Integrating schools based on test scores and achievement

Part two of the blog on the UGA desegregation anniversary: In that blog, I noted the national retreat from the notion that classrooms need to be a rainbow hue, that the focus now is not whether black, white and brown children go to the same schools, but whether they go to good schools.

But the problem is how to create good schools when schools that are high minority are also often high poverty. And kids from poor families bring far more challenges to the classroom — homelessness, job losses, evictions, nutrition deficits, lack of space for the students to do their homework, parents unable to help kid with school work because they hold two jobs.

A classroom with three or four such children can cope; a classroom with 12 may crumble under the weight of so many kids in crisis.

Speaking to that exact situation, here is a New York Times story on how Wake County, N.C., once considered a role model in school integration, is evolving. (Take a look at the entire story if you have time.)

In 2000, after courts ruled against using race-based criteria, Wake became one of the first districts in the nation to adopt a system of socioeconomic integration. The idea was that every school in the county (163 at present) would have a mix of children from poor to rich. The target for schools was a 60-40 mix — 60 percent of students who did not require subsidized lunches and 40 percent who did.

Then in 2009, a new conservative majority was elected to the Wake school board, and last spring it voted to dismantle the integration plan. Instead, families would be assigned to a school nearer their neighborhood. This meant a child who lived in a poor, black section of Raleigh would be more likely to go to a school full of poor black children, and a child living in a white, upper-middle-class suburb would be more likely go to a school full of upper-middle-class white children.

In most places that would have been it. Not here. This is a well-educated labor force (50 percent of employees are college graduates) that works in the high-tech Research Triangle and is predisposed to finding new ways to solve complex problems.

And that’s just what they set out to do. Two weeks ago, civic leaders here unveiled their proposal for a third generation of integration: integration by achievement. Under this plan, no school would have an overwhelming number of failing students. Instead a school might have a 70-30 mix — 70 percent of students who have scored proficient on state tests and 30 percent who are below grade level.

The plan — believed to be the first of its kind in the nation — was developed by community leaders who sound nothing like the civil rights leaders of the 1960s. They sound more like members of the Chamber of Commerce — which they are. “We believe our proposal is consumer friendly,” said Harvey A. Schmitt, president of the Greater Raleigh Chamber. “We believe it will sell well in a market of high expectations.”

Advocates of the plan believe that schools balanced by achievement won’t look too different from schools balanced by socioeconomics. That’s because there is a strong statistical correlation between wealth and test scores; generally the wealthier a child’s family, the higher the child’s test scores.

Mr. Schmitt thinks that both racial and socioeconomic integration have been proxies for academic integration; that what a parent — white, black, Hispanic, Asian — wants most for a child is to attend an academically successful school; and that race and wealth have been roundabout ways to accomplish that.

He says integration by achievement will be good for business because no matter where a family lives in the county, their children can attend a high achieving school. “Companies can come into this market and not have to pay extra for employees to send their children to private schools,” he said.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

72 comments Add your comment

[...] See this blog for part 2 of this discussion: [...]


February 28th, 2011
3:25 pm

I defintely liked Wake County’s original implementation and was sorry to see it dismantled. If this has the same effect of making schools/communities less ‘achievement identifiable’ on both ends of the spectrum, perhaps it can have the desired impact of lifting more students to realizing academic success.

This is all moot if we don’t address discipline.

Springdale Park Elementary Parent

February 28th, 2011
3:41 pm

Finally: someone’s creating a clever incentive for more parental oversight and involvement. It’s long past time we incentivize well-meaning parents and penalize the do-nothings.

I’d prefer a more direct approach: a Contract with Parents. You want your kids to get into a good school? Sign the contract saying you’ll come to PT conferences, ensure your kids work hard and ensure they follow a strict code of conduct.

But whatever.

