I did go to #edcampusa and I was impressed http://ow.ly/xMKmd
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I did go to #edcampusa and I was impressed http://ow.ly/xMKmd
RT @schlfinance101: Scapegoating Teachers » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names: http://bit.ly/zpOZ8I via @addthis
@smeech My son’s school built podiums for the children.
#edcampchicago getting geared up to learn http://ow.ly/7yFoz
This post has been in my brain since I sat and read the Supreme Court decisions concerning desegregation of education during our school law class. This will be my last post on this blog, but please do follow my growth on my personal blog.
Just the other day I was listening to the radio (NPR I think but I can’t seem to find the recording) and someone was talking about Cuba and segregation. The general gist of the show went like this: In an effort to be equal Cuba banished race in all census forms.
Except that ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away.
Instead of the free and open society Castro envisioned what he actually got was rampant De Facto discrimination.
The speaker went on further to suggest that in the U.S. we had De Jure discrimination. In the U.S. the people had real facts, words, and deeds to fight against and thus the struggle for Civil Rights was born. In Cuba accusations of racism are easily deflected with a shrug of the shoulders and the suggestion that we have no race, how can we have racism?
It was an interesting show and got me back to thinking about education segregation in the United States.
In the 1960’s when it was legal to discriminate on the basis of color or religion it was blatantly obvious that there were inequities in the educational system. When these cases finally made it to court this is what the court said:
“Today it is a principal instrument in awakening the child to cultural values, in preparing him for later professional training, and in helping him to adjust normally to his environment.” (Brown v. Board of Education)
“those qualities which are incapable of objective measurement but which make for greatness in a law school” (Sweatt v. Painter)
“A sense of inferiority affects the motivation of a child to learn. “ (Brown v. Board of Education)
“Local control over the education of children allows citizens to participate in decisionmakeing, and allows innovation so that school programs can fit local needs.” (Milliken v. Bradley)
“The adoption of a freedom of choice plan does not, by itself, satisfy a school district’s mandatory responsibility to eliminate all vestiges of a dual system.” (Freeman v Pitts)
A basis for determining if a school district were desegregated was set forth in Green v County School Board of New Kent and reiterated in Freeman v Pitts: to achieve unitary status schools must be equal in terms of:
In Green it was determined that the freedom of choice didn’t desegregate schools. “Rather than further the dismantling of the dual system, the plan has operated simply to burden children and their parents with a responsibility which Brown II placed squarely on the School Board.”
In Freeman v Pitts desegregation was not achieved in the Dekalb County School system because:
“In the Supreme Court Case of Freeman v. Pitt the District Court found that DCSS had not achieved unitary status with respect to quality education because teachers in schools with disproportionately high percentages of white students tended to be better educated and have more experience than their counterparts in schools with disproportionately high percentages of black students, and because per pupil expenditures in majority white schools exceeded per pupil expenditures in majority black schools.” (Russo, p. 1096)
Why is this important today?
If school choice didn’t work in Kent County why do we think it will work today?
If inequity of funding was a symptom of the problem 50 years ago how can we reform education by cutting funding today?
If lack of experience and lack of advanced degrees was a symptom of poor schools in the 1960’s how can replacing those same teachers be considered reform today?
Are public schools doing enough or are they trying to do too much?
In the case of Hendrick Hudson School District v. Rowley
A lower court noted that:
“she performs better than the average child in her class and is advancing easily from grade to grade,” but “the she understands considerably less of what goes on in class than she could if she were not deaf” and thus “is not learning as much, or performing as well academically, as she would without her handicap,” (Russo, 6th edition p. 1002)
Thus they decided she was not receiving a “free appropriate public education,” (Russo, p. 1002)
The supreme court reversed the ruling stating, “if personalized instruction is being provided with sufficient supportive services to permit the child to benefit from the instruction, and the other items on the definitional checklist are satisfied, the child is receiving a “free appropriate public education” as defined by the Act….” (Russo, p. 1004) “The Act’s intent was more to open the door of public education to handicapped children by means of specialized educational services than to guarantee any particular substantive level of education once inside.” (http://supreme.justia.com/us/458/176/) The Act does not require a State to maximize the potential of each handicapped child commensurate with the opportunity provided nonhandicapped children. (http://supreme.justia.com/us/458/176/ )
My question then is, Does the free public education in our country need only be of a “measurable” gain instead of maximizing the potential of each student?
Earlier in 1954 the case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (Topeka I) the justices said:
“Today, education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments”
“In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education.”
Does this sound like asking for a mere measurable gain?
Of course they also say, in the same paragraph:
“It is the very foundation of good citizenship. Today it is a principal instrument in awakening the child to cultural values, in preparing him for later professional training, and in helping him to adjust normally to his environment”
Perhaps a free and appropriate public education is not meant to give each student the maximum educational benefit.
So what is the purpose of free public education in the United States? Should the state provide just the foundation or should they provide “those qualities which are incapable of objective measurement but which make for greatness … (Sweatt v. Painter)”?
Russo, C. J. (2006). Reutter’s the law of public education (6th ed.). New York, NY: Foundation Press.
BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE HENDRICK HUDSON CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT v. ROWLEY Supreme Court of the united States, 458 U.S. 176 (1982).
SWEATT v. PAINTER Supreme Court of the United States, 1950 339 U.S. 629
As a math person i am not afraid of numbers or budgets, but a budget is more than just numbers. Much of the money from the federal government has strings attached to it so every penny has to come from the right pot and has to be spent in the right way.
It would be easier to block grant everything and allow the schools to just grab money and allocate it where they think it would work best. While that is an idea with some merit, what probably tends to happen is people start taking money and funding projects they think are great, but they might skip a bit on the research. The first few years might be great, but as the years go on some projects might start taking a bigger slice of the money with a smaller and smaller return. Meanwhile many quality reforms might go underfunded.
The idea that an schools must justify each dollar spent requires the board to start thinking about what is each dollar doing. Am I spending $4000 on that IWB because it will improve the education of my students or am I spending it because it makes teaching easier. Will the students perform better or learn more? Am I educating all students or just the majority? My vision says all my students are equal, does my funding say the same thing?
Schools are not google, we don’t have gold plated toilets and millionaires walking the halls. Yes it would be great to have the time and luxury of following passions for part of the time, the 20% time Google has, but in the end it might be better for schools to struggle at least a little bit. The is value in not having everything you need and being required to make do, or struggle. It is a generally accepted conventional wisdom that when kids get everything they want when they want it they generally turn out being spoiled.
The question is not should schools ask, “Is what I am funding supporting and furthering my vision?” The question is why does it require an outside force to make it happen.