Sunday, September 30, 2012

Supreme Court to revisit affirmative action in Texas case

Consider the benefits: "The top 10% law, recently amended to admit the top 8% of graduates, has not only boosted diversity, but it has also brought other benefits. Since the mid-1990s, the graduation rate at UT-Austin has risen steadily. Studies showed the graduates admitted under the law outperformed others with higher SAT scores."

We now wait to see what the highest court decides.  


Supreme Court to revisit affirmative action in Texas case

In a University of Texas case, justices consider whether affirmative action can be justified if a school is achieving diversity without using race.

Supreme Court
Seated from left are Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy and Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Standing from left are Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, Associate Justice Samuel Alito Jr. and Associate Justice Elena Kagan. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo / September 28, 2012)

AUSTIN, Texas — After a U.S. appeals court struck down race-based college admissions in Texas 16 years ago, the first Mexican American woman elected to the state Legislature proposed a simple change that transformed education in the state.

Rep. Irma Rangel said all students who graduated in the top 10% of their high school class should win admission to the state's colleges, including the highly regarded University of Texas. Her bill, signed into law by then-Gov. George W. Bush, opened the door to higher education for Mexican American students from the Rio Grande Valley, for black students from Dallas and Houston and for rural white students.

It also changed the University of Texas at Austin. Last year, 36% of those admitted under this policy were Latino or black, double the percentage of "underrepresented minorities" in 1996, the year affirmative action was struck down.

But the university chafed at the "top 10%" law and said its success relied on continuing segregation in many high schools. Left out too were many talented minority students from integrated, highly competitive high schools.

So when the Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that universities may consider a minority student's race as a "plus factor" in admissions, UT officials added a new affirmative action policy to go along with the automatic admission rule. For these new students — about one-fourth of the freshman class — their race may play a role in who is admitted.

The effect of the new policy has been modest. Nine in 10 of the Latino and black students admitted to UT in the last two years came as "automatic admits," not as beneficiaries of affirmative action.
Nonetheless, UT's lawyers must now defend their race-based admission policy before a more conservative Supreme Court, which will revisit the issue thanks to Abigail Fisher, a white student from Sugar Land, Texas. She was turned down by the university in 2008 and says she was a victim of illegal race discrimination.

The case poses a new question for the court, which will hear arguments next month. Can affirmative action be justified if a university is achieving diversity without using race? The answer could determine the future of affirmative action in college admissions in much of the nation.
The top 10% law, recently amended to admit the top 8% of graduates, has not only boosted diversity, but it has also brought other benefits. Since the mid-1990s, the graduation rate at UT-Austin has risen steadily. Studies showed the graduates admitted under the law outperformed others with higher SAT scores.

"It's had a profound impact. Before, about 10% of the high schools filled 75% of the freshman class seats here," said law professor Gerald Torres. Two years ago, the campus announced that for the first time, a majority of its freshmen were minorities: Latinos, Asians or blacks.
And nearly all these new students earned admission solely because of their academic performance.
But because the top 10% law drove admissions, university officials said they would prefer more freedom to select students who were extraordinary or special. For example, a student with high SAT scores who wants to major in architecture, science or music may deserve admission, even if that student did not graduate at the top of the class, they said.

The university also says it wants to make room for minority students who did well in integrated high schools.

"The racial diversity [arising from automatic admission] is mostly a product of the fact that Texas high schools remain highly segregated," university lawyers told the justices in briefs. Further, "the African American or Hispanic child of successful professionals in Dallas" who is not a top-tier graduate may be a better candidate for admission than a top graduate of a less-demanding high school with an "overwhelmingly Hispanic" or "overwhelming African American student body," they said.
The Texas case is being closely watched by higher education leaders nationwide, many of whom worry the court is ready to strike down or scale back affirmative action.

Since the court upheld affirmative action at the University of Michigan, the author of that 5-4 decision, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, has retired and been replaced by the more conservative Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. He and three other conservatives are likely to vote against use of "race conscious" admissions.
All eyes are again on Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, a centrist who has consistently opposed policies that rely on race. Dissenting in the Michigan case, he said the court should force "educational institutions to seriously explore race-neutral alternatives," such as the top 10% law in Texas.
Experts on higher education differ on whether a Texas-style automatic admissions law would work elsewhere.

Florida and California have used such policies to increase diversity after their affirmative action plans were halted in the 1990s. The results have been mixed.