If it takes this more oblique approach to navigate racial sensitivities (and I specifically mean the unwillingness of prosperous whites to bus their children to bad schools, which–admit it–is not what you THOUGHT I meant), then fine.

another comment

February 28th, 2011
3:43 pm

My cousin teaches in Wake County NC and as a less than 3 year teacher has been shuffled to two low income intercity schools. All of her classes have been 100% low income, all black, students at both schools.


February 28th, 2011
3:47 pm

Good to hear that some places are trying innovative ideas to improve education that are not focused on class/race conflict. Kudos to Wake County NC.


February 28th, 2011
3:51 pm

If education is valued in the home the child will want to work hard to get it. I think Abe Lincoln was mostly self taught. He read everything he could get his hands on. Poor is not an excuse to be uneducated. Funny how kids walk miles and stay at the schools over night in Africa just to LEARN. Kids in the US kill to get to play XBox and sit in the house.

Lake Claire Boy

February 28th, 2011
4:29 pm

I like the concept, but trying to have schools with a 60-40 or 70-30 mix of kids from wealthier homes vs poorer homes only works if the overall numbers for the given school district work out that way. If a school district’s overall mix is the other way, say 70-30 poor vs rich, and you have a handful of schools comprised of kids from predominantly (say 80%) wealthier families, then it seems to me a much tougher sell to tell those parents currently at a school that is 80-20 wealthier vs. poor must change to 40-60 or 30-70 wealthier vs. poor. I think that’s probably what the situation is overall in APS and Dekalb. Plus, given the often very marked geographic boundaries for wealthier vs. poorer in Atlanta, it’s hard to see how implementing something like the Wake County system could be done without significant forced busing, or traveling to further away schools — something that will also be a tough sell for some or in some areas. Again, I like the concept, but it may be tough to do in Atlanta.


February 28th, 2011
4:30 pm

This is yet another one of those great ideas in theory only. I would really appreciate statistics to show that this plan not only helped the lower income students achieve more but also helped continue to educate and challenge the rest of the students.

1. What were the graduation rates before and after the plan?
2. How many went on to attend college? How many poor before 2000 vs now attended college?
3. What was the average commute time for students/parents having to attend schools out of their neighborhoods?
4. Were the “rich kids” adequately prepared for college?
5. What was the parent involvement ratio?

There are so many questions that come to mind and while I am not saying that I am against this idea, I would just like to see the numbers on it actually working for both sides.

Relax man

February 28th, 2011
4:31 pm

Atlanta…Imagine if we could buy alcohol on Sunday


February 28th, 2011
4:32 pm

I am curious how the 30% below grade level will be distributed among the classes. I think it is time for students to be placed in classes based on ability rather than all abilities in the same room. If the lowere achieving students need to increase their test scores, the teachers will spend the majority of their time on these students. Once again, the average and above average students are not as important as the below average.


February 28th, 2011
4:41 pm

Nothing like being the smartest or richest guy in the jail pod.

Not Yet There

February 28th, 2011
4:46 pm

I am not convinced this is the solution and here is why…

I used to live in NC in one of those “mixed income” communities. I thought it was a wonderful idea to help develop an area of the city without displacing the previous residents. I saw it as a great investment opportunity and a way to meet and live with a variety of different people. Plus I thought it would be a great way to help invest in the under-served part of community and give them the opportunity to acheive more.

However, it became very clear within the first 6months of living there after they opened the door for low-income families that I made a bad choice. First of all, my car was stolen from the “secured” garage within the first month. My single female neighbor was robbed in the hallway at gunpoint by another resident and while I wish that these were isolated incidences, they were not. My house was robbed once more before I put it on the market and got the heck out. Unfortunately, my property valued plummeted due mostly to the location of my condo. A quote from my real estate agent, “Your unit is going to be a very hard sell at 180K when you share walls with residents who are low-income and their property has been subsidized by the government. Nobody is going to buy this.”

Lesson learned: Yes, we would all like to even the playing field for all and help those that want more out of life. However, in my experience (on and btw I am now a hs teacher in Atl) many of these people do not want help. They want things handed to them and will pull all those around down to their level. It did not occur to my neighbors to work harder and use their free housing to educate themselves…they instead bought expensive clothes and electronics and then stole mine.

