The blog has to play catch up for a post here, in which I remember that I posted some links on the FB page (www.facebook.com/schoolhousebuffalo) but forgot to add them here. Some important things happened other than so many articles about education. For example, the District posted an initial response to the OCR, which was (predictably) rejected, and the new Superintendent arrived, Dr. Kriner Cash, and they have submitted a revised response, which is thorough and creative and wants to think seriously about the future of District schools. But for now, things we were talking about:
Why School Boards matter (in the negative, sadly). Tampa Bay Times.
“In just eight years, Pinellas County School Board members turned five schools in the county’s black neighborhoods into some of the worst in Florida.”
Jelani Cobb, writing for the New Yorker, on the closing of Jamaica High School in Queens. The Life and Death of an Urban School.
“In 2011, the year that the city formally decided to close the school, fourteen per cent of the student population had disabilities and twenty-nine per cent had limited English proficiency. In the year before the school closed, it was ninety-nine per cent minority, a demographic that would not in itself be a concern were it not also the case that sixty-three per cent of the students qualified as poor.”
“We didn’t get the support,” teacher James Eterno.
“Both busing and school closure recognize the educational obstacles that concentrated poverty creates. But busing recognized a combination of unjust history and policy as complicit in educational failure. In the ideology of school closure, though, the lines of responsibility—of blame, really—run inward. It’s not society that has failed, in this perspective. It’s the schools.” – Jelani Cobb
Longreads “The Lost Summer,” by Elissa Strauss
An article on the history of summer and how it places some kids behind — permanently. Also, camp as a cure for feminine domesticity! “In the Victorian era, shortly after the long summer break became standard, wealthy families began to worry about their sons who were, as they saw it, spending far too much time in the overly feminine domestic space. Their masculinity was at risk.
“Summer was considered a problem for boys. They needed to be outside, in the company of other men. Camp was an antidote to home,” said Abigail A. Van Slyck.”
Giftedness and Screening in Public Schools
Key quote : “Notably, the study shows that students who might not have been classified as gifted under the old regime did well once they got into the gifted programs.
“[I]f anything, the newly identified students benefitted even more from participating in gifted education than did the group of always takers who [would] be identified under a traditional referral system,” the researchers observed.”
The Washington Post also picked up this study’s findings in this article by Jeff Guo:
These kids were geniuses – they were just too poor for anyone to discover them
“It’s unclear what the long-term legacy of universal gifted screening has been in Broward. According to public records, the disparities between white and black children have widened in recent years. As of December, a white student in Broward was nearly five times as likely as a black student to be labeled gifted, and nearly twice as likely as a Latino student.” (This quote refers to the fact that the county could not afford to keep doing the universal screening).
Education Gap Between Rich and Poor Is Growing Wider
And finally, an article about how public schools have become more unequal for poor kids in the New York Times, by Eduardo Porter.
“Financed mainly by real estate taxes that are more plentiful in neighborhoods with expensive homes, public education is becoming increasingly compartmentalized. Well-funded schools where the children of the affluent can play and learn with each other are cordoned off from the shabbier schools teaching the poor, who are still disproportionally from black or Hispanic backgrounds.
Even efforts to lean against inequality backfire. Research by Rachel Valentino, who received her Ph.D. in education policy at Stanford University this year, found that public prekindergarten programs offered minorities and the poor a lower-quality education.”
That’s the summer reading. Next up are the main Buffalo News links you need to catch up on the Orfield report, response, rejection, resubmit, etc.