opinion web
Liberal Opinion Conservative Opinion
Walter Williams
Walter E. Williams
3 Feb 2016
Isn't It Strange?

There is a letter titled "Isn't It Strange?" making the rounds in email boxes. It asks questions to which our … Read More.

26 Jan 2016
Education Insanity

Some credit Albert Einstein, others credit Benjamin Franklin, with the observation that "the definition of … Read More.

19 Jan 2016
Blacks and the Confederacy

Last July, Anthony Hervey, an outspoken black advocate for the Confederate flag, was killed in a car crash. … Read More.

Educational Lunacy


If I were a Klansman, wanting to sabotage black education, I couldn't find better allies than education establishment liberals and officials in the Obama administration, especially Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who in March 2010 announced that his department was "going to reinvigorate civil rights enforcement."

For Duncan, the civil rights issue was that black elementary and high school students are disciplined at a higher rate than whites. His evidence for discrimination is that blacks are three and a half times more likely to be suspended or expelled than their white peers. Duncan and his Obama administration supporters conveniently ignored school "racial discrimination" against whites, who are more than two times as likely to be suspended as Asians and Pacific Islanders.

Heather Mac Donald reports on all of this in "Undisciplined," appearing in City Journal (Summer 2012). She writes that between September 2011 and February 2012, 25 times more black Chicago students than white students were arrested at school, mostly for battery. In Chicago schools, black students outnumber whites by four to one.

Mac Donald adds, "Nationally, the picture is no better. The homicide rate among males between the ages of 14 and 17 is nearly ten times higher for blacks than for whites and Hispanics combined. Such data make no impact on the Obama administration and its orbiting advocates, who apparently believe that the lack of self-control and socialization that results in this disproportionate criminal violence does not manifest itself in classroom comportment as well."

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, nationally during 2007-2008, more than 145,000 teachers were physically attacked. Six percent of big-city schools report verbal abuse of teachers, and 18 percent report non-verbal disrespect for teachers. An earlier NCES study found that 18 percent of the nation's schools accounted for 75 percent of the reported incidents of violence, and 6.6 percent accounted for 50 percent.

So far as serious violence, murder and rapes, 1.9 percent of schools reported 50 percent of the incidents. The preponderance of school violence occurs in big-city schools attended by black students.

Educators might not see classroom comportment as a priority. According to a recent hire, a Baltimore high school now asks prospective teachers: "How do you respond to being mistreated? What do you do if someone cusses you out?" The proper answer is: "Nothing." That vision might explain why a 34-year veteran of the school had to be taken from the premises in an ambulance after a student shattered the glass in a classroom display case.

Mac Donald reports that a fifth-grade teacher in St. Paul, Minn., scoffs at the notion that minority students are being unfairly targeted for discipline, saying "Anyone in his right mind knows that these (disciplined) students are extremely disruptive."

In response to the higher disciplinary rates for minority students, the St. Paul school district has spent $350,000 for teacher "cultural-proficiency" training sessions where they learn about "whiteness." At one of these sessions, an Asian teacher asked: "How do I help the student who blurts out answers and disrupts the class?" The black facilitator said: "That's what black culture is." If a white person made such a remark, I'm sure it would be deemed racist.

Some of today's black political leaders are around my age, 76, such as Reps. Maxine Waters, Charles Rangel, John Conyers, former Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder, Jesse Jackson and many others. Ask them what their parents would have done had they cursed, assaulted a teacher or engaged in disruptive behavior that's become routine in far too many schools. Would their parents have accepted the grossly disrespectful public behavior that includes foul language and racial epithets? Their silence and support of the status quo represent a betrayal of epic proportions to the blood, sweat and tears of our ancestors in their struggle to make today's education opportunities available.