Well Said FBT

February 28th, 2011
4:48 pm

You nailed it on the head FBT – Seems like a really good idea for the underachievers but what about the average and above average? And I am with you Hmm…where are the numbers showing this works for either side?

Maureen Downey

February 28th, 2011
5:05 pm

This video, while clever, has nothing to do with education. But I will leave it up for a while for those who are interested in the Sunday alcohol sale debate.

Top School

February 28th, 2011
5:32 pm

I am not sure Northside APS schools will go for this. How will they compete? It is all about which school makes the highest test scores that gets them into the Buckhead circles.

What would Debbie Snack Cake moms talk about? All the schools would be equal? No competition?


February 28th, 2011
6:06 pm

That would most definitely not work in DeKalb County. Look at the fit Fernbank threw when some of them might be redistricted to Briar Vista, a school BTW in which if you are Black or White, your achievement scores are virtually the same – extremely good (so your academic achievement for these two groups are virtually identical between the 2 schools). Briar Vista does have a substantial portion of ESOL students, mainly Hispanic, who have good scores but not exceptional which makes the average lower.

The Fernbank PTA pays for yoga classes (I’m not making this up – look on their website) for every child, gardening classes, chess club, etc. and the Fernbank Foundation pays for a Science Teacher (certified teacher) who gives special science labs for all children, and an Art teacher – freeing up per pupil funds for a Spanish teacher, PE, Music, etc. Fernbank has so many gifted students, they get enough extra gifted funding that they can get extra teachers (almost all Fernbank teachers are certified in gifted) – thus lowering the grade level class sizes for their kids and assuring their students have all the “special” teachers. Do you blame them for wanting to keep Fernbank ES as a wealthy community? They are not the only wealthy community in DeKalb who wants to stay intact. Did you ever read some of the posts on Dekalb Watch from the Dunwoody schools? Such an argument about the apartments that might be zoned into the schools!

As an aside and to their credit, the Fernbank parents involved in the PTA and Foundation are very good stewards of the money – accounting for every penny and investing in enrichment and remedial materials – too bad the DCSS Office of School Improvement which allocates literally hundreds of millions of dollars meant for our lowest income schools is not as innovative or circumspect.


February 28th, 2011
6:30 pm

You can dress it up and call it a fancy name all you want. It is still socioengineering by the politically correct. Worst part, they are still using children as pawns in their perverse game.

If you are the parents of an average to above average student, these politically correct pathogens do not care about your child. They will bus them halfway across the county to attain their racial utopia.

And make no mistake, they can call it socioeconomics, or achievement balancing all they want. A few years ago, they called it Majority to Minority. Before that, it was Minority to Majority. The reality is that white children will be underserved in any integration plan they devise.

Everybody knows which schools are the worst and which side of town they are located. It’s just that their politically correct dogma will not allow them to admit the truth of the real root cause – the racial distribution of IQ.


February 28th, 2011
7:07 pm

Lee, I disagree with you for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that your proposed racial distribution of IQ gives parents of those you claim are “less able” a pass on working with their kids, seeing that they get proper nutrition, sleep, stimulating activity, etc. I am not willing to do that.

I work in a place where there are no black students. We have an overwhelming preponderance of kids to whom you would attribute your racial stereotype, yet they are quite white!


February 28th, 2011
7:37 pm

Can we send Chip Rogers and his voucher buddy, Eric Johnson, to a private middle school far away? Chipper has got an infatuation with vouchers. Someone please vote this guy out of office. He won’t stop until he’s destroyed public education.


February 28th, 2011
7:42 pm

Govt education is destroyed already and the only way people see to fix it is to spend more money. To hell with Govt. schools give me my money back and let me spend it on the school I want my child to attend not the Junior Prisons that Govt. schools have become.


February 28th, 2011
8:05 pm

“It’s just that their politically correct dogma will not allow them to admit the truth of the real root cause – the racial distribution of IQ.’

