The color line still crosses the classroom and the school yard

I went to a GSU lecture Thursday by Amy Stuart Wells, director of the Center for Understanding Race and Education at Columbia University.  She spoke about her research on school resegregation – which she is expanding now to include Atlanta — and her recent book “Both Sides Now,” in which she interviewed students in six towns who experienced school desegregation.

It turns out that black and Latino families in search of more affordable housing and backyard decks are flocking to the suburbs. White families in quest of crown molding and vintage claw-foot tubs are relocating to the cities. A national snapshot of metro migration shows that the moving vans of white and minority families are heading in different directions.

So are their children.

As America’s metropolitan areas embrace new residential patterns, one variable isn’t changing: Racial segregation in neighborhoods and schools. While the South once led the nation in integrating its schools, it now has become the pace setter in the resegregation of classrooms, largely as a result of housing trends.

Today, prevailing public policy insists that it doesn’t matter whether black, white and Hispanic students attend the same schools, only whether they attend good schools.

But isn’t it a daunting challenge to create a “good” school in a racially isolated learning environment where many children are dealing with poverty, a lack of health care, poor nutrition, housing evictions and job losses?

(According to 2009 Kids Count Data, 35 percent of African-American children and 27 percent of Latino children live in poverty, compared to 11 percent of white children. Many of those low-income children now live in suburbs; in 2006, there were 1 million more poor people living in suburbs than cities.)

In interviewing students on the front lines of desegregation, Wells found that they thought they were being prepared for the real world, which they saw as an “ever-more-integrated society.”

But they graduated high school in 1980 to discover that while they were extolled to be color-blind, much of the country still saw the world in black and white.  And while they appreciate attending desegregated schools, their own kids now  attend less diverse schools.

Most middle-class parents understand how low-income students benefit by transferring to higher achieving schools than they would otherwise encounter in their neighborhoods. However, middle-class parents remain leery of the research that shows their children don’t pay an academic price for sitting alongside less-affluent peers.

Wells says the solution may come from the past. Many magnet and theme school choice programs — such as those in DeKalb County — initially began to spur diversity.  Wells wants to see expanded pubic school choice including transfer programs that permit students to go outside their districts since much of the segregation today is across districts rather than within single districts.

I doubt  that we will see that anytime soon as I don’t think high performing districts like Fayette would see any value in allowing transfers from Clayton.

I just don’t think anyone is worried about integration any more. A while back I wrote a long piece on this issue that began with this question: Are segregated classrooms more acceptable when they are by choice rather than law?

I think the answer for a lot of people is “yes.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

67 comments Add your comment

V for Vendetta

September 25th, 2009
4:30 pm

On the surface, one might interpret the following statement to be a harbinger of things to come, perhaps even leading to privatization.

“Wells wants to see expanded pubic school choice including transfer programs that permit students to go outside their districts since much of the segregation today is across districts rather than within single districts.”

However, there is one particular variable that is intentionally left out of the equation whenever such choice programs (public or private) rear their heads–the misguided premise that education is a right.

Consider for a moment the implications of such a statement. The Founding Fathers recognized that individuals have certain inalienable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These rights protect an individual’s right to exist, his freedom to do as he pleases as long as he does not infringe on the rights of others, and his ownership of the products he generates as he pursues his values. It is a wonderfully simple concept, and it is outlined very beautifully in books such as The Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand.

My point is simple: Although I personally champion a privatized system, the current public system could be made much better by instituting two very simple policies. The first would be school choice–across districts, counties, and states, if needs be. The second would be to abolish compulsory attendance, allowing schools to permanently remove students who are unable to behave or perform academically.

Of course, for that to happen, the misguided notion of a right to education must first be discarded. Nowhere in my previous paragraph did I mention such a right. In fact, man does NOT have any inherent rights beyond those of the individual, and there is a very simple reason as to why: Whenever an unearned “right” is bestowed on someone, it must come at the expense of someone else. Such an action is immoral, and a violation of one person’s individual rights in the service of another. That leads to altruism; altruism leads to collectivism; collectivism leads to socialism; socialism leads to communism.

By abolishing the “right” to an education, schools would be free to evaluate students based on ability rather than perceived need. Race is the lowest form of collectivism; it should never be used as any sort of arbiter. Personal ability–the result of individual action and accountability–is the only just manner by which to compare students. If a school truly looked at students in such a way, the population would represent those students who valued an education. Diversity is just a straw man.

Lynn

September 25th, 2009
5:02 pm

I don’t think the issue is so much color as it is socioeconomic. In my suburbs I don’t see issues of color concerning who attends the school. However, most parents would not send their child to another school in the county that had high poverty even if the color of the students was a 100% match to their own.

