Things You Learn In High School
You cannot make a person a leader by merely insisting he or she is special. You need to challenge the person on a physical, mental, and spiritual level; only then will the leader emerge.
Of course, you might be hard-pressed to find evidence of this maxim in the world today, especially where kids are concerned.
The Czar spent some time at two very different Chicago Public Schools; he will not name the schools individually, but will say that one was in a highly transitional neighborhood that moved from Polish to Arabic, and is now moving fast from Arabic to Hispanic. The other school was in a high school in an infamous southeast-side neighborhood that is entirely African-American.
Your first impression, and possibly only impression, in the now Hispanic school is a powerful emphasis on language. Signs are bilingual everywhere, and even common objects have labels attached to them, such as windows / ventanas: three-by-five index cards written in Sharpie tacked to the item with tape. Mind you, these are in rooms for older children. Know why?
Well, you would not be wrong to think there was a strong and noble attempt to teach them English. Libertarians tend to believe otherwiseand there is much evidence to push them to extremesbut this is still very much an English-speaking country. You cannot achieve anything beyond a marginal potential if you speak no English here. Amigos, usted debe hablar Inglés en los Estados Unidos, a pesar de lo que usted escuchado en México.
But the real reason is more sinister, and although understood by educators in large cities, remains unknown by the average person: a huge percentage of the children arriving here from Mexico cannot read Spanish, either. Imagine you are a seventh-grade teacher, and have non-English-speaking kids who have the reading, writing, and arithmetic skills of a kindergartener. Good luck getting them through geometry and American history.
Of course, the conservative gut instinct is to wring your hands and wonder why we are letting these kids into our country. But hold on: Chicago does not allow illegal aliens into the schools. These kids, whatever their faults are, are American citizensjust uneducated ones. As long as we make education compulsory, we inherit an obligation to teach them. And these weird methods are largely what our grandparents learned when they went to pubic schools, unable to read whatever language was spoken at home as well as English.
And no, before you correct the Czar, many public schools did not teach solely in English. Although there were no formal bilingual education programs in 1913, many schools with a predominant nationality used the primary language quite a bit as a way to transition students into English. Did it work? Ask your grandparents.
On the other hand, the largely black high school was a surreal experience. The school was completely the result of some sociological experiment in the 1960s, with brightly colored concrete masonry block walls, long corridors that go nowhere, claustrophobic rooms, and a complete basement feel with exposed piping and conduits. The students have attempted to personalize the school in their own ways: a mix of brilliantly done murals and, sadly, a fair amount of gang-related symbology. We are not trying to paint an image: this becomes important in a bit.
Because in nearly every single classroom, there is either disturbingly excessive motivational propaganda or an over-the-top emphasis on slavery. For example, there are pictures of black civil rights protestors being sprayed with fire hoses, under which is the caption Resilience: they were strong like you. Another poster of President Obama with the title You can change the world. Uh-huh.
And pictures of slaves in chains everywhere, coupled with posters of contributions by slaves to American culture (blues and jazz, various foods, and so on). In one room, there are essays posted on looseleaf paper, taped to the orange walls: I believe that slavery still exists because the rich man still exploits the black and make us sleep on the floor and not have good clothes. We found that quote today. Another: I think the Emancipation Proclamation shows hypocrisy because it freed the slaves in the South but not the North. Make of this what you will. The Czars thoughts: these did not represent random samples, but were the best of the bunch. And no critique from the teacher on either one? Know why? Because this is being promoted.
No, this is not some screed about conspiracies. What we mean here is that there is a very deliberate attempt to promote black culture as (a) purely the result of slavery and oppression by the white man and (b) reassurance that despite the fact you are black, you are a decent person. And this is pathetic. Perhaps the Czar is cynical after all these years, but come on: this is some misguided program developed, doubtless by white guys in some conference room, to try to make blacks feel better about themselves while acknowledging the vast debt they are owed.
That sound is our sympathy leaving the room. Yes, we must never ignore the hideous crime of slavery. But face it: unless these kids are actually from some of the uglier parts of Africa, they have never been slaves. At this point, neither have their parents or grandparents. But constant emphasis of this almost creates the impression that it could happen again. And this assault with motivational messages? Tell us this does not stem from some 21st Century version of the noble savage bullshit.
Throughout the school is a total lack of historical context bordering on the obscene. In a main corridor are student-painted portraits of key figures in history. Martin Luther King, Jr. Rosa Parks. Malcolm X. Huey P. Newton, for Gods sake. Beyoncé Knowles. Snoop Dogg. Holy crap: whatever happened to Fred Douglas or George W. Carver? Is anyone teaching the truth about Newton? Or that Beyoncé and Snoop are stunningly wealthy entertainers that lead a life unobtainable by the average person? Where is the distinction between great, merely famous, infamous, and notorious? Evidently, school administrators seem to think that blacks are only valuable when they become famous. What a shame that Dr. King finds his great visage placed among these people. A bigger shame that no one at this school seems to be teaching Kings message, as these portraits seem to have been chosen for the color of their skin, rather than the content of their character.
Lest you be uncertain: the Czar believes entirely in Dr. Kings awesome goal. The Czar believes that blacks are real people, like anyone else. No better, no worse. No greater, no weaker. That it is up to the individual to recognize his or her own strengths, and use them to his or her own advantage. But this school immerses students in a dismal mixed message that they are victims, and that despite all their faults, they might just become incredibly wealthy. And that is a crime, right out of the leftist make-them-dependent-on-you playbook.
But hold on. There is hope. As the Czar entered one classroom, abandoned for summer vacation, he was shocked to see written on the blackboard one comment: Final exam question: choose one result of the Tonkin Resolution and how this continues to effect foreign policy today. The Czar stood and gaped at this for almost a half-minute. Wow! Real history being taught. With a lesson for today! Heck, most people writing for blogs today could not answer this question. Whoever that teacher was, nice one.
Then, the Czar wandered into the school auditorium, where a speaker was addressing the entire future (incoming) freshman class during orientation. The Czar entered completely unobserved, and caught a delicious moment. The speaker was warning the kids not to expect society to just hand over their earnings to you. Lots of kids come in here as freshmen, he said, hoping to eke out a couple years of high school, drop out, and then live off a monthly government check for $500. You think you can live off $6,000 a year? You boys think you can impress a girl with that? You girls think you can raise a family on that? Because a lot of you kids do, and that right there is why some white folks think youre crazy. He then rattled off average starting incomes for lawyers, dentists, accountants, and stockbrokers, explaining how only hard work and discipline will make that happen. What could they do with that kind of money? What could you do to make that happen?
It was, overall, a shocking conservative message of hard work, investing, and playing it smart. He warned the girls about premarital sex (which wound up with a really funny but off-color joke that made a superb point). He warned the boys about gangsif you want carry a gun, and belong to a group that takes care of you, the military recruiters will be in to talk to you in two years. You get all that, plus a steady job, and serve your country as well.
What a refreshing change from the usually ineffective stay in school, dont do drugs pablum, eh? But then the Czar went back into the main corridors, saw the picture of Huey Newton, and wondered who had the siren song here.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.