Totally agree with catlady. My nephew teaches middle school math in a rural area with only one Black student in his classes (BTW – he is one of the top students my nephew has). The same problems with student achievement and lack of parental involvement are every bit as prevalent in his virtually all white school system. Student apathy, parents who have literacy and numeracy problems of their own, students marking time while waiting to drop out, generations depending on food stamps, welfare and Medicaid, students who drop out to have babies, students arriving in 8th grade math classrooms without mastering even the most basic of math facts (don’t know their multiplication tables while my nephew is told he is responsible for his students mastering abstract algebra concepts), and so forth. This is clearly a socio-economic issue – not a racial issue. My nephew as a teacher is at the tip top of the economic and professional scale in his county. African-Americans account for only 12% of our population. If you came from the poor rural background I come from, you would realize that this socioeconomic problem is definitely all about color – the color of green – as in green MONEY – who has it and who doesn’t. I don’t know the answer. All I know is pinning this on race is erroneous and obfuscates the real issues.


February 28th, 2011
8:20 pm

I live in a community that had a minority to majority plan. After being sued, they tried a controlled choice model. Neither worked, and the community has returned to a neighborhood school model hoping to encourage the middle class families to remain in the public schools. The latest effort is the introduction of an IB program.

I listen to two of my friends with kindrgarten children raving about the inclusive class their children are in this year. How they have three on the Autism spectrum, two with Downs Syndrome, two who only speak Spanish and one speaking Chinese. They rave about the diversity their children are experiencing. Not a minute later they are complaining about how noisy the class is and how they get daily calls about their children’s aggressive behavior. Two highly educated women who can’t see a cause and effect.

Finally, I have worked with a private sports program with half the children coming from private or home schools and the other from the poorest area of the community. The program has seen a major decline in the private/homeschool crowd. I can’t say I blame them. The other children are poorly behaved and not respectful of adults or property.

Life isn’t fair, and we certainly don’t make it fair for those who are doing what they are supposed to be doing by making it fair for those who can’t or won’t.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta

February 28th, 2011
9:19 pm

Were many of our school systems really interested in helping our under-achieving kids learn what they’ll need to know to be responsible, contributing citizens, the systems would be providing competent teachers and administrators the freedom to do what was necessary to help these kids learn and incentives for their students’ achieving learning goals.

Based upon what they do, many of our systems seem to be interested in submitting the paperwork necessary for the checks from the GDOE and the USDOE to continue arriving on time, in avoiding unflattering publicity, and in staying out of federal court.

Dekalbite@Dr. Craig Spinks

February 28th, 2011
9:38 pm

So true. Look at this post from DeKalb School Watch – Probably true of most of our school systems:


February 28th, 2011
9:38 pm

So, a 70/30 ratio seems to be the magic number. The racial makeup of Wake County is 70% White/Asian, 20% Black, 9% Hispanic. Funny how that works out.

What Wake County did is to tell the successful people, it doesn’t matter that you choose to move to a neighborhood with good schools. We’re going to ship in enough dunces and ship out enough white/asians that all schools will be the same.

A politically correct mediocratic utopia.

BTW, isn’t this similar to what Cobb County did with McEachern a couple years back?

Progressive Humanist

February 28th, 2011
9:42 pm

Seven years ago Newton High School was about 55% White and 45% Black. The other high school in the county, Eastside, was probably 65% White and 35% Black. When the new high school, Alcovy, opened about 5 years ago the school district lines were redrawn. Newton became the “all-Black school” (upwards of 80%) and Eastside became the “all-White school” (about 90%), while Alcovy had a more even mix. This move towards more segregated schools was immediately noticed and questioned by many people. The superintendent’s response was always that they had followed federal guidelines in drawing the new maps. While I do not advocate busing students long distances and sending rural kids to inner city schools and vice versa just to do it, I do believe schools should be as diverse as practically possible. I have never understood how a modern school district with a mixed population could legally or ethically literally segregate their schools in this day and age. As could have been predicted based on previous demographic models, the two segregated schools’ achievement statistics have been going in two different directions. One school looks likes it’s been improving and the other looks likes it’s been declining if you just look at the numbers. It’s sad what they’ve done to the schools and the students.

