Black and white and poorly led all over

Jeffrey Brooks’ Black School White School: Racism and Educational (Mis) Leadership describes an integrated high school that’s hideously dysfunctional, writes Stuart Buck in a TCR Record review.

Black and white school leaders don’t meet to discuss problems across racial lines, both sides tell Brooks. It would be consorting with “the enemy.”

Students don’t want to do schoolwork. The overstaffed administration does little work either.

The (health education magnet leader) resigned after a mere three months for lack of support. She “was never replaced, and, in fact, her students roamed the halls during her assigned instructional hours.”

. . . Administrators declined to hand out National Merit Awards to two students at an assembly, because they had neglected to learn how to pronounce the students’ names (one was Kenyan, the other Japanese)

Academic excellence isn’t valued: The black principal, whose only teaching experience is in P.E.,  tells a black teacher to quit the rigorous International Baccalaureate program, which has equal numbers of white and black students, because she’s not “keeping it real.”

Worse, the principal tries to meet accountability targets by forcing the worst students to drop out before the head count for the state exam.

“This reveals the paradox of school-level accountability,” writes Buck. “Just where the threat of accountability is most needed” — when school leaders are incompetent or dishonest — ” it is the most hopeless.”

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  1. Hideously dysfunctional? I guess it’s all in how you define “dysfunctional”.

    If you’re describing an institution in which learning and teaching are paramount then yeah, that school’s exploring the outer boundaries of dysfunctional. But if you’re describing the American, or really any, public education institution it’s a perfectly rational outcome and an outcome towards which the institution is inclined.

  2. >Leaders in charge of the school budget “did not know
    >basic regulations, principles, and procedures of
    >budgeting,” and ended up creating a system
    >wherein teachers agreed that “if you wanted
    >something that required funds, you needed to
    >speak to someone with budget authority who
    >shared your race”

    I’ve worked in a lot of private companies and other private organizations and I’ve never seen anything like that. I’ve seen incompetence, sure, but bold-faced institutionalized racism, never. Dismissing it as just a standard artifact of public education is denial. This is a culture of entitlement gone mad. The public expects more for its tax money than education professionals behaving like characters from _Lord of the Flies_.