Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Separate and unequal"

From the NYT:


"One of the most powerful tools for improving the educational achievement of poor black and Hispanic public school students is... seldom even considered. It has become a political no-no.

Educators know that it is very difficult to get consistently good results in schools characterized by high concentrations of poverty."


Questioner said...

For years the district has been urged to avoid concentrating impoverished students in separate schools. The response (when there has been a response) has been that in separate schools the district can focus on these students. It's time for a new approach.

Anonymous said...

Separate but equal”? When has “separate” ever been “equal” for Black students?

Brown v. Board when it declared, “Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”

Those who claim a “post-racial America” could not be more wrong. America, as evidenced by the inequities of education for Black children, is certainly not “post-racial”.

The writer of this article is accurate in many of his statements, however, his conclusions often run amuck. It may be true that “If you really want to improve the education of poor children, you have to get them away from learning environments that are smothered by poverty”; however, that generally does not happen for Black children who are “separate.”

Perhaps, we might try “separate” for Black children, with all of the advantages provided to white children in affluent schools _____ including quality facilities, quality environments, quality opportunities, quality academic programs, quality teachers, quality administrators, and high quality of expectations. Perhaps, with such “equal” educational essentials, Black children would produce “equal” results. Will we ever know if this might be true? Not until we truly provide “separate, but equal.”

As the author states: “you’re also talking about racial and ethnic integration, and that provokes bitter resistance.” In PPS we see clearly the “resistance” to providing “equal” for Hill District schools. Is the education “equal” in terms of facilities, resources, personnel, environment, academics (CAS, AP, IB, arts, music, foreign language, cultural capital, gifted programs, etc.), and a whole range of related opportunities?

It certainly is , as he states: “. . a shame is that we have to do all of this humiliating dancing around the perennially uncomfortable issue of race.”

Questioner said...

The author notes that in high concentration of poverty schools, students encounter more behavior disruptions, less academically engaged classmates and less involved parents. These are factors that cannot be equalized as long as students are separated by income.

Anonymous said...

Thank you 6:17.
Black children do NOT need to be next to better situated White children to be successful, academically; they need an “EQUAL” situation, academically!

Questioner said...

The author of the article makes it clear that he is not saying black children need to be next to white children- just that one of the most effective ways to raise academic performance is to eliminate economic segregation.

Anonymous said...

It's bigger than the schools. We could switch out the students from say, Upper St. Clair and UPrep -- leave the same teachers and buildings.

What do people think would happen to scores? Do you think that USC scores would plummet due to their new teachers and surroundings? Would UPrep scores miraculously jump 10s of % points?

I would predict little change overall in the USC students -- most likely positive changes for the kids scoring at the Basic and Below Basic levels. They'd have teachers who were used to working on test scores and who were used to targeting interventions at specific problems.

The kids going to USC? Do you honestly believe those teachers have some special insight into these kids? Some desire to combat the effects of poverty and social ills that they've been hiding all this time?

IF the effects of poverty are so easily overcome, then why does anyone ever bother to read multiple times a day to their children from the very beginnings of their lives? Why do they go to the zoo and the library and the museums and talk and talk and talk to those kids? Why do they bother to provide a structure that includes a stable living environment, bedtimes, nutritious food? It seems a real waste if you're saying that a nice building and some "good" teachers could overcome those differences in a year or two.

I'd like to see us spending education dollars on providing the above experiences to all the children that aren't getting them and stop blaming the teachers for not performing magic.

Yes, poor kids need more money spent on them! And I mean more, because they have more ground to make up just to get to a level playing field.

I'd like us to stop making excuses for poverty and pretending it has no effect.

Anonymous said...

Reactive, typical of those who would espouse a post=racial America. It's poverty not racism. Right?

Questioner said...

what is poverty not racism?

Anonymous said...

It can only be one or the other? Really? I see effects of both.
Besides which, you didn't answer the question -- why should anyone do all those "best practices" for their young children if they have no effect? Why would people put in the time and effort if plopping them in front of a TV with soda was just as effective in school success?

Poor kids of all races struggle to catch up to middle class and above children. You can look at the data from homogeneous communities -- poverty lowers school performance even when race is out of the picture.

Why would that be different if race is in the picture? I see racism preventing us from spending MORE on the neediest kids in some areas. I see racism when kids are assumed to be incapable with no knowledge of their abilities. But I don't see talking about poverty as racist.

Anonymous said...

Poverty is the claim being made to replace racism, which is being evaded and avoided at every turn and in the responses, internal and external to this blog.

Questioner said...


Anonymous said...

I guess there's no poverty in Pittsburgh. I guess that the fact that poor white kids in Pittsburgh do less well than middle and upper class white kids is a mystery.

I don't understand how you can separate out racism and declare poverty to be, what, a smokescreen?

Annoying title to this article, but the idea that allowing a parent to be home for 4 more months with no decrease in income leads to better "results" certainly speaks to an issue that has nothing to do with race in Norway:


Anonymous said...

Perhaps, with such “equal” educational essentials, Black children would produce “equal” results. Will we ever know if this might be true? Not until we truly provide “separate, but equal.”

Is this really the new goal?

Anonymous said...

I cannot scream from the roofops. If I could I would implore everyone here to read "The Shock Doctrine" & "The Death & Life of the Great American School System"

Anonymous said...

yes we do have separation and unequal in PPS
2 points

1. more black males has a higher
drop out rate than white males
thats one separated divide.

2.white males are more directed to get involve with educational enhancement programs to prepare them for better carreers in life.
likewise black males are directed to play football and basketball here shows what type of development our kids recieve sports this unequal part.
these are just example of racism and poverty.
meaning they always say we are all in the same boat together.
lower end kids put on a boat
higher end kids put on a ship
a boat sink quicker than a ship
enclosing SEPARATE and UNEQUAL ways
and means

Anonymous said...

I am not sure if #2 holds up. There is such emphasis on closing the achievement gap that if that were ever a practice, it certainly does not exist now, does it?

The boat/ship analogy was good.