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We Didn't Mean Dumb Down Version For Blacks

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by ethics, Jan 25, 2003.

  1. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    <a href="http://www.njea.org/FamilyCircle/default.asp">The New Jersey Education Association's Web</a> site features a brochure for download called "Getting Involved in Your Child's School." It comes in three versions; the first is simply described as <a href="http://www.njea.org/pdfs/GPS_Center_spread.pdf">"a parent's resource"</a> (links in PDF format). The second is written in Spanish, but the third is curious. It's called the <a href="http://www.njea.org/pdfs/BMCFASTBrochure.pdf">"African-American version."</a>

    Why is an African-American version necessary? Who knows, but there are differences between the text of two versions.

    For example, here's how the "parent's resource" answers the question: "Why do teachers need my help?":

    <blockquote>Today, there is an increasing emphasis on individualized instruction--fitting the curriculum to the child. Teachers want to employ new methods and materials to give each child personal guidance.

    When you assist teachers with growing paperwork, make instructional materials, or conduct a science experiment, you give them more time for planning activities, for trying new teaching strategies, and for working directly with children. As a parent volunteer, you allow them to be more effective teachers--and the school obtains your skills and services that might be unavailable due to financial limitations.

    Here's how the "African-American version" answers the same question:

    <blockquote>Today, teachers want to use new methods and materials to give each child personal guidance.
    When you assist teachers, you give them more time to work with children. You allow them to be more effective teachers.

    I actually like the African-American version better; it takes just 36 words to say the same thing the parent's resource says in 91. But another way of looking at it is that the New Jersey teachers union seems to think their material has to be dumbed down for the benefit of black parents?

    <a href="http://www.nj.com/statehouse/times/index.ssf?/base/news-0/1043319654220172.xml">Apparently so</a>,

    The New Jersey Education Association admits it made a mistake in posting on its Web site a dumbed-down "African American version" of a brochure on parents volunteering in the schools, the Trenton Times reports. "It was just a mistake," teachers union spokeswoman Karen Joseph tells the Times. "We make mistakes, too, and we acknowledge it, and as soon as it was discovered, we said we need to fix this."

    Can I hear a "WTF?"
  2. Sunriser13

    Sunriser13 Knee Deep in Paradise

    WTF????? (Since you asked for it... ;) )

    Honestly, this is indeed ridiculous. Hell, they're not even saying that their mistake is that this version even exists, offensively titled "African-American version", but that their mistake is in posting it. Oops!

    They got caught, plain and simple. It's a damn shame what stereotypic perceptions wind up producing...
  3. BigDeputyDog

    BigDeputyDog Straight Shootin Admin Staff Member

    I heard this on the radio yesterday... my response was...


    BDD... :{)
  4. Andy


    Welcome to Joisey!

    Funny thing is that since the UNION is the one that made a "mistake" it seems fine just to fix it.

    But if a Teacher were to use these definitions in a classroom on their own accord, the the Teacher would be in for a tongue lashing.

    My wife is a Teacher here in Joisey, and she cannot STAND this Union.
    (yet she is pretty much "forced" to belong to it, if she want's to keep here job!)

    Last election, they were calling as late as 10PM to "insist" on who she should vote for. They called 4 times in one day. I was ready to have charges filed against them after I told them the last 3 times, NOT to call me anymore. (It's MY phone! ;))

    And each time I answered the phone, and told these "telemarketers" where to stick their Democrat Candidate that they were endorsing.
  5. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Passed Away Aug. 19, 2006

    You folks are all misunderstanding the nature of the problem. It is simply that they mislabelled the two versions. The second one is the correct one -- short, clear and to the point. The first one -- bloated, convoluted and silly -- is the one that is dumbed down for educational bureaucrats and teacher's college professors.
  6. kasia

    kasia Registered User

    Damn, you beat me to it.. was about to post "the second version is specifically formulated to be pompous and long-winded for the benefit of soccer moms with too much time on their hands".
  7. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Passed Away Aug. 19, 2006

    Gee. I thought the soccer moms with too much time on their hands spent it flirting with the soccer coaches. But if they spend that time reading I guess I will withdraw my application for a coaching position.
  8. Jedi Writer

    Jedi Writer Guest

    I couldn't agree more.

