Manhattan Institute scholar: Fathers, not more programs, are what’s needed for Chicago schools
The administration, not the kids, will be the big winner from a new $10 million pilot program aimed at Chicago’s most vulnerable public schools, according to Heather MacDonald, a Manhattan Institute scholar who has written extensively on the nation’s public schools.
“You have to suffer from massive amnesia to believe this will work,” MacDonald told Chicago City Wire. “It’s a pretense that anything in this is new. It’s all been tried before. All this does is add another layer of bureaucracy on the problem.”
The Sustainable Community School Initiative will spread $10 million in new funding over 20 school districts, nearly all on the south and west sides, over the coming school year.
One of the project’s goals is to abolish “harsh discipline” policies, according to the Chicago Teachers Union, which praised last week’s approval of the program. Other goals including “increasing parent and community engagement, improving school climate and addressing students’ socio-emotional needs…introducing trauma services and restorative justice practices, providing students with out-of-school programs, and ensuring that curriculum is culturally relevant.”
The trouble is the program, as others in the past, fails to target the root cause of gang-ruled neighborhoods and the resulting troubled schools. MacDonald believes this is because of a public reluctance to acknowledge the cause – the breakdown of the family.
“Fathers are not taking responsibility for their children,” she said. “They are impregnating women and taking off. Fundamental lessons have been cast aside to the point where there is no sense of self-control, no deferred gratification.”
On a national scale, MacDonald believes the Obama Administration in 2014 rolled out its reluctance to identify the source of the problem when it threatened funding and legal action if schools failed to reduce racial disparities in the disciplining of students.
"The premise underlying this Obama policy was completely false," MacDonald told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson in April. "It assumes without even trying to prove that there can be no behavioral disparities between black and white students."
After New York Mayor Bill de Blasio instituted the rule in 2015, New York schools saw an increase in fighting, disrespect, drugs and gang activity, an analysis by the Manhattan Institute showed.
"If you look at crime rates, if you look at the fact that black males between the ages of 14 and 17 commit homicide at 10 times the rate of white and Hispanic male teens combined, it's not surprising that in the classroom, the same lack of socialization that leads to those wildly disproportionate rates of violent crime is also affecting student behavior," MacDonald said. "We should be concerned about that behavior, try to get at its root causes and not blame teachers for the completely phantom, specious idea that they're racists."
Two weeks ago in Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Lisa Madigan hailed a 232-page draft federal consent decree for the Chicago Police Department (CPD). The next weekend, 74 people were shot.
“Among numerous other red-tape-generating provisions, it requires the CPD to revise its protocols regarding ‘transgender, intersex, and gender non-conforming individuals,’ to make sure that the CPD policies properly define these terms and that officers address intersex, transgender, and the gender non-conforming with the ‘names, pronouns and titles of respect appropriate to that individual’s gender'," MacDonald wrote in the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal.
“As long as more than three-quarters of Chicago’s inner-city children are raised without their fathers, black-on-black violence will continue. And the national press will take notice only when the numbers are too egregious to ignore.”