I agree that the same education is difficult to obtain when you have over 40% transiency rate in a high school. Students do face being hungry and evicted. The realities of survival take precedent over the focus on school. That may/does result in students who don’t have a serious attitude about learning. No one in the family may have ever graduated high school. Spend time in these schools and I think it will be evident that it is more of a cultural or socioeconomic issue as opposed to a race issue.

Ernest

September 25th, 2009
6:40 pm

Are segregated classrooms more acceptable when they are by choice rather than law?

In DeKalb we have Theme schools however some might say they are ‘quasi’ private schools. One must apply to attend them and they usually involve a parental contract with parental involvement requirements. There is also a uniform requirement. They have been successful. I would submit it is probably because most of the parents have the same ‘value system’ with respect to education along with the high levels of parental involvement. It would be interesting to see if this could be replicated to other schools.

Wells wants to see expanded pubic school choice including transfer programs that permit students to go outside their districts since much of the segregation today is across districts rather than within single districts.

We already have this in Georgia. Families are supposed to pay tuition to have their children attend school outside of their home district. Many times, you find parents using ‘fake’ addresses to get their child in a different school district.

Lets call a spade a spade

September 25th, 2009
7:20 pm

The bottom line is majority black schools, for whatever reason, have problems in academics and classroom discipline. It doesn’t matter what income level the kids come from either. Several studies done in affluent Prince George county attest to this. Holding hands singing kum bay yah and pretending that the “2000 pound elephant” in the living room isn’t trashing your house isn’t helping matters either. But to answer your question; yes I prefer segregated schools…BY CHOICE> Thats why not only am I paying property taxes but my children attend a 99% all white private school. Am I wrong for that?

Darren

September 25th, 2009
8:28 pm

“It doesn’t matter what income level the kids come from either”

As if the rest of your post doesn’t paint you as an idiot….

Lets call a spade a spade

September 25th, 2009
10:35 pm

David S

September 25th, 2009
11:27 pm

Government uses race as a tool to keep the citizenry fighting each other rather than their common enemy – the government.

It is not you versus me, it is us versus them – the government.

The sooner people wake up and realize that in the absence of laws that force behavior and violate property and individuality, all people will get along to the degree their interaction benefits them. Government is, and has always been the wedge that empowers those who would discriminate against another group, or destroy the freedoms of another group.

d

September 25th, 2009
11:40 pm

Any school can succeed, but it requires involvement from parents. On parent conference night, I am always happy to talk to the parents of students have an A or B and no discipline problems — they always show up, but getting a parent for a student who is failing or is a discipline issue is harder than pulling teeth. See the problem?

ScienceTeacher671

September 26th, 2009
9:05 am

@ V for Vendetta: “the current public system could be made much better by instituting two very simple policies. The first would be school choice–across districts, counties, and states, if needs be. The second would be to abolish compulsory attendance, allowing schools to permanently remove students who are unable to behave or perform academically.”

Those are interesting thoughts, and yes, the students who cause the most trouble are those who would prefer not to be in school in the first place. So far as those who are unable to perform academically, when I was in school, those children didn’t come to school beyond perhaps 3rd or 4th grade, but the court has ruled that all students, even those with minimal or no awareness, are entitled to FAPE…so that’s a whole different debate.

I’m more interested in the idea of school choice across district or county lines – it seems to me that allowing choice across state lines would require more federal involvement in schools, which few of us would find desirable.

However, the Georgia constitution says that a primary obligation of the state is providing a free and adequate public education for its citizens, to be paid for by tax dollars. However, currently the state provides less than half of the funding for this obligation, leaving the rest to the counties.

IF the funding formulas were changed so that the state provided ALL the funding for education, (1) we would not have to worry about some counties/districts not being adequately funded, because all would receive the same per-pupil funding, (2) the funding would follow the pupil, at least within the public school systems, and (3) counties with better systems would have higher enrollment and thus better funding (or at least economies of scale).

I’m not sure how transportation issues between districts and counties would be worked out, however.

V for Vendetta

September 26th, 2009
2:00 pm

ScienceTeacher671,

Wouldn’t it just be easier to privatize the system and let individual responsibility become the deciding factor in education?

ScienceTeacher671

September 26th, 2009
3:14 pm

V, of course it would be easier, but (as Jefferson argued and as those who wrote the Georgia constitution obviously believed) for the vast majority of children it would not be as effective, because education would largely be a privilege of only the wealthy.

Cere

September 26th, 2009
3:17 pm

“It turns out that black and Latino families in search of more affordable housing and backyard decks are flocking to the suburbs. White families in quest of crown molding and vintage claw-foot tubs are relocating to the cities.”

