Equity in Education: Are Minorities to Blame for Failure to Meet No Child Left Behind Benchmarks? by Elyssa D. Durant, Ed.M.
The Nashville City Paper previously reported that African-American students were out-performed by their white counterparts on the ACT (Metro ACT scores drop; Tennessee reaches new high, 2007).
Given what is currently at stake in Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS), such casual reporting of racial discrepancy in test scores is irresponsible at best: Does this mean that white children are better students than their black and Hispanic classmates?
What's next for Nashville? Are minorities to blame for our failure to meet the benchmarks set forth in the No Child Left Behind legislation? High-stakes, standardized entrance exams are not only culturally biased, but also politically motivated in their agenda to help bring back a return to basics type of core-curriculum.
Studies in both the sociology and politics of educational evaluation have consistently shown that standardized entrance exams such as the SAT and ACT do not accurately predict academic performance at the college level.
Given the official release of performance data by MNPS officials, I am concerned that less curious readers may place too much attention to such details and misconstrue this information making voluntary, de-facto desegregation less attractive to schools that did not quite make the grade last academic term.
If, as stated in Wednesday's article, the ACT is a curriculum-based measure of readiness in English, mathematics, reading and science, then all these scores show us is that we have failed in our mission to provide an adequate education for all our citizens.
I am not sure exactly what readiness is, but I am certain that our schools are failing miserably at educating those children who need us the most. Let's level the playing field for a change and start talking about equity in education if we truly expect teachers to leave no child behind, we must first give them the tools they need to move forward.
Elyssa D. Durant © 1995-2013
PREVIOUSLY CROSS PUBLISHED Nashville News