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

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Krash Course #8: Putting Together the Poverty/Education Puzzle

The "no excuses" reformers subscribe to the "never let evidence get in the way of your agenda" approach to their bully pulpit of education reform. However, the evidence is powerful and growing in terms of what we know about inequity in U.S. society and in U.S. education. So what do we know?

• Race, class, and gender correlate strongly with inequitable starting points for children entering formal education in the U.S.—including the inequity of quality school access determined by a child's ZIP code (Schott, Brookings), the relative readiness for education among subgroups of children (Brookings), and the powerful impact of out-of-school factors on a child's ability to learn (Berliner). See the growing evidence:

A Rotting Apple: Education Redlining in New York City, a report from the Schott Foundation for Public Education

Housing Costs, Zoning, and Access to High-Scoring Schools, a report from Brookings

Starting School at a Disadvantage: The School Readiness of Poor Children, a report from Brookings

Poverty and potential: Out-of-school factors and school success, David Berliner

The Role of aspirations, attitudes and behaviour in closing the educational attainment gap, a report from JRF

• Race, class, first language, special needs, and gender correlate strongly with inequitable learning experiences for children once they enter schools—including disproportionate assignments of quality teachers and the predisposition to funnel students with lives of disadvantage into classes that offer barren content and pedagogy. See the evidence:

Teaching inequality: How poor and minority students are shortchanged on teacher quality, a report from The Education Trust

Poor Teaching for Poor Children in the Name of Reform, Alfie Kohn

The pedagogy of poverty versus good teaching, Martin Haberman

• Race and gender correlate strongly with disproportionate discipline for children in U.S. schools*. See the evidence:

Colorado Disciplinary Practices, 2008-2010: Disciplinary Actions, Student Behaviors, Race, and Gender, a report from NEPC

• "Miracle" schools do not exist, teacher and school quality matters (but remains dwarfed by out-of-school factors), Teacher for America increases teacher quality inequity, and charter schools are re-segregating schools and perpetuating classist/racist ideologies. See the evidence:

miracleschools wiki

Experiences of poverty and educational disadvantage, a report from JRF

How to fix our schools, Richard Rothstein

Teach for America: A Review of the Evidence, a report from NEPC

Choice without equity: Charter school segregation, a report from EPAA

Schools without Diversity: Education management organizations, charter schools and the demographic stratification of the American school system, a report from NEPC

What makes KIPP work?: A study of student characteristics, attrition, and school finance, a report from NCSPE

* Which correlates strongly with the disproportionate demographics of the U.S. prison system:

Incarceration is not an equal opportunity punishment

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