In California, students who graduate in the top 9% of their high school class are admitted to the University of California system, but not necessarily to the campus of their choice. UC officials also give extra consideration to students who faced social and economic hardships.

The percentage of Latino students at UC has been rising steadily, but officials attribute this mostly to the surge in the Latino population. Despite their best efforts, they say, UC Berkeley and UCLA have fewer black students than in 1996.

UC President Mark G. Yudof was formerly the chancellor at the University of Texas. The automatic admissions policy "works well in Texas, but not so well in California," he said, because Texas has more segregated schools. UC's lawyers told the high court they had tried race-neutral policies, but achieved "limited and disappointing results."

But Edward Blum, an activist against affirmative action who launched Fisher's suit, believes the success of UT's automatic admissions policy will show the Supreme Court that race-based policies are no longer needed.

"Using a student's race to give him an advantage or disadvantage strikes most Americans as wrong," he said. "They are creating more diversity through the top 10% policy, and every black and Hispanic student can say, 'My race was not a factor in my admission.'"

Pauken responds to Hammond

 In this day and age, we need to make a college education a new baseline rather than just a high school diploma.  And assuming that our schools are well funded and that children have access to quality teaching, ALL children are capable of learning the 4x4 curriculum that helps make them college ready.  

Commissioner Pauken heads the Texas Workforce Commission and Bill Hammond is President and. Chief Executive Officer of Texas Association of Business & Chambers of Commerce and has been to date highly influential in holding the line on Texas-style accountability.  For example, check out this earlier piece:


Pauken responds to Hammond

Sep 30th, 2012

by Charles Kuffner

Tom Pauken responds to Bill Hammond on the subject of school accountability.

Hammond encourages us to “stay the course” of the existing high-stakes testing system and “4×4” curriculum that have come to dominate public education in Texas. Implicit in this expensive testing system (the cost to Texas taxpayers is an estimated $450 million over a five-year period) and the 4×4 curriculum is the idea that everyone should be prepared to go to a four-year university. I call it the “one-size-fits-all” approach to education, which doesn’t acknowledge that students have different talents and interests. The current system clearly isn’t working all that well to prepare students to be “college ready.” And it is doing a particularly poor job for those students who would benefit from a greater emphasis on career and technical education at the high school level.

So why should we “stay the course” of an overly prescriptive curriculum and a high-stakes testing system that haven’t delivered on its promises since they were first put in place in the mid-1990s? Rather than acknowledging that this state-mandated system isn’t working, the response from the defenders of the status quo is to roll out a new test, make a few changes to the accountability system and promise everything will be better if we just give it a chance to work. That’s what they said when TAAS became TAKS, and that’s what they are saying now that TAKS is becoming STAAR.

What can we do to inject some common sense into the discussion on education policy? We need multiple pathways to a high school diploma — pathways that reflect student goals. Every student should get the basics. Then, for those students wanting to go on to a university, there would be a college preparatory curriculum with emphasis on math and science, or one that focuses on humanities and the fine arts. There would be a career-oriented curriculum for students so inclined which would prepare them with an industry-certified license or credential by the time they graduate from high school.

I fully support holding schools accountable. But the current system does not hold schools accountable for successfully educating and preparing students; rather, it makes them beholden to performance on a single test. Success and accountability can be measured in a variety of ways.

Pauken’s piece is a response to one that Hammond wrote, which may or may not have been in response to a column by Patti Hart, which continues a debate that flared up after Hammond and the Texas Association of Business threatened to take school finance hostage if they didn’t get their way. As I’ve said before, I agree with Pauken, and I’m not really sure why this is even controversial. But apparently this is how we do things these days.

Chris Whittle Seeks Global Reach in Private School Venture

Bilingual education for the wealthy, no less.  The fulfillment of Chris Whittle's latest dream.

Chris Whittle Seeks Global Reach in Private School Venture
Nearly 2,700 students applied for a slot at Avenues: The World School.
Shortly after the announcement that the school would open, Avenues received more than 5,000 applications from teachers all over the world, Mr. Whittle said. With salaries hovering around $110,000 (well above the average pay scale for a teacher in New York City), 120 teachers began this fall.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

How Do We Fix Standardized Testing in Texas?

How Do We Fix Standardized Testing in Texas?

At UT last night, researchers, advocates and lawmakers shared some ideas.

