Carla Randall, of The Oregonian, tells us that there are “promising signs of progress for our high schools”. In line with the leftist elite’s fixation on “people of color”, Randall tells us:
Too many students are bored, and too many feel like nobody cares.
Too many of the students who feel this way are students of color. They are voting with their feet, dropping out of Portland’s high schools at dramatically higher rates than their white peers. (Latino students graduate at half the rate of white students. African-Americans fare only slightly better.)
The good news is that we are taking steps to improve graduation rates and close this achievement gap. The better news is that the changes we are pursuing across all PPS high schools this year have already delivered promising results in schools where they have been tested.
Well it’s about time! It’s about time somebody actually did something about that pesky gap! Except that back in early 2010, they were also trying to “achieve diversity” and “close the gap”:
At the meeting, board members also raised concerns and questions about how to achieve socioeconomic diversity, boundary changes and the transfer policy. Most of those issues won’t be explicitly addressed until the next stage of the process.
Parents who attended tonight’s meeting encouraged the school board to more clearly connect the high school redesign goals to increasing academic achievement and narrowing the achievement gap.
Oh wait, what’s this? Even in 2009 they were “doing something” to close the gap:
The stubborn gap in academic achievement in Oregon between Hispanic students and their white classmates used to be somewhat of a mystery. Not any more.
The main causes of this gap are well-diagnosed. So are at least some of the solutions, plus the areas desperately needing further research.
Hispanic students learn at the same pace as their white peers, according to a new studyconducted by EcoNorthwest for the Chalkboard Project, an Oregon-based education nonprofit. The trouble is, Hispanic students start out behind in the early grades and typically don’t catch up.
The reasons? Hispanic students are more than twice as likely to come from low-income homes.
What a novel idea! The gap is due to – POVERTY. It’s amazing what a few million dollars and years of research can come up with.
But even in 2008, there was success in “closing the gap“:
When the Portland Schools Foundation hired Connie Van Brunt as Executive Director, it was with the understanding that she was a highly skilled educational reform advocate and practitioner with a proven track record of closing the achievement gap. We continue to believe that today.
Well, waddaya know! There was progress in 2007 as well, as Portland struggled to meet the “No Child Left Behind” requirements (applicable also to pre-high schools students). We read:
The 44 schools, which get federal funds because they have a significant number of low-income students, had been ordered to give their students free tutoring or transfers to higher-performing schools due to repeat poor performance.
But, based on their 2007 reading and math scores, 10 of them, including Harold Oliver Intermediate School in the Centennial district of Southeast Portland, met every performance target for a second straight year and were freed from the federal troubled schools list.
In 2006 Oregon as a whole had also made “significant progress” in closing the gap:
SALEM — State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo today named the Oregon public schools that have made significant progress in closing the achievement gap. The announcement was made today at a press conference at Aloha Park Elementary School in the Beaverton School District.
Each school named for the award has demonstrated progress in student achievement in math and reading and showed improvement in student achievement for minority and/or low income students. The schools will be recognized at a banquet on April 28th. This is the second year that Castillo has recognized schools for the Celebrating School Success Awards, and each recipient will receive a $2000 grant.
“These schools prove that it can be done — students can overcome poverty, cultural differences, and other challenges and succeed,” Castillo said. “My goal has been to highlight examples of what is being accomplished in our public schools and send a very important message to all of Oregon about helping all children achieve.”
“I wanted to find a school in each area of the state that could serve as an example for how we can close the achievement gap and ensure that every student has success in school,” Castillo said.
In 2005, under the heading “Closing the Achievement Gap – 2005”, we find:
Stretching from one end of Oregon to the other, the 2005 recipients of the Celebrating Student Success awards all face enormous challenges. And each has a unique formula for success.
Yet despite their differences, these remarkable schools share an unshakable conviction that, given a thoughtful and rigorous plan of action and a dedicated staff of educators to carry it out, all children, regardless of their color or ethnicity or their family incomes, can excel.
They don’t just believe that it’s true – they prove it, day in and day out.
Back in 2002, there were already programs underway to “close the gap“:
In 2002, Shannon joined Stand for Children as the Portland Director in Portland, Oregon. Under her leadership the chapter grew to over 1,000 members, still the largest Stand Chapter in the country, and led a number of successful campaigns including electing 4 reform-minded school board members to the Portland Public School Board, passing the Portland Children’s Investment Fund, a 5 year levy that generates $25 million for early childhood education programs, mentoring, child abuse prevention and laid the groundwork for teaching effectiveness reforms that will help close the achievement gap in Portland Public Schools.
The same was true in 2001:
Portland Public Schools received a National Science Foundation Urban Systemic Program grant in 2001. The goals of the grant were to raise achievement for all students in mathematics and science and close achievement gaps.
If even half of past claims were true, then the gap would have been gone by now. Obviously, it is not. It has been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. This is exactly what the proponents of “diversity” have been doing. Aside from coming to terms with genetic differences between the races, those people would do well to change their attitude completely in order to affect whatever improvements can be made within the environmental realm.
Randall tells us:
… Franklin has eliminated the achievement gap in graduation rates. Last year, students of color graduated at the same rate as white students, a rare feat among U.S. high schools. These results are not the product of favorable socioeconomic factors. Franklin’s student population is similar to the school-district average in income. Its student population is similarly diverse.
Franklin has pioneered efforts to link struggling students to mentors at school, building relationships that help students feel connected. At the same time, Principal Shay James and her teachers have not sacrificed academic excellence. Teachers set the bar high. They encourage students — especially students of color — to take advanced placement courses (bold mine)…
Clearly, teachers have been focusing on “students of color” at the expense of white students in order to achieve equal results. You can bet your bottom dollar that no studies were done in order to ascertain whether white students have suffered, academically, due to such policies.
Ominously, and with a smiling face, Randall tells us:
We are also focused on what happens in the classroom. This fall, PPS teachers will receive better feedback under a new evaluation process developed with the Portland Association of Teachers. Better feedback means more effective and responsive teaching. That means improved learning for students.
The Roosevelt High School campus pioneered this new way of evaluating teachers last year. Roosevelt saw double-digit gains in math and reading, and higher graduation rates.
In other words, teachers are forced to neglect white students in order to advance “students of color”. It is fairly obvious what this “new way of evaluating teachers” entails.
The way to optimize the education of NAMS is not to coddle them or stress the importance of their own special cultures and heritage. On the contrary, it is to coddle white students, encourage white culture (according to whatever positive meaning this may have in each locale) and put truly successful students (of whatever race – and most of them will be white or Asian) on a pedestal. Along with strict discipline (which will, of course, disproportionately effect NAMS), we would achieve the desired result: Black and Hispanic children will want to be more like white and Asian children. They will give up their saggy pants, rap music and gutter language. They will try to be “white” and this will allow them to reach their fullest potential.