>Predictably, the ed schools consider this to be a >violation of their perception of equality...
Of course you know it, indeed you have lived it, but let me emphasize it for our friends at home. The central organizing doctrine of American public education is:
THE PRIME DIRECTIVE
If you understand THE PRIME DIRECTIVE, you understand almost everything about American public education. If you do not understand THE PRIME DIRECTIVE, you understand almost nothing about American Public Education (henceforth, "Education").
THE PRIME DIRECTIVE is: Reduce The Gap!
Historically, this has referred to the gap in academic achievement between white students and black students. However, the concept has evolved over the years.
THE PRIME DIRECTIVE explains all the major elements of Education. It explains
- - social promotion; - - no academic acceleration; - - NCLB; - - debased tests
These are just off the top of my head. I am sure you can think of some others. NB: each item of the above list is itself a major policy element with its own manifold implications and ramifications.
Furthermore, THE PRIME DIRECTIVE has seeped so deeply and completely into the warp and woof of Education that policies and practices that were developed in one venue and make sense in that venue (ie, they make sense within the context of THE PRIME DIRECTIVE) carry over into other venues where they are contradictory, even inexplicable.
One of the great examples of the latter case occured in Wayne's backyard: the great episode of Jaime Escalante and Garfield High School. So, Escalante's work was a stupendous success. In particular, he was successfully teaching calculus to exactly that population of students that educators putatively are absolutely desperate to reach. Why did the Education Mafia erase Escalante from history? Since no one has offered a convincing explanation (so far as I know), I offer my own.
I made three inferences from the Escalante affair, all based on THE PRIME DIRECTIVE. First, THE PRIME DIRECTIVE has sucked academic work out of the schools because whenever true academic work is done, Gaps appear and widen. That Garfield High School was (and is) entirely minority population was not enough to overcome the truly massive momentum of THE PRIME DIRECTIVE in expunging academic work everywhere.
Second, although the concept of The Gap is fundamentally racist in nature, since the original concern was about The Gap in academic achievement between white students and black students (with the implicit, racist assumption that black students cannot handle an academic curriculum, and this is why mainly homogeneous nations like Japan and, dare I say it, Finland have not been troubled by The Gap), THE PRIME DIRECTIVE has morphed into expunging all Gaps. If Escalante could not teach calculus to all hispanic gangbangers, then he should not teach calculus to any hispanic gangbangers.
Third, and final, THE PRIME DIRECTIVE has been in operation for so long that it has altered the educational infrastructure. Stop teaching an academic curriculum for long enough (we are talking now about two generations), and pretty soon you will have a corps of teachers who cannot teach an academic curriculum.
Jaime Escalante infuriated the LAUSD because he showed what can be done with LA students, except it can no longer be done by LA teachers. They hated him, and they could not get rid of him fast enough. Today, Garfield High School runs as if Jaime Escalante never existed.
Friends, if you can understand Garfield High School, what is there to figure out about TAG education (which we recently discussed)?
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is THE PRIME DIRECTIVE at work.