Published on: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 
  Patrick Michels Panelists at UT Monday night: Angela Valenzuela, Linda McNeil, Tom Pauken, Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, Todd Williams and David Anthony
Maybe you’ve heard. There’s a tremendous backlash spreading across Texas—and from here to the rest of the country—against the high-stakes testing regimen we rely on in the state’s accountability system.

More than 776 school boards, covering 85 percent of the students in the state, have passed resolutions calling for a more nuanced, less punitive approach to student and school assessment in the last few months. And that’s after the state began rolling out the new-and-improved testing system known as STAAR.

During its last session, the Texas Legislature faced an angry mob that railed, in vain, against a budget that cut billions from public education. A whole new mob, even more pissed-off than the last, is forming around the issue of over-testing, and could force lawmakers to make some testing and accountability reforms.

There are some serious differences of opinion, even among folks who agree the system needs to change. Last night on the University of Texas campus, five such leaders got together to share their ideas—a preview of the arguments we’re likely to see next legislative session. A few hundred teachers, activists, students and legislators turned up for the panel, which was hosted by the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.

To begin, a pair of university researchers simply called for an end to the high-stakes system we have today, in which students’ test scores are used as the basis for judging schools and teachers. Angela Valenzuela, a UT professor of cultural studies in education, said it’s a battle she’s been fighting for more than a decade in Texas, because the pressure to test well—at the expense of a well-rounded education—falls disproportionately on Hispanic and black students.

Rice University’s Linda McNeil, a critical writer about standardized testing’s effects on schools, really brought the heat, calling out the “big money interests” profiting off the way we run our schools. With statistics she said came from a legislative staffer, she offered a chart that said Texas spent $39 million on testing in the 2000-2001 school year, but will spend $93 million on it this year. “Public tax dollars need to go with public education. You have a lot of people seeing education tax dollars as their opportunity to get rich,” she said.

Texas Workforce Commissioner Tom Pauken has been an omnipresent advocate for career and technical training, which he says Texas has neglected in its zeal to boost college graduation rates. Monday night, Pauken called the current system a “trap” for kids whose ambitions don’t include college. “We’ve almost denigrated the value of working with one’s hands,” he said. Pauken warned of looming shortages in practical trades. “The average age of a master plumber,” he remarked, “is 56.”

David Anthony, from the education group Raise Your Hand Texas, said, like Pauken, that he’s supported bills to create “multiple pathways” to graduation in the past, and his group plans to do so again next January. “There is honor and quality of life in all work. Not just work that uses math and science,” Anthony said. “Texas is selling our students a dream that is not based in current reality.”
As evidence, Anthony quoted a pretty damning statistic from this first year of STAAR testing—that of the students who failed their STAAR tests last year and took remedial classes over the summer, just 20 percent passed their retakes. “You tell me which path those kids are on,” he said. “They’re already behind on their exams and they’ve only got 13 more to go.”

Todd Williams, education adviser to Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings and founder of a school reform group, Commit!, said he sees a particular problem in the way STAAR and TAKS scores are sliced to fit the needs of districts or the Texas Education Agency, and how hard it is to get meaningful test data. Parents might be heartened to hear their kid passed a state test, then be shocked to find out her “passing” score was under 50 percent. Of the 8,000 schools in Texas, he said, 93 percent of them were rated “acceptable” or higher by the state.

State Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, a Killeen Republican who has a good shot at chairing the House Public Education Committee next session, struck a broad, conciliatory tone. He said he doesn’t think it makes sense to judge students, teachers and schools by a single test, but he asked for people to share specific ideas about, say, how to save money on testing. He said his mind was open, and that he’s focused on making positive change, with concrete ideas that can survive in the Capitol. Perhaps without meaning to bring down the party, Aycock underscored why the most likely outcome is no change at all, or very little.

“Simply saying ‘I don’t like what we’re doing’ doesn’t give us a bill,” he said.

What's Missing From the Chicago Strike Debate

What's Missing From the Chicago Strike Debate

Friday, September 21, 2012

Life Expectancy Shrinks for Less-Educated Whites in U.S.

Concerning news about U.S. whites lacking a high school diploma.  It's one thing to not improve at the same rate as other groups but quite another to see a reverse trend.  Quote from within:

The reasons for the decline remain unclear, but researchers offered possible explanations, including a spike in prescription drug overdoses among young whites, higher rates of smoking among less educated white women, rising obesity, and a steady increase in the number of the least educated Americans who lack health insurance
White men lacking a high school diploma lost three years of life. Life expectancy for both blacks and Hispanics of the same education level rose, the data showed. But blacks over all do not live as long as whites, while Hispanics live longer than both whites and blacks.