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



8 Comments | Post Comment
It is time to replace teachers as much as possible with individualized audio visual computer education in math, technology, and science in the public schools. Unfortunately few students are learning anything of value in a Liberal arts based education in elementary school, middle school, and high school. The faster computers replace teachers the better off we will be. My book EDUCATION REFORM available on Kindle and Book Nook details all the minute changes in education which will have to be made to make the necessary impact which will actually improve education and not let it flail in the gutter with unacceptable results.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Uldis Sprogis
Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:07 AM
At the end of the day, the only answer is an end to "public education." Let parents purchase education for their children or not, as they see fit. The schools, being private, can eject any "students" who disrupt the learning environment for others, and parents, writing the checks, will be very interested in getting their money's worth. While this may not seem politically possible now, happily, the impending collapse of government in this country will give us an unparalleled opportunity to set things aright.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Camden McConnell
Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:36 AM
I am a product of the Detroit Public Schools. My dad was starting a business, so we lived in the "not so desirable" neighborhoods. Read CHEAP! There was one place we had where we were the only family who spoke English at home.
Everyone did speak English outside, because that was the common language, but at home, there was a primary language that was not English. At the time, we didn't think anything about it, that was just the way it was. I had a smattering command of several languages, including a lot of insults, which is long gone now. Detroit Public School teachers didn't put up with ANY crap, from anybody, including parents. The semester started on Wednesday. By Friday, each teacher had picked out who the main trouble maker was, slammed him up against a wall, and informed him in a really loud and commanding voice that should she have to do this again, he'd pick his butt up from the other side of the hole in that wall. Occasionally, through the semester, the message would be reinforced, but generally, that first lesson held. A typical class had 40 students, and no aids. It was the teacher against all of us. Those public school teachers were tough--they'd flunk you if yoiu didn't get the work done.
I spent one year in Detroit Catholic Schools. Here, the ratio was 70-80 to 1. I never actually saw a nun hit anyone, but those yardsticks sure did get your attention when they hit the desk. They used fear--fear is a wonderful thing--if you failed to learn the subject, which was actually presented in a cognizant way, you feared that the wrath of god would descent upon you. It worked on the Catholic students, but also the Jewish students, Baptist students, Hindu Students, Muslim Students, Agnostic students, and any one else who was there. The Jews ran a school system called United Hebrew Schools. They had yellow school bus's with that printed on the side of them. For Jewish kids who did not attend their school, they ran after school classes. Their bus had a route to pick up kids who were supposed to go there after their regular school. Sister used to line those Jewish kids up, and put them on that bus, just like she sent them to mass in the morning. I suspect she understood the importance of tuition paying students to her keeping her job.
Comment: #3
Posted by: John Harvey
Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:42 PM
Re: Camden McConnell... Sir... I have been a revolutionary all of my life, and while I see the impending collapse of of government in progress I do not view it with any other emotion but terror... Governments are instituted for good, but long ago, and arguably, from the beginning, our government stood in support of business and property, and gave very little actual support to civil rights... The Courts have followed that tilt of the Constitution, and follow it still... Still, peace as we have it, threatened and tenuous, without much justice, is preferable to justice without much peace...
This nation has borrowed from the rich to make the richer rather than tax them when it would have been just and intelligent, and now they want to repay out of the rights of the common people their entitlement to the commonwealth... Let them default and learn to tax...We have always sacrificed for the good of business and to save this country from the stupid wars it has blundered into out of ignorant principal... Wealth says if it is taxed, it will fail, and better the government should default and fail than they... All the people have left to give that has not already been sold to settle the debts accepted for the benefit of the wealthy is their entitlements... The poor can bear no more of taxes, and the rich refuse taxes... Let the system fail... We hold the title to the commonwealth... Let us take all, reform our government on the basis of justice for all, and carry on... But we should certainly put the cart on even ground before we see the horse shot...
Let us write a new constitution before the old government fails completely, as it has always failed in part because it never did do what it was created to do...We are letting the half blind lead the blind... Surely, those like Mr. Williams who spout the nonsense of the right must realize it does not work, and cannot continue... If resources do not run out, then markets will be filled, and if the workers do not die of exhaustion, or revolt, or make war out of exported injustice, then our whole culture will collapse under the weight of unhappiness and lies...
Don't let it go so far without thinking of what lies beyond... My perfect constitution would begin with the preamble of our present constitution, and would soon depart from the old... WE should not be the slaves of other men, and we must no longer be the slaves of failed ideas... Capitalism does not work, and never has...We must govern capital if capital will not everywhere rule us...
You are seeing government fail everywhere...There is nothing happy about it...The rich think of government as serving no other purposes but the control of the masses, and as a source of capital from our commonwealth... The thought that government would govern them is anathema... To not govern industry is to be governed by madness and fate, and fools rush in, and angels often save them; but that is no way to run a government of a rational people...
