The Teacher's Desk

Sharing The Passion. Sharpening The Tools. Promoting Life Long Learning.

Education Equality : Are We There Yet?

One of my favorite education reformist and researcher’s is Dr. Jonathan Kozol. This week I have read his article “Still Separate and Still Unequal” America’s Apartheid Education System.  The American public is weekly  inundated  with statistics and articles about America’s failing schools, what to do about the achievement gap, and who is to blame.  According to Kozol :

The achievement gap between black and white children, which narrowed for three decades up until the late years of the 1980s—the period in which school segregation steadily decreased—started to widen once more in the early 1990s when the federal courts began the process of resegregation by dismantling the mandates of the Brown decision. From that point on, the gap continued to widen or remained essentially unchanged; and while recently there has been a modest narrowing of the gap in reading scores for fourth-grade children, the gap in secondary school remains as wide as ever. (2005)

There is an agenda in this country to dismantle quality public education and to continue the cycle of discrimination and classicism.  That which is called “school reform” today are practices primarily targeted at poor children of color and center around direct command and absolute control.   Kozol points out that these are borrowed approaches from B.F. Skinner’s philosophy which is widely used and practiced in drug rehab programs and prison institutions.

As an educator in an urban district, like those who he described in his article, I fully understand the plight of not only the students but administrators and educators who serve in these districts.  My own school system is pushing several of these initiatives in hopes of raising student achievement.  So you might ask me  what are you going to do?  I will tell you what I tell my students ” I will not enable you; you are innovators and not helpless.  I will not tell you what to think; you are scholars and critical thinkers.  I will not tell you what to say; you are very skilful communicators. However, I am here to give you the tools and share the information that will help you sharpen those skills so that you can go out there and compete and do with the best of the best!

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