Larry Major

February 28th, 2011
9:47 pm

Even if the Times spun this one hard, it doesn’t make any sense.

If you use test scores to determine attendance, every school will rate the same. There will be no Title I schools and there will be no schools that score above average because, by design, they will have the same test scores. The logic for doing this reads, “no matter where a family lives in the county, their children can attend a high achieving school. “

No they can’t. You have eliminated high and low achieving schools.

If you are in the camp that believes IQ is somehow contagious, why wouldn’t the 70 percent get lowered to the level of the 30 percent?


February 28th, 2011
9:51 pm

Since Dekalbite and Catlady don’t think race and IQ are related, maybe they could cite a school that went from large majority white to majority minority and the quality did not decrease significantly.


February 28th, 2011
10:11 pm

Well, the county my nephew teaches math in is 99% White which is what most of the U.S. still is, especially in most of rural America. Your myopia tells me you weren’t raised in the country like I was – we had people go blind from drinking moonshine – now meth is the drug of choice. My sister stayed in that area and taught Kindergarten there. She once had two kids with different mothers but the same father and both carried the father’s first and last name + the moniker of Jr. One of the mothers was in her late teens and fought with her 5 year ole son to play with his toys. I went through school with kids that had poor backgrounds. Only 4 of my graduating class of 96 went to college (I was one of them). The difference was my parents were educated, hard working, very involved parents and instilled in me a love of learning. Sure I was behind in many areas when I went to college, but I quickly caught up because they had given me a terrific work ethic. My parents didn’t think about a PC utopia – they liked Ike and Nixon. They had been raised in the country in farming families so they didn’t look down on people who couldn’t read or write fluently. They just expected my sister and I to make the most of our education. The city school had most of the rich kids. They went to college in greater numbers. It’s class not race, but involved parents can overcome almost anything.


February 28th, 2011
10:16 pm

First and foremost. I feel so sorry for white kids in this day and time. The reason being is that the black kids come from homes where they are not taught manners, morales, or discipline. I’ve seen it over and over in schools. The black kids are mean and disruptive. It’s just very unfair for white kids to have to be put in these situations. It’s unfair and I thank God I never had to deal with black kids when I was a youngster. Also it’s well known in all schools that the little white girls are pressured into liking black boys, if not they are chastized and picked on constantly. I have 3 grandchildren and the tales they tell me about how some black kid did this or that and how they bully others it’s just sad. I will be so glad that my grandkids don’t have much longer and they will be graduating. But for all the young little white kids coming up and beginning school, God bless you. It’s rough on whites now. And another thing with black kids is you have to dress in name brand clothes or you get picked on. We never had these problems until they forced integration on whites. It is totally wrong and needs to be reversed!!! Whites are fed up with it!!!!

Dr. Proud Black Man

February 28th, 2011
10:21 pm

Lee are there ANY black people that you know who are right of the bell curve? Or are we all stereotypes to you?


February 28th, 2011
10:29 pm

…trying to figure out why most of the top 5 kids in my classes are black, and most of the bottom 5 are white.

I think it mostly has to do with work ethic and parental expectations, but maybe Lee knows?


February 28th, 2011
10:30 pm

@PBM, of course there are. Just as there are whites and asians on the left of the Statistical Normal Distribution. Your point?


February 28th, 2011
10:39 pm

And where do you place yourself Lee? LOL

Toto: Exposing naked body scanners...

February 28th, 2011
11:19 pm


February 28th, 2011
11:24 pm

TopSchool “It is all about which school makes the highest test scores that gets them into the Buckhead circles.” No mention of EDUCATION …we have fallen so low from what we were before Reagan’s onslaught on real education (High test scores=EDUCATION)that I think it will be almost impossible to climb out of the ‘mud’!!