    Whatever the writers' motives, the African-version is better written and therefore by definition, more sophisticated. (In the best sense of the word!)
  9. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    No, the long version is not well written. It does not have the minimum number of new educational buzz words.
  10. Cariad

    Cariad cymru am byth

    EXCUSE ME!!!! I happen to be a soccer mom, and I certainly don't have to much time on my hands. PFFT!!!! :kissmy:

    Whatever way they word the document, it's a waste of time. Most parents don't read documents sent home with their children, and that only requires them to open their child's folder. I hardly think parents are going to take the time to actually sit in front of the pc, download a document and read it.
  11. FrankF

    FrankF #55170-054

    I like the "African-American" version better. It says the same thing as the "White" version, and it doesn't waste my time making me read the extra 55 words.

    Actually... I agree with Cariad. Any parent with half a brain would help teach their child and help with homework. And (time permitting) would help out in the classroom. I don't need for the school to waste time and $$$ by sending home "parent resource guide" to tell me that.
  12. Coriolis

    Coriolis Bob's your uncle

    That's the problem. A lot of parents these days appear to be running on < 50% brain capacity. ;)
  13. FrankF

    FrankF #55170-054

    I work for a large defense contractor. Every year, they send out a 24 page "Ethics Manual" that I must read and then sign a page stating that I read it and agree to abide by the rules.

    It takes 24 pages to tell me that I may not lie, cheat, steal, bribe, offer kickbacks, or offer gifts to suppliers or customers. And I may not accept bribes, kickbacks, or gifts from suppliers or customers.

  14. Copzilla

    Copzilla dangerous animal Staff Member

    Well, such is the problem with creating a victim subculture. People seem to <B>want</B> them to be victims. And our educators are some of the worst at this type of mentality.

    I'm surprised they didn't make the African American version "Sheeeeit. Yooz jess gotta hep yo kids." The fact that there was an African American version at all is so "ebonic" of them...
  15. Misu

    Misu Hey, I saw that.

    What was the mistake, according to the spokesperson? That they let a racist post up both versions on the website and lable the simpler version "African American's version"? *shaking head*
  16. Jedi Writer

    Jedi Writer Guest

    Frank, just don't forget one of the key rules of any good for profit business: Don't let your bribes exceed your kickbacks!:)

    Positive cash flow, Dude!
  17. RRedline

    RRedline Veteran MMember

    I will offer my response in two flavors:

    <b>A Parent's Resource Version:</b> I can't believe, in a time of heightened racial awareness, anybody could make such a foolish mistake.

    <b>African-American Version:</b> Maaan, that is whack. You know what I'm sayin'?
  18. midranger4

    midranger4 Banned

    Al Sharption would have a field day with this and I'm quite surprised the national press hasn't jumped on this story.

    Coming from a Teacher's Union no less? :rolleyes:
  19. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    Unions are generally considered sympathetic to black causes. A gaffe on the part of anybody else would get a bye to somebody who is otherwise politically correct. I am sure the union has already made their <strike>extortion</strike> contribution payment to the Reverand Jackson.
  20. yazdzik

    yazdzik Veteran Member

    Dear Friends,

    The first version was so badly edited that one questions the ability of the system to instruct. The second one says nothing at all. Both are politically correct and jargon, two things abhorred by the sentient, yet more by the sensitive. It is the labelling that becomes repugnant and abusive.

    The innate valuing of a classes of people, whether that class be race, gender, vocation, or any group factor, is destroying the process of teaching from corrupt files in the root.

    Please bear with me while I tell yet another long-winded Mean Old Nasty Bastard story.

    I spent the weekend out of town, and stopped to see my father. He has a telly, and, frankly, I am so exhausted, just the moving images fascinate me. He was watching a programme where police officers apparently allowed a ghost to film arrests.

    Personal reminiscence has no place in this forum, but, before being labelled naive, I have been shot in a courtroom, run drug warrants in ugly places like the Letter Avenues. Thus, when I say I am shocked, it is not the shock of someone who as never seen e-cabin. It is shock at a level of moral depravity that I cannot evaluate, based even upon a fairly broad life experience.

    Likewise, no one who reads my posts could ever underestimate my respect for the fourth amendment, nor believe that I espouse the government's so much as knowing the whereabouts of American citizens. In short, unless a cop is invoking the EPD, or has a warrant, he has no right even to ask the name of a citizen. Period.

    That having been said, I taught my kids, as unruly as they are, to say "good morning" upon passing a uniformed officer, as it is unconscionable to me to see someone pass a cop without so much as a "Good Day, Officer." Where have manners gone? Perhaps, the inability to be civil is the death of civil liberties?

