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School Sees Segregation as Key to Success

School Sees Segregation as Key to Success

Administrators at McCaskey East High School believe that segregation may be a good thing.

 

The Pennsylvania high school is raising a huge, justified controversy by claiming that separating black students from the rest of their students, and black females from black males will lead to better results.

According to Angela Tilghman, an instructional coach at McCaskey East, about a third of McCaskey’s African American students scored proficient or advanced in reading on last year’s Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests, compared with 60% of white students.  In mathematics, 27% of black students scored proficient or advanced.

 

To address this gap, East McCaskey has segregated its homeroom classes. For six minutes each day and 20 minutes twice a month, African American students are placed in homerooms with African American teachers, or mentors, to start the school day.

 

Despite much criticism, Principal Bill Jimenez defends his experimental policy. Jimenez said that research has shown that same-race classes with strong same-race role models lead to better academic results.

 

Interestingly, ONLY African American students are divided by race at the school. Jimenez claims this is because the academic data dictated the school needed a different approach with its black students.

 

Lancaster Online quotes several students who have found this “program” helpful. Junior Dominique Miller said that his new homeroom has helped address common stereotypes about black males. “Now…other people can see my brothers, the people I’m associated with in this homeroom, are hoping to better themselves, and the teachers are hoping to better themselves,” he said. “It’s about empowering who you really are.”

 

But is this really the best and only way to empower young people of all races and backgrounds? Promoting segregation is a dangerous way to reduce the achievement gap, and can be a slippery slope.

 

In Wake County, North Carolina, segregation is occurring for more than just six minutes a day. With the backing of their conservative school board and the Tea Party, the school system’s decade long diversity policy is ending. In the past, Wake County used the number of students receiving free or reduced-price lunches to assign students to schools. This meant that some of its best schools existed in low income neighborhoods of Raleigh and the suburban districts included low-income families who couldn’t afford to live in the neighborhood.

The new plan to employ a “neighborhood schools system” will concentrate poor children into just a few schools by only allowing them to attend their neighborhood school. So far, this has resulted in 700 initial student transfers which has already increased racial segregation.

 

“School boards across this country are rolling the clock back to the time before Brown vs. the Board of Education,” NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous said in a statement.

It appears that we are forgetting why we did away with segregation to begin with. What happened to the idea that diversity and equality are essential to education? That separate educational facilities are inherently unequal?

 

Segregation is not a new, innovative concept, but an approach that has proved detrimental to our school system, to low-income families, to African Americans, and to society at large.

 

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Fiona O'Sullivan

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100 comments

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8:29AM PDT on Apr 8, 2011

The "Public School System", gets a big fat "F" in my book.
Get rid of the "one size fits all" teaching methods. Change the way "Public" schools are funded....not from property taxes and/or fundraisers. Cut the Military Industrial Complex spending!
Segregation
I feel school should encourage culturally diversity. Cultures vary not just by race (race is made up anyway), but also from region to region of the United States. The United States is also becoming more multiracial and mobile. You can't put everyone in a perfect little box...why would you want to?

4:11PM PST on Mar 9, 2011

Oh heavens what a racist step in this century. I cannot believe that this type of behaviour is happening in the USA. Forward is the way to go not backward.

12:21PM PST on Feb 25, 2011

Negroes are on average ten percent down fron the average European in IQ
However Chinese are ten percent up on Europeans- Perhaps there should be preferential schools and selective schools for the Chinese

10:08PM PST on Feb 24, 2011

There MUST be another way to inspire young black kids -- it's a very slippery slope this is starting. And look what they've done in N.C.! That truly is segregation all over again.

5:45PM PST on Feb 11, 2011

Not so fast. For many this is an eye opener. I understand that wealthy neighborhoods are going to do better. The wealthy parents have equally high status friends so the children grow up in a "can be,can do" atmosphere. Children of the poor get can't.

5:59AM PST on Feb 4, 2011

Gender specific classes is one thought in education, but if you plan to separate black males and females, Principal Jimenez, you might apply this experiment to Hispanics as well.

7:20PM PST on Feb 3, 2011

Treating education problems among African Americans with segregation is like treating obesity or cardiovascular disease with low fat diets. Not only does it exacerbate the problem. It causes it in the first place.

4:27PM PST on Feb 2, 2011

Segregation is also illegal. Why are they even legally allowed to do this?

4:27PM PST on Feb 2, 2011

I was just learning about this in psychology. Most likely it is not segregation that cuases the scores to raise. Studies show that black peoples scores raise when there is less racism. Its not about segregation, its about racism. Its why 41% of blacks drop out of college. It is college in which they feel the most racism and it causes stress which causes school and education to be horrible for them.

Segregation will not fix the problem, but ending racism will.

I would surely like to read this mans studies because I am guessing a lot of variables were not considered.

1:57PM PST on Feb 1, 2011

These school admins. that are pro-segregation based on their students' races should "out" themselves as card-carrying, hood-wearing members of the Ku Klux Klan. Next they'll want to expel and murder all students that violate their perverse norms. Disgusting.

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches ancient Greek, Latin and Classics at Saint Peter's University in New Jersey.... more
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