So do not celebrate... What government has given of our wealth can for the most part be retrieved... But peace once taken usually takes with it life, and great change is always found with great suffering...While we can suffer the old, we should; but never give up crafting the new world on the bones of the old...We must begin to set thing right in our new constitution as the old one falls, just as the failure of the Articles of Confederation fell into the old constitution...It was necessity and haste that allowed so much injustice and principaled nonsense into the U.S. Constitution... Let us correct that, take our time, and hurry up...
Comment: #4
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Thu Aug 23, 2012 6:13 AM
Re: Uldis Sprogis... Why should any student respect his teachers when the whole republican party dis-respects them, and everyone universally refuses them wages worthy of the task before them??? You want to make math and science computer accessible, and it is for the most part, but then how many of the students who need it can afford it at home??? What does it teach a student about the value of education when society cannot even afford educated people to personally instruct??? Where is the personal relationship to inspire???...
I would grant that my education for the most part was wasted on me, and a big waste of time... I am not good in that setting, and most of my education has come from reading... Still, I was often touched intellectually, and inspired by my teachers... I must say I learned some, even from the worst of them... I had the pleasure of running into an old coach/algebra teacher who actually retired after myself after a long and successful carreer in education... I said: YOU ASSHOLE!!! The way that man drove me, humiliated me and eventually failed me in math still hurts... I am terrible at math, and precalculator, could not do taxes or balance my check book with accuracy...It is not for want of intelligence, because I could get the concepts; but for dislexia that added mountains of doubt to every answer... And I told him that all that time that he drove me hard, and abused me for lack of effort in track and cross country I was suffering from asthma... But that was enough...It felt good to give him thirty plus years of saved up abuse... When we parted, I wished him well...
No school system teaching for any general population will ever reach all the people, and this is true of computer programs as well... I think, where schools really fail is in try to teach what is obviously and impossibly false...When they say intelligence, hard work, and ambition lead to success, and offer as examples the low paid, over worked, frustrated teachers before them; kids can get the reality behind the lies...These our some of the best and most selfless people the society has to offer, and society treats them like crap... What does that teach kids???
Thanks.... Sweeney
Comment: #5
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Thu Aug 23, 2012 6:34 AM
Re: John Harvey... You should have went to school with me in Swinging St. Iggy, up Norf... If the nuns couldn't get your attention with a little stick, they would get a big one...Did you ever see the Penguin in the Blues Brothers movie??? That was all my nuns rolled into one... Like my school mate down the street said: The Church gave me a good education, and a BAD attitude...Before they closed up and snuck off, the kids were giving it right back to them... My buddy said some of the boys in eighth grade, (after my timely departure), would whip it out and beat it right in class, and that one kid brought hammer and nails to school, and drove nails up through the little fat mother superior's chair... She just looked at the kids, and cried like a baby... Oh when the saint, go marching in, Oh when those saints go -etc. and etc...
I wasn't much in that place... I wasn't the toughest kid on my street let alone my neighborhood or town... When we moved South to trollville, I was a terror... There is something about never backing down from a fight whether you know you will lose or win that can scare the hell out of a lot of pilgrims... A kid from my youngest sister's class told me once that no one in the whole town wanted to mess with any of us... Considering that my younger brothers never fought, and my older brother was eighty percent paralyzed from polio; what were they scared of??? They were scared of US... And to think that some kid down the street from my old home killed himself because he was harrased in school is baffling to me... Has it so degraded as an abode of hard people that the kid could not fight himself to respect, or at least toleration???... Everybody got abused when I was young until they showed they were not apt to take it... If your self respect is not worth a black eye or a bloody nose, what trinket will you trade it for???
Comment: #6
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Thu Aug 23, 2012 7:07 AM
Re: James A, Sweeney "..most of my education has come from reading..." You should quit reading. It's not helping you.
Comment: #7
Posted by: David Henricks
Thu Aug 23, 2012 1:32 PM
Camden McConnell has the right idea. The only way to make it happen is enable parents to select schools based on the parents judgement. It is time to get the government out of middle. Schools should be run by private organizations, vouchers should be given to the parents and they should be the ones choosing to school based on their judgement. The kids who can't behave will be kick out and the parents will need to find a school for their kid our face being held accountable for their kids truancy. Schools able to handle it will charge more and require the parents to allow them to punish as required. The kids will not behave poorly because the parents hold the kids accountable. Good schools will provide better educations at lower cost because free markets work. People who are willing and able to pay more than what the voucher covers will do it and their kids will excel. Other kids will go to lower cost schools that will provide services that help avoid other costs required to go to school.
Comment: #8
Posted by: C Moellers
Thu Aug 23, 2012 6:08 PM
Already have an account? Log in.
New Account  
Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Your Password:
Confirm Your Password:

Please allow a few minutes for your comment to be posted.

Enter the numbers to the right: comments policy
Walter E. Williams
Feb. `16
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 1 2 3 4 5
About the author About the author
Write the author Write the author
Printer friendly format Printer friendly format
Email to friend Email to friend
View by Month
Authorís Podcast
Marc Dion
Marc DionUpdated 8 Feb 2016
Newspaper ContributorsUpdated 8 Feb 2016
Deb Saunders
Debra J. SaundersUpdated 7 Feb 2016

6 Jan 2010 Untrue Beliefs

21 Nov 2011 Should the Rich Be Condemned?

4 Jan 2011 True or False