Archives for posts with tag: School

Low performance begins with American racism. Our society, Delpit writes, has a “deeply ingrained bias of equating blackness with inferiority,” and it “seems always ready to identify African Americans with almost all negative behaviors.” At tender ages, black students undergo a series of “microaggressions…small psychic insults” that debilitate them. Black males perform poorly because “our young men have internalized all of the negative stereotypes.” Sometimes black students are invisible, unnoticed, and disrespected, and sometimes they are “hypervisible,” their normal youth behaviors magnified into pathologies. They end up estranged from school culture (“disidentification”), mistrusting their own capacities and fulfilling belittling expectations.

Teachers misinterpret them again and again, Delpit alleges, mainly by disregarding the culture black students inhabit. This is the second cause of low achievement. The classroom is a white, middle-class space often hostile to African American norms. It downplays collaboration, she notes, even though these students need it to “feel more secure and less vulnerable.” It ignores past contributions to learning and science by African Americans. It neglects spirituality, whereas “traditional African education” incorporates “education for the spirit” into everyday lessons.

Delpit assembles classroom anecdotes, including her daughter’s experiences, with research on “stereotype threat” to prove the point. Voices of black students bespeak the demoralizing results, as with the middle schooler who announces, “Black people don’t multiply; black people just add and subtract. White people multiply.” On the other hand, Delpit provides counterexamples of success, for instance, Afrocentric assignments, inspiring teachers who love and sympathize but maintain rigor, and a beloved white teacher whom the students consider “black” for this reason: when asked “how he felt as a white man teaching black history…tears came to his eyes as he answered that when he learned about Emmett Till and other terrible things white people had done to black people, it sometimes made him ashamed to be white.”

Of course, tales and profiles and selective research don’t amount to proof, nor do they serve as grounds for policy revision. Delpit identifies a significant problem—the clash of school culture with African American out-of-school culture—but her racial lens casts it simply as one of respect and morale, not of effective education. She believes that the former produces the latter, for “African American students are gifted and brilliant,” and they would prosper if schools and teachers became sensitive to their culture.

But this translation of teacher sensitivity into student achievement is precisely what remains to be demonstrated. Delpit praises Afrocentric curricula, but her support focuses entirely on inputs and premises, not on outcomes. A unit that instills math by taking racial profiling as the subject wins her admiration, but her only evidence for its effectiveness comes from a student who professes, “now I realize that you could use math to defend your rights and realize the injustices around you.” But what about the math scores those students attain in 12th grade? What grades do they get in first-year college calculus? Delpit claims that schools impart the message that “you must give up identifiably African American norms in order to succeed,” but she never shows that embracing those norms produces higher college enrollment or workplace readiness.

If that evidence doesn’t exist, then Delpit’s argument isn’t with schools. It’s with U.S. history, society, culture, economics. Many pages in “Multiplication Is for White People” suggest that this is, indeed, the case, such as the indignant section on racist actions after Hurricane Katrina. If society at large is racist, though, then schools should receive more credit than Delpit allows. She asserts that “Typical university curricula leave out contributions of people of color to American culture, except in special courses in African American studies,” a flatly false claim. Syllabi in U.S. history, literature, music, and other areas at nearly every campus amply represent African American creators. Her complaint really is that schools haven’t sufficiently countered popular attitudes.

Delpit’s prescription that schools show more respect for African American culture, then, may have the effect of cultivating an adversarial posture among students. If American society is anti–African American, then a “culturally relevant curriculum” necessarily conflicts with it. If high schools offer an Afrocentric curriculum, will students find university offerings uncongenial and drift toward African American studies and away from STEM fields, where job prospects are brighter? Will a high school teacher ashamed of his whiteness alienate students from white college teachers and employers not so ashamed? Delpit notes that yelling is often assumed in African American culture to be a sign of caring, but won’t failing to inform students of the inappropriateness of yelling in public and in workplaces set them up for future tensions?

These are open questions, and this book doesn’t begin to consider them. We might easily dismiss it as an expression of resentment—the shadow of Jim Crow looms on every page—but we do better to take the starting point seriously: we have a culture clash in the classroom. Rather than expounding the pains and injustices and prescribing a “sensitivity” reform, however, let’s examine various schools and curricula on the standard accountability measure. Do they produce graduates who proceed to college and workplace and thrive?

Nearly 60 years after the 1954 landmark ruling in Brown v. the Board of Education, in which the U.S. Supreme Court declared public education is “a right which must be made available on equal terms,” racial inequities in school spending persist. Let’s look at some of the national numbers:

Across the country schools spent $334 more on every white student than on every nonwhite student
Mostly white schools (90 percent or more white) spent $733 more per student than mostly nonwhite schools (90 percent or more nonwhite)
The United States spends $293 less per year on students in mostly nonwhite schools than on students in all other schools. That’s 7 percent of the median per-pupil spending
Since fully 35 percent of the nation’s students of color attend school in either California or Texas, examining the relationship between the percent of students of color and dollars spent per student can bring the problem into sharper focus.

In California schools serving 90 percent or more nonwhite students, per-pupil spending is $191 less than at all other schools, and $4,380 less than at schools serving 90 percent or more white students
In Texas schools serving 90 percent or more nonwhite students, per-pupil spending is $514 less than at all other schools, and $911 less than at schools serving 90 percent or more white students
Just how big are these differences? In California the average high-minority school has 759 students. If an average-sized school got an extra $4,380 for every student, it would mean an extra $3.3 million a year. If that same school were to get a more modest boost of $191 per student to bring it in line with the majority of schools in the state, then it would get approximately $145,000 extra per year. Those extra dollars would pay the salaries of additional classroom teachers or buy any number of valuable educational inputs such as computers, guidance counselors, or teaching coaches.

In Texas the average high-minority school is 708 students; new teachers are paid $39,150 and veterans earn $47,100 annually. If an average high-minority school in the Lone Star state were to receive an extra $514 per-pupil funding—enough to bring it up to the level of spending the rest of the schools in the state enjoy—it would be able to pay the salaries of seven veteran teachers or nine new teachers.

One of the more sobering findings of our report is that as the number of students of color goes up at a school the amount of money spent on students goes down.

An increase of 10 percent in students of color is associated with a decrease in spending of $75 per student

Here you’l find a link to an academic article that highlight other dimensions than test scores in assessment

Abstract Around the world we hear considerable talk about creating world-class schools. Usually the term refers to schools whose students get very high scores on the international comparisons of student achievement such as PISA or TIMSS. The practice of restricting the meaning of exemplary schools to the narrow criterion of achievement scores is usually premised on the view that test scores are closely linked to the provision of a capable labour force and competitive economy. In fact, the measured relationships between test scores and earnings or productivity are modest and explain a relatively small share of the larger link between educational attainment and economic outcomes. What has been omitted from such narrow assessments are the effects that education has on the development of interpersonal and intrapersonal skills and capabilities that affect the quality and productivity of the labour force. This article provides evidence on some of these relationships, on the degree to which the non-cognitive effects of schooling contribute to adult performance, and on the evidence that deliberate school interventions can influence non-cognitive outcomes. It concludes with the view that the quest for world-class schools must encompass a range of human development characteristics that extend considerably beyond test scores.