Interesting. I’d better hang some of that crown molding and install a claw-foot tub so I can sell my city house to some rich white folk!

plc

September 26th, 2009
5:50 pm

@V for Vendetta – Getting rid of compulsory attendance opens up too large a can of worms. Yes, it keeps those in school that don’t want to be there, but I’m fine with having those kids in my class. My team teacher is a body builder :)

However, it also keeps the kids in school whose parents don’t care enough to send them. I have too many students that have an uncle or friend bring them to school because their parents won’t. Those students don’t give me any trouble with behavior and work hard when at school. We need education to break the cycle in those type of situations.

@Maureen – We’re socioeconomically segregated by the way schools are districted. One of the schools in my area is about to be split, and the new school has about 35% of the student body on free/reduced lunches while the other will be at about 2% because of where the lines are drawn. Not sure of the racial make-up. Choice might help to break that apart.

Tony

September 26th, 2009
6:14 pm

I’ve been holding off on posting on this topic for a couple of reasons, but mainly because I wanted to see what others said first.

On the issue of equity, our federal government is helping school districts across the United States rewrite the definition. More on this topic later.

People make choices about where to live based on several factors. Most importantly is that they want to live near people with similar values they share. The issue of racial segregation due to “white flight” or other means of choice is one that I feel is being thrown back at us to be divisive.

There are a couple of well known writers on this subject: Linda Darling-Hammond, Jonathan Kozol, and John Ogbu. And, Darren, I’m sorry to report that the post that you ridiculed is very accurate. There are plenty of data that reveal there are still struggles with the achievement gap between higher income black students and low income white students.

If we are going to have serious discussions about this elephant sitting on the table, the communities will have to get involved. Communities that support and value a quality education will have an impact on the achievement of students. This will happen regardless of the dominant race.

There is no magic cure, either. Making “equity” policies will not cause communities to value education. Let me explain what I mean about equity policies from the feds point-of-view.

Part of NCLB is about teacher equity and quality. since the feds are getting more involved in running our local schools, the equity rules are becoming some of the scariest and unrealistic. States are mandated to improve equity for students meaning that all students should have equal access to quality teachers.

Think for a second about the schools where teachers want to work. They want to work in schools that have reputations of student achievement, parent involvement/support, and good discipline. It is easy to understand why. Challenging schools lead to teacher burn-out. The most frustrating aspect of challenging schools is discipline. The second is lack of support for learning. Children come to these schools already so far behind that it will take a miracle to get them caught up. There are hundreds of social issues that cause this and schools alone can not fix the problems. It will take communities working together.

I, for one, do not want to see additional policies enacted that would weaken the ability of communities to provide their own schools. School choice as it was instituted this year gave schools no options to control who enrolled. Parents were given all the choices. Schools were not allowed to bar discipline problem students, attendance problem students, or low-performing academic students from enrolling. The only limitation we were allowed was related to space within the building.

The kinds of options Wells describes could easily become required actions based on the current equity agenda. These actions would be costly and would bring further harm to our schools through backdoor federal intrusion. People choose where they live for good reasons. They should also be able to keep their schools for their own communities.

MBW

September 26th, 2009
6:35 pm

It’s discouraging to see the stereotypes continue on this blog.

I have taught in a variety of settings: majority black, majority white, AND majority Latino….and I can say without equivocation that race does NOT determine a student’s ability to succeed or to behave in school.

I have seen majority white-schools with bad discipline and I have seen majority black schools that get the job done.

What it really takes to have a good school: qualified teachers, involved parents, and a structured, disciplined school environment.

If you have those things, I’m CONVINCED that good education can be had in ANY neighborhood.

Part of the problem is that old stereotypes are hard to break…and it’s hard to lure the best principals and teachers into struggling schools or districts.

Lee

September 26th, 2009
6:55 pm

Tell you what Maureen, how about a little research and tell us what happens when a school goes from 90% white to majority black.

But you wont. Because you know that every metric from discipline to academic achievement will take a nose dive.

That’s the reality – but don’t expect our politically correct media to report it.

Maureen Downey

September 26th, 2009
7:48 pm

Lee, I think that the key issue here is the family income of the students. If you replaced all the students at Walton High School in Cobb with poor kids, no matter the race, things would change for the worse. Regardless of race, kids from poor families bring a host of problems to the classroom. It is not an inherent flaw in their characters.
It’s just that their families are grappling with many more disruptions. The students are more likely to be from single parent households. They are more likely to have nutrition problems and unmet health needs. They are more likely to be moving from apartment to apartment, changing schools and losing the academic thread. Too many poor kids in one school can overwhelm the teachers and staff.
To rephrase your question, what happens when a school with middle-class students from homes with stable income suddenly becomes a place filled with kids whose family lives are chaotic and whose financial situation is desperate?
Yes, I know that the adults in their lives have created the chaos and instability. But that doesn’t mean the child shouldn’t get a shot at a good education. We all have friends who lost big time in the parent lottery, who grew up in the bleakest of circumstances. It seems to me that the ones who overcame those soul-numbing circumstances to become successful and productive had adults who reached out to them, often teachers.
I think that ought to be our starting point for this discussion.
Maureen

