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View Diary: Starving America's Public Schools - financially - an important new report (77 comments)

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  •  Indeed It Has (6+ / 0-)
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    Egalitare, ladybug53, HCKAD, J M F, ER Doc, Lujane
    So another thing that this effort has done is turn the urban black community against public education.

    Indeed.  But the movement to do so long began a long, long time ago, because had the Black community not turned against it, the larger movement to strip the right to a quality public education from all non-elite students could not have succeeded as it appears to be doing today.

    To be fair, the education system made it easy for that to happen.  Already at a disadvantage because of the refusal of the country to de-link educational funding from housing values/tax base, the schools that served our children were regularly underperforming, leaving parents to try and get their children out when they could.  As was consistent with our country's institutionalized racism, Black students were either neglected or outright tracked into inferior educations.  Their schools were starved of resources beginning a long time ago as whites fled to the suburbs and the legal narrative developed that it wasn't racial discrimination if the reason schools that were suffering were 99% Black was because of housing choices made by private individuals.  Teaching itself was re-billed as a profession for the ignorant:  low paying, something nobody who was smart did -- especially if you were a young up-and coming Black professional.  As the locally-grown and resident teacher pool began to decrease, white short-term teachers, many of them substitutes whose credentials may have been in order but whose skills and concern about the future of Black children were not, became more and more of the teaching pool.  Thus further decreasing the educational quality.   Forcing parents to risk their children or flee, to the parochial schools or if any money could be found to private school.

    And then folks were surprised when Black parents, desperate for quality education for their children, jumped on the latest boondoggles -- vouchers and charter schools --  furthered by outsiders for their own reasons (the destruction of the entitlement to a quality free and public education, something that's been a thorn in the side of elite whites pretty much ever since the public education system was created) and not for the sake of children.

    In other words, working as intended.  I have a lot of discussions with Black parents about why they have been sold a bill of goods by the voucher and charter schools movements.  Most, however, are simply not emotionally in a place to hear that basically these two systems will guarantee a twisted form of "Talented Tenth" for Black children in America.  10% of us will either get a great public education, or a great charter/private one.  The rest will be thrown educationally on the dust-heap.  Folks can't hear that, though, because all a parent cares about is what is going on with their child - and if they can get benefit for their child(ren), they don't really care what happens to the others.  Emotionally I understand it, but politically, we're shooting ourselves in the foot.

    If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

    by shanikka on Sun Oct 16, 2011 at 06:54:21 AM PDT

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    •  very true (2+ / 0-)
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      ER Doc, Lujane

      in albany the public schools have failed the black students. There are reasons for this.

      1) Until high school, where it is all in one building, the schools are neighborhood schools. So, the uptown white kids go to excellent small schools that their parents fought to get in their neighborhoods. The downtown low income black kids go to schools in their neighborhoods. Essentially a segregated school system.  I'm told many of the small schools uptown are excellent.

      2) The high school is a patronage machine run by the local democratic party.  When my dad looked into getting a job there he was told to talk to his democratic representative. Obviously this leads to poor quality in teaching. And although 75% of the kids in the highschool are black, few teachers are.

      3)  The highschool is essentially two highschools. The main school which performs horribly and the honors program.  My understanding is that these are even physically separate for the most part.  The honors program is top notch. Plenty of kids go from there off to the elite colleges.  Meanwhile the overall graduation rate is something like 38%.  The state put out a report last year saying, "This is a failing highschool, except for the honors program, which is great".   I'm sure you can guess at the socioeconomic and racial make up of the honors program.

      So I don't blame black parents for looking for a better option. I would do whatever i could for my kid. At the very least the charter schools have longer hours and keep kids off the street.

      This is also made easier to keep in place because the school board seats are all "at large" and there is low turn out in the votes. So the uptown people can control the school board.

      There is no doubt that the public school system is failing the kids from the low income neighborhoods.  Which makes it so easy for these charter school people to do what they are doing.  

      I know there are some well meaning people in the charter movement at the ground level. But overall this is a disaster waiting to happen.

      I have conversations with some of the top charter people in NY.  I tell them there are two reasons they aren't going to outperform the public schools.

      1) Teaching is really fucking hard. And they haven't found a way around that.

      2) Nothing is being done to address the socioeconomic problems in these charter neighborhoods. And these neighborhoods are a nightmare.  You can't teach kids during the day and send them home to a warzone at night and expect them all to succeed.

      "I'll hold my nose and vote but I won't hold my nose and canvass or call or donate." Some Dkos Comment

      by onemadson on Sun Oct 16, 2011 at 09:57:40 AM PDT

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      •  one practical outside the box approach (3+ / 0-)
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        ER Doc, teacherken, Lujane

        Depending on local conditions, with which I am not familiar, Black parents may be able to organize and get help from the ACLU in filing a Voting Rights Act case to get district elections for school board.

        In some jurisdictions that has made a huge difference in the quality and responsiveness of public education.

        Here's a brief review of related Supreme Court decisions (2009).

        California has its own VRA and a watchdog group, The Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights, that is dedicated to improving citizen responsiveness in districts across the state. LCCR can and does file and win cases against at-large districts, and strategies, such as packing and diluting, that undermine representative school board membership.

        The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, a San Francisco-based advocacy group, has been aggressively seeking city and district compliance with the California Voting Rights Act, a 2002 law that makes it illegal to disenfranchise minority groups from the electoral process.

        The act allows lawsuits to be filed against districts that elect governing boards through "at-large" elections if those elections prevented minority voters from influencing the outcome. The law stems from claims that "at-large" elections allowed non-minority voting blocs to dominate the process.

        "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." - President Obama

        by fhcec on Sun Oct 16, 2011 at 11:37:04 AM PDT

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