Have things changed? Have they really?

Kacey

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Jan 3, 2006
Messages
16,462
Reaction score
227
Location
Denver, CO
This thread was inspired by two articles I read recently - one on a local news website, and one in an on-line education journal.

First, from 9News.com:

Little Rock 9 mark 50th anniversary

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The Little Rock Nine, once barred from Central High School because they are black, arrived on its soggy campus Tuesday in limousines as the community marked 50 years since President Dwight D. Eisenhower directed soldiers to escort the students inside.

"They didn't ask to be a part of history, but they certainly are now," said U.S. Rep. Mike Ross of Arkansas.
<snip>
The U.S. Supreme Court declared segregated classrooms unconstitutional, ruling that many districts were operating education systems that were separate but not equal. By the fall of 1957, the Charleston and Fayetteville school districts had integrated peacefully, but agitators targeted Little Rock for trouble.

For three weeks, Little Rock became the focus of a showdown between Faubus and Eisenhower. Faubus pulled the Guard away, but a crowd gathered outside the school Sept. 23 to prevent it from complying with U.S. District Judge Ronald Davies' desegregation order.

Eisenhower that night authorized the use of federal troops to enforce Davies' order, and members of the 101st Airborne escorted the Little Rock Nine to classes on Sept. 25, 1957.

And from the CEC (Council for Exceptional Children) Newsbrief:

Education and Schools Area a Focus for Edwards

DES MOINES, Sept. 21 The Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards laid out a proposal on Friday to overhaul the education system, saying that the current No Child Left Behind law was not working and that poor children were still being sent to schools that are separate and unequal.

Speaking at Brody Middle School here, Mr. Edwards outlined a plan that he said would evaluate students more effectively, reduce class sizes and reward teachers who work in high-poverty schools with up to $15,000 in incentive pay, initiatives similar to those championed by education officials in New York City and elsewhere.
<snip>
More than a half-century after Brown v. Board of Education, we still have two school systems, separate and unequal, Mr. Edwards said. There are nearly 1,000 high schools where more than half of the students wont graduate theyre called dropout factories.

This issue, of course, reaches far beyond education - but the education system mirrors the inequities that occur throughout society. Are things truly better today? Or has the discrimination shifted from racial background to other issues, such as family income - which, in turn, are affected by education?
 

Jade Tigress

RAWR
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Joined
Mar 11, 2004
Messages
14,196
Reaction score
153
Location
Chicago
It probably depends on the area. Here in the Northwest Chicago suburbs, my children have friends of races, ethnicities, socio-economical backgrounds, and religions, as do I. There are no issues with this at either of my kids schools, it's something that is just not considered. People are people around here. It's definitely different in areas of the South, as I'm sure it is around here and elsewhere. I think alot of it can be due not only to the schools, but to how we raise our children.

As for "No Child Left Behind", it doesn't work. My son is a special ed student in mainstream schools. The problem with No Child Left behind is that all students, including special ed students, are expected to perform at grade level on tests. This is just not possible, and those scores reflect on the school over all. Children need to learn at their level. If students learning at a slower, or different rate of speed are sent to other schools, it is because the school they should be in does not want the student bringing down it's scores. It's wrong, it doesn't work, No Child Left Behind needs to be ditched or re-worked to make exceptions for children who CANNOT perform at grade level.
 
OP
Kacey

Kacey

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Jan 3, 2006
Messages
16,462
Reaction score
227
Location
Denver, CO
It probably depends on the area. Here in the Northwest Chicago suburbs, my children have friends of races, ethnicities, socio-economical backgrounds, and religions, as do I. There are no issues with this at either of my kids schools, it's something that is just not considered. People are people around here. It's definitely different in areas of the South, as I'm sure it is around here and elsewhere. I think alot of it can be due not only to the schools, but to how we raise our children.

Well, the other thing that brought this to mind, for me, is that the superintendent of my district came to my school to talk to the staff today... and one of the things that was pointed out to him - forcefully - was the difference in needs between the north (high income) and south (low income) ends of the district. For example, the band/orchestra teacher pointed out that, unlike parents in the northern schools, who buy or rent instruments to students who take band or orchestra, nearly all the instruments played by students at our (southern) school belong to the school - and they're old, and in poor repair, and we can't afford to replace them, even when they're no longer repairable.

