After watching/reading the clip, and after the cases you read this week and the book you read and we discussed, what do you think? What do you wonder?
The topic of equity in education raises many questions and wonderings. Education is a rising tide that lifts all people yet as the School Segregation by Boundary Line in Virginia report and the Georgetown study show, access to education remains uneven. It is shocking to learn that in this day and age, school segregation is deepening within Virginia. School district and attendance boundary lines section off areas with highly differentiated wealth and unequal allocation of educational resources that benefit some while limiting others. I wonder if residential segregation by income has intensified and the vast majority of districts assign students based on proximity, then how can school districts realign boundary lines to promote integration, and how can the state and local school districts apportion resources to help disadvantaged areas?
The Georgetown study suggests that America’s selective public colleges are meant to provide opportunity for all; however, in reality, attendants in these colleges do not reflect the demographics of the college-age population they are serving. Fewer whites make up the college-age population, yet more whites attend selective public universities than the majority-minority college-age residents. According to the report, selective public colleges use admissions measures that disfavor minority acceptances and perpetuate disparities. As a former director of gifted services, I have seen this form of segregation in K-12 education as well. The qualifying psychometrics used to identify students for specialty programs or preferred paths of learning are often rigid and narrowly tailored; they overlook the talents and potential of underrepresented students. The over-emphasis on standardized testing is one example. Some colleges are starting to make high-stake tests like the SATs or ACTs optional, using demonstrated student performance as a more accurate measure of potential; however, this shift still meets resistance in most selective public universities. Its selective status is maintained by its exclusivity. Many more students could be well served and successful in these programs if only given the chance.
As Klarman suggests in his book, education is an equalizer. As whites became better educated, their racial opinions were liberalized. They became less tolerant of separatist behavior. As blacks became more educated, they realized economic, political, and societal gains. A more educated public benefits all. I don’t think the answer is to limit one group so another group can prosper, but rather I wonder how we can broaden the opportunity so that more can be successful? A rising tide lifts all ships.