Some researchers say that the results may be overstated because there are actually fewer whites without high school diplomas today, down from 12 to 22 percent in 1990.  The researcher, Professor Olshansky does not refute this but says: 

the magnitude of the drop in life expectancy was still a measure of deterioration. “The good news is that there are fewer people in this group,” he said. “The bad news is that those who are in it are dying more quickly.”  

 I wonder about the Hispanic subgroup and suspect is this were further analyzed by generational status or length of recency in this country if we would see U.S.-born Latinos/Mexicans as similar to poor whites or blacks since cultural assimilation, among other things, also means assimilating to behaviors that can compromise their health.  A number of researchers, including UCLA's David Hayes Bautista has documented this in the area of health.  Falls under what today is referred to as "the Latino Paradox" which is not really so much a paradox but reflective of the diverse generational/acculturational composition of the Latino population.

Finally, this argues for the merits of universally accessible health care and higher educational opportunities that the middle- and upper-classes, particularly whites, have enjoyed to a much greater extent if we are to improve the health of our nation.


September 20, 2012

Life Expectancy Shrinks for Less-Educated Whites in U.S.

For generations of Americans, it was a given that children would live longer than their parents. But there is now mounting evidence that this enduring trend has reversed itself for the country’s least-educated whites, an increasingly troubled group whose life expectancy has fallen by four years since 1990. 

Researchers have long documented that the most educated Americans were making the biggest gains in life expectancy, but now they say mortality data show that life spans for some of the least educated Americans are actually contracting. Four studies in recent years identified modest declines, but a new one that looks separately at Americans lacking a high school diploma found disturbingly sharp drops in life expectancy for whites in this group. Experts not involved in the new research said its findings were persuasive. 

The reasons for the decline remain unclear, but researchers offered possible explanations, including a spike in prescription drug overdoses among young whites, higher rates of smoking among less educated white women, rising obesity, and a steady increase in the number of the least educated Americans who lack health insurance

The steepest declines were for white women without a high school diploma, who lost five years of life between 1990 and 2008, said S. Jay Olshansky, a public health professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the lead investigator on the study, published last month in Health Affairs. By 2008, life expectancy for black women without a high school diploma had surpassed that of white women of the same education level, the study found. 

White men lacking a high school diploma lost three years of life. Life expectancy for both blacks and Hispanics of the same education level rose, the data showed. But blacks over all do not live as long as whites, while Hispanics live longer than both whites and blacks. 

“We’re used to looking at groups and complaining that their mortality rates haven’t improved fast enough, but to actually go backward is deeply troubling,” said John G. Haaga, head of the Population and Social Processes Branch of the National Institute on Aging, who was not involved in the new study. 

The five-year decline for white women rivals the catastrophic seven-year drop for Russian men in the years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, said Michael Marmot, director of the Institute of Health Equity in London. 

The decline among the least educated non-Hispanic whites, who make up a shrinking share of the population, widened an already troubling gap. The latest estimate shows life expectancy for white women without a high school diploma was 73.5 years, compared with 83.9 years for white women with a college degree or more. For white men, the gap was even bigger: 67.5 years for the least educated white men compared with 80.4 for those with a college degree or better. 

The dropping life expectancies have helped weigh down the United States in international life expectancy rankings, particularly for women. In 2010, American women fell to 41st place, down from 14th place in 1985, in the United Nations rankings. Among developed countries, American women sank from the middle of the pack in 1970 to last place in 2010, according to the Human Mortality Database

The slump is so vexing that it became the subject of an inquiry by the National Academy of Sciences, which published a report on it last year. 

“There’s this enormous issue of why,” said David Cutler, an economics professor at Harvard who was an author of a 2008 paper that found modest declines in life expectancy for less educated white women from 1981 to 2000. “It’s very puzzling and we don’t have a great explanation.” 

And it is yet another sign of distress in one of the country’s most vulnerable groups during a period when major social changes are transforming life for less educated whites. Childbirth outside marriage has soared, increasing pressures on women who are more likely to be single parents. Those who do marry tend to choose mates with similar education levels, concentrating the disadvantage. 

Inklings of this decline have been accumulating since 2008. Professor Cutler’s paper, published in Health Affairs, found a decline in life expectancy of about a year for less educated white women from 1990 to 2000. Three other studies, by Ahmedin Jemal, a researcher at the American Cancer Society; Jennifer Karas Montez, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholar at Harvard; and Richard Miech, a professor at the University of Colorado Denver, found increases in mortality rates (the ratio of deaths to a population) for the least educated Americans. 