Other differences:
North: parents volunteer, come to conferences, come to parent meetings, etc., in excess of 75%
South: parents appear at the above about 50% in 6th grade; <25% for 7th and 8th

North: kids go to tutoring (school and private), attendance average is 96%, tardies at the start of the day are neglible
South: kids go to tutoring (school only - that is, free) at about half the rate of the northern kids... often because they are needed at home to babysit, and can't come early or stay late; attendance average is 91%, tardies at the start of the day are so bad that there is a school wide lunch detention for students who arrive late without a doctor's note

North: free/reduced lunch rate <10%
South: free/reduced lunch rate 50-60%

Kids come to my school behind, and leave less behind (an average of 3.7 years growth in 3 years) - nonetheless, we are a "failing" school, because our students are still behind - if less behind - when they leave us.

And yet, we have what is openly acknowledged as the best middle school staff in the district - that's how we get those gains. But so many of those kids need even more than we can give them... And their parents, as a group, are less educated than their northern peers - thus the disparity in income - they are more mobile, their parents (being less educated) are less able to help them with homework, my school is nearly 1/3 English Language Learners while the northern schools got their first monolingual ELL students this year and are begging for modified materials we've been creating for a decade... and the ELL families live where they do because it's cheap - largely in the trailer parks and Section 8 housing that surrounds the school.

And so on...

As for "No Child Left Behind", it doesn't work. My son is a special ed student in mainstream schools. The problem with No Child Left behind is that all students, including special ed students, are expected to perform at grade level on tests. This is just not possible, and those scores reflect on the school over all. Children need to learn at their level. If students learning at a slower, or different rate of speed are sent to other schools, it is because the school they should be in does not want the student bringing down it's scores. It's wrong, it doesn't work, No Child Left Behind needs to be ditched or re-worked to make exceptions for children who CANNOT perform at grade level.

You're preaching to the choir here - I'm a special ed teacher - no need to convince me. :(
 

Gordon Nore

Senior Master
Joined
May 26, 2007
Messages
2,118
Reaction score
77
Location
Toronto
Other differences:
North: parents volunteer, come to conferences, come to parent meetings, etc., in excess of 75%
South: parents appear at the above about 50% in 6th grade; <25% for 7th and 8th

North: kids go to tutoring (school and private), attendance average is 96%, tardies at the start of the day are neglible
South: kids go to tutoring (school only - that is, free) at about half the rate of the northern kids... often because they are needed at home to babysit, and can't come early or stay late; attendance average is 91%, tardies at the start of the day are so bad that there is a school wide lunch detention for students who arrive late without a doctor's note

North: free/reduced lunch rate <10%
South: free/reduced lunch rate 50-60%

Kids come to my school behind, and leave less behind (an average of 3.7 years growth in 3 years) - nonetheless, we are a "failing" school, because our students are still behind - if less behind - when they leave us.

Kacey,

This sounds very familiar. One of my favourite authors and a personal hero is Jonathan Kozol, who has written several powerful books on poverty, education, and social justice in the USA. His 1991 book, Savage Inequalities, revisits Brown v The Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas (1954) and Plessy v Ferguson (1897) in the context of several impoverished communities, and concludes that American schooling is still separate and unequal. His analysis suggests that the instrument of that inequality is school funding based upon property taxes.

Here at home, despite school funding formulas and Provincial legislation that attempt to close the gap between schools in affluent neighbourhoods and schools in poor ones, the gap is still there. Everything you say about 'north and south' in your town plays out in hundreds of schools in my town. As a student teacher, I took a group of students from an inner-city school with something like eighteen portable classrooms in the yard to another school only blocks away that was surrounded by what I can only describe as mansions. In the inner-city neighbourhood, the kids don't get what the school cannot provide. In the other neighbourhood, parents can easily pledge money to support a number of initiatives. However, both schools are public schools.

My stomach always turns a little when people suggest that inner-city schools need to step up on fundraising. If the funds were there to raise in the first place, we wouldn't need them.
 

Blotan Hunka

Master Black Belt
Joined
Dec 15, 2005
Messages
1,462
Reaction score
20
Its not fair to the learning disabled AND its not fair to the gifted either. Public schools are just mills turning out children to some preconcieved "standard". No Child Left Behind is a joke.
 
Top