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Monday, December 3, 2007

institutionalized racism in public schools

Who says institutionalized racism is a thing of the past, even here in Seattle's public school system.

A recent report states that "Almost three-quarters of the students enrolled in the Accelerated Progress Program (APP) are white, compared to about 40 percent districtwide...APP is perceived to be 'elitist, exclusionary and even racist,' and that some of its African-American students are bullied and isolated."

Read it here.

1 comment:

wumingzi said...

(Disclaimer: The author is the parent of an APP student)

Amusingly enough, the students in APP that aren't white are Asian.

The program is not racist in any way shape or form, although the original report and its findings were too complicated to condense into a paragraph, so that was what the author of the article in the Seattle Times chose to write, facts be damned.

Admission to the APP program is done using a standardized test called the CoGAT-6. This is an IQ style test which has a lot of the same biases other people have written about IQ tests in the past. Whites and Asians score very highly on these tests, Blacks and Hispanics score about 10 points lower in the case of the CoGAT. Nobody is sure why, but some people have come to some really strange conclusions about what that gap means.

A program that has single-digit Black/Hispanic participation in a district which is 50% Black/Hispanic obviously needs to do something differently.

The debate for the last 5-10 years that this has been a big issue is how to do so while maintaining academic standards and not creating a system where you get in with score x if you're white or Asian, and score x-10 if you're black or Hispanic. A small part of the 170 page report that was presented to the district gave some suggestions about where to go from here.