Category Archives: Diversity & multicultural issues

Dallas ISB buses 5,700 boys to see movie but leaves girls back at school

The Associated Press (via the Daily Mail) reports:

When 5,700 fifth-grade boys in Dallas’ public schools recently went to see a movie about black fighter pilots in World War II, the girls stayed in school and saw a different movie instead…

Spokesman Jon Dahlander told The Dallas Morning News that [space in movie theaters was limited and that] leaders of the district also thought boys would enjoy the movie more than girls.

‘Red Tails’ tells the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, the legendary pilots during World War II who become the first black aviators to serve in the U.S. military.

New research suggests ‘education gap’ in American society now more a function of economic class than of race

The New York Times reports:

Education was historically considered a great equalizer in American society, capable of lifting less advantaged children and improving their chances for success as adults. But a body of recently published scholarship suggests that the achievement gap between rich and poor children is widening, a development that threatens to dilute education’s leveling effects…

N0w, in analyses of long-term data published in recent months, researchers are finding that while the achievement gap between white and black students has narrowed significantly over the past few decades, the gap between rich and poor students has grown substantially during the same period.

“We have moved from a society in the 1950s and 1960s, in which race was more consequential than family income, to one today in which family income appears more determinative of educational success than race,” said Sean F. Reardon, a Stanford University sociologist.

Arizona judge upholds Tucson district’s finding that ethnic studies program is illegal

The Associated Press (via the Washington Post) reports:

An administrative law judge ruled Tuesday that a Tucson school district’s ethnic studies program violates state law, agreeing with the findings of Arizona’s public schools chief.

[Judge Lewis] Kowal’s ruling, first reported by The Arizona Daily Star, said the district’s Mexican-American Studies program violated state law by having one or more classes designed primarily for one ethnic group, promoting racial resentment and advocating ethnic solidarity instead of treating students as individuals.

Thousands of students transfer to private schools as Indiana implements nation’s most extensive voucher program

The Associated Press (via St. Louis Today) reports:

Weeks after Indiana began the nation’s broadest school voucher program, thousands of students have transferred from public to private schools, causing a spike in enrollment at some Catholic institutions that were only recently on the brink of closing for lack of pupils.

It’s a scenario public school advocates have long feared: Students fleeing local districts in large numbers, taking with them vital tax dollars that often end up at parochial schools. Opponents say the practice violates the separation of church and state.

New study finds recent immigrants’ children outperform native-born children in top science competitions

The San Jose Mercury News reports:

a new analysis shows the majority of America’s top high school science competitors are the children of new immigrants.

The report, released Monday by the nonpartisan National Foundation for American Policy, found that about two-thirds of the finalists at the Intel Science Talent Search — the Nobel Prize of high school science — were born to parents who hailed from either China or India.

Only 12 of 40 finalists at this year’s competition — a national contest based on solutions to scientific problems — had parents who were born in America.

The National Foundation for American Policy study is available online here (PDF).

Tea Party group faces scrutiny amid Constitution Week in U.S. schools

The Associated Press (via CBS News) reports:

[The Georgia-based] Tea Party Patriots [group is] instructing members to remind teachers that a 2004 federal law requires public schools to teach Constitution lessons the week of Sept. 17, commemorating the day the document was signed. And they’d like the teachers to use material from the Malta, Idaho-based National Center for Constitutional Studies, which promotes the Constitution as a divinely-inspired document.

The center’s founder, W. Cleon Skousen, once called Jamestown’s original settlers communists, wrote end-of-days prophecy and suggested Russians stole Sputnik from the United States. In 1987, one of his books was criticized for suggesting American slave children were freer than white non-slaves.

May 20 K-12 news round-up

  • “At a Denver area elementary school, students are organized into classes in an unconventional manner — they are arranged by what they know, not their age or mandatory grade level.” [CNN, via the Huffington Post]
  • ABC News reports that Florida high school principal George Kenney has been placed on administrative leave after a student Kenney hypnotized committed suicide.
  • In a cost-cutting move, the Los Angeles Unified School District is individually interrogating librarians to determine if they actually have a teaching function and hence are eligible for employment protections afforded to educators but not, LAUSD argues, to librarians. [L.A. Times]
  • “Our public schools are woefully unprepared to deal with the fastest-growing ethnic group in the U.S. Only 17% of Hispanic fourth-graders score proficient or better on the National Assessment of Educational Progress while 42% of non-Hispanic white students do. Nationally, the high school graduation rate for Hispanics is just 64%, and only 7% of incoming college students are Hispanic, according to the Alliance for Excellent Education.” [TIME Magazine]
  • T.H.E. Journal reports on “six technologies that will change education.” Among these technologies are open resources and cloud computing.
  • The Huffington Post examines efforts across the U.S. to redefine teacher tenure – and, in some cases, to eliminate it completely.