Lauren was really proud of her accomplishments. She belonged to the baby boom generation who had experienced hardship. She valued land and working with her hands. Every extra dime she saved, she invested in agricultural and forested land. When she won a coveted $25,000 award in the early 1990s, she bought more pasture land.
She worked hard to become a teacher, a black female in a male dominated field; Lauren got her doctorate in biology at a time when few people wanted to stay in college and graduate school so long, it was easier to go out into the world and make money. Few wanted to teach because the pay was low, the hours were long, and parents seldom expressed gratitude to good teachers for a job well done.
Professorships on the other hand were paid much better and hard to come by - one had to be a die-hard liberal with socialist or Marxist leanings. But the work load was much easier – five hours a week in the office, teach 3 classes, attend the self-aggrandizing lecture and conference circuit, develop a “I love myself” resume, have graduate students to grade students’ exams and/or teach during the professor’s scholarly absence, and he/she had it made. But Lauren was not that kind of person, she was too conservative and conscientious for that, she was passionate about her work, her students, and it showed. She chose to teach gifted students.
A petite and graceful black woman, Lauren was outraged by affirmative action, a payback for the slavery of the past. She was bothered that the public could attribute her well-deserved success not to her hard work but to the color of her skin. Lauren wanted affirmative action to end, it had a good run, she used to say.
Lauren hid her conservative values - she only shared her views with few friends and relatives. It was un-American in the South to be black, a female, single, a teacher, and not be Democrat and a union member.
Before her premature death from skin cancer two years ago, Lauren worried about the direction our country was taking. She was upset by the academic monopoly liberals had around the country in all universities. She feared that race baiters and trouble makers who were inciting race division and class warfare would devastate the middle class and particularly the black middle class.
The government was doing a pretty good job of destroying the black family by becoming welfare daddy to millions of unwed black young women. Who needed a daddy to stay around and take responsibility for the life they created when the financial rewards from government dole were greater in single households? Yet the children, boys especially, desperately needed fathers as role models to keep them away from crime.
The millions of abortions since Roe v. Wade saddened Lauren because many of the aborted babies were black babies. Planned Parenthood was thriving by killing the innocent unborn, teaching mothers-to-be that fetuses were an inconvenience and a choice.
Lauren ran an activities center associated with her church to steer young men and women in the right direction and keep them out of trouble. She also ran the donation center that raised money to pay for scholarships for black kids in the community. She never married or had children of her own but she had many students and neighbors whose kids needed advice and help with homework.
Every year, liberal academics invented new teaching methods, models, and adopted new goals to advance their agenda, defining and redefining themselves. They were social engineers, social justice enforcers, manipulators, and imposers. Parents and the public were paying scant attention – everyone was too distracted by life, work, family, entertainment, and sports. Nobody was “watching the watchers.”
Lauren wanted to visit Africa someday, not because she considered herself African American, she always said, “I’ve never been to Africa, I was not born there, how can I be African American? I was born in the South; I am American through and through.” But there was a curiosity flaming inside her to visit a place that seemed so alien and foreign to her yet so many considered themselves more African than American although they had never set foot in Africa.
She was a prophetic visionary in her own way, fearing and worrying about the future because she witnessed the opportunity to succeed in this country after college become dimmer for all groups. The opportunity for the American dream, which is what brought millions of immigrants to this country, was growing more distant.
Lauren’s role model was George Washington Carver (1864-1943), “The Black Leonardo,” a genial scientist, inventor, botanist, and educator. He thrived at a time in history when it was very hard for a black man to succeed, especially the son of slaves born in Missouri in 1864.
Lauren’s lab walls were covered with posters about Carver’s accomplishments in alternative crops such as peanuts, soybeans, sweet potatoes, and how he taught farmers to rotate crops in order to avoid the devastating effects of cotton crop-destroying boll weevils. Among the many products made from peanuts he developed and promoted were cosmetics, dyes, paints, plastics, gasoline, and nitroglycerin.
During one of her conference tours, Lauren visited Ames, Iowa because that is where Carver studied botany, at Iowa State Agricultural College. He received his B.S. and Master’s degree in plant pathology and mycology in Ames and was the first black faculty member there. Booker T. Washington, the first principal and president of the Tuskegee Institute, invited Carver in 1896 to be the head of its Agriculture Department - he taught there for 47 years.
Lauren would have been terribly disappointed and heartbroken to see how things have changed in the last five years and how fast. All the progress made since the infamous 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court ruling, requiring racial segregation in public facilities under the doctrine of “separate but equal” and its subsequent repudiation in 1954 by Brown v. Board of Education, is now being reversed by the Common Core national standards imposed around the country in education. She worked so hard to shape and inspire the next generation of black teachers, biologists, zoologists, botanists, doctors, and researchers!
Sending white and black students to separate but unequal schools harmed children in so many ways, not the least being the undisputed fact that it made black students feel inferior. The federal Common Core bases standards on race and holds minority students to a lower standard from K-12. Is this not discriminatory, harmful to students, and labeling them into separate but unequal groups for the rest of their education? Why dumb down education even more?
It is embarrassing when the MSM glorifies an obviously mal-educated young woman who speaks Ebonics and cannot read cursive writing, excusing her glaring lack of education as something hip. It is a sad example of the state of education today when social promotion has become the norm and semi-literate people receive degrees.
The Tuscaloosa News reported that “Beginning this fall, Alabama public schools will be under a new state-created academic accountability system that sets different goals for students in math and reading, based on their race, economic status, ability to speak English and disabilities.” Alabama’s Plan 2020, adopted in November 2010 and replacing the No Child Left Behind, has different standards for American Indians, Asian/Pacific Islanders, blacks, English language learners, Hispanics, multi-racial students, students below the poverty level, special education, and whites.
The problem is that the new educational Common Core mandates did not come from the states, they came from the federal government which strong-armed states into accepting grants via The Race to the Top competition, and allowing states to replace the hated No Child Left Behind with the federal Common Core and Universal Design for Learning, the brain child of two think-tanks in D.C. I wrote two articles (Here and Here) on this topic in 2012 and 2013.
Lauren would have been proud that The Alabama Federation of Republican Women strongly opposes “race-based standards in student achievement” but sad that education in this country has fallen so low. How low do you ask?
We’ve moved from our stellar education system prior to the establishment of the Department of Education in 1979-80 under Jimmy Carter to “everyone is a winner” education, to “let’s be more sensitive to illegals” education, to “let’s coexist” education, “to let’s shove sex education, condoms on bananas, abortion pills, and sexual preferences down our throats” education, to “let’s dumb down education and graduate everyone as idiots” education, to “let’s worship Gaia and environmental stewardship” education, to the current Common Core values of “let’s graduate everyone who gives wrong answers in math and everything else as long as they can explain how they got the wrong answer and feel good about it” education.
My suggestion would be to place all these liberal educators who are eager to adopt Common Core standards on an airplane, in a building, or on a bridge designed by students who were taught that it does not matter that they got wrong answers, all that matters are the feelings and the explanations how they arrived at the wrong answers. Still, if they don’t understand what they are doing to public education, perhaps liberal teachers should undergo laser surgery performed by a graduate of Common Core standards or take drugs developed and measured by such students.
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Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh, Romanian Conservative is a freelance writer, author, radio commentator, and speaker. Her books, “Echoes of Communism”, “Liberty on Life Support” and “U.N. Agenda 21: Environmental Piracy,” “Communism 2.0: 25 Years Later” are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle.
Her commentaries reflect American Exceptionalism, the economy, immigration, and education.Visit her website, ileanajohnson.com
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