Thomas Sowell: Politics Versus Education

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Politics Versus Education

By Thomas Sowell

thomas_sowellOf all the cynical frauds of the Obama administration, few are so despicable as sacrificing the education of poor and minority children to the interests of the teachers’ unions.

Attorney General Eric Holder’s attempt to suppress the spread of charter schools in Louisiana was just one of the signs of that cynicism. His nationwide threats of legal action against schools that discipline more black students than he thinks they should are at least as damaging.

Charter schools are hated by teachers’ unions and by much of the educational establishment in general. They seem to be especially hated when they succeed in educating minority children whom the educational establishment says cannot be educated.

Apparently it can be done when you don’t have to hire unionized teachers with iron-clad tenure, and when you don’t have to follow the dogmas in vogue in the educational establishment.

Last year, there was an attempt to shut down the American Indian Model Schools in Oakland, California — schools that had been ranked among the top schools in the nation, schools with the top test scores in their district and the fourth highest scores in the entire state of California.

The reason given was that the former — repeat, FORMER — head of these schools was accused of financial irregularities. Since there are courts of law to determine the guilt or innocence of individuals, why should school children be punished by having their schools shut down, immediately and permanently, before any court even held a trial?

Fortunately, a court order prevented this planned vindictive closing of this highly successful charter school with minority students. But the attempt shows the animus and the cynical disregard of the education of children who have few other places to get a comparable education.

Attorney General Holder’s threats of legal action against schools where minority students are disciplined more often than he wants are a much more sweeping and damaging blow to the education of poor and minority students across the country.

Among the biggest obstacles to educating children in many ghetto schools are disruptive students whose antics, threats and violence can make education virtually impossible. If only 10 percent of the students are this way, that sacrifices the education of the other 90 percent.

The idea that Eric Holder, or anybody else, can sit in Washington and determine how many disciplinary actions against individual students are warranted or unwarranted in schools across the length and breadth of this country would be laughable if it were not so tragic.

Relying on racial statistics tells you nothing, unless you believe that black male students cannot possibly be more disruptive than Asian female students, or that students in crime-ridden neighborhoods cannot possibly require disciplinary actions more often than children in the most staid, middle-class neighborhoods.

Attorney General Holder is not fool enough to believe either of those things. Why then is he pursuing this numbers game?

The most obvious answer is politics. Anything that promotes a sense of grievance from charges of racial discrimination offers hope of energizing the black vote to turn out to vote for Democrats, which is especially needed when support from other voters is weakening in the wake of Obama administration scandals and fiascoes.

Eric Holder’s other big racial crusade, against requiring identification for voting, is the same political game. And it is carried out with the same cynical promotion of fears, with orchestrated hysteria from other Democrats — as if having to show identification to vote is like a revival of the Ku Klux Klan.

Blacks, whites and everybody else can be asked for identification these days, whether cashing a check or using a credit card at a local store or going to an airport — or even getting into some political meetings called to protest voter ID laws.

But to sacrifice the education of children, especially children for whom education may be their only ticket out of poverty, is truly a new low. As someone once said to Senator Joe McCarthy, “Have you no sense of decency, sir?”

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His website is To find out more about Thomas Sowell and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



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Thomas Sowell: The Strange New Face Of American Racism

Thomas Sowell is a Professor Emeritus at Stanford University, a Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, a noted economist, an author of over 70 books and manuscripts and the type of commentator that grabs you and forces you to listen and learn.

Herbert Hoover in front of Hoover Tower at Sta...

Herbert Hoover in front of Hoover Tower at Stanford University (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Posted below are his words on The Strange New Face Of American Racism published as an op-ed in the New York Post:

I am so old that I can remember when most of the people promoting race hate were white.

Apparently other Americans also recognize that the sources of racism are different today from what they were in the past. According to a recent Rasmussen poll, 31 percent of blacks think that most blacks are racists, while 24 percent of blacks think that most whites are racist.

The difference between these percentages is not great, but it is remarkable nevertheless. After all, generations of blacks fought the white racism from which they suffered for so long. If many blacks themselves now think that most other blacks are racist, that is startling.

The moral claims advanced by generations of black leaders — claims that eventually touched the conscience of the nation and turned the tide toward civil rights for all — have now been cheapened by today’s generation of black “leaders,” who act as if it is all just a matter of whose ox is gored.

Even in legal cases involving terrible crimes — the O.J. Simpson murder trial or the charges of gang rape against Duke University students — many black “leaders” and their followers have not waited for facts about who was guilty and who was not, but have immediately taken sides, based on who was black and who was white.

Among whites, according to the same Rasmussen poll, 38 percent consider most blacks racist and 10 percent consider most whites racist.

Broken down by politics, the same poll showed that 49 percent of Republicans consider most blacks racist, as do 36 percent of independents and 29 percent of Democrats.

Perhaps most disturbing of all, just 29 percent of Americans as a whole think race relations are getting better, while 32 percent think race relations are getting worse. The difference is too close to call, but the fact that it is so close is itself painful — and perhaps a warning sign for where we are heading.

