4 percent to 25.2 percent. Every year some 1,400 suburban students take the bus into town, but the white turnover rate is very high; most whites go back to suburbia after one or two years. The district has an annual “marketing and recruitment” budget of $1.8 million to lure other whites into town to take their places. Martin Luther King Middle School, which requires uniforms for all students and emphasizes the study of Latin grammar (!), has the best reputation among whites—and manages to attract only 55 students from the suburbs.

    The small number of Kansas City whites who send their children to public schools have developed a recognizable pattern of patronizing only the lower grades. The racial performance gap is narrower at these ages and adolescence has not yet turned many blacks into predators and trouble-makers. When it is time to enter four or fifth grade, most white children go to the suburbs or to private school.

    What effect has more than a billion dollars had on school performance? During the seven years of Judge Clark’s dictatorship, the dropout rate has climbed from 6.5 percent to 11.4 percent and the average daily senior high school attendance rate has dropped from 81.5 percent to 76.2 percent. The racial gap in achievement levels has remained unchanged, starting with a gap of several months in first grade and growing to two or three years by graduation. Test scores on standardized tests—essentially unchanged—are highest in the elementary grades, which have the most whites.

    In short, nothing has turned out as Judge Clark hoped. It is probably true, as the district lamely argues, that even more whites would have fled the district were it not for fencing coaches and planetariums. The district is nevertheless more nonwhite than ever and the racial performance gap continues to yawn, just as it does in every school in every district in every city in every state.

    In the white suburbs, in places like Raytown and Lee’s Summit, schools spend less than half the money Kansas City does on each student and get much better results. The Blue Springs district, for example, spends $3,403 per pupil compared to $8,000 per pupil in Kansas city. By the third grade, its students are already 70 to 80 points ahead of Kansas City on the Missouri standardized test (graded from 200 points to 595).

    If anything, the school district faces its worst crisis ever. Superintendent Walter Marks, who happily spent hundreds of millions during his three years on the job, was fired in February. In 1994 he managed to find 14 reasons to leave town on school business. Worse still, during a paid leave of absence for back problems, he was filmed by a hidden Kansas City television crew carrying lumber into his new home in Florida. The crew also caught him bounding onto the airplane to come home, but by the time it got to Missouri he had to hobble off with a cane.

    The search for a replacement has been hampered by a June decision of the U.S. Supreme Court that finally reins in Judge Clark, and may end the annual tribute from the state. In a 5-4 decision, in which the Clinton administration entered a motion in support of the status quo, the court invalidated most of Judge Clark’s efforts to fight “segregation.” Since the suburban school districts were not drawn along racial lines and cannot be blamed for “segregation” in Kansas City, Judge Clark did not have the authority to consider them as part of his solution. The actions he took to make the city schools more attractive to suburban students were therefore improper.

    No one is going to make him tear down the luxury schools. However, he bypassed the collective bargaining procedure to grant raises to school employees in the hope of making the schools more attractive to suburban whites. The raises may be rolled back.

    In a remarkable fit of common sense, the Supreme Court ruled that scores on standardized tests are a ridiculous measure of integration, and that the state of Missouri cannot be held financial hostage to poor black performance. After pouring over $800 million into this colossal blunder, the state may finally be off the hook.

    Of course, Kansas City has become addicted to the $100 million or so every year that Judge Clark made the state hand over in operating expenses. The city is in a panic at the prospect of running the schools without state money. Once that money is gone, who is going to fix the video editing machine when it breaks down? Who is going to pay the security guards who keep the personal computers and machine shop tools from walking out the door? Who is even going to do simple maintenance on the huge, new, fancy school buildings?

    To hazard a prediction, unless Kansas City can find fresh whites to bleed (see sidebar), in 10 years its public schools will be worse than ever. About the time the fencing coaches are laid off, the few remaining whites will lose their taste for the exotic and will clear out. The schools will become grimmer and more savage. As they do in Chicago, Newark, and the Bronx, exhausted teachers will maintain the barest facade of scholarship in what will come to resemble holding pens for young blacks and Hispanics. The only difference will be that in Kansas City, this familiar chaos will reign in what was once the most costly and ambitious school district in the country.

