Are Schools Failing Because They Are Not Multicultural Enough?

Classroom photo via Shutterstock

If you’re the principal of a failing school where is the best place to focus your energies? Logic would dictate that you’d focus like a laser on reading, writing, math, science, etc. Since that makes perfectly good sense you can be sure it’s not happening. In Portland, Oregon they think fixing “white privilege” will solve their problems.

Verenice Gutierrez picks up on the subtle language of racism every day.

Take the peanut butter sandwich, a seemingly innocent example a teacher used in a lesson last school year.

“What about Somali or Hispanic students, who might not eat sandwiches?” says Gutierrez, principal at Harvey Scott K-8 School, a diverse school of 500 students in Northeast Portland’s Cully neighborhood.

“Another way would be to say: ‘Americans eat peanut butter and jelly, do you have anything like that?’ Let them tell you. Maybe they eat torta. Or pita.”

Guitierrez, along with all of Portland Public Schools’ principals, will start the new school year off this week by drilling in on the language of “Courageous Conversations,” the district-wide equity training being implemented in every building in phases during the past few years.

Through intensive staff trainings, frequent staff meetings, classroom observations and other initiatives, the premise is that if educators can understand their own “white privilege,” then they can change their teaching practices to boost minority students’ performance.

Gutierrez’s school is in the bottom 15% of schools in the district. You know what would really give those poor brown and black students a real chance?

A voucher to go to the school of their choice.

Via Chirs Short

Shortlink:

Posted by on September 11, 2012.
Filed under Education.
Tagged with: .
Doug Johnson is a news junkie and long time blog reader, turned author.

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  • JWH

    It sounds to me like people on all sides are letting their politics color the issue.

    PS. That drum corps that excludes Caucasians and women is discriminatory and needs to be changed.

  • GarandFan

    Maybe they should begin each day with a rousing chorus of Kumbaya.

    NEWS FLASH: No basic skills in reading or writing in ENGLISH, math or science mean you’re doomed to wash cars and dishes. Who gives a rats ass what “they do in Somalia”. We aren’t in Somalia.

    Just more politically correct bullshit from some “educated” liberal arts teacher.

  • UOG

    I have to say, the world lost a true genius when Douglas Adams died. This Principal is like the Dolmansaxlil Shoe Corporation executives, the Courageous Conversations project is the shoe shop intensifier ray. As we all know the intensifier ray didn’t actually work, it’s only purpose was to fool the Dolmansaxlil executives into thinking they were doing something new and innovative.

    Douglas Adams, genius. RIP.

  • jim_m

    Yeah, it’s racist to use an example that is rooted in the most commonly shared culture in the nation. Perhaps we would be a little better off if kids were educated to understand that culture and to understand the allusions and references common in that culture because it would actually make them more successful in life.

    But no. It’s more important to make sure that no one ever assimilates so our country can be easily divided so the left can leverage their politics of hate and division. frankly, I find it racist to deny these children and education in the culture they live n thereby keeping them ignorant and alien to the society around them.

  • 914

    “white privilege,” then they can change their teaching practices to boost minority students’ performance.”

    What an insult.. As if they are to dumb to learn without liberal condescension.

    • Commander_Chico_Cognoscente

      Portland is a kooky town.

  • Hank_M

    Guittierrez is using race, ie, white privilege as an excuse for the lousy job she and her teachers are doing. Think of all the money wasted to come up with their so-called “premise”.

    Want to boost all students performance? Teach em the basics, test them, and fire the incompetent teachers.

    But why do that when “white privilege” can be blamed instead?

    • 914

      Yes, whatever ‘White privilege’ is supposed to mean anyway’s?

      White’s get the privilege of being the scapegoats for all of liberalism’s failure’s I guess?

  • jim_m

    The left declares that capitalism (the economic system that has made the west the richest culture in human history, delivered more freedom, and funded epic discovery like putting a man on the moon) is a failure. They want to teach that because they cannot accept the demonstrable fact that their mulitculturalism has failed

  • Hugh_G

    The problem is that all you white or anglo-saxon rightwingers are afraid. Soon you will be in the minority. Oh my God!!!

    • jim_m

      There is a common culture shared by all Americans. It has grown over the centuries as new ethnic groups have immigrated here making the US stronger and a better place to live. Each group (the Irish, Germans, Italians, eastern Europeans and now Indians, Hispanics etc) has in turn been discriminated against, then accepted.

      What the left wants is a perpetual division between ethnic groups. The left abhors the idea of a common solidarity based on a common culture. The left wants to denigrate the common culture of the US, but it is exactly that culture that has drawn people to the US and the opportunity it has historically fosters and represented.

      The left wants division because it knows that it cannot appeal to people who view themselves as equals. The left needs to foster envy and hate between class and ethnic groups. It is what they do.

      • Hugh_G

        Interesting whom you left out in your antropological discourse. When do you think that group will be accepted by the Republican Party?

        And of course those subtle ads about the President have nothing to do with race. And of course it was Lee Atwater – a rightwinger like you – who came up with the be afraid of those blacks for Nixon et al. And of course you still see loads of evidence about that.

        Funny how the Republican convention was essentially lily white. You did notice that, didn’t you. And claiming you never watched it won’t fly.

        • SCSIwuzzy

          And which group is that Hugh?

          • Hugh_G

            A). Blacks.

            B). Oh, there are no other choices.

        • jim_m

          It was only all white when you watched MSNBC which turned away from every minority in order to put on an all white panel of commentators. The left are the bigots and the racists and have been for over a century. Your demands that minorities toe your racist ideological line is exactly what makes you the intolerant racists that you are and what makes it impossible for you to even comprehend how racist and ignorant you are.

          You assume that minorities need the help of all the dem sponsored government BS and that they are too incompetent in incapable to make it on their own. You want to define them by the color of their skin rather than the content of their character. THAT is the definition of racism and you embody it completely and you embrace it without question.

          • Hugh_G

            You are, if anything, predictable.

    • http://www.wizbangblog.com David Robertson

      Hugh, your use of the race card failed. Would you care to try something other than ad hominem?

      • Hugh_G

        It wasn’t playing the race card. Sadly, every word is true.

  • SCSIwuzzy

    Sweet Jeebus. If they live in the US, they had better get used to seeing sandwiches.

    • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

      Noticed how there is so much concern that nobody ever be offended by anything at all ever that it seems the educational process is essentially paralyzed?

  • http://twitter.com/peppermint6789 Sage Basil

    racist flowers, racist trees, racist birds, racist bees, racist clouds, racist seas (oh look, a racist shooting star!); racist people, racist things, racist burgers, racist wings; racist teachers at racist schools, who enforce the racist rules; racist cops and racist laws, racist cats with racist paws…

    accusations of racism are only ever directed at white people. Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.

  • snidelywhiplash667

    “Rearranging deck chairs on the ‘Titanic’” has become a very stale metaphor, and cases like this one are the reason why.

  • snidelywhiplash667

    Oh, and by the way, Ms. Gutierrez – News Flash: you ARE an American.