Seattle’s school board has committed itself to stamping out “institutionalized racism,” reports Shark Blog. Even though the district is spending its reserves and the finance director is buying lottery tickets, money is no object. The district is spending $200,000 to create an Office of Equity and Race Relations.
In a written statement, the board didn’t put a price tag on (eliminating “institutional racism”): “While unable at this time to quantify the resources necessary to accomplish this goal, we anticipate a major shift in the way existing resources –including staff time, materials, supplies, and money — are utilized, now and in the years to come.”
Stefan Sharkansky asked board members what they meant by “institutionalized racism,” and prints one substantive reply, which cites the board’s training by the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. Two board members refuse to reply because he’s a critic of the school board.
If the board focused on improving the achievement of low-achieving students, it might do some good. For example, it could change seniority rules and teacher compensation so that inner-city principals could hire the best teachers. It could insist that elementary schools use reading and math curricula proven effective for disadvantaged students. The board could adopt a “no excuses” policy, instead of letting students, parents, teachers and administrators off the hook by blaming a gaseous form of racism.