Friday, October 10, 2014

Fire Bells in the Blight

"This is a test of the Diversity Emergency Broadcast System..."

Paul Nachmann of Vdare last week:

Every Friday, a friend of the PowerLine blog whose screen name is “Ammo Grrrll” gets to weigh in there with comments (Thoughts From the Ammo Line) on the passing scene. This week, her entry seems well tuned toVdare's readership, so here's the relevant excerpt.
The last private gig of my standup career before retirement was in front of teachers at their late August in-service before the start of school. I was the final speaker of the day. I had listened to many administrators and the Keynoter who was a Diversity Drone from the state. She seemed a nice, sincere person, even though she arrived forty minutes late for her speech, keeping hundreds of people waiting. There was probably a diversity emergency somewhere...  
“diversity emergency”!  If you can work it in, that’s a concept worth mentioning when some politically-correct nimrod starts babbling about the urgency of “diversity.”
Think twice before you do that. The term "micro-aggression" is no less absurd. I can easily imagine it originating as a satirical taunt leveled at an overly sensitive college roommate. Say "diversity emergency" with or without a straight face to a True Believer and he just might ask himself why he hadn't thought of it. 

For instance. A year ago this month Hillsboro School District near Portland declared an "equity emergency" after its two most Hispanic elementary schools were rated in the fifth percentile statewide by the Oregon Department of Education in its annual "report card" for schools
:
In the Oregon Department of Education’s view, none of the schools in the Hillsboro School District rank among the state’s top 10 percent. And two of them – Lincoln Street and W.L. Henry elementary schools – are among the bottom 5 percent.
The rankings emphasize the growth and graduation rates of “subgroup students” – English language learners and low-income, minority and special education students.
So, the "emergency" isn't one of insufficient diversity (whew!), but of insufficient "equity" for the "diverse"-- not the crisis of human capital it appears, but the failure of racial justice political correctness demands. We can't blame the kids for their mediocre intelligence (agreed; can't we just politely ignore it?); so we must blame ourselves. With such parameters it's no wonder the board napalmed its own position. It had to be done: we are failing diversity! 
One principal lamented in a letter to the Oregonian:
Our report card does not reflect the whole picture of who our students are, of their diverse talents and backgrounds, their ability to speak two or more languages, their musical talents, their ability to dance and connect with rich cultural traditions from around the world. 
In the near future this sort of condescension will get the average white guy sacked for insensitivity (not the "rich cultural traditions" hooey, which shall be with us forever, but the "ability to dance" bumptiousness) as demands mature from money for failing students to teaching and diversicrat jobs for adults; when it does happen our dance enthusiast can take solace in the fact that his early retirement/firing will result in greater diversity for his profession.

The school district swung into action, 
transferring an extra quarter million dollars from its year-end balance to bring to the diversity disaster more diversity ("Unofficially, the money will pay for additional training and preparation time for teachers and additional staff such as Hispanic outreach workers, among other things..."). 

The board gave fair warning of more non-white squalls on the horizon:
But even if Lincoln Street and W.L. Henry do improve, the board might be confronted with a more difficult conversation surrounding the funding of schools district-wide. Right now, the district funds schools on a per-pupil basis regardless of the impact of poverty, English-language learning and race on the schools.So Jackson Elementary School, where 16 percent of the students are economically disadvantaged, receives the same per-pupil funding from the district’s general fund as Lincoln Street and W.L. Henry, where over 95 percent of the student body comes from poverty.High-poverty elementary schools do split a $3 million pot of federal Title I money, Larson said, but the district can’t use those dollars to do anything it is already doing, “so you can’t reduce class size.” The Title I money helps, but it often only puts a small dent in a larger problem, he added.“Is equal equitable?” Larson asked rhetorically.
Indeed.
Scott said that if the district continues funding all the schools equally, it is probably likely that another high-poverty school will fall to Level 1 in the future. He indicated that the board might have to confront a difficult political decision to distribute funds unequally throughout the district based on demographic challenges.
Board member Wayne Clift said such a decision would be unpopular with high-achieving schools with lesser rates of poverty, where parents and teachers might see a reduction in funding as “being punished for doing good things and doing the right thing.”
“It’s going to be controversial,” Scott said of the possible unequal funding model.
Emergencies do clarify things. Here we see how, when "equity" is the highest goal, good schools (quality) are sacrificed to bad schools (diversity).

The inequity-battered schools are sixty-six and eighty-one percent Hispanic, and participate in Oregon's bi-lingual "dual language immersion" programs; in the latter school all kids through fourth grade are in the program.
Despite the costs nearby Portland Public Schools wants money to expand its three bi-lingual programs, as a "high leverage educational program model" to, finally, Close the Achievement Gap.
Which makes inclusion of a Mandarin bilingual program (along with Spanish and Vietnamese) curious; I was further surprised to learn Portland Public Schools takes money from the Chinese government for its Mandarin immersion program:
Currently the district receives federal grant funding (both U.S. and Chinese Governments) specifically to support the planning, implementation and refinement of Mandarin immersion programs in PPS. This grant funding provides a Mandarin immersion instructional specialist to train and support teachers
The Chinese are getting in on the diversity rackets despite being on the good side of the Gap and wealth indicators. The same document (a draft recommendation by Portland Public Schools to the Superintendent for rapid expansion of the program) shows the Chinese community's enthusiasm for establishing Mandarin in public schools, in its FAQ: 
Why are we rushing to make these changes?  
PPS is not rushing to make changes. The Board has been directing expansion in Dual Language Immersion programs. The DLI Department has been working on expansion for two years. A timeline of this process is attached below. Additionally, when we consider our Racial Equity Policy and the persistent achievement gap for our historically underserved students including those with limited English proficiency and students of color, we are compelled to expand these programs for the next school year. Indeed what we have heard from our native Chinese speaking communities is that we are expanding too slowly.
Restless Chinese and dull Mexicans, growing in number. There's your diversity emergency.

