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Pete Kaliner

New bureaucrat to solve achievement gap

 
Posted July 9th, 2014 @ 8:08am

You need not wait long for a good example of the rise of the "New Class."

This week, University of Tennessee law professor (and Instapundit blogger) Glenn Harlan Reynolds wrote a must-read column for USAToday about the New Class. 

Dissident Soviet-era thinker Milovan Djilas coined the term "the New Class" to describe the people who actually ran the Soviet Union: Not workers or capitalists or proletarians, but managers, bureaucrats, technocrats, and assorted hangers-on.

This group, Djilas wrote, had assumed the power that mattered in the "workers' paradise," and transformed itself into a new kind of aristocracy, even while pretending, ever less convincingly, to do so in the name of the workers.

Capitalists own capital, workers own their labor, but what the New Class owned was political control over other people's capital and labor.

This column came to my mind when NC blogger Lady Liberty showed me a story out of Wake County. The school board there hired an Assistant Superintendent for Equity Affairs.

She is rightfully suspicious of the post and what the newly hired bureaucrat will do:

The Wake Board’s comments are social and economic justice themed; calling the position the ‘conscience of the organization’ yet what it looks like Trice has really been hired to do is to spin the testing gap for Hispanic and Black students and alter discipline in our schools.

 

The News & Observer interviewed the newly-hired equity expert, Rodney Trice, who sees himself as a paid annoyance. An agitator, if you will.

Rodney Trice - the Wake County school system's newly designated "pest" and "gadfly" - is now on the job to help promote equity and diversity in North Carolina's largest school system.

Wake school leaders used phrases such as "a conscience for the organization" in describing the role they wanted for the new position of assistant superintendent for equity affairs. For Trice, who started in that new position Tuesday, he'll have the challenge of helping Wake deal with persistent problems experienced by African American and Hispanic students who score lower on exams and face higher dropout and suspension rates than their white peers.

 

One man is the "conscience" of a $1.4 billion system?

What an insult to the employees, volunteers, and parents in the district who lobby for policies at School Board meetings and help craft programs aimed at improving education.

But school board members say it will help to have a specific person to develop strategies and promote equity as a philosophy.

"The issues of diversity and inclusion need to be addressed," school board member Keith Sutton said. "It's a problem that is well documented. To me, the need for the position is irrefutable."

Sutton was school board chairman in spring 2013 when he persuaded his colleagues to create the Office of Equity Affairs. He argued the new position was needed to help Wake promote diversity in more ways than just using student assignment to balance school populations.

In addition to helping with close the racial achievement gap, school board members say Trice can help to determine how to provide funding and resources equitably to schools across the county.

 

The achievement gap is not a new problem in American public schools. Blacks and Hispanics lag behind their White peers in performance, and have done so for decades. Indeed, Wake County's race-based busing was supposed to help close that gap. Is it not working?

I'd also note how only 2 of the 9 Wake School Board members are minorities in a district where almost half of the students are non-white. I guess busing for the sake of diversity doesn't apply to the governing body.

These officials are hiring another member of the New Class to work on a problem created by the very bureaucratic system the New Class props up.

Meanwhile, New Class educrats at the federal level will be trying to tell the locals how to address the same problem.

All will fail.

Children will be harmed.

And in another decade we'll hear about a new innovative way to address the problem.

Oh - and it will require an expansion of the New Class. 

 

Or maybe.... 

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