    Of course, the Kansas City debacle has been a valuable experiment that has yielded fine data. Anyone but a dreamer could have predicted the results perfectly, but now they are clear enough to startle a liberal: (1) Not even the most opulent schools will tempt more than a handful of whites voluntarily to attend classes that are majority black, and (2) no amount of money can bridge the racial gap in academic performance.

    Originally Posted by Genji

    As a KC resident I recall all the news about this. It never ends. The District is still in chaos, there is regular violence in the schools, scores are rock bottom and everyone that can makes damn sure their kids don't go to KCMO schools. KC is huge, city limits wise, and extends north of the Missouri river for 30 miles. Residents there (overwhelmingly white suburbs) were incensed that moves were being made to bus KCMO kids to their all white districts. The plan failed and resegregation is back on track. The fancy, state of the art schools built with the billions paid by taxpayers are routinely vandalized, some even burned. The only patrons of KCMO schools are those that can't get out.
    The section in blue is from this thread: http://www.sciforums.com/showthread.php?t=58098 (wow, quoting 2 seperate sciforum's threads as sources.)
  13. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Just because more money alone won't fix the problems, some people think you can fix them without more money.

    So what did in Kansas City - bad teachers with tenure ?
  14. pjdude1219 The biscuit has risen Valued Senior Member


    that's all well and good mad but without being paired with a plan to get more good teachers its a wash because your just going to create strain on the other teachers and make them look bad. We can deal with the problem of bad teachers after we deal with the problem of not having enough teachers.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 5, 2009
  15. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

    The main point of that post was to dispose of the idea that lack of funding is "the problem". As this case illustrates, clearly it is not.
  16. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Nobody that I know of is claiming that lack of funding is "the problem".

    And your examples do not show that it isn't. Money can be spent foolishly even when lack of money is "the problem".

    Especially by the racially bigoted and the anti-intellectually prejudiced, when spending money on a school system - you can't fix stupid with money.

    We note, for example, that "the problem" in KC apparently was not bad teachers no one can fire, any more than "it" was lack of money in itself. And "it" wasn't federal government involvement, or interfering bureaucrats (the schools were underperforming before the feds stepped in). So are we narrowing things down? Or are we off on the wrong foot?
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2009
  17. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

    That's quite some site you're using for a source there Mad.

    I was left “teary-eyed” and stirred, by the election of our first African-American president, but it was through the force of my vomiting, and not my pride. I was that sickened, when the results came in, that I did literally throw up!

    I, like the other 55% of real Americans, voted for McCain; I had hoped to avoid this nightmare. But now I know what it feels like to live within a nightmare, what it really feels like, to live in a world totally devoid of normalcy; it is how the fictional characters in films like: “Night of the Living Dead,” or “Godzilla,” must feel like as their world is turned upside down. Everything they ever believed in, is now set to question and rejection.

    ....When half our white youngsters go around wearing sagging pants and listening to rap noise, what can you expect. They worship this disgusting lifestyle.

    Does anyone know a good white website where we can congregate in a forum environment? Storm Front is too extreme for me. I like this web site, but would like a forum area.....

    c23 3:00PM makes the usual mistake of saying that Obama is half white.

    He is not half white. He is black. It has to do with dominant vs. recessive genes. His white mother was essentially an artificial womb to carry an alien child. Her 23 chromosomes were neeed to provide the spark and her womb was needed to carry Obama, but that’s about all she really contributed.

    Does he look half white to you?

    Last edited: Jul 5, 2009
  18. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

    You've got me there. I never really checked out the site as I originally saw the article posted on this site. You might note, however, that Genji (a prolific former member who stopped posting when he was no longer able to use the computer at work to surf the net) verified the accuracy of the story.

