Is TUSD a victim of victimhood?

A story in the Arizona Daily Star: “Weak TUSD curriculum hurts minorities and poor most, audit finds,” notes that Hispanic and African-American students do more poorly in reading and math than white students.

The story states: “An external curriculum audit found that, despite a 34-year effort to bring racial balance to TUSD schools, the services that have been delivered in an attempt to close the achievement gap for minority students have been unsuccessful.” A TUSD district administrator is quoted as saying: “The inequalities that I see today are no different than those I experienced as a child in this district. We have not put policies in place or provided professional development to help teachers deal with the differences within our student population.” Do teachers discriminate in teaching different student, or do all in an integrated class receive the same instruction?

Just what those “inequalities” are is not specified. The story makes broad generalizations about causes but fails to provide specifics. I recall a somewhat cynical generalization from logic class: “All generalizations are wrong, including this one.”

Dr. Thomas Sowell has a different explanation in an article: “A Challenge to Our Beliefs.” In that article he notes that in one “borough of London, white students scored lower than black students in any London borough,” a reverse of the situation in the U.S. “What jolts us is not only that this phenomenon is so different from what we are used to seeing in the United States, but also that it fits neither the genetic nor the environmental explanation of black-white educational differences here.”

Sowell’s explanation:

“What do low-income whites in England and ghetto blacks in the United States have in common? It cannot be simply low incomes, because children from other groups in the same low-income brackets outperform whites in England and outperform blacks in America.”

“What low-income whites in England and ghetto blacks in the United States have in common is a generations-long indoctrination in victimhood. The political left in both countries has, for more than half a century, maintained a steady and loud drumbeat of claims that the deck is stacked against those at the bottom.”

Sowell grew up in Harlem. He notes that “Back in the 1940s, before the vast expansion of the welfare state and the ideology of victimhood used to justify it, there was no such gap on test scores between black schools in Harlem and white, working class schools on New York’s lower east side.”

Maybe TUSD would have more success with treating students as individuals rather than stereotyping them according to perceived groups.