Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Black, Hispanic Pupils See School As Tough

Black, Hispanic Pupils See School As Tough - AP

The survey results revealing that Black and Hispanic kids view their school environments as ‘tough’ dovetails with the disparity between the social and cognitive preparation that these kids get outside and inside of school. This is further reason for educators and the public to emphasize pre-school education programs that would start kids out more on par.

To begin, we should understand, 50 years after Brown v. Board of Education, most schools in the US are still segregated, like our neighborhoods. While the administration and curriculums of schools are similar, if not identical, children enter with disparities in early childhood development and preparation that place minority kids at greater social and cognitive disadvantage, vis-à-vis status quo public education.

While top researchers have inventoried all the things that poor kids do not receive that hurts them, like books, computers, pre-natal care, healthy diets, and regular exercise, they are reticent to speak of what these kids do get that thwarts their performance prior to and once in school. This reticence comes, understandably, from the fear of accusations of racism.

It is not race that drives the difference, but rather the influence of the locations of our societies of origin. Those societies represent different states of technological advancement, dating back thousands of years, but whose influence is still with us today. This influence is most readily captured in modern terms by the United Nations Development Program’s technology achievement index (TAI) for countries. This index measures the evolution of societies, with respect to creation, assimilation, and diffusion of advancing methods and skills, or what we call technology.

Race has unfortunately been the divisive surrogate for geography-influenced behaviors, and good science still struggles to unburden us of the unscientific application of superficial genetics to our differences. When we understand and accept why kids, in this case, come to school with certain behaviors that either hinder or aid in their advancement, we will see the performance gaps begin to close. Without assignments of race to blind us, but rather geography-influenced progressions, we will undoubtedly figure out how to persuasively impart and accept advancing behaviors regardless of their ‘color’ of origin.

James C. Collier


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