Springdale Park Elementary Parent

February 28th, 2011
11:46 pm

Black and minority children in Atlanta public schools ARE disproportionately the troublemakers and thugs-in-training (to borrow John Trotter’s phrase), and you don’t have to be afraid to say that in Obama’s 2011 America. So I’m saying it. You want to come after me, you squishy-soft, thug-enabling “progressives?” Bring it.

I want to help those unlucky kids (you can’t choose your parents) by refusing to allow them to behave this way; by setting a standard of behavior (because their parents won’t) that’ll allow these children to straighten up, have a shot at a good education and wind up with a better future.

To accomplish this, we’ll have to convert many schools to parent-run charters so we can insist on a code of conduct our urban public schools will never be willing to enforce, and so we can stand our ground against the loudmouth, do-nothing parents who only show up when they must defend their child’s indefensible behavior at school.

Those of you who insist that it’s a racist stereotype to characterize these young thugs as young thugs –you’re all Beverly Halls, in a way–you talk the talk but what you actually DO cripples the very children you claim to support. I’m looking at you, PBM–you find a racist motive wherever you look for it. You probably think of yourself as a champion of poor, persecuted black people, but you’re just an angry enabler. Your rhetorical, always-raised fist doesn’t pack much of a punch.

A sentient progressive (as opposed to the majority of progressives) would never claim the tragedy of the large and growing black underclass is a fiction spread by racist whites, or worry more about who’s saying it’s true than whether it actually IS true.

Cast the old teachers out

March 1st, 2011
2:34 am

Boy my head hurts. I am so very proud to be an intelligent Black person. It all begins in the home. A black 14 year old in my class had to leave to see about ger baby at home. She told the class, “see, a parent can leave early.”. Another student, Black, 14 and male said, “that’s nothing to be proud of.”. The girl said, “it’s girls younger than me having babies.”. They had a few more colorful exchanges and I had to intervene because the girl was threatening to beat the boy she had just cursed out 2 or 3 times.
Typical Black 9th grade classroom in a typical Black high school in metro Atlanta. Both kids scored in the genius range on testing. Imagine that.

Cast the old teachers out

March 1st, 2011
2:37 am

It’s late..,correction, “to see about her baby”

Cobb History Teacher

March 1st, 2011
5:23 am

In Cobb we have something called school choice which allows students from schools who didn’t make AYP got to schools that did make AYP. The only problems I’ve had with the program is that there is no student or parent accountability. Many of the students that came to my school earned D’s or F’s and a few were behavior problems. Without parent accountability where they must come to PTSA meetings, conferences and maybe even do some volunteer hours you basically get what you got in your home school. I have no problem with moving children from under achieving schools as long as both the child and the parent buy into it and they become productive members of the school community. Unfortunately I feel we get a lot of well if they just go to another school they’ll get better grades.

red ryder

March 1st, 2011
5:43 am

birds of a feather stick together—you can make us work with them, live with them, go to school with them, eat with them BUT you can’t MAKE us LIKE them, so quit trying!!!


March 1st, 2011
7:06 am

Lee, you gotta be able to parse out SES. There is the burden, because in the US a high proportion of black kids are low SES.

Now, where I live the low SEs kids are white and Hispanic. You’d think with no black kids, our test scores and college-going rates would be so high–no black kids to “lower” the bar. Even many of the Hispanics, who are 1st generation English speakers, outscore and out grade many of the white kids. Why? Their parents VALUE education, and support the efforts of the schools. Many of the white kids’ parents simply do not. School is where you go to get fed and get you out of the house and out from underfoot for awhile.

Lee, I can’t buy your thesis at all. Race is tangential to this discussion. I believe the variable is NOT genetic; it is much more cultural. You have to have parents who value education and who support the efforts of the school. If you drive north from Atlanta into the extremely white parts of North Georgia, you would be able to see this.

