Saturday, April 03, 2010

Another Reason Public Education Will Never Improve

Public school administrators still take advice from those who are still stuck on stupid. Here is a prime example.
More recently, a coalition of community leaders proposed an Excellent Schools Detroit initiative that includes the expansion of charter schools to improve graduation rates for Detroit students.

As these various initiatives will likely increase Michigan’s already large charter enrollment, inserting civil rights standards into the legislation authorizing these schools – and more completely understanding students’ outcomes in charter schools and nearby traditional public schools – is crucial.

Concerns about racial isolation are largely absent from the burgeoning charter school movement, which has instead recast school choice as the central civil rights issue. A new report from the Civil Rights Project at UCLA finds that nearly 80% of Michigan’s black charter school students attend intensely segregated minority schools. Even in a state infamous for the segregation of its black students, that percentage is extraordinarily high.

Charter school segregation is not just an issue for the city of Detroit – more than 70% of Michigan’s charter school students attend school outside of the city limits.

Why does this matter? Research shows that attending racially diverse schools significantly improves students’ academic achievement, graduation and college attendance rates.
B*llsh*t. I don't believe you. That is idiotic. Show me the research. The authors of this article have replaced real world facts with their own prejudices. So students from wealthy monoracial school districts will increase their college attendance if they're in class with students of other colors? Explain how and why, please. It makes no sense to me.
Such provisions would require charter schools to make themselves truly open to students of all backgrounds by providing services such as the school lunch program, instruction for English language learners and free transportation. These provisions are especially important in highly segregated places like the Detroit metro area, where locating charter schools near boundaries with suburban communities, providing transportation and conducting metro-wide outreach to students could help create diverse educational options.
And this will cost how much? And we are to pay for it how? Oh, that's right, tax the rich. Redistribute their wealth. Isn't that the solution to everything that ails racist American society?
Michigan’s Legislature could follow the example of states like Colorado or Rhode Island and require charter schools to stipulate how they will attain a diverse student body before they gain approval. The Michigan Department of Education could also provide technical assistance to charter operators to help them better structure their outreach and admissions policies to attain a more diverse student enrollment.
Great! More senseless regulation to inhibit the growth of charter schools. Isn't that the real reason behind this moronic plan? If these boneheaded idiots were truly interested in improving schools, charter or otherwise, they would be screaming for a stronger phonetic-based curriculum that is rich in content.

In fairness to the authors of this fiasco, they did author a 130 page PDF document called Choice Without Equity Somewhere in that mess, there may be a good argument for what they are proposing, but after skimming a few dozen pages, (yes, I'm too lazy to wade through the whole thing) I couldn't find anything that makes any educational sense. What the authors are missing due to their stupid obsession with race and segregation, is that so many minority students attend segregated charter schools because they aren't being served by public schools. Their parents are making sacrifices in order to get them to a school that they hope will be good for their children. They understand that the color of the student sitting next to their child has no bearing as to whether or not their child excels. But according to the authors (skimming quickly) minority students need more access to white students. Is this racism? I don't know, but if Rush Limbaugh stated that minority students needed white kids in their classes in order to succeed, he'd be called racist.

To counter the stupidity of Choice Without Equity, read Thomas Sowell's "The Education of Minority Children". Sowell says,
Will Rogers once said that it was not ignorance that was so bad but, as he put it, "all the things we know that ain't so." Nowhere is that more true than in American education today, where fashions prevail and evidence is seldom asked or given. And nowhere does this do more harm than in the education of minority children.
The quest for esoteric methods of trying to educate these children proceeds as if such children had never been successfully educated before, when in fact there are concrete examples, both from history and from our own times, of schools that have been sucessful in educating children from low-income families and from minority families. Yet the educational dogma of the day is that you simply cannot expect children who are not middle-class to do well on standardized tests, for all sorts of sociological and psychological reasons.
Those who think this way are undeterred by the fact that there are schools where low-income and minority students do in fact score well on standardized tests. These students are like the bumblebees who supposedly should not be able to fly, according to the theories of aerodynamics, but who fly anyway, in disregard of those theories.
While there are examples of schools where this happens in our own time-- both public and private, secular and religious-- we can also go back nearly a hundred years and find the same phenomenon. Back in 1899, in Washington, D. C., there were four academic public high schools-- one black and three white.1 In standardized tests given that year, students in the black high school averaged higher test scores than students in two of the three white high schools.2
This was not a fluke. It so happens that I have followed 85 years of the history of this black high school-- from 1870 to 1955 --and found it repeatedly equalling or exceeding national norms on standardized tests.
Read the whole thing. Sowell is always worth the time.

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At 12:28 AM, Blogger Mrs. C said...

Just so racist to think that kids are kids, and you just teach kids and then the kids learn.

*arg* I musta gotten warped here from the Middle Ages or something to have a worldview like that.

At 2:24 PM, Blogger Harry said...

It's depressing, but the idiocy never ends. And people are taking the idiots seriously.


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