Alfonzo Porter: Commentary Defending Thomas Jefferson High School Poorly Argued and Unacceptable; Sadly Presupposes Permanent Black Inability

The Washington Post had a commentary by Alfonzo Porter (honored as businessman of the year by the National Republican Congressional Committee) that criticizes the NAACP for filing a complaint against Fairfax County Public School system, specifically the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. I have covered Thomas Jefferson on this blog before. Black students are passing the entrance exam but are accepted for admission at a very low level. The NAACP complaint is worth an investigation.

The NAACP alleges “that black and Latino students, as well as students with disabilities, are being shut out of Thomas Jefferson, or TJ, long before they apply in eighth grade because of Fairfax County Public Schools’ systematic failure to identify them for gifted-education programs that begin in elementary school.” Porter unjustly defends the status quo by criticizing Black parents and students.

Porter has a disappointing presupposition that schools like Thomas Jefferson are not for Black children. Porter provided a list of tired, yet enduring, stereotypes that apologize for the status quo (low numbers of Black students at Thomas Jefferson):

  • Black students do not study.
  • Smart Black youth are the exception.
  • Black students only compete for or in athletics
  • Black students cannot academically compete.

It’s sad that these images are still in the culture of the United States, just now it is delivered through the voice of an Alfonzo Porter.


Standardized Testing: Increasing Focus on Testing Ironically May Decrease Practical Knowledge

The move in the education sector to focus teacher pay on the testing results of their students may well lead to gaming the system. The reason is that the teachers are not the parents of the students, yet the total burden of the student’s results increasingly fall on the teachers.

Also, the standardized testing ultimately tests the students ability to perform on that test and not a test of the knowledge that the student has required. This result is a serious flaw, but the standardized tests are growing. A blog has an interesting graphic that illustrates the issues involved with overuse of standardized tests.


Willard Mitt Romney: “Free Enterprise” Proposal Is a Proxy for Long-Held GOP Views

[Update: November 12, 2012–President Barack Obama has won a second term over challenger Mitt Romney.]

In Willard Mitt Romney’s speech to the NAACP, essentially presented a summary of his Presidential objectives, called his “free enterprise” approach. The plan sounds like a neutral listing of long-held GOP positions. It seemingly worked in part as some in the NAACP audience actually applauded for some of it.

Willard Mitt Romney “Free Enterprise”* Proposal Comment
1.  Approve Keystone Pipeline  One million jobs?
2. Open new markets for American goods => “clamp down on China”
3.  Reform Social Security and Medicare (in part by means testing the benefits) This idea is an attempt to avoid the easiet solution–raise the cap on the FICA tax. See this post. Would not be surprised if the full program took ideas from the “Third Way” think tank.
4. Nurturing skilled workers  Is this a call for more H1-B visas?
“5. Restore “”economic freedom””*(a)  High taxation(b) unnecessary regulation(c)  High health-care costs(d)  Destructive labor policies” I think these charges terms means—more tax cuts, eliminating agencies or regulatory authority, high-deductible health plans, and elimination of the remainder of labor unions (that is, union busting).

* Term not defined by Mr. Romney.

Willard Mitt Romney: Speech at the NAACP Revealed Serious Shortcomings of His Potential Presidential Governing Style

I saw presidential candidate Willard Mitt Romney’s speech at the NAACP 2012 convention in Houston, Texas, as a test of Romneys ability to handle new situations with uncertainty and where mere memorization will not work. After seeing the disconnect that arose between Romney and the audience, I knew that Romney had not passed a critical test of a President–being able to relate the experiences of the citizenry of the United States to construct a governing style that will address them appropriately.

Personal Training: A Growing Job Category, One that is Low Paying and Reliant on Body’s Response to Exercise and Trainee Dependency

The New York Times published an article about personal training.  People have to make a buck, but personal training is not sustainable over time. For example, one cannot raise a family on uncertain income.  It is sad that this is the type of job category is growing instead of other relatively high-paying and stable positions.

The article states that the job is taken because of easy entry but the job is low paying, has no licensing requirements, and the job is seen as a cash-generation opportunity by gyms.  

  • Online training is problematic, with many “trainers” simply selling their own routines at exorbitant prices. Online training is not training as the person exercises truly does all the work.

Also, personal training tends to attract the genetically blessed–people who possess an athletic, muscular physique with generally little reason for making dramatic physique gains. 

  • A  combination of such a person and a trainee for whom change of physique requires more thought, experimentation, observation, and work does not seem to be able to work well.
  • Having someone provide motivation to workout is problematic as it implies that the client would not be driven to exercise without the trainer present. Also, the trainer has an incentive to promote a dependence as a independent exerciser does not pay training fees .