The IQ Gap, The “Test Gap”, And Jack O`Connell
Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O`Connell
has figured out a way to aid students of whatever race
to come closer to fulfilling their potential.
He is denouncing
white public school teachers as bigots.
According to O`Connell,
white teachers contribute to the racial gap in
educational achievement by imposing excessively strict
The Superintendent`s bizarre statements illustrate why
VDARE.COM chose to be one of the few publications to
defend the great geneticist
James Watson: when the truth is denounced as
unthinkable, madness results.
And people get hurt.
Jared Taylor did an excellent job
in VDARE.com on Tuesday, Nov. 13 of analyzing
O`Connell`s bullying “Achievement
Gap Summit“ held last week for 4,000 attendees
in Sacramento. But this episode is so illustrative of
pervasive dysfunctionality that
Political Correctness inflicts upon modern America
that it`s worth exploring further.
O`Connell, a politically ambitious white Democrat, is a
potentially significant figure. He has already received
a million dollars from the founder of NetFlix to kick
run for governor when
Arnold Schwarzenegger is term-limited out in 2010.
This isn`t just local news.
California governors are automatically
Presidential Possibilities. A Governor O`Connell
could be in the hunt for a Vice-Presidential nomination
in 2012 or a Presidential nomination in 2016.
O`Connell got his political start over a quarter of a
century ago on the
school board of then-idyllic
Santa Barbara County. In those days, the big
challenges facing Santa Barbara schools included higher
This sheltered politico was shocked to discover recently
(after five years on the job as Superintendent)
that the lower average school performance of
Non-Asian Minorities [NAMs] can`t be explained away
At all income levels, there remain
substantial racial differences in average achievement.
whites and Asians who are so poor that they are
eligible for the National School Lunch Program still
earn higher average
NAEP scores than NAMs from families above the income
Maybe O`Connell has watched too many
inspirational inner city teacher movies, like Hilary
Freedom Writers, Meryl Streep`s
Music of the Heart, and Michelle Pfeiffer`s
Dangerous Minds—a genre memorably parodied by
MadTV in its trailer for a fictitious film entitled
Nice White Lady. He`s apparently decided that
the performance chasm is caused by Mean White Ladies.
According to O`Connell,
church-going black youths are being persecuted by
Mean White Lady schoolteachers:
"O`Connell now believes that widespread cultural
ignorance within the California school system is
responsible for the poor academic performance of many
black and Latino students in school.
"He offered the example of black children who learn
at church that it`s good to clap, speak loudly and
bit raucous. But doing the same thing at school,
where 72 percent of teachers are white and may be
unfamiliar with such customs, will get them in trouble,
"The achievement gap is `absolutely,
positively not genetic,` O`Connell said.`All kids
can learn. I`m saying it`s racial.`"
called to address racial disparities in academic
performance, by Nanette Asimov, San Francisco
O`Connell`s statement caused a
controversy, leading him to apologize … not to white
schoolteachers, of course (there wasn`t any media tumult
over that), but to
Schools Superintendent Criticized For Alleged Racist
Remarks, KNTV, November 13, 2007]
After the conference, O`Connell kept up his
attack on white teachers, telling the Los Angeles
"O`Connell concurred, talking of `a
cultural bias that impedes instruction.
Well-meaning, well-educated people can unintentionally
be part of perpetuating institutional racism.` The
nation`s schooling system, he said, `developed to
educate white children and remains most advantageous to
summit targets ethnic gap in student achievement,By
Howard Blume, November 18, 2007]
None of this talk about "white
privilege" makes the slightest sense, and
everyone who lives in California knows it. California
Mississippi—where there are only two ethnicities and
it can be hard to know if you`re making a fair
comparison because there`s no third race to serve as the
In California, in contrast, there are over a half
Asian public school students. They now actually
outnumber black students. And their academic
achievement isn`t undermined by "white privilege".
On average, they
outperform whites in school, just as all the
classroom lore about whose test to
cheat off would suggest.
Moreover, if O`Connell isn`t aware that California
public school teachers are already subjected to long
hours of ethnic sensitivity training, he must have spent
his first term as Superintendent in a cave.
Finally, O`Connell`s implication that too much
classroom discipline is holding NAM students down is just barking mad.
For example, Nanette Asimov (yes, she`s the
niece of science fiction great
Isaac Asimov) pointedly reported in the
SF Chronicle on the only session out of the 125
at O`Connell`s conference where real high school
students were asked what would help them:
"`If the room is quiet, I can work better—but it`s not
gonna happen,` said Nyrysha Belion, a 16-year-old junior
Mather Youth Academy in Sacramento County, a school
for students referred for problems ranging from truancy
"She was answering a question posed by a moderator:
`What works best for you at school to help you succeed?`
"Simple, elusive quiet.
