Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Greed, not high standards, shuts students out

This column correctly points out the negative influence of popular culture.  Also, Dave Levin with some wise comments:

David Levin, who is one of the founders of the KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) Academy that has done wonders with black and Hispanic children from less than fortunate backgrounds in the Bronx, says something that makes plenty of sense to me.

"I think," observes Levin, "that we have to expand the scope of public education so that it does not ignore the fact that kids not only come to school but live in a world which places demands upon them. We have to constantly reinforce each plateau in education so that kindergarten is reinforced by the beginning of grade school, which is reinforced by junior high school, which is, in turn, reinforced by high school."

Greed, not high standards, shuts students out
NY Daily News, 8/21/06

Last week we got word from the Education Department that, even after a decade of trying to make things go in another direction, the number of black and Hispanic students passing the entrance exams for our three elite public high schools has declined. The same is true for whites. The test scores of Asian students continue to soar, which makes clear that whatever issues negatively affect the other three groups, the Asian students do not suffer the same problems.

The tests at Stuyvesant High School, Bronx High School of Science and Brooklyn Technical High School do not "take into consideration" the ethnicity, the gender or the religion of the students. What counts is how well a student does with the problems presented. No more, no less. Of course, there are those who scream that this means black students are being shut out of something, suggesting that they should be given special consideration, which always translates to mean that they should be expected to perform on a lower level and that level should be acceptable.

I do not accept that and believe that it clearly avoids a much larger problem and one that any person who would look into things knows well, or has had to contemplate: There is something about the environment surrounding both black and Hispanic students that needs to be taken into consideration by those who hold positions of authority in public education...

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