I agree with Springdale Parent: We don’t do those kids or their prospective children any good by making excuses for them, or for not requiring them to maintain civilized behavior. The only way to help them (and to help the rest of the class as well) is to hold them to the behavior and achievement standards we expect, those standards that they need to be successful, those standards that they can pass on to their children in the next round of breeding.

Education has to be seen as an opportunity to “get somewhere,” but in many schools it is only an enabler to allow more disfunctional, unhelpful behavior to be replicated. Even more important than literacy is the behavior that allows literacy to be developed. Until we realize that and support teachers in enforcing correct behaviors in the classroom, we are spitting into the wind.


March 1st, 2011
7:17 am

Can’t the government solve dysfunctional families??? I’ll bet the voucher sisters, Chipper Rogers and Eric Johnson, have a solution.

March 1st, 2011
7:46 am

Had to chuckle: “It’s rough on white kids right now.” That is the funniest thing I have heard in awhile.

Also funny is how this discussion has nothing at all to do with educating kids. Thought this was a blog on education, but it seems to be more about reinforcing racial and income-based stereotypes, at least in the commentary. Makes it difficult to get anything changed in education when you only care about people that look, think, and act just like you.


March 1st, 2011
7:57 am

“You can ignore reality, but you cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality” so sayeth one of my favorite quotes by Ayn Rand.

Race and IQ is a controversial subject. I understand that. Google the subject and you can find tons of articles on the issue – some confirm, others deny. Here is a good primer on the subject:

Personally, I think there is a difference between the races with regards to IQ. I also think that IQ is a significant contributing factor in other areas such as behavior. People mention low socio-economic condition as a variable affecting education, but ignore the reality that a low IQ person is limited in their income earnings potential.

What has happened for the past 35-40 years is that politically correct dogma has prevented discussion related to this topic. They lament about things such as the black/white achievement gap, but never try to get to the root cause – which IMHO is related to IQ.

Whenever I mention IQ and race, I get the Pavlov-esque response of calling me racist and also the anecdotal stories of a)the smartest kid in their class is black, or b) the dumbest is white. Such remarks demonstrate a limited grasp of the concept of a statistical normal distribution.

No, Wake County’s approach fixes nothing. It merely dilutes effects of the poor students and gives the illusion that all schools are successful. The poor students still learn nothing, are passed along from grade to grade, and graduate semi-illiterate.

Inman Park Boy

March 1st, 2011
7:58 am

Is the theory here that whatever it is that makes smart kids smart will rub off on the less smart klids?


March 1st, 2011
8:04 am

@Cat, and what is “culture”?

Double Zero Eight

March 1st, 2011
8:17 am

Parental involvement is the key. Discipline begins at home.
Without parental involvement and discipline, everything else
is an exercise in futility. When “kids have kids’, the problem
is augmented. It is time to stop making excuses. We have
all heard of examples of children in urban schools from
low income families that have achieved succees.

Many teachers in APS have posted they spend
an indordinate about of time on discipline issues.
Attendance is also a problem in urban schools.
A child that is already behind can ill afford to be
out of school excessively.

Integration by achievement is a new version
of “forced busing”, and would be a bureaucratic
and administrative nighmare to implement in
APS, Fulton, Dekalb, or Clayton systems.

Michael Moore

March 1st, 2011
8:17 am

It’s not theory it’s research and it’s not current research but research that’s been around for decades. When you put the low achieving kids together that’s what you get. The first notion to dispel is that kids learn from teachers. Kids learn more from each other than from their teachers. When there is a range of ability, it’s not going to adversely affect those at or above levels. It’s going to positively affect low achieving students. There is a range of response that didn’t exist before. Schools still using whole group ability grouping are condemning those kids to the label you’ve already hung around their necks. All kids need exposed to wide ranges of vocabulary levels, wide ranges of written expression and wide ranges of critical thinking and comprehension.

Interested Educator

March 1st, 2011
8:33 am

@Michael Moore – well stated and quite an educated response.