Professor Olshansky’s study, financed by the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on an Aging Society, found by far the biggest decline in life expectancy for the least educated non-Hispanic whites, in large part because he isolated those without a high school diploma, a group usually combined with high school graduates. Non-Hispanic whites currently make up 63 percent of the population of the United States. 

Researchers said they were baffled by the magnitude of the drop. Some cautioned that the results could be overstated because Americans without a high school diploma — about 12 percent of the population, down from about 22 percent in 1990, according to the Census Bureau — were a shrinking group that was now more likely to be disadvantaged in ways besides education, compared with past generations. 

Professor Olshansky agreed that the group was now smaller, but said the magnitude of the drop in life expectancy was still a measure of deterioration. “The good news is that there are fewer people in this group,” he said. “The bad news is that those who are in it are dying more quickly.”
Researchers, including some involved in the earlier studies that found more modest declines in life expectancy, said that Professor Olshansky’s methodology was sound and that the findings reinforced evidence of a troubling pattern that has emerged for those at the bottom of the education ladder, particularly white women. 

“Something is going on in the lives of disadvantaged white women that is leading to some really alarming trends in life expectancy,” said Ms. Montez of Harvard. 

Researchers offered theories for the drop in life expectancy, but cautioned that none could fully explain it. 

James Jackson, director of the Institute of Social Research at the University of Michigan and an author of the new study, said white women with low levels of education may exhibit more risky behavior than that of previous generations. 

Overdoses from prescription drugs have spiked since 1990, disproportionately affecting whites, particularly women. Professor Miech, of the University of Colorado, noted the rise in a 2011 paper in the American Sociological Review, arguing that it was among the biggest changes for whites in recent decades and that it appeared to have offset gains for less educated people in the rate of heart attacks. 

Ms. Montez, who studies women’s health, said that smoking was a big part of declines in life expectancy for less educated women. Smoking rates have increased among women without a high school diploma, both white and black, she said. But for men of the same education level, they have declined. 

This group also has less access to health care than before. The share of working-age adults with less than a high school diploma who did not have health insurance rose to 43 percent in 2006, up from 35 percent in 1993, according to Mr. Jemal at the American Cancer Society. Just 10 percent of those with a college degree were uninsured last year, the Census Bureau reported. 

The shift should be seen against the backdrop of sweeping changes in the American economy and in women’s lives, said Lisa Berkman, director of the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies. The overwhelming majority of women now work, while fertility has remained higher than in European countries. For women in low-wage jobs, which are often less flexible, this could take a toll on health, a topic that Professor Berkman has a grant from the National Institute on Aging to study.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

News Corp. Exec Uses News Corp. Paper To Attack Teachers' Strike Without Disclosing News Corp. Testing Contracts

In an op-ed in Sunday's Wall Street Journal, News Corp. executive vice president Joel Klein attacked the ongoing teachers' strike in Chicago without disclosing his role in administering $4.7 million in educational testing contracts at the heart of the dispute.

Joel Klein

In 2010, News Corp. purchased 90 percent of the education technology company Wireless Generation for $360 million, incorporating that company into the education subsidiary of News Corp. now known as Amplify.

Klein, the former schools chancellor for New York City, was hired by Rupert Murdoch to run News Corp.'s education division in July of 2010 and is now the CEO of Amplify. While the Journal -- which is also owned by News Corp. -- identified Klein as Amplify's CEO, neither the paper nor Klein himself disclosed that the company has millions of dollars in contracts for the very testing that is a central issue in the strike.

In May, Chicago Public Schools entered into an agreement with Wireless Generation to provide "math assessment services" and "literacy assessment services" to the school district. The math agreement is for "a total cost not to exceed $1,700,000" while the literacy assessment cites a cost "not to exceed $3,000,000." The Progressive Change Campaign Committee first reported on these contracts in a September 12 blog post.

In his op-ed, Klein downplays the teachers' rationale for taking action, writing that the strike "feels more about attitude -- 'the mayor doesn't respect us' -- than substance." In fact, the Chicago Teachers Union objects to a reformulation of the existing teacher evaluation system which would make standardized tests -- like those administered by Wireless Generation -- count for 40 percent of the score, which will be used to determine teacher pay and whether certain teachers will be laid off.
Union president Karen Lewis said the tests are "no way to measure the effectiveness of an educator" and that "there are too many factors beyond our control which impact how well some students perform on standardized tests such as poverty, exposure to violence, homelessness, hunger and other social issues beyond our control." The union is seeking such scores to weigh less heavily on the teachers' evaluations.

