Sunday, November 11, 2012
An Urgent Calling to Anyone Who Cares About Education: Discrimination Is Anything But Dead
I learned this last year in Tanzania when I was reversely discriminized against, assuming since I was white, I had money, but that pales in comparison to what I heard yesterday, something that absolutely implored me and made me seething. Carver Elementary, the school where Soundscapes is located, just lost their accreditation and is now lowering their standardized test passing rates according to race. That’s right ladies and gentleman, the students are assessed on if they pass/fail by the color of their skin (ARE WE NOT IN 20!2?!?!?!!?!?)
If that doesn’t exacerbate the reasons why standardized tests should cease immediately! Standardized tests are a horrible way to assess children. Not only do they only cater to one learning style, only assess one type of learning, don’t account for students who don’t test well, nor are evaluated for the least important audience (someone that is not in the classroom), they also require schools to not care about the student’s learning and do anything including preposterous motions like the one above, to continue receiving federal funding. This is at a school where a high majority of the teachers and principal are African Americans themselves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If you have even one inkling of pride, HOW THE HELL can you belittle your race to a 32%?!?!?! You may as well How can you ay poor people and people who speak more than one language (which I assure you the people who passed this measure do not!) don’t have the same capacity as students born into more affluent and white families?! I don’t usually swear on this blog to keep a professional tone, but that is absolute BULL SHIT!
In order to make more children pass, they are lowering standardized test passing rates to match the student’s race/economic status. Asians must receive an 82% to pass, whites 68%, and African Americans, impoverished, special needs, and English as a second language students, 32%. 32%...Let me remind you that is half of an F and that is a 50% difference between Asians and the lowest category. Aside from the ostentatious discrimination and pejorative behavior being exhibited, if the goal is to increase academic achievement, justify how lowering expectations will help. All that is doing is reinforcing the entrenched poverty and hierarchy of society, discouraging belief in self, and reversing the civil rights for which our country strived! It is not bettering anyone, in any capacity of the word, which call me a lunatic, I thought was the goal of education!!!!!!!!!!!
We’ve discussed motivation and engagement being the essential components to academic success. If you remove the reason for drive, motivation, AND excellence, especially from an early age of 3rd grade when these tests begin, children will not strive to work hard, and issues like high school dropout will continue to increase, college will be unattainable, and drugs, teen pregnancies, alcohol, gangs, and crime will pervade.
An even worse part about this measure? Parents are unaware (GO FIGURE!) and this isn’t the only state to have such a measure. Florida, XXX, do too. How is this the first time I’ve heard of this? We need action FAST. While music is an incredibly beneficial tool to increase engagement and motivation along with many other life skills (discipline, self esteem, team work, hard work, etc etc), if we don’t have high expectations for children, there will be severe repercussions.
The Chula Vista School District has been transformed the past seven years from a struggling school to one of recognition and success. The superintendent John Nelson gave me a recipe for academic success:
1) High expectations
2) Transparency of data
3) Professional development for teachers/principal
4) Culture of accountability
5) Goal of continuous improvement
6) Collaboration between teachers/administration
A common theme resonates in the above: Improving the learners by working together, accepting where they are currently, and holding each other accountable to improve. Virginia isn’t meeting ANY of those. If those of us are truly concerned about Science, Technology, Mathematics and Engineering (STEM) and are worried about China surpassing us (if it hasn’t already), how is lowering expectations going to achieve this? Comments welcome.