race isn’t racist
A high school teacher of mine had a motto: “Facts, not fluff.” I would like politicians in this country to adopt a similar motto: “Facts, not vilification, obfuscation, or bald-faced lies.”
A Newport city representative, Duncan Kilmartin, was recently accused of being racist when he cited statistics comparing student achievement in Vermont and Texas. He said that when controlled for race, the scores for Texas were better. I am heartily annoyed that another representative (Jean O’Sullivan) used this as an opportunity for name-calling instead of engaging in a discussion of the facts. Hey, people: It is not racist to mention race.
Was Kilmartin trying to promote the bogus old narrative of school “failure,” or was he simply trying to caution us not to rest on apples-to-oranges laurels? Either way, it was wrong for O’Sullivan to vilify him.
The fact is, Kilmartin was right. White students in Texas do slightly outperform Vermont students on the NAEP test and high school graduation rates. On the other hand, Vermont does a better job educating poor students than Texas does; we are near the top of the nation in our ability to teach children of poverty. So who’s the winner here? Do we even need one? More important than either of these facts is that both Texas and Vermont are improving. Educators spend their time trying to learn from each other, not compete with each other, and the result is better outcomes for all.
I’d like to see a worldwide democracy test. In addition to measuring voter participation, each nation’s politicians would be judged based on measurable outcomes such as the economic, physical and mental health of its citizens. Pay for politicians would be adjusted based upon these outcomes, as well as on such observable qualities as ability to listen to and understand opponents, number of lies told, number of lies believed, etc. Talk about failure — something tells me the U.S. would be on the bottom of the heap.
RutlandMORE IN Letters
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1959, Soviet Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev arrives in U.S. for historic 13-day visit; in 1987, Secretary of State George Shultz and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze sign nuclear reduction agreement.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: City celebrates completion of its newest mural, on West Street opposite the post office, more than $2 million in federal grants will bolster Vermont's health centers, Patrick McArdle reports on pending sale of Vermont papers.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Henry Hudson sails up the Hudson River as far as present-day Albany, Leo Szilard has epiphany waiting for the light to change, 3 kids report a West Virginia close encounter in 1952.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Who will run for mayor in Rutland next year? Has Bennington overcome its fear of twerking? Documentary 'Hungry Heart' packs the Paramount, and the city's Creek Path scores another million-plus dollars.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: The 1509 'Lesser Judgment' earthquake on this day at Constantinople kills 13,000 and destroys the city; in 1801, on this day, Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans is born.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Meeting with city police opens topic of bias, Gov. Shumlin announces he'll seek a third term, open party in Main Street Park will celebrate Bethany Bosch's English Channel swim, state task force arrests three drug peddlers..