I

N. Ga Teacher

September 26th, 2009
8:00 pm

Enter your comments here

Tony and MBW offer great, sound arguments. I am a Georgia teacher and everything they submit is true. Race is NOT the issue, but culture is. One would think that, in 2009, all American adults would realize the importance of a good education as well as civility and respect for others. Unfortunately a large and ever-growing class of people, most tied to crime and poverty, exist who do NOT conform to these ideals. They are so different culturally from mainstream America, It is as though they never were U.S. citizens. (Socialists would argue that these represent the failure of capitalism). Parents of this group tend to view education with suspicion, fight teachers and administrators tooth and claw while blindly ignoring their children’s wrongdoings, or deliberately make themselves unavailable to schools, accepting the school as babysitter. The bottom line with 99% of kids is that if they lack an adult authority figure at home who takes a real interest in their education, no amount of teacher effort, administrative pandering, or cure-de-jour state curricula will help. ” Knowing” parents play the game of avoidance,either by sending their children to expensive private school or by moving into neighborhoods with like-minded parents. Thus the “good” school is created by caring parents with disciplined, motivated kids. ( There are no ” bad” schools, except for a few run by egotistical, incompetent principals. Many inner-city schools get labeled “bad” when in fact their employees are wonderful professionals, but the neighborhood adults lack responsibility.)

Maureen's accountability metric

September 26th, 2009
8:53 pm

From Maureen: “It seems to me that the ones who overcame those soul-numbing circumstances to become successful and productive had adults who reached out to them, often teachers.”

Yes this is undoubtedly true, as these teachers provided among other things, four essential elements. Sound academic instruction, nurturing, and just as important, structure and discipline.

From Maureen: “I think that ought to be our starting point for this discussion.”

Maureen states, in the same post, that many children from poorer families have more disruptions in their lives, and often come from homes dealing with chaos and instability. Yet despite what she states, Maureen still wants us to believe that “there’s no data to support” that discipline is a “pressing” issue.

Talk about being conflicted. Did Maureen go to Catholic schools as a child or something?

One has to ask, because in some ways, most notably when it comes to her steadfast refusal to address the lack of support the teaching profession is getting in terms of discipline, she comes across not as a reasoned adult, but as a child who is still petulant about the fact that the nun didn’t let her have her way.

V for Vendetta

September 26th, 2009
9:40 pm

It amazes me the number of people–those in private business, those who research education, and even those IN education–who ardently believe that a teacher’s magical touch can somehow eradicate the deplorable home life to which any given student is subjected. I have no doubt that for a very small percentage of socioeconomically depraved students that might be the case; however, I would contend that the number is very small, and many of you would like to base enormous policy decisions on that microscopic number.

I’m not surprised that not a single person has undertaken the challenge to battle this problem at the philosophical level. If we desire to be completely free, we must recognize that complete freedom works both ways: You are perfectly free to live your life and succeed, and you are perfectly free to live your life and fail. Children are, of course, the X-factor in such a belief system because they depend on others for their survival. That having been said, children are an enormous responsibility–one that should never ever be taken lightly–and to levy that responsibility on another without his or her consent is truly immoral. Don’t kid yourself; that’s exactly what you’re doing.

No matter how hard I try, I cannot compete with a child’s family. A child spends far more time around his or her parents than he does at school. (If he doesn’t, he spends far more time around other, equally bad, influences.) There are only two solutions to this problem, and neither one is compatible with individual rights and personal freedom.

1. You can take the child from his or her parents. This violates others’ freedom because it requires their money without their consent. I have children of my own. I value them more than I value yours. It’s as simple as that.

2. You can prevent people in certain sociodemographic strata from having children in the first place. I don’t think I need to explain how this violates personal rights.

I leave the choice to you.

Lets call a spade a spade

September 26th, 2009
10:04 pm

“It’s discouraging to see the stereotypes continue on this blog.”

It’s also discouraging to hear clichés.

“I have seen majority white-schools with bad discipline and I have seen majority black schools that get the job done.”

But statistically which schools overwhelmingly, do great, and which ones have academic and discipline issues?

“Race is NOT the issue, but culture is.”

sign…And unfortunately there is a sizable majority of people within the African-American population, where judging by their performance (once again for whatever reason) education is not valued. For all the egalitarian folks here these numbers, in proportion, simply do not exist within the white community.

ScienceTeacher671

September 26th, 2009
10:04 pm

Structure and discipline seem to be some of the more important elements in the “high-flying schools” which have high achievement despite poverty and other factors that would normally result in failing schools. Children living in chaos and instability frequently crave (and thrive in) the security offered by structure and boundaries.

