I recently participated in the discussion topic, “Diversity’s Not For Everyone!” in one of LinkedIn’s educational groups, Education Strategies for Parents & Teachers. Mark Tucker, a top contributor to the group, started the thought provoking discussion with:
“There’s an interesting argument playing out among parents at my sons’ school. It’s a public school but kids in the district have to apply to go, which gives it a bit of a private school feel. The result is not much socioeconomic or ethnic diversity. This suits many parents, since it means that their kids are surrounded by kids who look and act like their own children. Others feel that even though opening up the school to more diversity might mean dealing with new challenges, it is important for their kids to be exposed to more lifestyles and cultures. I’m interested to hear your thoughts on the issue.”
In light of the recent findings from the Civil Right’s Project on Integration and Diversity, (see below) I am truly plagued with questions such as:
1) Why is New York and other states in the same position with regards to the public school system as they were sixty-plus years ago?
2) Do the policy makers of our public school system need to be held as accountable as the teachers and administrators?
3) What are the statistics for low performing and high performing schools as it relates to variables that can be controlled such as:
- commitment, preparedness, skill set and track record of teachers and administrators (on all levels)
- funding, resources and facility
- teacher/student ratio
4) Are charter schools the answer when most of them segregate the segregated?
5) Do white parents really want their children in diverse schools?
I could go on and on with my questions. But I rather have an honest and thoughtful discussion with committed educators from all walks of life. So what are the reasons and what are the answers?
Your thoughts? Your true thoughts.
University of California: The Civil Rights Project
The UCLA’s Civil Rights Project has released another finding in their research on the state of integration and diversity in American’s school system. In their fifth report on School Segregation Trends in the Eastern States, it was determined that New York has the most segregated schools in the country. Specifically in 2009, black and Latino students in the state had the highest concentration in intensely-segregated public schools (less than 10% white enrollment), the lowest exposure to white students, and the most uneven distribution with white students across schools. The data was gathered from computations from the enrollment statistics from the federal government and from local and state education officials. The current state of New York’s education system can be attribute to the Reagan administration, when the state moved away from desegregation efforts and instead focused on other practices and policies like accountability systems, school choice, and charter schools.
The UCLA’s findings were the same as they were over 60 years ago with the Brown vs. the Board of Education findings: separate remains extremely unequal. Racially and socioeconomically isolated schools are strongly related to an array of factors that limit educational opportunities and outcomes. These factors include less experienced and less qualified teachers, high levels of teacher turnover, less successful peer group, and inadequate facilities and learning materials.
The eastern states that made up this study were Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington, D.C. The other reports will be released later this year.
Another interesting read: