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Educational disparities persist in U.S.

Feds’ data shows continued struggle

Sixty years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that black children have the right to the same education as their white peers.

But civil rights data released yesterday by the Education Department reflect an education system rife with inequities for blacks and other minority students and those with disabilities.

“It is clear that the United States has a great distance to go to meet our goal of providing opportunities for every student to succeed,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

Here are five things to know about the department’s findings:

Access to advanced classes

STEM is the buzzword in education these days. Education in the fields of science, technology and engineering, and math is considered critical for students to succeed in the global marketplace. Yet the department found that there was a “significant lack of access” to core classes like algebra, geometry, biology and chemistry for many students. That lack of access was particularly striking when it came to minorities.

“A quarter of high schools with the highest percentage of black and Latino students do not offer Algebra II; a third of these schools do not offer chemistry,” the department said.

Experienced teachers

Quality teachers can play a key role in student performance.

Minority students are more likely to attend schools with a higher concentration of first-year teachers than white students. And while most teachers are certified, nearly half a million students nationally attend schools where nearly two-thirds or fewer of teachers meet all state certification and licensing requirements. Black and Latino students are more likely than white students to attend these schools.

There’s also a teacher salary gap of more than $5,000 between high schools with the highest and lowest black and Latino student enrollments, according to the data.

Discipline

The Obama administration issued guidance earlier this year encouraging schools to abandon what it described as overly zealous discipline policies that send students to court instead of the principal’s office, the so-called “schools-to-prisons pipeline.”

But even before the announcement, school districts had been adjusting policies that disproportionately affected minority students. The civil rights data released yesterday from the 2011-2012 school year show the disparities begin among even the youngest of school kids.

Black children represent about 18 percent of children in preschool programs in schools, but they make up almost half of the preschoolers who are suspended more than once.

Six percent of the nation’s districts with preschools reported suspending at least one preschool child.

Seclusion and restraint

“Seclusion and restraint” is a term used to describe when students are strapped down or physically restrained in schools.

The data show students with disabilities represent about 12 percent of the student population, but about 60 percent of students placed in seclusion or involuntary confinement and three quarters of students restrained at school. While black students make up about one in five of students with disabilities, more than one-third of the students who are restrained at school are black.

Preschool

The Obama administration views access to preschool as a civil rights issue. It says 40 percent of school districts do not offer preschool programs. Their numbers don’t include private programs or some other types of publicly funded early childhood programs outside of school systems.

Obama has sought a “preschool for all” program with the goal of providing universal preschool to America’s 4-year-olds that would use money from an increase in tobacco taxes.

These findings are disturbing, but not surprising. Since the late 70's the nation has been back-tracking on efforts to assure equal access to quality schools for all. Make no mistake: the push for privatization of schools is fully part of this effort at back-tracking, supported by both the administration and by foundations like the Walton's and Gates'. It's a con game: corporate "entrepreneurs" like Wendy Kopp's (Teach for America) husband and Michele Rhee have a chance to make big bucks for themselves, after busting unions, firing teachers who don't make "performance" standards tied to students' results on tests, replacing teachers with computers and the chimera of on-line learning. It's much the same model used in the rest of American business. With privatization, gone is accountability to school boards, while high executive pay is derived from "profits" extracted from cutting costs for teachers and students at taxpayer expense. Test results are fudged thanks to cherry-picking students, and cutting courses to "basics" only and intensive teaching to the tests. It amounts to a re-segregation, by class and race; while public schools that remain are relegated to fighting for scraps, and teach the students rejected by the charters for not meeting their standards. That's the future of American education, if corporations and the right have their way. It's happened in New Orleans, and it's happening in Philadelphia.

The issues with minority schools has been there for a very long time. The same applies with issues in those areas in regards to unwed moms, unemployment, crime and the breakdown of family units. Basically it is an issue the left does not want to deal with. What has Sharpton and Jackson done but instill racism? And they have both made a lot of money doing it. We have great charter schools in DC that work and yet President Obama tried to shut them down. He relented. We have an idiot Mayor in NYC that is shutting down the Success Academy. The minority parents of those kids are devastated. That school in NYC has higher scores than private schools in rich neighborhoods. Our Public School system here cannot teach the basics. Their answer, Common Core. The Obama Care of Education that has not even figured out how to evaluate the teachers that will implement this step backwards. If you cannot teach the basics, my guess is critical thinking might be a challenge. Why is choice only okay with the left for social issues? Should we not have choice in regards to the best education for our kids?.Check out how many teachers in the US graduate at the bottom third of their classes in college. Things can be fixed, just need to address every issue. Get rid of the crappy teachers and administrators. Who polices the unions Bruce? Do you know if the teacher who is teaching your kid is qualified? This is not politics. It is about fixing our schools, and helping minorities. Throwing money at failed programs does not work. Great programs do. And choice will result in the best product or service. Always has. And folks will pay for that without complaint. The unions need to change, they are going down in numbers because of the quality they put out. That is reality. Till that happens nothing will change.

Have you been to New Orleans and Philadelphia (or Killodelphia as it is often referred to). Let me tell you that if you are white in Philadelphia you risk your life in most parts if you go out after dark. It is more about the attitude and sense of being wronged and victimhood amongst inner city folks in those cities than it is about "equal access". No that is not "racist", it is a fact. A certain faction stains everyone and when you have rappers, guest on Jerry Springer bobbing their heads and gangs knocking out citizens on the streets, you have to ask if the stereotype is not affecting the outcome.

Liberals use statistics as a drunkin sailor uses a lamppost; for support not illumination

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