ScienceTeacher671

September 26th, 2009
10:06 pm

Spade, you apparently have not spent much time in some of the poorer and more rural schools in our state.

Maureen's accountability metric

September 26th, 2009
10:10 pm

I hope ScienceTeacher671 realizes, that as a result of the 10:04pm post on the benefits offered by structure and boundaries, that ScienceTeacher671 has been permanently eliminated from any consideration for serving on the AJC editorial board.

Lets call a spade a spade

September 26th, 2009
10:48 pm

ScienceTeacher671 your clairvoyance abilities amaze me!

Lets call a spade a spade

September 26th, 2009
10:51 pm

ScienceTeacher671 one more time: “For all the egalitarian folks here these numbers, in proportion, simply do not exist within the white community.”

Lenny Cox

September 27th, 2009
12:26 am

Metric and 671 and others: I just tuned in to this thread. Interesting comments. Very thoughtful and insightful.

Lee

September 27th, 2009
8:33 am

Economics doesn’t explain it Maureen. I grew up attending a dirt poor rural school system and we didn’t have a fraction of the issues that schools of today have. Of course, this school system was about 90% white.

Try again.

CJ

September 27th, 2009
9:49 am

Thank you so much “lets call a spade a spade”, for telling the truth. I am so tired of people skipping over the real reasons why things are like they are in Georgia “where I was born” and the nation. I am a black 60+ grandmother born/living in Atlanta, and if I could turn the clock back with my own kid, I surely would have sent her to a private school without so much drama to experience each day. I give you kudos for speaking your true feelings and rights about your choices.

Alecia

September 27th, 2009
10:59 am

Race is not the issue. It’s all about upbringing. You can take the child out of the ghetto, but not take the ghetto out of the child. No matter how many advanced degrees the teachers and administrators have to place on the wall, this fact cannot be changed.

I spent most of my school years in a predominantly white rural and poor community. A lot of these kids never finished high school, very few went to college, and the learning environment left a lot to be desired. There were fights every day. Teachers were both physically and verbally abused from their students. There were were 1200 student, 6 blacks, and no foreigners.

During my Junior year in high school(1989), my parents relocated to Charlotte, where the students were forced to integrate. Some students had to wake up at 4a.m. just to catch the bus to go to the other side of town. It was a disaster. As a result, my parents dug into their savings and sent me to a college prep school. It was a sacrifice, but worth it. I was in the Charlotte public system for 3 days. My graduating class was 100% white, but that is not the reason for the 100% 4 yr college acceptance. Success was a result of motivation and the school’s high standards. Today the school is more ethnically diverse and is still graduating classes with 100% 4 yr college acceptance.

Forced integration did not work in Charlotte, and less fortunate and motivated children had to pay a hefty price for this experiment. There were kids catching the bus at 5a.m. and returning home at 5p.m.. It did not help the children deal with other races. The students separated themselves by race. The black kids sat on one side of the cafeteria and the whites on another.

Today I am married to a Latino and our first grader is reading on a 4th grade level and is ahead for her grade. My hubby was born in South America and grew up in Central America, but is a college graduate (with honors). He even made A’s in his college English classes (no ESOL).

ScienceTeacher671

September 27th, 2009
11:31 am

MAM, thank goodness being on the AJC editorial board is not one of my lifetime goals! ;-)

Spade, like Alecia, I’ve spent time in poor, rural, predominantly white districts in which the students could care less about education so long as they could find a manual labor or menial job which would allow them to put a mobile home on Daddy’s land and have plenty of time off for hunting and fishing.

Whether or not “the numbers, in proportion….exist within the white community” depends upon the part of the state you’re referring to.

Dr. John Trotter

September 27th, 2009
1:09 pm

I see that Sonny, like Roy, just doesn’t get it. Now, with the budget crunch going on, Sonny’s decided not to pay the Nationally Certified teachers the money that was promised to them; rather, Sonny wants to tie extra pay to the performance of the students, but who chooses the students? This is the issue: The children are never randomly selected and scattered around evenly. The teacher who is teaching at Atlanta’s King Middle School is confronted with a much more difficult job than a teacher who is assigned to Gwinnett’s Trickum Middle School. Or, let’s stay in the same county…Fulton. The teacher at Fulton’s Haynes Bridge Middle School in Alpharetta has an easier time getting students to perform at a certain academic level than students at Fulton’s McNair Middle School. I don’t know what the answer is for the very significant achievement gap between white students and black students. But, the Fulton County School System is certainly a microcosm for the whole state on this issue.

