Tuesday, June 7, 2016

If school reform is the 'civil rights issue of our time', it's been a dismal flop.

During Arne Duncan's seven-year hitch as Obama's Ed. Sec., while he was using federal funds to punish mostly black and Latino, inner-city schools for their low test scores under Race To The Top, he was fond of calling school reform, "the civil rights issue of our time".  It's a claim being repeated by his successor John King.

Well if corporate-style reform, ie. testing madness, turnarounds, school closings, mass teacher firings and charters, is aimed at promoting equity and civil rights, it's been a dismal failure by all measures.

For example, there been a strong link established between "school choice" programs and an increase in student segregation by race, ethnicity, and income. Studies in a number of different states and school districts show that charter schools also contribute to increased school segregation

A review of the today's release from the Civil Rights Data Collection, also confirms the point. It shows the damage left in the wake of RTTT.

According to this report, Nationwide, 2.8 million students were suspended from public schools during the 2013-2014 school year. But black students were nearly four times as likely to be suspended as white students, and nearly twice as likely to be expelled. The same pattern showed up in preschool: Black children represented 19% of all preschoolers but accounted for 47% of those who received suspensions.

I know what you're thinking: "preschoolers suspended?" Yes, especially black preschoolers.

The latest data show that even as the nation's high school graduation rate has risen, many students lack access to college-preparatory classes in math and science. Just 48% of the nation's high schools offer calculus, for example, and the figure is even lower -- 33% -- among schools with predominantly black and Hispanic populations.
School Discipline
Black public preschool children are suspended from school at highrates: Black preschool children are 3.6 times as likely to receive one or moreout-of-school suspensions as white preschool children.
• Black children represent 19% of preschool enrollment, but 47% ofpreschool children receiving one or more out-of-school suspensions;in comparison, white children represent 41% of preschool enrollment,but 28% of preschool children receiving one or more out-of-schoolsuspensions.• Black boys represent 19% of male preschool enrollment, but 45% of malepreschool children receiving one or more out-of-school suspensions.• Black girls represent 20% of female preschool enrollment, but 54%of female preschool children receiving one or more out-of-schoolsuspensions. (2013-14 CRDC DATA HIGHLIGHTS: A FIRST LOOK)
According to the data, predominantly black and Latino schools also have more more cops and fewer counselors on staff.

Black students were also three times as likely to be enrolled in schools where more than
20% of teachers have not met all state certification or licensure requirements.

As for students with disabilities, they are more likely to be physically restrained or secluded than others, according to the data. They also are more than twice as likely to be suspended.

Schools are more racially segregated than at any time since the 1954 Supreme Court's Brown decision. Latinos and blacks, the two largest minority groups, attend schools more segregated today than during the civil rights movement forty years ago. In Latino and African American populations, two of every five students attend intensely segregated schools.  For Latinos this increase in segregation reflects growing residential segregation. For blacks a significant part of the reversal reflects the ending of desegregation plans in public schools throughout the nation.

So what good is reform if it only widens the gap?

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