A very depressing post at Instapundit.
Back in 1984, I was hired as a substitute teacher for 3 months while the regular teacher was on maternity leave. I taught three classes each day. Two of the classes were chemistry and health for a group of advanced 10th grade students. They were in an enriched program called BioPrep. The other class was general math for some 8th graders.
Most of the advanced students were good kids and two of them were exceptional. I’ve always had trouble remembering names but theirs stuck with me. Allan and Selvin were friends who competed with each other for good grades. It didn’t matter what class they took, one of them would be at the top of the class and the other would be only a fraction of a point behind. They were the kind of students teachers live for. I looked them up online several years ago. Selvin is now a civil engineer and Allan is a cardio-thoracic surgeon and assistant professor at a medical school. These were two 15 year old boys who happened to be black from a small town Alabama school system.
Those 8th grade students were dismal. Many were functionally illiterate and innumerate. Is was a soul-sucking experience trying to teach them. One day, Allan came by the class to get some clarification on a homework assignment. After he left the room, I commented that he was a young man who was going places. One of the 8th graders said that “he’s just acting white.” I bit my tongue to refrain from asking what he thought “acting black” would be.
One day at lunch, I asked the school’s vice principal about the differences between those two classes. They all were black from the same small town and went to the same schools. He (who was also black) explained to me how both Allan and Selvin’s parents (plural) were educated people who cared about their sons’ education. Those 8th graders all came from multi-generational welfare families. He said that as soon as they turned 16, most of them would drop out and do whatever it took to get on welfare themselves. It was the only life they knew or cared about. Why bother to work hard when Santa Claus government will give you stuff for free? Education starts in the home. There is only so much any teacher can do when confronted by a situation like what I experienced in 1984 or what that InstaPundit writer experienced more recently.
As I commented over there, it traces back to the Welfare State.
As does so much of the decay we are facing today.
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