In the Fulton County School System, the system is divided by north and south, with the Atlanta Public Schools sitting between the two distinctly different geographical areas of the Fulton County Schools, and the academic performance of the children in these two areas are vastly different. This school system stretches from north of Alpharetta to south of Palmetto — about 75 to 80 miles long. Very diverse, considering that North Fulton is overwhelmingly white and South Fulton is overwhelmingly black. In my job, I deal with teachers in both the north and the south. I have a fairly accurate, I think, perspective. Besides the income disparity being very great, I am sure that if anyone checked the formal educational levels of the parents of the children in both areas, the parents in the north would have higher educational levels to a statistically significant level. This is where the motivation of the students comes in play. If a student perceives that he or she comes from educated culture, from a family which values formal education, then this student has more motivation to learn. The motivation to learn is the key.

The motivation to learn is a cultural phenomenon. I did not say “a racial phenomenon,” but “a cultural phenomenon.” The African American children, for example, who vacation at Martha’s Vineyard (as pointed in the book Our Kind of People, a revealing book about the “elite class” among African Americans in this country) do not struggle with motivation to learn. In fact, their motivation is to determine into which Ivy League school that they matriculate.

Where there is very little motivation to learn, there automatically is a concomitant amount of disciplinary problems associated with this lack of motivation. If teachers are not freed up to be creative instead of being forced to teach in a straight-jacket (so to speak), then this children will continue to disrupt the learning environments of the students who actually are motivated to learn. Roy Barnes and Sonny Perdue and other people who were and are in positions to dole out monies to teachers based on “performance of the students” never take into their calculations that children are not inanimate objects which were randomly (and thus uniformly) selected to float down some educational conveyor belt. What if we paid physicians based on how their patients performed. One doctor is sent to the ghetto where health and nutrition takes a back seat to daily survival. But, this physician’s pay is tied to his patients’ blood pressure readings. His patients love ham-hock and fried chicken in their daily diets. But, his counter part physician (both graduating from Johns Hopkins Medical School) has his practice in Athens, Georgia where most of his patients refuse to eat fried foods, much less fried chicken with all of that ugly chicken skin. They cook with extra virgin olive oil rather than pork lard. This Athenian physician’s patients have low counts of blood pressure. Should this physician make more than the physician whose practice is in an area where the patients cannot afford to cook with extra virgin olive oil and are very lucky to be able to occasionally buy Wesson Corn Oil? You get the point, but guess what? Ole Roy and Ole Sonny don’t get the point…probably because they don’t want to get the point. It is so much easier, from a political standpoint, to just blame the teachers. “We are only going to reward those teachers where the students perform.” Balderdash! We’re only going to pay the physicians if their patients have low blood pressure! We’re only going to pay the court-appointed lawyers if their get their clients acquitted!

The motivation to learn is a cultural phenomenon, and if the motivation to learn is not there, all of the new curricula fads and gadgets will not mean anything. The best thing that the educrats can do is (1) free up the teacher so that the teacher can be creative in his or her attempts to reach these unmotivated students and (2) support the teacher when he or she is attempting to establish a structured and orderly classroom environment. © MACE, September 27, 2009.

Lets call a spade a spade

September 27th, 2009
2:16 pm

“Whether or not “the numbers, in proportion….exist within the white community” depends upon the part of the state you’re referring to.”

Statistical ignorance is usually an excuse when dealing with black under-achievement in schools. So is anecdotal evidence such as “I’ve spent time in poor, rural, predominantly white districts in which the students could care less about education…”

OK ONCE AGAIN for those in denial or trying his or her best to sidestep the issue; the issues of under achievement and discipline problems that you find in majority black schools simply DO NOT EXIST ON THE SAME LEVEL OR NUMBERS that you find in majority white schools. Moving to another district was/is not an option for me so I sacrifice and send my children to a private school. This same school is located in rural GA and by no means are the parents rich or “well to do” who send their kids here. The public high school in my county has some terrible problems with discipline and have yet to make AYP. But I’ve noticed that out of the subgroups that attend, the white kids ALWAYS pass in regards to attendance, test participation, graduation, English, and math.

Lets call a spade a spade

September 27th, 2009
2:38 pm

“The African American children, for example, who vacation at Martha’s Vineyard (as pointed in the book Our Kind of People, a revealing book about the “elite class” among African Americans in this country) do not struggle with motivation to learn. In fact, their motivation is to determine into which Ivy League school that they matriculate.”

Not quite true:

http://www.pgchic.com/articles/prince-georges-county-school-system-scores.htm

http://www.hepg.org/her/abstract/38

http://www.shaker.org/news/releases/1998/1998.10.23.htm

V for Vendetta

September 27th, 2009
2:45 pm

If you assert that the problem is one of race, you are ignorant and a collectivist.

