Public policy has largely turned its back upon the aspirations represented by these instances of school desegregation. “Even many Black leaders,” notes education analyst Richard Rothstein, weary of the struggle over mandatory busing programs to achieve desegregation, “have given up on integration,” arguing, in his words, that “a Black child does not need white classmates in order to learn.” So education policies, instead, he says, “now aim to raise scores in [the] schools that black children attend.”
“That effort,” he writes, “will be flawed even if it succeeds.” The 1954 decision, he reminds us, “was not about raising scores” for children of minorities “but about giving Black children access to majority culture, so they could negotiate it more confidently. . . . For African-Americans to have equal opportunity, higher test scores will not suffice. It is foolhardy to think Black children can be taught, no matter how well, in isolation and then have the skills and confidence as adults to succeed in a white world where they have no experience.”
Monday, July 17, 2006
Jonathan Kozol's NEA interviews are fascinating listening. Also, this an excerpt from his book, The Shame of a Nation to stimulate your intellectual appetite.