Running the wrong way on learning gap

  • Article by: KATHERINE KERSTEN
  • Updated: March 10, 2012 - 4:43 PM

Districts are embracing the strange idea that 'white privilege' is to blame.

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ian141Mar. 10, 12 7:55 PM

First, I live near Chapel Hill, NC and can say that Graig Meyer does good work with a mentor program for kids that do not have much guidance at home. That said, Singleton and PEG started "work" here about 10 years ago. The reactions by teachers and parents were very similar to what appears to be happening in Minnesota. Teachers felt blamed and parents wondered what exactly was happening because some of the "work" is specifically intended to be covert. When parents found out what was being said about "whiteness", there were lots of raised eyebrows and more. The result of the "work", however, has been clear. Nothing good resulted for children. When assessed objectively, the achievement gap is still as big as ever. The local branch of the NAACP gave the school district failing grades. The quality of instruction has not improved. And of course, we spent precious time and money "working" on a bogus program. We finally have a new superintendent who seems to get it and is changing the focus to things that can make a difference. Time will tell. For any community considering Singleton and PEG, do not look to Chapel Hill as an example of effectiveness of his program. If your superintendent is endorsing the Beyond Diversity or other programs from PEG, I recommend getting a new superintendent, someone who knows the difference between snake oil and effective educational programs.

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tbot2000Mar. 11, 12 7:58 AM

It's very simple. It's income. Racial disparity exists (significantly) when it comes to income, sadly. Education is the place to start when it comes to shrinking income gaps. Again, KK hammers on about a problem while offering no solution. So, what's the point? She's just someone who disagrees with something. Neat. Thanks for offering nothing. Again.

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Willy53Mar. 11, 12 8:06 AM

I'm in shock. Katherine and I have a convergence of opinion! She only needs to add POVERTY to her list of obstacles for poor minority students. Right on Katherine. All this business blaming bad teachers on the achievment gap is BS. Money should be sent on early childhood learning and programs to lift people out of poverty (another problem altogether). There may be disillusionsed teachers in poor school districts. There may be underperforming teachers as there are in any profession. But the real problem is the five years a child lives before that person becomes a student. Unfortunately, this bad teacher approach has been used to drive the dissolution of unions which will be bad for studetns in the long run and horrendous for the teaching profession as fewer and fewer adults see any future in a teaching job providing for their needs as a parent, family provider and aging senior. Nice job Katherine.

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Thumper5316Mar. 11, 12 8:46 AM

What a bunch of crap! Let's talk about the birth rates to unmarried, under 18 women in the black community. The fact is that we are fostering generations of children raising children. We need to address the root cause of what is CAUSING the problem. Until we can do that nothing will change.

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lexiconnMar. 11, 12 9:02 AM

White privilege = Having parents that read to you.

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lexiconnMar. 11, 12 9:03 AM

"Money should be sent on early childhood learning and programs to lift people out of poverty" Have you ever looked at the US budget on how much we spend in these areas? Obviously not.

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SnippetMar. 11, 12 9:35 AM

If we are going to acknowledge differences in culture and values between white and "Black and Brown" children, then why not acknowledge the logical possibility (likelihood) that those different cultures might result in different academic achievement? How can two different cultures result in identical behaviors and outcomes? Maybe the "gap" should just be considered another wonderful example of that diversity some people like to talk about so much.

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pdxtranMar. 11, 1210:05 AM

Thumper5316: Solutions to the problem of black unmarried mothers?

Let's talk about the loss of blue collar jobs, especially in the inner cities, which means that the drug dealers are the only ones hiring in many neighborhoods. Let's talk about the resulting high proportion of young black men in prison.

Let's talk about the images promoted in the commercial media (all under the umbrella of the same five corporations--none of them black-owned): that black men should be tough, belligerent studs.

These young women didn't get pregnant all by themselves.

Bring living wage blue collar jobs back to the inner city, put more positive images in the media, and stop the war on drugs, which is harder on poor youths than on rich youths, and you'll see a change.

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teddytwotoneMar. 11, 1210:14 AM

If the way out of poverty is an education and we spend more money on education than any other industrialized nation then why are people still in poverty? Answer that.

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jdlellis1Mar. 11, 1210:20 AM

Thumper5316 is so on target! For example North High in Minneapolis (Dito for other schools) when speaking off the record to teachers or administrators, the number one issue in their decline was single parent homes. In addition, it is tragic to lump cultures into how best to educat (individual versus collectivism) is yet another example of attempt to show how Caucusians are the perpetrators of evil in the world. Finally, these so-called social do gooders are racist in their attitude that they no best how to educate minorities. This "Yessa massa I'll turn over my kids tou you" perpetuates the problem. A good education begins with parents (in plural) being held accountable for the education of their children.

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