Liz Peek, The Fiscal Times:
One of the lesser-broadcast features of the most recent jobs report is that unemployment for African-Americans actually ticked higher, to 13 percent, even as the rest of the country held even at 7.3 percent. Unemployment for Hispanics was 9.3 percent and for Asians 5.1 percent. Also worrisome, the number of African-American adults who held jobs actually declined last month, and fewer than 61 percent of blacks are working–the lowest participation rate since 1982.
… Blacks are increasingly left behind, at least in part because their leaders do not demand better schools. The greatest source of “disparate impact” in this country, to borrow a phrase currently popular with the Justice Department, is that most black kids can’t read or write. Upward mobility for the African-American community, tenuous at best, is squashed the minute they enter kindergarten.
Too harsh? Not by half. Consider the results from the recent Common Core testing in New York, one of the first to measure how students meet the new nation-wide standards. Statewide, 31 percent of public school students in grades 3 through 8 were considered proficient in English; only 16 percent of blacks met that test, compared to 50 percent of Asians and 40 percent of whites – results which the state’s education department says reveals “the persistence of the achievement gap.”
Only 15 percent of black kids were deemed proficient in math, while 60 percent of Asians and 38 percent of whites made the cut. It begs saying that results across the board are appalling; but that less than one in five black kids can read or write with any fluency is truly criminal.
The shocking outcome of New York’s tests immediately sparked criticism – mostly directed at the test, as opposed to the teachers or schools that are presumably preparing our children.
Public school teachers and administrators are always quick to find another culprit when their students come up short. For poor black children, they blame the collapse of the African-American family, pervasive poverty, inadequate school funding – the list goes on and on. The only problem with this finger pointing is that some educators are able to break through those very real barriers.
Eva Moskowitz, head of the Success Academies in Harlem and the South Bronx, left every other public school in the dust in the recent testing. SuccessAcademyBronx 2, with an 85 percent poverty rate and not one white or Asian student in the test pool, outperformed every other city school; 97 percent of the kids achieved “proficiency” in math and 77 percent in English.
To the extent I’ve been following the NYC Mayoral race, it seems that the winner of yesterday’s Democrat primary, Bill De Blasio, promises to handcuff the police and close or restrict schools like the Success Academies. We don’t need any more disgruntled policemen – we already have a surfeit – but if New York City doesn’t want her, perhaps we should ask Eva Moskowitz to come to our own troubled schools and help out. At the very least, maybe we should form another committee so beloved in Greenwich and send its members down to Harlem to see what Moskowitz is doing and how she’s getting the results that she does. That would be a better expenditure of our money that introducing “digital learning tools”, which strikes me as just another expensive “fix”, just like all the other fixes we try, to divert attention from our failures.
Any such committee should be comprised entirely of non-union teachers and citizens not affiliated in any way with our BOE or its employee Dr. McKiersie, people who are determined to keep the present failing structure in place. Of course, any reforms we might try to introduce in Connecticut would be thwarted by our local Democrats and their allies in Hartford, blacks and whites, but at least we’d know what we’re missing.