"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Thursday, April 20, 2006

NCLB, Segregation, and "Counting the Most"

With the survival of public schools hinges on NCLB annual test scores that are directly correlated to family income, who wants a sub-group of poor kids in your school to bring down those scores? And since most urban poor kids are brown or black (imagine that), the social equality clock has begun running backwards at an ever-increasing clip since NCLB's intractable requirement of 100% proficiency was devised.

News out of Nebraska last week, in fact, shows us that the calendars in Omaha have been turned back to the early 1950s--we can't be sure of the exact date, but we know it was before Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka.

Frank Bass has this story that must have the seers at ED trying to figure out how to blame the states for this little detail. The Kozol quote makes it clear that NCLB encourages the insulatation of high-achieving schools and rewards them for their exclusionary practices. What we have, then, is the emergence of two school systems, one for the well-to-do and one for the poor:

"The really rich and ritzy suburbs that don't participate in any form of integration, that turn their backs on all efforts to admit minority kids or low-income kids into their first-rate public schools, those districts aren't going to suffer at all," said Jonathan Kozol, an educator and author of several acclaimed books on race and education.

"They're going to be rewarded for their selfishness. They're going to be rewarded for their racial insularity because they're not admitting any kids who are at any academic risk. They're not admitting any kids who had been previously studying, for perhaps the first six years of school, in a rotten, overcrowded school."

Barbara Radner, director of DePaul University's Center for Urban Education, works with Chicago public schools and has heard some parents complain about the treatment of inner city children when they move to suburban schools.

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