And another thing ... Diversity, tea party and gerrymandering

And another thing ... Diversity, tea party and gerrymandering

May 7th, 2014 in Opinion Free Press

Where's the love for principals?

So the Center for American Progress and the National Education Association are calling attention to the fact United States teachers are nowhere as diverse as their students.

So what?

If there were no minority teachers, that would be one thing. But when universities, schools districts and the NEA recruit without success for more minority teachers, what's to be done?

The whole thing is ridiculous. Should the "diversity gap" the groups are concerned about also affect principals, guidance counselors, custodians, cafeteria workers?

After all, said Kevin Gilbert, a member of the NEA's executive committee, it's easier for students to believe in excellence "when they can look and see someone who looks just like them."

Should school districts, then, take all qualified and non-qualified minority teaching candidates just to achieve such diversity? Should the federal government pay minority teachers to move to states with few minorities in order to achieve such diversity? Should schools stop requiring training for teachers and accept any interested minority candidates in order to achieve more balance?

Curiously, the NEA is silent on these matters.

But the Associated Press article that chronicles the groups' study, which ran in Monday's Times Free Press, buries the lead when it tells readers most states already have programs and policies intended to increase the number of minority teachers. Grudgingly, the NEA even admits, "the yield of new teachers of color is disappointing."

Democrats clinging to tea party

A recent McClatchy News Service article published in Sunday's Times Free Press perpetuates the myth the tea party is the same as the Republican Party. In an election year in which Republicans could regain control of the U.S. Senate, the article, among other things, suggests the tea party movement's "prospects look grim," says it has an "uncertain outlook" and maintains it "has struggled to match its early success."

Whether intended or not, the article matches Democrat talking points all across the country. Democrats, after all, want nothing more than to make people believe the GOP has no strength or that it is seriously diluted. And if equating the tea party to Republicans is effective, so be it.

The McClatchy article correctly states the tea party is a "loose confederation of activists determined to drive down the federal debt and reduce the size and mission of government." But its analysis fails to understand the tea party movement was emblematic of a moment in time, like Watergate was for Democrats in the 1974 midterms and, to some extent, in the 1976 presidential election, and what the Contract with America was for Republicans in the 1994 midterms.

Most Republican voters, who cast their ballots as thinking individuals and not in blocs as many Democrats do, still want what the tea party philosophy represented in 2010 -- fiscal responsibility and less government -- but they also realize the importance of elections and are likely to support candidates who support those theories and who are also electable.

Democrats who don't understand that theory cling to it at their peril.

End gerrymandering at your own risk

Democrat officials in many states used domination of statehouses and state legislatures for decades to gerrymander the states to their electoral advantage. But now, in several of those states, they don't like it when the same thing is done to them by Republicans who only wanted the same things they wanted.

However, those crying foul these days should be careful what they wish for. Republican legislators, afraid of diluting overall black strength in their state (and surely causing a lawsuit) after the 2010 Census, redistricted their states in order to keep that strength.

Democrats, though, have charged that increasing the strength in majority black districts dilutes their strength in neighboring districts. But what can happen -- again -- by diluting the strength in the majority black districts is that it gives the neighboring districts some minority voting power but usually not enough for a victory. And if a majority black district is diluted enough, the district could be won by a non-minority candidate. Imagine the outrage then.

Even far left Slate magazine acknowledged as much after the 2010 elections, noting that "during the 1990s ... the [President Clinton-led Department of Justice] used its behind-the-scenes power to push states to draw majority-minority districts. These efforts led to a dramatic increase in the number of black and Latino legislators in Congress -- and perhaps to the election of more Republicans. Majority-minority districts tend to concentrate Democratic votes, thus reducing the party's influence in other parts of the state."