Google AI’s recent debacle draws stark comparison to public education’s own ‘racial justice’ algorithm

(The Daily Signal) – “Happy Days” thought they had a great idea for juicing ratings back in 1977, featuring an episode where “the Fonz” jumped a real-life shark on water skis.


(The Daily Signal) – “Happy Days” thought they had a great idea for juicing ratings back in 1977, featuring an episode where “the Fonz” jumped a real-life shark on water skis.

It didn’t do much for the ratings of the show, but it did help coin a phrase. Today, “jumping the shark” denotes when something popular reaches a point where it may have exhausted most good ideas, so it does something so far-fetched or exaggerated to gain attention that it may indicate a peak and is now headed toward decline.

Recently, Google unveiled an artificial intelligence image generation program that generated a huge amount of ridicule through an uproariously absurd mishandling of people’s races. While much hilarity ensued from Google’s misstep, the internet giant has nothing on public education, which has managed to emulate people racing through a minefield on pogo sticks for decades on racial issues.

Google debuted an AI image generation program and decided to program it in such a way that it would not generate the image of a Caucasian, regardless of how hard anyone tried. As you might imagine, hilarity quickly ensued as users shared images that the program had generated of “the pope” that were South Asian women, Nazi soldiers who were black, and much, much more.

After being on the raw end of a great deal of ridicule, Google suspended the image generation of people and mumbled something about readdressing its algorithm. Sadly, this occurred before your author could ask for a “Fonz jumping the shark” image.

Yet public education’s racial algorithm has not been so quick to update.

Unlike Google’s image of a Zulu chief as George Washington and other such absurdities, the ongoing racial problems of public education have very serious consequences and come in a wide variety.

The list of race-based controversies in public schooling would be a proper topic for an encyclopedia rather than an essay, but de jure segregation by race in the past and de facto segregation by neighborhood today would sit at the top of the list. Performative and absurd curriculum that is focused more on performative indoctrination than substantive progress has been moving up the list recently.

Rather than address real issues like racial achievement gaps, many districts seem eager to sweep them under a rug while pretending to address them. See, for instance, a recent controversial curriculum decision in Minnesota. Minnesota has been updating its social studies curriculum and included the following:

Ways of Knowing and Methodologies: The student will use ethnic and indigenous studies methods and sources in order to understand the roots of contemporary systems of oppression and apply lessons from the past in order to eliminate historical and contemporary injustices.

I’m happy to be of assistance in helping Minnesota’s public school system understand some of its historical and contemporary injustices. It has famously had a huge achievement gap between black and white students. On the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the Nation’s Report Card, fourth-grade black students in Minnesota have reading scores that one might expect first-grade white students to achieve. Moreover, things have been getting worse rather than better—black fourth-grade reading scores declined almost two grade levels between 2013 and 2022.

“Contemporary systems of oppression” are in the eye of the beholder. I’m not sure whether the Nation’s Report Card qualifies as “indigenous studies methods and sources” but it does represent a highly esteemed data source. If Minnesota officials would prefer to indoctrinate their students rather than teaching them to read, a mirror will quickly reveal the oppressors of their students.