The problem is sociodemographic. If you would like to discuss why altruism and socialism are immoral, I’m all for it. However, if you would like to continue to assert that these problems are a matter of race, please wander over to Jim Wooten’s blog where you will find other racist collectivists masquerading as conservatives. Thanks,

V

Lets call a spade a spade

September 27th, 2009
2:56 pm

“If you assert that the problem is one of race, you are ignorant and a collectivist”

This one statement is EXACTLY why whites choose not to participate in discussions on race. We just move to greener pastures or send our kids to private schools.

“sociodemographic”

Of, pertaining to or characterized by a combination of sociological and demographic characteristics

Demographic

refers to selected population characteristics as used in government, marketing or opinion research, or the demographic profiles used in such research. Commonly-used demographics include RACE, age, income, disabilities, mobility (in terms of travel time to work or number of vehicles available), educational attainment, home ownership, employment status, and even location.

Have a nice Sunday.

V for Vendetta

September 27th, 2009
3:15 pm

Let’s,

You are correct, and I mispoke. I meant to type socioeconomic. I hope that clears up it up.

And I’m having a great Sunday, by the way. It’s not raining.

V

September 27th, 2009
3:27 pm

A Freudian slip perhaps?

Lee

September 27th, 2009
3:34 pm

“If you assert that the problem is one of race, you are ignorant and a collectivist”

“This one statement is EXACTLY why whites choose not to participate in discussions on race. We just move to greener pastures or send our kids to private schools.”

Which is why there will never be an honest dialogue about race. The moment someone suggests that there are inherent differences between the races, differences that manifest itself in academic achievement, behavior, etc, etc, the politically correct begin calling names and coming up with excuses.

Meanwhile, we are forced to do as Spade suggested, we move to better school districts (i.e., greater percentage of white students) or pull our kids out of the public education cesspool and place them in private schools.

Lets call a spade a spade

September 27th, 2009
3:47 pm

“Which is why there will never be an honest dialogue about race. The moment someone suggests that there are inherent differences between the races, differences that manifest itself in academic achievement, behavior, etc, etc, the politically correct begin calling names and coming up with excuses.”

Yes, hearing that you’re a racist or fascist repeatedly falls on deaf ears.

MBW

September 27th, 2009
4:30 pm

There are no “inherent” differences between the races when it comes to learning. Any child with stable living conditions and a supportive family structure is capable of learning well. My time in the classroom tells me this….and I don’t feel any obligations toward “political correctness” when I say that. (The internet is relatively anonymous, after all, so why would I need to be PC?)

But there ARE inherent differences in socio-economic status, culture, and other such factors.

Historically, black people have had less access to things like good education, equal rights, etc…..so, that problem is still in evidence today. It’s easy to oversimplify and say that it’s because there are “inherent” differences between races.

NO…there are differences between the races because our society has caused it to be that way.

That said, for real equality to exist, we have to drop the excuses and hold ALL schools to the same standards of education and behavior…and quality.

Until we do that, we’ll continue to see such large discrepancies.

But make no mistake, those discrepancies are not inherent. They are there because our society has put them in place.

Dr. John Trotter

September 27th, 2009
4:45 pm

Believing that there are inherent differences in races is the foundation of the inherent evils of the fascist philosophy. Some on this blog obviously believe that the races are inherently different. I do not. I believe that cultures are different as well as different peoples’ histories. There are also sub-cultures within cultures. The human race is a kaleidoscope, but we are all children of God, created in the image of God. Children from different cultures bring different levels of motivation to learn to school each day. The key to learning is motivation, a thought which seems to totally escape our educrats. The motivation to learn is a cultural phenomenon. The motivation to learn, not the ability to learn. I believe that 90% of the learning content which is offered up by the public schools can be mastered by 90% of the students, if the students are motivated to learn as they are motivated to learn many things outside of the public school walls. © MACE, September 27, 2009.

Lee

September 27th, 2009
6:40 pm

…. and I believe that 90% of the politically correct pathogens among us would ( and have ) throw their own children to the wolves rather than be thought of as racist.

These same misguided souls will readily admit to differences between the various species of horses, cows, dogs, ad infinitum. Differences between the various races of humans…. oh no, God forbid I think like THAT!!

As the saying goes, you can ignore reality, but you cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality. Since the days of the integrationist 60’s, the politically correct have ignored the reality of differences between the races. The consequences? Graduating illiterates, NCLB, metal detectors at the school house door, armed police officers patroling the hallways. Need I go on?

And it will only get worse, I fear.

Lets call a spade a spade

September 27th, 2009
6:46 pm

Lee I’m afraid your COMMON SENSE argument falls on mostly deaf ears here. The majority of the people who post here would rather curse the darkness than light a single candle.

ScienceTeacher671

September 27th, 2009
8:03 pm

So are Asians just naturally smarter than white people, or do they have a better work ethic?

