In class I've stressed the importance of math and reading (and philosophy really, which sort of represents both). Now, this news from the Huffington Post:
Despite the hope that improving education for children of color would propel them to better life outcomes, Latino and African-American students are not being prepared in high school classrooms for brighter futures. While achievement levels have improved considerably for minority elementary and middle school students, educators say their academic performance drops during high school years. How prevalent is the achievement gap at the high school level? On average, African-American and Latino high school seniors perform math and read at the same level as 13-year-old white students.Then there is this Department of Education chart stating the obvious.
Blacks drop out of school at twice the rate of whites and trail in double digits behind whites and Asians on the School Performance Assessment Program, a series of tests administered to students in third, fifth and eighth grades. Gaps persist on the Scholastic Assessment Test as well. Black males, for instance, trail whites more than 126 points on the mathematics part and by 104 points on the verbal portion of the exam given to college-bound students.Let's keep in mind this study by Datnow & Cooper (1996):
Many African-American students enter school environments with less academic preparation than their majority counterparts. This lack of preparation often stems from the limited resources and lower expectations that characterize the schools they previously attended. This is contrary to the conclusion drawn by some of their classmates, who believe that African-American students's poor preparation stems from their limited intellectual capabilities. This misperception contributes to the difficulties faced by some African-American students in independent schools. On the one hand, they acknowledge a gap in their knowledge base and, in some cases, work twice as hard to compensate for that gap. On the other hand, for certain students, the gap is so wide in their knowledge base that although they work twice as hard as their fellow classmates, it takes several years before their hard work becomes evident in their academic performance.What is the cause for this problematic gap? Deficient teaching? Family disintegration? Scholastic values? Social anomie? Wrong values? Veiled (or perceived) discrimination?
What can we do to change this situation?
Let's get to work!
This post closes next Monday at 11pm