    Also, a simple google search turned up an even better article on the story with much more analysis of what went wrong. Here's an excerpt:
    Before the desegregation plan, the KCMSD could always argue that for more than 30 years it had not had the money to offer high enough salaries to attract a first-class teaching staff. But even after the desegregation money started rolling in, the district still didn't do anything to upgrade instructional personnel. It was less traumatic to concentrate on what Benson called the "easy expensive" things (new buildings, new equipment, busing plans) than to tackle the "difficult inexpensive" things that really make a difference in children's lives--appointing qualified principals, supervising instructional practices, developing a curriculum, providing incentives, hiring good teachers, and firing bad ones.(62)

    The result, education activist and gadfly Clinton Adams maintained, was that 50 percent or more of the teachers in the district were "not focused, rather vacuous, totally devoid of intellectual capacity, ill suited for the mission at hand."(63) Benson, more tactful, argued that only 20 percent of the teachers were "totally incompetent" and that another 20 percent could be brought up to speed with retraining.(64)

    The biggest problem faced by KCMSD superintendents was that they didn't have a free hand when it came to personnel decisions. In Kansas City the two largest employers of middle-class blacks were the post office and the school district. Just the rumor of a dismissal sent tremors through the entire black community--there was no other place to go; the community needed the jobs. At the same time, school district employees were the mainstay of the black churches. (Kansas City mayor Emanuel Cleaver, a Methodist minister, had 200 teachers in his parish.)(65) The black preachers closely monitored the district's hiring and promotion practices, with the result that the district essentially couldn't fire anyone.(66)

    Since it could do nothing about inadequate teachers, the district sidestepped the matter by simply raising everyone's (including cafeteria workers' and janitors') salary 40 percent.(67) But that didn't so much attract better teachers as convince poor teachers to stick with the district as long as they could because they were getting salaries they couldn't get anywhere else. http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-298.html
    So, to answer Iceaura's earlier question, what went wrong was pretty much what you'd expect. You take a horrible school system and give it unlimited funds and you end up with a horrible school system with nicer buildings. They needed to fire most of the teachers, the principles, and the administrators and make future hiring decisions on merit rather than race. That, ironically enough, brings us full circle back to the original thread topic.

    When you hire based on race, rather than helping minorities, you're condemning them to a cycle of incompetence and dependence. Maybe hiring teachers based upon competence would have meant that the schools wouldn't have had many black teachers, principles, or administrators. But it also would have meant that the next generation of children to emerge from those schools would have had the education to stand on their own two feet rather than beg for race based handouts and special preferences on exams.
  19. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    But according to the circumstances related in your posted article, they couldn't do that before because they didn't have enough money.

    So what went wrong in the first place was a community attempting to administer its school system according to the presumptions of racial bigotry and anti-intellectual prejudice, and mere money coming in years later was not enough to deal with the entrenched results.

    As far as firing everyone and shutting the system down - several school districts in other places across the US took that route, when faced with desegregation. That didn't work either.
  20. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

    Right, but then they were given a virtually unlimited budget and did no better due to incompetence on the part of teachers, administrators,and pretty much everyone involved. They see the school system as a jobs program for the inner city rather than a means to educate children. They hire people based upon race with competence coming a far distance second. Then they can't fire anyone due to unions and community activists.
    Please provide some evidence of what, exactly, you're referring to.
  21. iceaura Valued Senior Member

  22. countezero Registered Senior Member

    Then you don't know a lot of people.

    Money is nearly always at the top of the list NEA and its ilk put out propaganda. Closer to home, nearly every budget hearing I ever attended or read about with my local board came down to teachers whining about needing more money.

    That's true. I would argue most of the money spent on education is spent foolishly.
  23. pjdude1219 The biscuit has risen Valued Senior Member

    when teachers are forced to buy shit for their classroom out of pocket I think maybe at times funding is the problem.
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