"Nyrysha said if she wants to hear her teacher, she has
to move away from the other students.`Half our teachers
don`t like to talk because no one listens.`"
After five years of Jack O`Connell as head
educrat, California nearly hit rock bottom on the
National Assessment of Educational Progress tests.
California students` reading scores are horrible, with
the state ranking
48th out of 50 states in 4th grade reading and
49th in 8th grade reading.
California`s dim future is mostly not O`Connell`s fault.
The primary culprit is "demographic change"—i.e.,
I suspect that the Superintendent is babbling insane
nonsense because he`s terrified of blurting out what he
suspects is the
real reason for the gap…and finding himself
Watsoned out of his precious political career.
But, unfortunately, as
Richard Weaver pointed out long ago, ideas have consequences …no matter
how stupid the ideas are. O`Connell`s ridiculous
rationalizations have taken on bureaucratic momentum. He
Glenn Singleton, [Send him
black professional diversicrat, as his racial
sensitivity consultant and wants to subject white public
school teachers to Singleton`s system of Maoist-style
self-criticism sessions (Singleton calls them “Courageous Conversations“) about "white
The last thing
California public schools need is for O`Connell and
Singleton to wage a Cultural Revolution from above
against school discipline. That would tell NAM
students, in effect, to play the race card
even more than they do now when they get in trouble.
Now, I sent my son to a California public school and was
quite satisfied. If you can find one in a
decent neighborhood with
entrance requirements and an outstanding principal
(which is hard, because big city public school
principals, although they would seem the epitome of
"management", often have their own
principals` unions to shelter them), a public school
can thrive for a number of years…before the educrats
downtown finally notice its excellence and stamp it out.
I`ve talked to lots of
parents and teachers over the years and have heard
California public schools praised and damned. But I`ve
never ever heard anyone say there was too much
discipline in them.
In my son`s classes, discipline wasn`t a big issue. But
he was in the school`s exclusive
Science Academy, which was run by a charismatic
action movie actor who was a martial arts black belt.
But with run-of-the-mill students, teachers, and
schools, discipline can be a massive problem. (For a
report from the trenches about the "pandemonium"
reigning in some schools, check out Friday`s
Battle-scarred `sub` in L.A. barrios speaks out
One growing difficulty: in many schools these days, the
main discipline tool is for teachers to threaten, like
E.T., to phone home.
Yet when they do call the parents, it frequently doesn`t
Or the parents (especially the father) aren`t around
Or they don`t care;
Or the parents mean well but
just aren`t very effective people.
If these parents were better at accomplishing their
goals, they wouldn`t be sending their kid to such an
undisciplined school, now would they?
In fact, since problem-solving has never been their
strong suit, the parents were kind of hoping, reasonably
enough, that society`s giant institutions would help
with disciplining their kids—not just try to dump their
problem with their little hellion
right back in their laps.
Sometimes phoning home works a little too well.
The kid comes to school the next day with a black eye.
Students know that`s a get-out-of-jail-free card
for the rest of the semester—because the teacher is then
terrified that if she calls Papa a second time, he`ll
smack the brat with
his bottle and put him in the intensive care ward.
Still, on most middle and high school campuses, there
are school employees who are reasonably good at
getting energetic, muscular young males to obey them.
They are called
Clearly, some of their success is due to being able to
bench or toss off the team players who
won`t subordinate themselves. But good coaches also
have the right kind of alpha male personalities to first
intimidate and later impress young males. As
Tom Wolfe mentioned to me a couple of years ago,
lots of men have made it their life`s study to dominate
other males through force of personality.
You don`t even have to pay them a huge amount of money
to impose their wills on students. They like
Of course, many of the best disciplinarians were
hellraisers themselves when young. Bad boys generally
have no philosophical objection to authority in the
abstract; instead they just object to somebody else
being in charge.
That`s why wild young males are more likely to respond
positively to authority figures whom they could imagine
themselves growing up to be. They`ll never grow
up to be a Nice White Lady. So the schools have to
provide the teachers with a second line of disciplinary
defense, composed primarily of men with necks thicker
than their heads.
So, as a public service, let me offer my plan for
improving school discipline:
Huh? That`s it?
Pretty much, but there are a few wrinkles:
- Their day jobs will be as
Assistant Deans of
Discipline. They will trade off running
after-school detention in the fall and spring. They
will be hired largely because they like imposing
- They will be encouraged to
develop psychologically creative and effective
punishment techniques, such as having disobedient
students scrape gum off the underside of desks and
other distasteful detention duties.
- The requirement that
administrators must have a college degree will be
suspended for the Dean of Discipline position. Ideal
candidates would include retiring
Armed Forces sergeants. Demanding only a high
school diploma sends the message to young
troublemakers that they don`t have to turn magically
into nerdy brainiacs to grow up to hold positions of
respect and power.
I realize that there`s nothing innovative about my plan.
It`s just old-fashioned common sense.
But, in our PC era, common sense is under siege.
features his daily blog.]