V for Vendetta

September 27th, 2009
8:27 pm

Lee,

Races and species are slightly different. I’m sure ScienceTeacher671 can support that.

MBW,

Holding schools to the same standards of discipline and quality sounds nice, but would you be prepared to accept the inevitable aftermath? (The result would be massive failures and expulsions in the poorer areas.) I’m fine with that if you are.

That’s why this resistance to privatization baffles me. If you were to actually hold public schools to rigorous academic standards and unwavering discipline standards, the results would be nearly the same: Schools in poorer areas would disintegrate while those in middle class and affluent areas would prosper. No matter how hard you try, you cannot overcome the negative influences in a child’s home life. Why is that so hard to understand?

Glavine

September 27th, 2009
9:16 pm

I am an aging black male who after fighting in vietnam used the GI Bill to get a degree. I fought for my country and then fought to get educated. I can still hear relatives tell me that I was wasting my time (when I should have been working.) While it is cultural to a certain degree, you would be stupid to not see that we as a race look down on the educated as “trying to be white”. Until we listen to men like Bill Cosby and fix what is wrong with our views on education, fatherhood, and family ( I have 3 children, 1 graduated Ga tech, 1 in GA med school and one in a local private school) we as a race are doomed to waiting for our reparations to roll in and fix everything.

Dr. John Trotter

September 27th, 2009
9:17 pm

Lee, I don’t think that anyone in Georgia decries the sorry state of student discipline in our public schools more than me. (This is really not an issue in private schools.) Our representatives went to two high schools in Clayton County this past week and both schools, according to our reps, looks more formidable than a prison fortress — halls near the front office blocked off by iron fences/gates or whatever and one school had a metal detector at the main door. (For the record, the schools were Mundy’s Mill High and Jonesboro High.) And, while we are speaking of metal detectors, remember that most of the serial killings at the schools throughout the country in the last decade — be they at Columbine or Jonesboro, Arkansas — were carried out by white students. This is also a cultural issue…white kids materially coddled by their parents, spoiled-rotten and bored. But, I am not going to jump to a conclusion that there is something in the DNA of white students that makes them more prone to carry out stupid, devastating, serial killings than children of Asian, African, or Latin descent. It is indeed a cultural issue. No inherent DNA differences. Your analogy about animals isn’t logical because there are no different species of humans. It would be more analogous if you had compared chocolate labs with black labs and/or yellow labs. Your Darwinian view is simply flawed. But, I must admit that taking a Darwinian view of humans would logically have you believing that one race might be genetically superior to another race — the Nazis, as you know, had this view. But, DNA is always the weakness in Darwin’s theory.

I will grant you this…When a school starts on a racial transition and the population of the African American students grows, the white administrators tend to be afraid of the African American students and their parents. (I have seen this over and over again.) Tension builds and builds. Finally, the white administrators get so afraid that they are reluctant to administer discipline to African American children. (Initially, when the African American students arrive at a previously all white school, a lot of institutional racism exists, and the African American students are personally stung by this. For example, the football team needs to have almost 75% African American players before more than two or three African American cheerleaders are selected for the Varsity Football Cheerleading Squad. I am just telling you what I have observed for years.) Before you know it, the discipline gets out of control, and very seldom can an administrator — be he or her black or white — get “tooth paste back into the tube.” An administrator must be determined from the beginning that he or she is going to treat all students fairly, equitably, and firmly when it comes to discipline. If the administrator is fair, then the word will get out. The administrator might not be liked initially but he or she will be respected — and usually eventually liked as well.

Why do Asian-American children score so well? Why were all four perfect scores on the SAT in Georgia from Asian-Americans? Very simple. It is cultural phenomenon again. These students take the standardized exams very seriously and study for them for years. One of the girls who made a perfect score this year said that she had been taking sample SAT exams since her middle school years. Again, the motivation to learn is a cultural phenomenon. Do the Asian American students have a stronger work ethic at school than do the white, black, and/or Latino children? Yes, usually they do. Usually, they also behave better in school. © MACE, September 27, 2009.

Dr. John Trotter

September 27th, 2009
9:26 pm

Please forgive the couple of typos.

Lets call a spade a spade

September 27th, 2009
10:07 pm

Dr. Trotter why do you keep alluding to fascist and Nazi counter-arguments. All I ever said was that majority black schools have some serious issues and that my children were in private school. Where in my posts did I state anything racist or negative about African Americans? And Lee didn’t say that there are different “species” of humans. You said that. Lee spoke about the “Differences between the various races of humans…” You are being dishonest and trying to accuse us of having racist thoughts on the sly. Not a good way to have a serious discussion. But I’m sure Lee is used to that type of counter-argument. I know I am. Have a good evening.