Ebonics as Education? Fo’ Shizzle!

Education has finally rounded a corner.

“AOLspeak is a different language, it’s not slang as many believe,” said Mary Texeira, a Cal State San Bernardino sociology professor on the vanguard of new education techniques. “For many students it is their language, and it should be considered a foreign language.

“These students should be taught like other students who speak a foreign language.”

Reactions like this come after the announcement of plans to adopt an instant messaging lexicon into curriculum throughout school districts in California. The goal of the policy? Improve students’ academic performance by keeping them interested in school. Recent studies have poured money into learning what drives student motivation, and apparently it isn’t the English language.

“I HAET CLAS!1” said sophomore Jill Becker, currently enrolled under the old policy. “TEH TEACH3R DEOSNT SP3AK MAH LANGUAEG.


In response to the federally funded, five-year study, a pilot program known as the Students Accumulating New Knowledge Optimizing Future Accomplishment Initiative has been implemented in two city schools — and students like Becker are enthusiastic that her neighborhood high school will adopt similar educational guidelines.


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Think this is a joke? Think again.

San Bernardino City Unified School District, incapable of providing its wards the skills to function in the real world, has opted to blow state funding on an Ebonics program.

Ebonics is street talk, nothing more, nothing less. Its notoriety stems from a mid-’90s Oakland school board decision recognizing it as a separate language.

Ridiculous? Absolutely. After all, rambling incoherently and showing adverse reactions to proper grammar, spelling, and pronunciation isn’t a language, it’s an abomination. Its legitimization by Oakland was and is a shameful attempt to convert illiteracy into a cultural and social asset. Trust me — there is nothing cultural about being a dumbass.

Texeira’s quotes are real — just replace the AOLspeak with Ebonics. She is convinced that training teachers — already beleaguered by low wages, shrinking budgets and a lack of authority — to speak ˜hood will draw bored students back. She also believes students “learn better when they fully comprehend the language they are being taught in.” Except Ebonics is the absence of language.

Why are sociologists so brain dead? And why do bureaucrats pander to ridiculous trends that never result in solid education?

You want to keep retention up in classes that perform poorly? I’ve already shared my foolproof plan, but here’s the gist: don’t experiment with kids. Stick with the educational standards that have stood the test of time — they work for a reason. Knowing basic reading, writing and arithmetic leads to bigger things. A teacher can’t teach physics to a kid if they can’t read the text or wrap their head around simple mathematical or algebraic equations.

If a kid is doing poorly, guess what? Hold them back — he or she shouldn’t be passed up because of social stigmas or lazy teachers afraid of their failure rate. Is a kid a troublemaker? Boot them out of school. You can’t teach or train everyone. To think otherwise is foolish.

For students who perform but don’t seem positively enchanted with their daily drudgery, well, thank state and federal governments for stripping away, bit by bit, the few programs that give children cause to smile. Arts, music and electives are just as important in the formative years as the fundamentals; their fate is more important than a line through a budget.

But rewarding kids for speaking and acting like thugs? It’s absurd. Nothing is gained or learned from the experience. It simply validates underperformance, as there is no effort to learn how to communicate in the real world.

Further in the article, Texeira seems baffled her stupid plans don’t meet with universal acclaim. “There are African Americans who do not agree with me,” she said. “They say that [black students] are lazy and that they need to learn to talk.”

Do I really need to comment?

It blows my mind an organization whose sole job is preparing children for adulthood so actively seeks ways to shirk its responsibility. I consider education one of, if not the, most important thing a society endows upon itself. Teach our children well and we don’t just raise a generation of intelligent, free-thinking men and women, but we reap the benefits that education brings — medical breakthroughs, scientific innovation and a wealth of ideas. I also feel that people have a greater sense of tolerance and openness to ideas only exposure to knowledge can bring.

But enough is enough. Long ago I wrote a position paper outlining the need of the state to adopt English as the only recognized language. I understand other languages are spoken in California — I don’t live in a vacuum — but for the purposes of state forms, courses and education, everything defers to English. It’s the standard form of communication in business for a reason.

This is not about racism or prejudice. This is about people learning to communicate ably and effectively. Students treated with intelligence respond in kind.

Ratibu Jacocks disagrees. A member of the Westside Action Group, a coalition of black activists, he seems to think wasting millions on making classrooms Ebonics-ready is a good thing (he also thinks the civil rights movement predates women’s suffrage, but that’s another story). “This isn’t a feel-good policy. This is the real thing,” he said.


Society is so hosed.