Category Archives: Civil Rights

Basic Child Literacy Cannot Be too Much to Ask of Richmond City Public Schools

by James C. Sherlock

Half of Black 4th graders in Richmond public schools couldn’t read in 2019. That is not OK.

It is way past time to demand both better performance and accountability. Clearly neither the city of Richmond nor the Commonwealth has done that effectively.

So I have filed formal complaints with the federal government to see if the Departments that provide federal money to the Richmond City Public School District can establish accountability for how all of that money has been spent.

Jason Kamras currently serves as the Superintendent of Richmond Public Schools (RPS). He has first-rate credentials — National Teacher of the Year in 2005, undergraduate Princeton, masters in education from Harvard. Worked in leadership positions in D.C. Public Schools before coming to Richmond.

He is the highest-paid superintendent in Richmond history at $250,000 annually. His initial three-year contract was slated to expire this summer.  He just received a 4-year extension on a split 6-3 vote by the Richmond School Board.

The performance of Mr. Kamras’ Richmond School District is cataclysmically bad.   Continue reading

The Mythology of Robert E. Lee

By Peter Galuszka

With excellent timing, the former head of the history department at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point has come out with a book about the mythology of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and much of the White “Southern” culture.

Retired U.S. Army Gen. Ty Seidule, a former paratrooper, has deep Virginia roots and his analysis goes right to the heart of the problems plaguing Virginia, Civil War memorabilia, Richmond, Charlottesville, the Virginia Military Institute and more.

He grew up in Alexandria and had ties to the Episcopal prep school where he expanded his desire to be a “Southern” gentleman while worshipping the likes of Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.

Here’s a link to my review of his book in Richmond’s Style Weekly. The Post also reviewed the book this past Sunday.

Looking for a Do-Over – Secretary Qarni, the Fairfax County School Board and the Left’s War on Asian Americans

Virginia Education Secretary Qarni – Why is this man smiling?

by James C. Sherlock

President Biden yesterday signed a couple of executive orders on race.

“We must change now,” the president said. “I know it’s going to take time, but I know we can do it. And I firmly believe the nation is ready to change. But government has to change as well.” 

From the Associated Press:

The orders “disavow discrimination against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community over the coronavirus pandemic.”

“The memorandum highlighting xenophobia against Asian Americans is in large part a reaction” to Donald Trump.

“Large part” indeed. Effectively the AP is saying “nothing else to see here.”

But the AP’s D.C.-based reporters need look no farther than Richmond and Fairfax County to find direct assaults on Asians — by Democrats. Continue reading

Northam’s Good Move: End Executions

The Martinsville Seven

By Peter Galuszka

Governor Ralph Northam will propose legislation to ban executions in the state. The move could end decades of systemic racism in the criminal justice system.

“I’ve strongly about this for a long time,” he was quoted as saying. The bill will be taken up by the General Assembly, which met in its 2021 session today.

If the bill passes, it would make Virginia the only Southern state to ban executions.

According to the Richmond Times Dispatch, 113 executions have been conducted in the state since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed executions to resume in 1976. Virginia’s vigorous efforts to kill those convicted of capital crimes gave it the dishonorable distinction of being No. 2 in the country after Texas which had 570 executions in that time frame.

Historically, African Americans have been executed at rates that exceed their numbers in the general population. Continue reading

Race vs. Class in Education Personal Data Collection – An Alternative

by James C. Sherlock

Earlier I addressed the current method for collecting racial and ethnicity data for civil rights enforcement and found it lacking.

So why do we do it that way? Because we have done it for a long time? The constitutional concerns can’t be wished away, and there are new proofs available in genetic testing databases that the data are wrongly constructed and wrongly answered.

I spent some time in founding and running the nation’s largest military simulation facility in Suffolk, Virginia, in my last assignment for the Navy nearly 30 years ago.

What if we at least test alternatives using modern computer simulation methodologies and see what the results show? Simulations may give better estimates than the current system, or, importantly, show that civil rights concerns may be more efficiently and effectively focused on class rather than race. Continue reading

E Pluribus Unum

by James C. Sherlock

Federal and state executive and legislative branches and the courts make thousands of decisions daily based on race and ethnicity data.

The federal regulations for gathering and reporting those data have been imposed in response to civil rights laws. The iron law of unintended consequences has taken precedence as it often does in such matters.

We know absolutely that those data are wrong: both artificially constructed and inaccurately reported. The working assumption in the drafting of the regulations is that the data will be close enough for government work. Let’s take a look.

Race and ethnic information about educational system participants is required by the federal government from the states, by the states from school districts and institutions of higher education and by those institutions from individuals, all driven by federal regulations.

Data about school staff, teachers and students are being collected at each of those levels and consolidated at each level in reporting. Continue reading