Race or character?

Published 9:19 pm Monday, March 19, 2018

By Joe Bass

This column, like others, focuses on the use of flawed research approaches that are designed to gather incomplete data that helpfully support political agendas instead of attempting to discover the whole truth and develop corrective actions designed to overcome real social challenges.

Such flawed research efforts are commonly used to support gun control, other public “safety” issues, harmful welfare programs, and erroneous civil rights activities.

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These biased “research” efforts commonly ignore that many of today’s social negatives did not exist prior to implementation of President Johnson’s mid-1960s War on Poverty and Civil Rights Act. These programs have resulted in some positive changes, but they have also caused some of the major problems we have today. Ignoring these issues isn’t going to make the negatives go away.

Politically motivated, biased research efforts regularly gather data based on race and ethnicity while ignoring personal character factors as promoted by Dr. Martin Luther King, Frederick Douglass, and Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois. There are many examples of this including the following, dealing with educational achievement.

Research study after research study finds a hierarchy of educational achievement scores among students. Asian and white students score higher than Hispanic students. Hispanic students score higher than black students. A study by the National Assessment of Education Progress found there was a 30-point white-black gap in math and reading using 2013 scores. And, based on scores from previous years, the gap is increasing.

Of course, data from research studies are just data. Different conclusions can be developed as to why the educational achievement gaps exist and what might be done to improve scores. These gaps have existed for decades, and a variety of “improvement” approaches have been tried without changes being noted.

Is it possible greater insights might be gained by considering factors unrelated to race and ethnicity?

Of course, anyone that has been involved in teaching and educational research knows from practical observations that student character and achievement are related. Students that do well in school and life have similar attitudes and behaviors, regardless of race or ethnicity. Students that do not do well in school and life have very different attitudes and behaviors from those that do well.

Students that do well in school and life grow up in similar home environments that foster the development of positive attitudes and behaviors regardless of race and ethnicity. Students that do not do well in school and life grow up in similar home environments that foster the development of negative attitudes and behaviors regardless of race and ethnicity.

And more importantly, studies of home environments in relation to student achievement reveal that parents of students that do well strive toward self-reliance and teach their children, from an early age, to do the same. This is true regardless of race and ethnicity.

But, the problem with including character assessments in relation to achievement is that resulting truths do not support a variety of political agendas. These agendas have become more important than actually overcoming our real social challenges.

Joseph L. Bass is the executive director of ABetterSociety.Info Inc., a nonprofit organization in Hobson. Email him at ABetterSociety1@aol.com.