This note is response to a question about how schools fail Black students http://www.prx.org/pieces/40313-mind-the-gap-why-good-schools-are-failing-black-s,
And really all students I offer the following.
To answer some of the HOW. It is not the people per say but a system of underfunding and mis-management. Not all of it is the incompetence of administrators even from all Black cities like Detroit (http://www.windsorstar.com/news/Michigan+needs+help+Detroit+failing+schools/4363827/story.html) or Baltimore (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/30/education/30child.html).
In CA local PTA often take in money that affluent parents would have used to pay tuition and buy more teachers thus reducing class size and staff ability to plan and improve rather than think moment to moment. http://laefonline.net/component/content/article/81
Also, there remains a serious problem in many urban areas where most Black students attend in regards to per pupil spending. http://www.ed-data.k12.ca.us/articles/article.asp?title=california+comparison
Where I live in CA per pupil spending is about $720 less than the national average of $8000. At a good college-prep school parents are spending a minimum of $10k a year. The prep school has the edge. I applaud G.W. Bush's administration for at least addressing the achievement gap with "No Child Left Behind" as he and Dr.Roderick Page were the first. I worry about Obama's agenda with Arne Duncan's emphasis on charter schools with their dubiously worded program "Race to the Top".
I can tell people are panicked because as one friend of mine, Ms. Tammy Chopstixx shared with me there are administrators having white teachers reading crazy things like, "white teachers do not have the ability to teach African-American students". I am curious to know more about the actual article but for now, I can just tell folks are losing their damn minds. http://www.thegrio.com/education-1/pa-lawsuit-whites-told-they-cant-teach-blacks.php
I am also worried that as predominately Black school districts loses to retirement African American teachers who survived segregated schooling, went to college when Black had to be excellent, and this group of new teachers have been given a lukewarm and tepid message about what it takes to educate children in hard times, we will lose another generation of caring and committed teachers as well as students. My parents were those type of teachers. They demanded excellence from me and I was a mediocre student, yet if you follow my career, I have done alright. However, my parents were very intentional about my success. I can's say I have all the answers about HOW to get us out of this mess but some of it is figuring out how we got into it.
Some students need to go to private schools with or without vouchers, some charter schools, some continue in public schools, but greater equity is needed in the outcomes for students, especially Black and Latino student graduation, college prep, and readiness.
I am curious. What are you thoughts on how we improve education for all students?