Algebra is hard, and because the statistics show it’s especially hard for black and other minority students, colleges should simply get rid of it altogether.
It’s a “civil rights” issue, the chancellor of California’s community college system says. What he’s really saying is that it’s racist to hold all students to the same academic standard.
Of course, this statement itself is horribly racist. It’s the “soft bigotry of low expectations,” as George W. Bush once said and it contains an inherent assumption that blacks and other “people of color” are so incapable of concepts like algebra that we should simply eliminate them.
Eloy Ortiz Oakley is in charge of 113 community colleges throughout California. He made these comments during an NPR interview. He said algebra is troublesome because it keeps many students from graduating from community college – in fact, almost 50 percent don’t meet the required algebra standard.
“This is a civil rights issue, but this is also something that plagues all Americans — particularly low-income Americans,” he said.
“If you think about all the underemployed or unemployed Americans in this country who cannot connect to a job in this economy — which is unforgiving of those students who don’t have a credential — the biggest barrier for them is this algebra requirement. It’s what has kept them from achieving a credential.”
Lest anybody think otherwise, the notion that black people – or poor people – are somehow unable to grasp algebra at the same level that wealthy white people are – is idiotic. Social factors like access to resources, parental involvement, and family life are the primary reasons why students do not succeed. Oakley’s comment contains a not-so-hidden suggestion that blacks are somehow inferior in the subject of algebra and should receive a “pass” so they can move on with their education.
Oakley insists in the interview that eliminating algebra isn’t going to mean that students are going to get an “easier” kind of math or “lower levels” of math. But that’s precisely what he’s saying.
It’s liberal double-speak to suggest that since leftists are unable – or unwilling – to address the underlying causes of subpar minority academic achievement, we simply need to lower the bar – or exchange a bar that has been used for over a century with a totally different bar.
As an educator, I can attest first hand to the cause of America’s academic decline: our crumbling social cohesion, buoyed by family, faith, and hard work. That is the root cause of our problem.
It’s not algebra or black students’ struggle with math. It’s a deprioritization of family involvement, relying too much on the welfare state to raise and socialize our children.
When parents relinquish the responsibility to educate, raise, feed and train their own children to the government, we end up with an entire generation of mediocre students with little curiosity, no drive, and few real-world skills.
Liberals use race as a distraction to America’s real problems. And it has to stop.