No Child Left Behind has failed to close the racial achievement gaps, writes the Harvard Civil Rights Project in a new report.
It’s the culture, stupid, responds LaShawn Barber.
While there are no quick and clear-cut solutions to this cultural problem, it’s not as complicated as it’s made out to be, either. First, family stability does affect children and is correlated with life outcomes. Seventy percent of black children are born to unmarried mothers and tend to be raised in female-headed households. Such families, by definition, are unstable. . . .
This leads to my second point. There is a poisonous strain of “anti-intellectualism” coursing through the subculture generally speaking.
. . . For example, instead of facing enormous problems in the “black community,” including the epidemic of fatherlessness, the NAACP is “studying” tripe like the paucity of black characters on sitcoms! Does this sound like a people concerned at all about educational excellence and intellectual competitiveness?
Barber believes there’s lots of opportunity for people willing to seize it.
What is unique about the “African American” experience is that we live in a country that has bent over backwards to make amends for past injustices. That some people are “left behind” is not evidence of racism. I believe that in 2006, it is imperative that blacks understand this and embrace the idea of self-help, self-improvement, and accountability for our lot in life as individuals.
I don’t think No Child Left Behind calls for equal results: It says that all children can achieve proficiency — and the definition of proficiency isn’t all that high in most states. Some students who work very hard will go far beyond proficiency; only a few are intellectually incapable of learning to read, write and calculate at the (not very high) proficient level. The law has forced schools to focus on students who’ve been ignored and written off before, in some cases shifting resources from average and above-average students. I think the worst thing we could do is to give up on educating these kids. Yes, we need to find ways to motivate them to work much harder. We need to find ways to persuade parents to work harder to prepare students to succeed in school and support them as learners. We need to create school cultures that value responsibility, perseverance and learning. We shoul d not give up.