Is this what so many Americans, both black and white, struggled for, over the decades and generations, to try to put the curse of racism behind us — only to reach a point where retrogression in race relations now seems at least equally likely as progress?

What went wrong? Perhaps no single factor can be blamed for all the things that went wrong. Insurgent movements of all sorts, in countries around the world, have for centuries soured in the aftermath of their own success. “The revolution betrayed” is a theme that goes back at least as far as 18th century France.

The civil-rights movement in 20th century America attracted many people who put everything on the line for the sake of fighting against racial oppression. But the eventual success of that movement attracted opportunists, and even turned some idealists into opportunists.

Over the generations, black leaders have ranged from noble souls to shameless charlatans. After the success of the civil-rights insurgency, the latter have come into their own, gaining money, power and fame by promoting racial attitudes and actions that are counterproductive to the interests of those they lead.

None of this is unique to blacks or to the United States. In various countries and times, leaders of groups that lagged behind, economically and educationally, have taught their followers to blame all their problems on other people — and to hate those other people.

This was the history of anti-Semitic movements in Eastern Europe between the two World Wars, anti-Ibo movements in Nigeria in the 1960s and anti-Tamil movements that turned Sri Lanka from a peaceful nation into a scene of lethal mob violence and then decades-long civil war, both marked by unspeakable atrocities.

Groups that rose from poverty to prosperity seldom did so by having racial or ethnic leaders. While most Americans can easily name a number of black leaders, current or past, how many can name Asian-American ethnic leaders or Jewish ethnic leaders?

The time is long overdue to stop looking for progress through racial or ethnic leaders. Such leaders have too many incentives to promote polarizing attitudes and actions that are counterproductive for minorities and disastrous for the country.

America The Great, i.e., The Exceptional

This was first posted on GadaboutBlogalot on July 4th, 2012.  It is approximately 45 minutes long.

Uncommon Knowledge of the Hoover Institution and Peter Robinson allows us to hear radio host and author Dennis Prager make the case on the need for America.  We believe today (July 4th, 2012) is a fitting date to restate why the world needs a free republic of The United States of America and pointing out the penalties for not having such is very necessary:

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Delaration Of Independence And The United States Constitution

Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jeffe...

Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson writing the Declaration of independence (1776) were all of British descent. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tomorrow is United States Constitution Day.  Click on the link below to hear an interview on the Declaration  of Independence and The United States Constitution.  This is something we have posted before.  Thanks  to The Hoover Institution and Dr. Larry Arnn, along with Peter Robinson and Uncommon Knowledge

Declaration and Constitution

Radical “O”

Stanley Kurtz  and Peter Robinson discuss the radicalization and present socialist form of Barack Obama in this video titled, Radical In Chief.  Stanley Kurtz take the helm to prove the label.

In this video presentation separated into segments you find the ribbon, the string, the wrapping paper and the box, but you’ll not find kid gloves:…

Radical “O”

Visit The Hoover Institution and Uncommon Knowledge

Hoover Institution
Hoover Institution (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

to find other fascinating subjects presented factually by reasoned individuals.

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Thomas Sowell: How I Became An Intellectual

In Part 4 Of 5, Dr Sowell Tells Us …

How He Became An Intellectual

Hmm.  We would say this is pretty important … so gather around and hear it from the good Doctor’s mouth:

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The Ignorance Of Some Intellectuals

Thomas Sowell appears on Uncommon Knowledge to explain how intellectuals habitually comment on subjects about which they know little. Thanks to the Hoover Institution and Uncommon Knowledge

Spountin’ Out About … Nothing They Actually Know

If all goes well the other four segments will be posted.  Be sure to read the related articles below.

Mars Vanquishing Ignorance

Mars Vanquishing Ignorance (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mars Vanquishing Ignorance (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Don’t Know Much About History, er Economics

Stanford University 122.16800W 37

Image via Wikipedia

By Chuck Ring (GadaboutBlogalot ©2009 – 2011)

Quote Freely From The Article – Leave The Pseudonym Alone

Well, it isn’t a science, although some would have you believe it is.  But if you have a good, or even better, an excellent instructor on the subject, you can begin to understand the ideas touted by the more learned of those who say they know the way to understanding Economics.

Dr. Thomas Sowell, the recipient of many honors,  is a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.  An author and commentator, who has an earned reputation as an expert on many subjects,  he is interesting to read and fascinating to hear.

You can come to an understanding that the American dream of home ownership is both worthwhile and it cannot come about by foolish government intervention dictating that everyone should realize the dream before thy can pay for it.  While, I am no expert on government or economics, I am perceptive enough to know that government can’t cause people with no means to pay to become homeowners before they can afford a home … no matter how earnestly social engineers work at trying to make it so.  So think of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (we’ve mentioned them before) but don’t thank them, as they are responsible to a large degree for the mess in which we find ourselves.  Dr. Sowell will speak to both Fannie and Freddie, but he won’t  stop there.  So set back and pay attention for just over 33 minutes after you click on Thomas Sowell — Basic Economics.

Follow other links found below if you wish.