Indeed, reporting in the Journal has highlighted the centrality of teacher evaluations based on standardized testing to the ongoing dispute between teachers and the city. In a September 10 article the Journal noted that the strike has highlighted "a growing national debate over how best to evaluate teachers, set their pay and fire them."

In previous news stories discussing education reform, the Journal has disclosed its financial connection to News Corp. and Wireless Generation. In a May story on education standards, the Journal wrote about "Wireless Generation, an education-technology company owned by News Corp., which also owns The Wall Street Journal." In a January story on the "Race to the Top" education program, they made a similar disclosure. But the paper has not disclosed the contracts with Chicago Public Schools in their coverage of the strike.

Wireless Generation has previously been the target of controversy linked to its News Corp. ownership. In 2011, New York City rejected a $27 million contract with Wireless Generation, specifically citing the ongoing criminal investigation into phone hacking by their parent company. State Controller Thomas DiNapoli wrote, "in light of the significant ongoing investigations and continuing revelations with respect to News Corp., we are returning the contract with Wireless Generation unapproved."

Adopted Board Resolutions [against high-stakes testing in the state of Texas]

From, the website for the Texas Association of School Administrators.  Imagine this.  As of today, 793 districts in Texas out of 1,265 total in the state have adopted resolutions against high-stakes testing.  Remember that in 1999, we had a whole federal court trial over this.  Sure, the legislature over-reached in the context of HB 3 passed in 2009, but we already had a crisis—particularly impacting children of color well over a decade ago.  So this is long overdue and much welcomed, but let's own up to the fact that our community missed the boat by a long shot when so much was being done so much earlier (pre-NCLB) to address and counter what many of us already knew way back then was playing out in our children's classrooms and how they were being harmed by it.  Powerful interests—including those within the public at large—are and have been at play here.


Adopted Board Resolutions

School Transformation
The following is a list of school districts that have adopted a version of the Resolution Concerning High Stakes, Standardized Testing of Texas Public School Students. As of September 20, 2012, 793 districts representing more than 4.2 million students have notified us they've adopted the resolution. That's 77 percent of Texas school districts and 86 percent of all Texas public school students. The number following the district name is the ESC region number. Though individual districts may have made some modifications to the specific wording of the document TASA provided, the spirit of the resolution remained intact.
Districts Adopting Resolution (in alpha order)
Abbott ISD (12)
Abilene ISD (14)
Adrian ISD (16)
Agua Dulce ISD (02)
Alamo Heights ISD (20)
Albany (14)
Aldine ISD (04)
Aledo ISD (11)
Alief ISD (04)
Allen ISD (10)
Alpine ISD (18)
Alto ISD (07)
Alvarado ISD (11)
Alvin ISD (04)
Alvord ISD (11)
Amarillo ISD (16)
Anahuac ISD (04)
Anderson-Shiro CISD (06)
Andrews ISD (18)
Angleton ISD (04)
Anna ISD (10)
Anthony ISD (19)
Anton ISD (17)
Apple Springs ISD (06)
Aquilla ISD (12)
Aransas County ISD (02)
Aransas Pass ISD (02)
Archer City ISD (09)
Argyle ISD (11)
Arlington ISD (11)
Athens ISD (07)
Atlanta ISD (08)
Aubrey ISD (11)
Austin ISD (13)
Austwell-Tivoli (03)
Avalon ISD (10)
Axtell ISD (12)
Azle ISD (11)
Baird ISD (14)
Ballinger ISD (15)
Balmorhea ISD (18)
Bangs ISD (15)
Banquete ISD (02)
Bastrop ISD (13)
Bay City ISD (03)
Beaumont ISD (05)
Beckville ISD (07)
Beeville ISD (02)
Bellevue ISD (09)
Bells ISD (10)
Bellville ISD (06)
Belton ISD (12)
Ben Bolt-Palito Blanco ISD (02)
Benjamin ISD (09)
Big Sandy ISD (06)
Big Sandy ISD (07)
Big Spring ISD (18)
Birdville ISD (11)
Bishop CISD (02)
Blackwell CISD (14)
Bland ISD (10)
Blanket ISD (15)
Bloomburg ISD (08)
Blooming Grove ISD (12)
Bloomington ISD (03)
Blue Ridge ISD (10)
Bluff Dale ISD (11)
Blum ISD (12)
Boerne ISD (20)
Boles ISD (10)
Boling ISD (03)
Booker ISD (16)
Borden County ISD (17)
Bosqueville ISD (12)
Bovina ISD (16)
Bowie ISD (09)
Boyd ISD (11)
Boys Ranch ISD (16)
Brackett ISD (20)
Brady ISD (15)
Brazosport ISD (04)
Breckenridge ISD (14)
Bremond ISD (06)
Brenham ISD (06)
Bridge City ISD (05)
Bridgeport ISD (11)
Brock ISD (11)
Bronte ISD (15)
Brookeland ISD (05)
Brookesmith ISD (15)
Brooks County ISD (02)
 Brownfield ISD (17)
Brownsboro ISD (07)
Brownsville ISD (01)
Brownwood ISD (15)
Bruceville-Eddy ISD (12)
Bryan ISD (6)
Bryson ISD (09)
Buena Vista ISD (18)
Bullard ISD (07)
Buna ISD (05)
Burkburnett ISD (09)
Burkeville ISD (05)
Burleson ISD (11)
Burnet CISD (13)
Burton ISD (06)
Bushland ISD (16)
Bynum ISD (12)
Caddo Mills ISD (10)
Calallen ISD (02)
Caldwell ISD (06)
Calhoun County ISD (03)
Calvert ISD (06)
Cameron ISD (06)
Campbell ISD (10)
Canadian ISD (16)
Canutillo ISD (19)
Canyon ISD (16)
Carlisle iSD (07)
Carrizo Springs CISD (20)
Carroll ISD (11)
 Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD (10)
Carthage ISD (07)
Castleberry ISD (11)
Cayuga ISD (07)
Celeste ISD (10)
Celina ISD (10)
Center ISD (07)
Center Point ISD (20)
Centerville ISD (C) (06)
Centerville ISD (T) (06)
Central ISD (07)
Channelview ISD (04)
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Segregation Prominent in Schools, Study Finds