I thought I'd find the origins of "equity emergency" in the depressing halls of scholastic Theory, but as far as I can tell this is the first and only use of the term "equity emergency" (here at the blog of a school board member he takes proud credit for introducing the phrase). Have we seen the last "equity emergency"? Only time will tell.


Marin County


About the same time the good people of the Hillsboro School Board bravely named their shame, something called "Grassroots Marin" sounded an even more dire alarm, hinting at hoods and torches in the night. The group held a press conference to declare they were writing (or soliciting signatures for a letter; it isn't quite clear) to Governor Jerry Brown requesting he sound a "Civil Rights State of Emergency in Marin”.

Residents, you see, are resisting the rapid urbanization and integration plans of HUD, developers and, of course, Grassroots Marin. They were showing up at public hearings and raising their voices, which to Grassroots is the equivalent of firehoses and police dogs. The ensuing environment became one, according to Grassroots, where fear reigned. The group issued a press release rich with irony to declare their
...growing concern about the silencing of certain voices in Marin County. John Young, Executive Director of Marin Grassroots started the discussion presenting a need for a community effort to push Governor Jerry Brown to enact a Civil Right State of Emergency in Marin County. This effort is based on the countless negative interactions with community members who are motivated by race, socioeconomic status, or dissenting opinion [imagine: someone motivated by dissenting opinion!] according to Young. Young also spoke to the “toxic” environment that has been created in many community meetings and government based public meetings. Participants advocating for fair housing in Marin described being booed, hissed at, yelled at, and losing their sense of safety in their own communities.  
Kiki La Porta of Sustainable Marin and a 50 year resident of Marin County spoke about being, “verbally and energetically assaulted,” when voicing a non-popular opinion. She continued to explain that, “This subject is a very slippery slope and we must realize what a big issue it is.” The group recognizes the many barriers to participation in these meetings and negative attitudes present arguably the largest barrier to participation for already marginalized populations. 
Ericka Erickson, Associate Director of Marin Grassroots, a County Planning Commissioner and a long term resident of Marinwood stated about a recent Community Meeting held in her neighborhood with County Supervisor Susan Adams: “I was so disgusted by the level of disrespect demonstrated by some of my neighbors towards a public official and other community members that I had to leave that meeting in the middle of it”. Many community members voiced similar experiences in different areas of Marin County. Erickson closed her argument, “We all benefit from diversity in voices in Marin County.” Piggybacking on that commentary, San Rafael City Council candidate Greg Brockbank wrapped up the session by powerfully speaking to the damage that has been done to democracy and, “wanting the Marin County we deserve.”
 How grassroots little Grassroots Marin actually is, is another question of course:
Opponents of Plan Bay Area are upset after learning that the Association of Bay Area Governments this summer awarded a $56,750 grant to Marin Grassroots, a San Rafael nonprofit that works to boost the voice of underrepresented communities. Randy Warren, who was motivated to run for San Rafael City Council due to his opposition to Plan Bay Area, has been circulating ABAG memos that discuss the grant. Warren says it was wrong for Marin Grassroots to receive a grant because it is advocating for the plan. "The issue is that taxpayers have a right to know when their money is being used by the government to have third parties speak up in support of the government's own policies," Warren said.
John Young, executive director of Marin Grassroots, said his organization has not taken an official position on Plan Bay Area and added that the grant money, which came from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, was not to advocate for Plan Bay Area.
 Marin Grassroots are being paid by the plan's backers to act as street-level shlock troops, in other words. Marin County's troubles started predictably when it took federal money, and later failed a
HUD grant compliance review:
As the result of a 2009 compliance review of Marin County’s Community Development Block Grant program initiated by HUD, preliminary findings of non-compliance by Marin County were reported in several areas, including the duty to AFFH [Affirmatively Further Fair Housing]. The compliance review found that in a county that is majority white, African-American and Latino populations were concentrated in two areas. Additionally, the county had failed to update its AIs ["Analysis of Impediments"--impediments to integration] since 1994.
This led to a December 2010 Voluntary Compliance Agreement that required the County to take several steps designed to affirmatively further fair housing, AFFH*, which, among other provisions required a study to identify and overcome fair housing barriers, such as community resistance to fair housing choice in neighborhoods and the continued development of low-income affordable housing in neighborhoods with high minority concentrations. The county also agreed to update its AIs with the help of “racial and ethnic minority citizens and persons with disabilities.” Furthermore, the county agreed to identify and analyze the causes of “lower racial and ethnic minority residency in the County relative to the adjacent counties.” As part of Marin County’s AFFH obligation, they agreed to undertake eight steps identified by HUD to meet the AFFH goal.
*The provision of the Fair Housing Act (Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968) requiring "HUD and its grantees to avoid the perpetuation of segregation, and to take affirmative steps to promote racial integration."

"This has been a test of the Diversity Emergency Broadcast system. In the event of a real Diversity Emergency..."

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