We have schools that teach Ebonics, schools that don’t assign grades or tests, schools that promote Afro-centric or Mexican curricula, and schools run by students. Add to this whacky list schools in the Big Apple run by none other than ACORN. Yes, infamous ACORN of voter-fraud- and prostitution-fame. Though the two NYC schools bearing the organization’s name claim that they’re no longer affiliated, parents and teachers say they do indeed follow ACORN’s philosophy of “reform and change.” And even if ACORN itself has been evicted from the city’s schools, it left many “social justice” relatives in its wake. Take the Bushwick Community High School in Brooklyn whose mission “is for students to become empowered for positive social transformation and liberation.” Then there’s the Vanguard High School in Manhattan that recently hosted a “radical math” conference--not to be confused, mind you, with “Social Justice Math.” That no-doubt enthralling confab included a session on “how to use the history of the Black Panther Party to fuel an algebraic curriculum.” Next, we find students at Banana Kelly High School in the Bronx who practice “restorative justice”--misbehaving students are asked to “acknowledge their feelings” as opposed to, perhaps, sitting in detention doing schoolwork. Geez, enough is enough. Clearly the let-a-thousand-flowers-bloom approach is not working in American schools--and the social-justice bloom has turned into a real stinker in New York. It’s not clear how many ACORN-inspired schools there are in other cities, but since the organization has offices in most every major metropolis, we’d bet there are quite a few. We’re all for choice and charters, which most of these schools are. But we’re also for rigorous, honest curricula and schools that impart solid American values, not revolutionary zeal.
“Crackpot schools,” by Jacob Gershman, New York Post, December 1, 2009