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

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Arne Duncan's Race Problem

Duncan seems to think that he has earned a pass on race issues because his mom tutored poor kids in Chicago.  I applaud his mom, but this says nothing about Arne Duncan, whose record on race runs head on with his rhetoric.   The larger part of Arne's race problem has to do with the resegregation that he embraces with the apartheid charters that he loves so much that bribing state legislatures to change their charter laws has become a major policy initiative. 

The other glaring piece of Arne's hypocritical oath on race deals with teacher hiring, where practice is exactly opposite of the rhetoric he espouses, as Julie Woestehoff points out:
A recent report out of New Orleans claims that that Ed Secretary Arne Duncan wants more black teachers in our schools.

According to nola.com, it's become a "theme" for Duncan this year:
In February, Duncan told leaders of historically black colleges and universities that "we have far too few teachers of color. Only 2 percent, one in 50 teachers today are African-American males. Something is fundamentally wrong with that picture."

Although he didn't spell it out on Friday, Duncan's campaign to recruit more black teachers may be driven by research that found improved test scores for black students who spend at least a year with a black teacher. In past speeches he's mentioned that black teachers are more likely than their white peers to want to work in high-poverty, high-needs schools, the front line for closing what he calls the nation's "insidious achievement gap" between white and black students.

Perhaps Mr. Duncan should look in his own back yard. During his time as CEO of Chicago Public Schools, Duncan oversaw the loss of nearly 2500 African-American teachers, while the numbers of CPS teachers in all other racial groups increased. Take a look at this chart from 2009.

The situation Duncan created became so egregious that a local teacher caucus filed a federal discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which will decide any day now if they will send the case to the Justice Department for prosecution.

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