It’s remarkable how this article on 10 reasons why things are going wrong with public education didn’t mention the single biggest problem:
Something is wrong—very, very wrong. Teachers across the country at all grade levels, in all subjects, teaching a wide variety of student populations, can sense it. There is a pulse of dysfunction, a steady palpitation of doom that the path we are on is not properly oriented.
There is a raw and amorphous anxiety creeping into the psyche of the corps of American teachers.
We may have trouble pinpointing the exact moment when something in our schools and broader culture went wildly astray, leaving in its wake teachers sapped of optimism and weighted with enervate comprehension. The following is a small sampling—this list could easily have been twice as long if my conversations with fellow teachers are any indication—of problems that teachers were not facing ten years ago.
Every failure of civil society—institutional rot, political cynicism and polarization, tattered family and other filial relations, depressed expectations of student behavior, a preening and non-apologetic narcissism, extravagant self-regard, anti-intellectualism in our minds and moral relativism in our hearts—manifests itself in our schools. The result is a weight of responsibility, an anvil of obligation, now pushing against the outer periphery of what schools can realistically achieve given their inherent limitations. It is no headline to announce that schools mirror the dysfunction of society writ large. With this in mind, I offer the following list of ten things teachers did not have to deal with just a decade ago.
Translation: the percentage of white American students is now too low to maintain the pretense. There is no longer a “school community”, or even a “town community” thanks to the post-1965 immigration. Sure, all the educational fads and new management philosophies don’t help, but none of those things would have made much of a difference in your average 1950s or even 1980s suburban high school.
This isn’t really debatable. The busing battles of the 1970s and 1980s was fundamentally based on the idea that blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities can’t be successfully educated without being surrounded by a sufficient number of whites. So, what are they going to do now that they are running short on white students?