Important research by Professor Gary Orfield.  Department of Education analysis reveals severe racial and ethnic segregation in our nation's schools. -Angela

Brandon Thibodeaux for The New York Times
Students at F. M. Gilbert Elementary School in Irving, Tex. Segregation of Latino students is most pronounced in California, New York and Texas.
The United States is increasingly a multiracial society, with white students accounting for just over half of all students in public schools, down from four-fifths in 1970. 

Yet whites are still largely concentrated in schools with other whites, leaving the largest minority groups — black and Latino students — isolated in classrooms, according to a new analysis of Department of Education data

The report showed that segregation is not limited to race: blacks and Latinos are twice as likely as white or Asian students to attend schools with a substantial majority of poor children. 

Across the country, 43 percent of Latinos and 38 percent of blacks attend schools where fewer than 10 percent of their classmates are white, according to the report, released on Wednesday by the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles. 

And more than one in seven black and Latino students attend schools where fewer than 1 percent of their classmates are white, according to the group’s analysis of enrollment data from 2009-2010, the latest year for which federal statistics are available. 

Segregation of Latino students is most pronounced in California, New York and Texas. The most segregated cities for blacks include Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Philadelphia and Washington.
“Extreme segregation is becoming more common,” said Gary Orfield, an author of the report who is co-director of the Civil Rights Project. 

The overlap between schools with high minority populations and those with high levels of poverty was significant. According to the report, the typical black or Latino student attends a school where almost two out of every three classmates come from low-income families. Mr. Orfield said that schools with mostly minority and poor students were likely to have fewer resources, less assertive parent groups and less experienced teachers. 

The issue of segregation hovers over many discussions about the future of education. 

Some education advocates say that policies being introduced across the nation about how teachers should granted tenure or fired as well as how they should be evaluated could inadvertently increase segregation.
Teacher evaluations that are based on student test scores, for example, could have unintended consequences, said Rucker C. Johnson, an associate professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley.
Teachers would be reluctant to take assignments in high-poverty, high-minority communities, he said. “And you’re going to be at risk of being blamed for not increasing test scores as quickly as might be experienced in a suburban, more affluent area,” Mr. Johnson said.
The report’s authors criticized the Obama administration as failing to pursue integration policies, and argued that its support of charter schools was helping create “the most segregated sector of schools for black students.” 

