Failed Public School Systems

Failed Public School Systems


Democrats always congratulate themselves on being the only party truly concerned with education, especially of the underprivileged, and regularly attack conservatives and Republicans for their “callous indifference.” The Democratic Party Platform, presenting itself as a savior of the underclass, calls for billions of dollars in “bold new investments” by federal and state governments to make good public schools available to every child, “no matter what zip code they live in.” Shamelessly playing the race card, leftwing Democrats work overtime to establish the idea that the failure of our inner-city schools is wholly the responsibility of mean-spirited, tight-fisted, and outright racist Republicans ready to consign minority children to the social ash heap.

What they say:

  • The Texas Democratic Party says: “Owing to inadequate investment in public education, minority and economically disadvantaged Texas students continue to suffer from a persistent achievement gap.”
  • Illinois State Board of Education Superintendent Tony Smith, a Democrat, laments the “deep inequity” built into the state’s system of funding public education: “We have a population of very high-need students in Chicago and they are not getting enough currently.”
  • Graie Barasch-Hagans, an activist affiliated with the leftist group Philadelphians Organized to Witness Power and Rebuild (POWER), says: “There is a clear racial bias in schools funding in Pennsylvania. The more black your school district is, the less money you will get compared to a comparable white district.”
  • Former NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Jealous has lamented what he claims are inadequate expenditures on the public education of black children: “Today, there is no greater threat to civil rights accomplishments than the state of our country’s education system and its impact on young African American youth. Failing schools, college tuition hikes, and shrinking state education budgets are narrowing the promise of education for young people all across the country.”

But their actions speak more honestly than their words. In fact, the record of inner-city education over the last half century—a time when Democrats have been in control of our inner cities and their schools—is a tale of gross corruption, fraud, theft, and racist exploitation of mainly poor black and Hispanic kids for political and monetary gain. On the Democrats’ watch, inner-city kids have fallen further and further behind academically, victims of political cynicism and the soft bigotry of low expectations. In the shameful educational reality that Democrats have created, hundreds of thousands of children go through twelve years of public education—if they don’t drop out earlier and melt into the shadows of the ghetto—without ever learning how to read, write, or perform mathematical tasks with even a basic level of competence.

Take Detroit as an example, a city where no Republican has served as mayor since 1961, and where only one Republican since 1970 has even held a seat on the City Council. The math and reading proficiency rates of public elementary and middle-school students in Detroit are consistently below 10%, sometimes as low as 3%. The story is very much the same in Baltimore, also a Democratic Party fiefdom for over a generation, where in one recent year, 13 of the city’s 39 high schools had exactly zero students who tested as “proficient” in math.

When asked why the students under their control fail, Democrats always respond by claiming, as in the comments above, that their schools are underfinanced, starved of the taxpayer money that flows munificently into privileged white communities. This is their Big Lie. In city after city under Democrats’ control, more money is spent annually per student in many cases than the cost of tuition at local colleges. But despite the tsunami of taxpayer dollars flowing into the K-12 public school systems that Democrats control, students remain hopelessly marooned in swamps of incompetence and educational backwardness. New Jersey’s Camden Central School District, for example, spends an astronomical $25,000 annually per pupil, yet by any objective measure, it mnis the scholastic equivalent of a train wreck, with 90% of the district’s public schools ranked in the bottom 5% statewide.

In big city after big city, public school superintendents and other administrators presiding over failing schools nonetheless earn colossal, six-figure salaries that come with guaranteed annual pay raises, Cadillac healthcare coverage, and additional stipends to cover expenses for things like automobiles, transportation services, computers, I-pads, and other state-ofthe-art, high-tech tools.

The teachers’ unions, a key element of the Democrats’ hegemony in many of these inner cities, feather the nest of their dues payers by demanding pay hikes, better benefits, additional paid sick days, less-stringent attendance requirements, and smaller class sizes, even as the children in their districts remain unable to read or write at levels that are anywhere near the norms for their respective age groups. In an 18-year period during which public school teachers in Chicago had been appeased after going on strike no fewer than nine times, an astounding 33 of the city’s 64 public high schools ranked in the bottom 1% of all high schools across the United States, prompting the U.S. Secretary of Education William Bennett to describe Chicago’s school system as the very worst in America.

And in some of these Democratic Party political regimes, we see corruption of enormous proportions by high-level school officials. Detroit, for instance, recently had more than 250 “ghost” employees—some of whom fraudulently used the names of dead people—illegally receiving paychecks for no-show jobs from the city’s public school system. Atlanta, for its part, went through a decade-long scandal where more than 175 school administrators and educators orchestrated a secret campaign of deceit that was intended not only to conceal their own woeful educational track record, but also to win themselves large sums of money as a reward for their wholly fictional successes.

What all of these inner-city school systems have in common, in addition to being dominated politically by Democrats, is a record of fiscal profligacy, bureaucratic bloat, and academic failure. Indeed, the only things that Democrats, who now fully “own” these schools, actually seem to have mastered are the tools of denial and deception—the moral preening and sermonizing that allow them to escape answerability for the millions of children, particularly nonwhite minorities, whom they have condemned to lifetimes of struggle and underachievement.

* The text above is excerpted from Peter Collier’s introduction to Shame of the Schools: How Democrats Have Destroyed Public Education in the Inner Cities (by John Perazzo, 2018).

Additional Resources:

Shame of the Schools: How Democrats Have Destroyed Public Education in the Inner Cities
By John Perazzo

The Secret Shame
January 2020

Government Versus the People
By David Horowitz and John Perazzo

Washington, D.C.
DC Democrats Sell Minority Students’ Education Short
By John Perazzo
January 28, 2013

Detroit Public Schools: Bankrupting Minority Students’ Futures
By Arnold Ahlert
January 31, 2013

Detroit Public Schools: 93% Not Proficient in Reading; 96% Not Proficient in Math
By Terence P. Jeffrey
October 28, 2015

Philadelphia Students Cheated by Democrat-Run Education System
By Arnold Ahlert
February 7, 2013

Minority Students in Chicago: Hostages of the Democratic Party
By Arnold Ahlert
February 12, 2013

Back to the Bad Old Days
Paul G. Vallas
January 24, 2023

Dem-Controlled Atlanta Schools Rob Minority Students of Their Futures
By Arnold Ahlert
February 22, 2013

Los Angeles
Latino & Black Students Prisoners of Dem-Run L.A. Schools
By Arnold Ahlert
February 25, 2013

Funding for Failure
By Heather Mac Donald
December 27, 2023

Baltimore HS Student Passes Three Classes in Four Years, Has 0.13 GPA
By Dave Urbanski
March 17, 2021

Better Off Truant?
By Sean Kennedy
October 5, 2023

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