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

Friday, August 28, 2009

Segregationist Society Wonders Why Achievement Gaps Persist

The failure chart here is a snapshot of Arlington, Virginia, but it could be Most Anywhere, USA. While corporate reformers berate public school teachers and castigate parents and abuse children with cram-down testing, the story of the return to apartheid schooling remains a non-story for the media and an unacknowledged reality for the dolts in charge of state testing programs.

Where there is apartheid, there is poverty; where there is poverty, there is the achievement gap. Where there is the achievement gap, there is the preservation of privilege for White America. What could be more horrendously elegant? What kind of democracy so clearly embraces an educational system that defines success strictly by race and income? But then, what kind of democracy puts its future in the hands of corporate oligarchs to decide?
By Michael Lee Pope
Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Half a century has passed since the landmark Supreme Court Brown versus Board of Education, but Arlington County Schools still struggles with achievement results that remain separate and unequal. White students in the county enjoy the highest performance on standardized testing, with 97 percent of the county’s white students passing the English test and 95 percent of the white students passing the Math test. When the Virginia Department of Education released testing data earlier this month, white students were the only group to meet the benchmarks.

"I’m very concerned about this," said Emma Violand-Sanchez, a member of the Arlington County School Board. "We need to address the achievement gap, especially with these subgroups."

Although Hispanic students met the benchmark in English, they fell behind in Math. Black students did not meet federal standards in English or Math. Students who have a limited proficiency with English did not meet the federal objectives, nor did economically disadvantaged students. Students with disabilities had the lowest pass rates, with 68 percent of the students passing the English test and 59 percent of the students passing the Math test. State officials wanted to be clear that identifying students who were struggling should not be interpreted as a criticism of the student groups.

"This is not about blaming children," said Charles Pyle, spokesman for the Virginia Department of Education. "This is about identifying where there are weaknesses to improve instruction." . . . .
How entirely and blindly pathetic. Perhaps when the fast-food corporate charter schools finally "improve instruction" by replacing all the poor public schools, the demand for accountability will disappear, as will the persistent and embarrassing reality of the death of social justice in education. Left will be children in the brainwashing academic chain gangs or the recalcitrants who will be dumped into the juvenile "justice" system. Finally, privilege will have been maintained and guaranteed for the shrinking white majority--at least until the violence starts. The future of the "democratic republic" is only as guaranteed as the control of it by white America (see the approval ratings of "rightwing terrorists").

1 comment:

  1. Judy Rabin11:22 AM

    What kind of society?

    A society in which citizens now go to Mexico to receive good quality and affordable health care -a society that allows an insurance company to drop a college student from its policy the minute she graduates - a society that is blind, deaf and dumb to the basic needs of humanity with a lack of leaders who are willing to stand up and fight - and a media empire that is focused on the personal destruction of anyone who might go against the "corporate" interests.
    That's the kind of society. YES.