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

Monday, February 02, 2009

"educational equity in a shambles"

Despite the unending lip service offered by NCLB advocates for closing achievement gaps, those gaps remain gaping. And in the process of NCLB's bombing of the public school system, the dying embers of the school integration movement have been snuffed out by a testocratic education policy that uses tests to sort children based on family income, discourages diversity by penalizing schools with weak test performers, and encourages the creation of urban chain gang charter schools such as KIPP that no middle class parent would consider for their own children.

The question now is whether or not the Obama team with call-me-Arne at the helm of ED will continue the Bush neo-eugenic policies that pay tax-dodging corporations and their foundations to create charter schools that segregate and intellectually sterilize those now deemed defective based on their test scores.

Here are clips from the press release on a new study of the resegregation phenomenon in schools by the Civil Rights Project:

Los Angeles—January 14, 2009—As the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday and the Inauguration of this nation's first African American President approach, the nation is in a celebratory mood about progress on race relations. The election of Barack Obama is a breakthrough that would have been unimaginable a half century ago and a triumph of the long movement for racial justice. But a new report from the Civil Rights Project, Reviving the Goal of an Integrated Society: A 21st Century Challenge, points out that it would be wrong to assume that our nation has now realized Dr. King's dream and created a society where race no longer matters. In fact, the report concludes the opposite: the U.S. continues to move backward toward increasing minority segregation in highly unequal schools; the job situation remains especially bleak for American blacks, and Latinos have a college completion rate that is shockingly low. At the same time, very little is being done to address large scale challenges such as continuing discrimination in the housing and home finance markets, among other differences across racial lines.

The report's author, Professor Gary Orfield, commented, "It would be a tragedy if the country assumed from the Obama election that the problems of race have been solved, when many inequalities are actually deepening. The lesson to take from this is that we have elected a brilliant president, who is the product of excellent integrated schools and colleges. We should work hard to extend such opportunities to and develop the talents of the millions of blacks and Latinos who still face isolation and denial of an equal chance. The outgoing administration has left the machinery of civil rights justice and educational equity in a shambles and strong leadership will be needed to restore it." . . . .

. . . . The report concludes that efforts to make separate schools equal, which have been the dominant approach since the federal government abandoned significant positive support for integration almost three decades ago, have failed. This failure includes No Child Left Behind, which was supposed to quickly equalize achievement across racial lines but has fallen far short. Instead, it is sanctioning scores of segregated minority schools without providing them enough help to make a difference. The report notes that too often the high hopes accompanying a racial change in leadershipÑwhen, for example, black or Latino mayors and school superintendents were first appointed--were often disappointed since the underlying racial barriers to opportunity were not addressed. Orfield, the report's author, calls on the incoming Obama Administration to "make the first serious commitment since President Johnson's Administration and build successfully integrated communities and schools wherever there are feasible opportunities." The report includes a discussion of a number of possible tools and techniques with the potential to extend past successes. Finally, the report calls on the new administration and Congress to review the evidence and provide the needed leadership, for example, to support integrated communities and to avoid the large-scale ghettoization of suburbia.

1 comment:

  1. Check out this article. I've never heard anyone in a position of importance in education dare to say these things. Have you?

    San Jose Mercury News article, 02/02/2009, "Ethnic achievement gap in education can't be closed, Palo Alto superintendent says":

    "When it comes to closing the achievement gap, Palo Alto schools Superintendent Kevin Skelly says educators are deluding themselves. And he dares to say what's become almost unspeakable publicly: "It's just not possible for the average kid who comes to this country in seventh or eighth grade, or even third grade, without a word of English and parents with little formal education, to match the achievement levels of kids whose mom has a Ph.D. in English from Stanford and can afford to stay home and spend time supplementing the education of her kids."

    complete story: http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_11612315?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com