The racial achievement gap
in public schools across the country has been growing since the late 1980s. And the school system has been more segregated
and more unequal during that time. Just a coincidence?
Here's a few links you all might want to check out.
Public Radio webcast
America's "apartheid" school system
May 8, 2006
Jonathan Kozol, the former teacher who
has written about race, poverty and education for nearly four decades, spoke about what he calls the "restoration of apartheid
schooling in America" Friday at Carleton College in Northfield.
Civil Rights Project
Harvard Study Finds that More Than 70% of Southern
Black and Latino Students
Attend Segregated Minority Schools
Transformation and the Changing Nature of Segregation
by Doug Mann]
Parents with students enrolled in some of the better schools on the East Coast reportedly asked Jonathan
Kozol, on more than one occasion: Do you think spending more money on school programs will really help kids in the really
crappy schools get a good education?
Kozol's answer, under the influence of a few alcoholic beverages: "It seems to work
for your kids."
I have heard the same question from parents with children enrolled in our district's better schools.
to Kozol, about 7 of 8 of black and Latino students in New York attend schools with very few to no white students. Most of
these schools also serve high poverty neighborhoods. Differences in per pupil funding between black-Latino schools and white
schools is huge.
The situation is not much different in Minneapolis, except that the funding differences are being
hidden. For example, the district has not been reporting differences in expenditures for teachers' salaries. Much of the compensatory
money that is supposed to follow low-income students has been put in a fund for teacher salaries, where the lions share of
the money goes to schools serving the district's wealthier neighborhoods.
In my opinion, the achievement gap is mostly
a reflection of differences in access to high quality educational programs. The problem is really an access gap.
if you assume that providing everyone with a high quality educational program would only close the learning gap to a very
small degree, why not do it? Isn't making an effort to close the access gap the right thing to do? Aren't the savage inequalities
within the public school system morally repellent to the "progressive" citizens of Minneapolis?
The Board can do a
lot to close the access gap, in my opinion. That is why I am running for a seat on the board of education.