    Thus, seeing people berate beat cops on television is beyond what I am willing to tolerate in our land. And I am a very, very tolerant man. A woman called an arresting officer an idiot, a scumbag, etc. For no reason. This was not a violent arrest, nor a King type beating, nor even, as sad as it is they exist, a shakedown. He asked her to respond to a complaint. A request. Responding to a civilian complaint, there is no inherent protection. Nothing complicated, nothing unkind, but a complaint. Why not, Good evening, officer, can I help you?

    While on the topic of uniforms, since when is it permissible to allow a soldier or cop to buy his own coffee? Does no one care anymore? I may be a well known civil libertarian, even in my own precinct, but I would never pass a cruiser sitting in front of my house on a bitter cold day, without asking if the cops wanted a cup of coffee. Nor would any sane person. Where are the kindergarten teachers who enforce these basic social rules? Writing the rubbish that heads this thread?

    Returning to my usual education rant, I am going to admit that Haywire is far more idealistic than I am, as he rightly points out, the two working parent system is socially inadvisable. He is correct without question.

    However, this is unlikely to change, either in the near future, or ever. Therefore, whether or not it is "right," the schools, to wit the teachers, need be those who civilise our young. We have arrived, for very different reasons, back about a century, when the schools existed to try to bring the children out of the factories, into the more genteel world of the professions, for those who could make the leap, and, for those who were the future workers, respect for each other, and for work well done, no matter the kind.

    Thus, Johnny Brain was taught that Joe Futuregreasemonkey was entitled to respect for his person, and that no undertaking was of greater human dignity, irrespective of social status or remuneration. Secondly, one could enforce this because teachers knew their students, their students families, and were themselves at least as free from prejudice as a good liberal arts education could make them. Classes were normal sized, i e by todays sick standards, small. No one needed education credits, one taught because one knew ones stuff, and had the moral fibre to instill culture in kids.

    If we cannot even write an English sentence with interesting style, and offend the sensibilities of any civilised person with a cracker nigger and god knows what other versions of a simple sentence, when even the meaning is obfuscated in principle, how can we expect to educate?

    Thus, the class size must be reduced, and the education type college credits eliminated at their roots, before the fruit of their poisonous tree is ingested by our young. If we accept the fact that mom and dad today, for whatever reason, of whatever ethical origin, are not going to teach kids manners, decorum, discipline, culture, and love of learning, does this mean that it should not be taught? Rather, I propose that, like the church educating the miners brats, we demand that our schools do the job left undone at home. It matters not to me whether mommy or teacher inculcate respect, but without it, education does not function.

    This cannot be done in a class of twenty-five, nor when we say that lawyers are smarter than plumbers, or astronauts have more glamourous jobs that beat cops. Yes, it is more glamourous to be in the theatre than flipping burgers; I have done both. More glamourous and more dignified are not the same.

    The disease is our lack of respect for education, and the medicine we are trying to apply is to make a bad and ugly system work efficiently, rather than finding a system that works.

    To observe that we have a two breadwinner society, which has, for better or worse, asked the schools to rear its children, and then have those schools say the parents need be more involved, is without even the veil of subterfuge, the school usurping the function of social arbiter while at the same time failing to act then as such. Such convolution is unworthy of a hunting dog, nonetheless an educator.

    Those of us who pay for private schools, are admitting we need the school to be what schools always were, the broader home for the young. To argue that the public school is only job training, and teaching comportment is the parents job is logical, but based upon a false premise. Had the parents interest or time, they would already have so done.

    Unless the Talibun ultimately win the war, women in the US are going to work, and children will need to learn by the examples of their teachers how to be civilised, compassionate, respectful members of our society. Schools took over the kids for hundreds of years as the parents worked the fields and the mines, and the idea of Bud and June is only possible in a society far wealthier than ours will ever be again, or one in which poverty is tolerated socially, as here it can never be.

    Rereading both the black and white versions of the sentence leads me to believe that those who wrote either version are a liability to the system, as:
    for one, they cannot write English, then, they are disrespectful in the extreme, lastly, knowing the social situation, one should hope, at least as well as Hay or I, the very point of the communication is contrary to perceived reality.

    Who here would like his bairns in the hands of half-literate, disrespectful, and blind mentors?

    All good wishes,


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