Friday, April 14, 2006

Fairfax Success Masks Gap for Black Students et al

Fairfax Success Masks Gap for Black Students - Washington Post

'No Child' Law Raises Segregation Fear - Associated Press

States Omitting Minorities' Test Scores - Associated Press

Right and Rote Ways to 'Teach to the Test' - Washington Post

For Contractors, Education Law Means Money - Washington Post

Poll: Parents Confident About 'No Child' - Washington Post

A Celebration Of Excellence In Education - Washington Post

It is not surprising that Black students in wealthy Fairfax County underperform their counterparts in poorer school districts. The subtlety of the behavioral culprit shows both the pros and cons of ‘No Child Left Behind’ (NCLB).

NCLB has forced schools to focus on test results, and behavior. While instruction to minimum compliance may insure that more Black kids meet literacy requirements, this is not educating to span the Black White performance ‘gap’.

Just as vocational schools of earlier decades were optimized to produce blue-collar workers, troubled predominantly Black schools are optimizing for higher test scores. Wealthy districts, with traditional curriculums, remain focused on preparing students for higher education, leaving larger numbers of Black students to struggle.

There is no malice here. Schools are simply optimizing their predominant needs. Unfortunately, districts like Fairfax struggle to simultaneously serve disparate Black needs and show immediate results too.

The challenge is to capture and transfer the advancing attitude and behavioral gains that improve scores, to all students, including those in college-bound curriculums.

James C. Collier


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Anonymous said...

Very cool. I'm pretty glad that some common sense is getting into the debate, as well as nuances. I just followed the article back (being a fairfax girl myself, I follow the local news). I think that Fairfax is pretty liberal socially, and protective of their schools reputations, so they'll probably try to do something to try and fix this. There is also a lot of pressure to not go all test crazy here, but I've been out of the schools for almost 10 years now so am not really an expert anymore.

I think that the philanthoropy circles have been frusterated by the "acting white = not trying" problem for a long time, but that they would probably kick into gear again, if new topics became a bit less taboo and they could actually make progress. So blogs like these are very cool. It's such an akward topic, because time has changed so much since the 1970's and not everyone seems to have changed with it. Honestly those kinds of things kind of baffled us when we were kids as most everyone was middle class so we weren't entirely noticing so much of a difference by ethnicity.

As far as I can tell, people were objecting to Martin Luther King Jr's dream coming true in some places, which just seemed bizzare. I've gotten flamed before for even mentioning that "social class" is as an important of a factor as race these days, in some places. It was strange as I didn't know that there were that many people who were at all educated who didn't know that the debate had changed somewhat. Culture-shock!

Anonymous said...

Very cool. I'm kind of waiting for the rest of the nation to catch up but it does take a lot to educate people to the different nuances. I hope more people find your site and learn, as you've got a very moderate approach. There is a bit too much rhetoric out there these days.

Although the reporters coverage of Katrina was a bit rediculous, as far as I'd heard they were covering rumors because no one actually bothered to consider that poor people might just be miserable in there, but not necessarily crazy.