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A Reader Proposes Educating WSJ About The Citizen Child Flaw
From: "Manuel Cufre"
Hello, I'm a Latin American immigrant living in NYC. I'm 18 years old and close to getting my high school diploma. I actually did most part of my education in my Latin American Third World country; I've been living in the USA for 2 years only.
My school is public, but it's not certainly the typical public school. It's more inclined towards arts, and the people that study there are mostly decent, non-violent - you could say respectful.
At this time of the year, schools give a midterm test. I had to take mine a week ago. These tests are mostly composed of excerpts from different Regents Exams given throughout the years.
I have to admit that I am not the best student you could meet, I've always (even in my country) found school material boring and unhelpful, and preferred to educate myself. When I went to take my American History test, I was not very confident of my chances of passing, simply because I had been absent for that class, except only for two days. (Unfortunately, I fell asleep those two times).
When I first saw the test, I was sure there was no way I could pass it! There were lots of multiple choice questions and then an essay.
Well, when I started, I noticed that actually there was not much knowledge needed to answer the questions. They were just a bunch of multiple choices, mostly about the basis of democracy and the principles of the American Declaration of Independence. Just using logic, I tried to "guess" the answers.
Then, when I finished that step, I went to the last one, which was the essay. I'll quote to you the topic.
In United States history, the rights of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", as stated in the Declaration of Independence, have often been denied to certain groups of Americans.
Then the essay asked you to write about one group of oppressed Americans and what/who helped them to set free from this oppression.
I didn't like this topic. I personally think that, in a school of mostly non-white kids, constantly raising the topic of racism and discrimination (as we do) just keeps people finding excuses for failure, instead of trying to improve themselves. And also, of course, feeling hostility towards the "main oppressor" - whites. (No distinction between them).
Anyways, I wrote the essay and then forgot about school for Thanksgiving.
Today, I went back to school to find out that I got an 85% in my American History test, that I just got three multiple choices wrong, and my essay was perfect except for the fact that I didn't mention two events/individuals who helped set the oppressed minorities free from discrimination etc. etc. [See scoring rubric.]
It wasn't the same with the other students who DID had good attendance and supposedly studied the subject. Most kids got low grades. And the teacher, who holds very strong liberal ideals and constantly makes everybody notice how GUILTY she feels for being white, started desperately justifying them, trying to make them feel that, regardless of their poor performance, they were still very intelligent and capable - thus eliminating any possibility of the kids realizing that they need to improve.
I want to make clear that I am not writing this letter in order to demonstrate how intelligent I am for doing better than a bunch of non-white New Yorker kids on a very easy test, no way!
The fact is that this American History test is something that anybody in a well-educated country should be able to pass easily, as I did.
But New York City public schools in my experience are designed for non-white kids (the large majority) to graduate without any effort! Most teachers I have encountered are very worried about being politically correct. They don't want to discriminate against school kids. Failing some and passing others would mean that there are indeed superiors and inferiors. We can't have that!
The point is that standards in New York City public school are so low. This is what it is like to go to a pretty decent NYC public school. I'm sure it would be shocking (even for me) to experience a BAD NYC public school.
(Sorry for any spelling horror, Third Worlders like me don't have enough money to study other languages, we have to learn however we can!)
[VDARE.COM Note: We fixed some spelling, which we always do in letters, and for that matter in submissions by professional writers, but actually the English that Señor Cufre apologizes for is no worse than that of many native speakers. The lack of studiousness he reports is also paralleled by many native-born Americans, especially if they are in possession, as he is, of an electronic drum kit.
His is an interesting letter for many reasons. One of them is that American history as taught in high school now appears to be a matter of deduction rather than induction, of ideology (or dogma) rather than facts. No doubt this is the inevitable consequence of reconstructing America as a "Proposition Nation."]
December 05, 2002