Friday, May 25, 2012

Another look at Rahm's Texas model

"If you start in the Chicago Public School system in kindergarten," offered Rahm, "and your cousin lives in Houston, and you both go all the way through high school, the cousin in Houston spends three more years in the classroom." -- Rahm Emanuel
Romney's ed adviser and former Houston Supt. Rod Paige
Chicago's mayor, in his demagogic appeal for a longer (not necessarily better) school day, is fond of holding up Houston, Texas as his model. This piece in the Texas Observer details some of the reasons why Houston schools and Texas schools in general, may work for some of their students, but certainly not for poor students or students of color, and why they provide no example for Chicago to follow.

Observer reporter Cindy Casares writes:
People who question the existence of systemic racism need only look at the numbers. Take the emotion out and see for yourself. The statistics are quite simply stacked against people of color in this state. Yet the media covers the issue in code, leaving it to sound like some unsolvable mystery.
  • Poor and minority students in Texas are far less likely than others to have certified math teachers.
  • 58 percent of Algebra I teachers in predominantly African-American schools are certified in math, compared to 82 percent of the teachers in schools with the fewest African-American students.
  • Of the state’s 
50 largest school districts, 43 have the highest concentration of novice teachers in the poorest schools.
  • Across Texas, at every school level and in all
core subjects (English, math, science and social studies), Hispanic, African-American and low- income students are more likely than their more affluent and white peers to be taught by teachers who do not meet state requirements.
  • A similar analysis of teacher and student data in Los Angeles concluded that “having a top- quartile teacher rather than a bottom-quartile teacher four years in a row would be enough to close the black-white test score gap.”
  • In Arlington, for example, the average teacher salary in the district’s highest-poverty middle schools is $4,750 less than the average teacher salary in the more-affluent middle schools.
  • In Amarillo, teachers working in elementary schools serving mostly Hispanic and African-American children earn on average $2,405 less than those in the elementary schools serving greater numbers of white students.
Rahm needs to find himself a new model, especially now that Mitt Romney has named former Houston Superintendent and Bush's Ed Secretary Rod Paige as his chief education adviser.  Remember, Paige's Texas Miracle was a fraud.

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