Daren Briscoe, a spokesman for the Department of Education, said the Obama administration had taken “historic steps to transform the schools that for too long have shortchanged the full potential of our young people and have been unsuccessful in providing the necessary resources and protections for students most at risk.” 

Other advocates for minorities said charter schools had benefited their communities, even if they were not racially integrated. 

Raul Gonzalez, director of legislative affairs and education policy at the National Council of La Raza, a Latino advocacy group, said that black and Hispanic parents did not necessarily say “I want my kid to be in an integrated setting.” Instead, he said, “they’re going to say I want my kid’s school to do better than what it’s doing.” 

Todd Ziebarth, vice president of the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools, said he supported more money for transportation to charter schools and encouraging them to pursue more diversity. But, he said, “if a school is relatively homogeneous but is performing really well, we should be celebrating that school, not denigrating it.” 

Critics of segregation in traditional public schools and charters said that there was more to education than pure academics. 

“Is it possible to learn calculus in a segregated school? Of course it is,” said Mark D. Rosenbaum, chief counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union in Los Angeles. “Is it possible to learn how the world operates and to think creatively about the rich diversity of cultures in this country? It is impossible.”

Mexican Moms Are More Nurturing Than White Ones, Study Finds

This is really interesting and concurs with a lot of what we know about immigrant, Mexican mothers.  I wonder though about the comparability of these mothers to those of other groups, i.e., white and Chinese.  I would think that class was controlled for but this report doesn't say this explicitly.  Will have to locate this study in the journal, Child Development.


Mexican Moms Are More Nurturing Than White Ones, Study Finds

Posted: Updated: 09/11/2012 9:56 am

According to a new study published Tuesday, Mexican immigrant mothers performed better on some measures of parenting than white mothers did.

The study, conducted by a research team from the University of California, Berkeley, found that Mexican-origin mothers provide "warm and supportive home settings," engage in fewer conflicts with spouses and exhibit evidence of stronger mental health than their white peers, despite higher poverty rates.

The study, published in the scientific journal Child Development, adds "nuance" to America's immigration debate, the research team noted in a press release.

Over a three-year period, from 2003 to 2006, researchers visited the homes of and interviewed and observed 5,300 Mexican-born, Chinese-born and white native-born mothers. Mexican-origin mothers were found to have more than 20 percent fewer arguments with their spouses than their white peers, and nearly 40 percent fewer arguments than peers of Chinese heritage. Mexican immigrant mothers also had better results than their white counterparts on an independent assessment of depressive symptoms.

On the other hand, Mexican mothers read to their children infrequently and organized few educational activities that would advance school-related skills, especially when compared with Chinese-immigrant mothers. Mothers of Chinese origin performed better than the other two groups on pre-literacy measures and worse on social ones.
“Until now, little national evidence has been available to distinguish the home settings of major immigrant groups," said Claudia Galindo, a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland and one of the study authors. "And many policymakers have assumed that poverty necessarily leads to poor parenting.”

The researchers looked at data from a nationally representative sample of births drawn by the National Center for Education Statistics, a research arm of the U.S. Department of Education. All children involved in the survey were born in the United States in 2001.

Bruce Fuller, another author of the study, called the findings about Mexican mothers as a "surprise."

"Poverty is definitely a drag on the well-being of families, but at the same time, at least for Mexican immigrants, they have cultural strengths that buffer the negative effects of family," he said.

But the extent to which "culture" accounts for the well-being of these families isn't so clear. A recent study by the Community Service Society of New York found that Puerto Rican youth in New York City are more than twice as likely as their Mexican peers to be out of school and unemployed.

Some scholars and commentators have argued that the differences between low-income Mexican families and families from other low-income groups have to do with historical and economic factors. Many Puerto Ricans settled in urban areas in the 50 and 60s, just as the manufacturing sector, which had provided stable work to generations of new immigrants, entered a long period of decline.

Other observers say that non-citizen immigrants, by necessity, tend to have more ambition and resourcefulness than most people.

"That has an impact on the formation of families, and how people relate to families and your relationship to the labor market has a major impact as well," said Angelo Falcón, the director of the National Institute for Latino Policy.

These latest findings come amid much discussion by immigration scholars about the so-called "Latino Paradox" -– the finding that Hispanic immigrants tend to be healthier than their better-off, non-immigrant counterparts, despite the prevailing wisdom that richer people are healthier.