04 October 2005

Race Still Matters In Colorado Schools.

It isn't a surprise, exactly, but persistent, unpleasant facts deserve attention.

A persistent achievement gap between black and Latino students and their white and Asian classmates permeates Colorado schools - from the wealthiest, top-rated districts to the poorest and most rural - newly released state data show. . . .

"The achievement gap exists on all economic levels," said Glenn E. Singleton, executive director of the California-based Pacific Educational Group and a consultant for the Cherry Creek Schools.

The gaps are not statistically insignificant differences either. For example, at East High School in Denver:

In 10th-grade math, for example, 63 percent of the school's white students were at least proficient, yet only 6 percent of the school's black students were.

Part of the problem, of course, is that there isn't one clear solution to emulate, or one easy answer. The pattern holds true in all but a handful of Colorado's schools statewide, and close examination of most of those cases reveals them to be small schools whose results are statistical flukes.

But, given a choice, I'd prefer devote the hundred billion dollars now planned to launch a repeat flight to the Moon to figuring out how to improve the quality of education for poor, black and Latino students in this country. The slogan is dated and a bit corny, but I still believe it: "A mind is a terrible thing to waste."

1 comment:

Julie O. said...

My opinion about how to help educate black students is to raise them out of poverty. In Jacksonville, the FCATs were a big deal, and they would close down the failing schools and send the kids off to successful ones. But the problems and low test scores would just be transferred to the better school.

It wasn't really a problem with the schools, it was the problems the kids were having in their personal lives that was mainly caused by their poverty. They didn't have adequate parental supervision, were hungry, busy watching younger siblings, whatever obstacles you can think of that poverty makes most common.