Education School Dean Calls Out Ed Reform

Slow down, it's not Tom Stritikus.  Please.

No, this amazing piece of writing comes via the Washington Post's The Answer Sheet with a guest column by the Dean of the Howard University School of Education and professor of education policy, Leslie T. Fenwick.  You should read the whole thing but highlights (bold mine):

"Approximately 90 percent of black and white parents report attending parent teacher association meetings and nearly 80 percent of black and white parents report attending teacher conferences. Despite these similarities, fewer black parents (47 percent) than white parents (64 percent) report being very satisfied with the school their child attends. This dissatisfaction among black parents is so whether these parents are college-educated, high income, or poor.

The lie is that schemes like Teach For America, charter schools backed by venture capitalists, education management organizations (EMOs), and Broad Foundation-prepared superintendents address black parents concerns about the quality of public schools for their children. These schemes are not designed to cure what ails under-performing schools.  

They are designed to shift tax dollars away from schools serving black and poor students; displace authentic black educational leadership; and erode national commitment to the ideal of public education.

And, this is because urban school reform is not about schools or reform. It is about land development."

The authors of “The Color of School Reform” affirm this assertion in their study of school reform in Baltimore, Detroit and Atlanta. They found:
Many key figures promoting broad efficiency-oriented reform initiatives [for urban schools] were whites who either lived in the suburbs or sent their children to private schools (Henig et al, 2001).
 Who would have thought that?  Where do Gates, the Waltons, Eli Broad all live? 

"Mayoral control, Teach for America, education management organizations and venture capital-funded charter schools have not garnered much grassroots support or enthusiasm among lower- and middle-income black parents whose children attend urban schools because these parents often view these schemes as uninformed by their community and disconnected from the best interest of their children.

Indeed, mayoral control has been linked to an emerging pattern of closing and disinvesting in schools that serve black poor students and reopening them as charters operated by education management organizations and backed by venture capitalists. While mayoral control proposes to expand educational opportunities for black and poor students, more-often-than-not new schools are placed in upper-income, gentrifying white areas of town, while more schools are closed and fewer new schools are opened in lower-income, black areas thus increasing the level of educational inequity. "

So, what is the answer to improving schools for black children? Elected officials must advocate for equalizing state funding formula so that urban school districts garner more financial resources to hire credentialed and committed teachers and stabilize principal and superintendent leadership. Funding makes a difference.


Jet City mom said…
"Despite these similarities, fewer black parents (47 percent) than white parents (64 percent) report being very satisfied with the school their child attends"

I suggest to all the families who are not satisfied with their chids school- to get more involved with it.

I didn't note what the volunteer rates were in the parent community, but schools always have a place for parents, whether it be running after school tutoring, driving on field trips or hosting a teacher appreciation lunch.
When you get to know the teachers, communication improves and so does your childs experience.
Unknown said…
Well, the dean have the right motivations for changing the aspects of education base from the reform he wanted to do. But I guess this must done in a very strong process in order to be implemented for this reform.

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