Psalm 13 begins by asking "How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?" The question seems apposite in light of the latest study from the New School, publishers of the popular InsideSchools website that helps many parents to pick schools. The Times covered it today, noting:
the poorer students were, the lower they tended to score on the test, even when they went to the same school as wealthier children.
Take P.S. 8, ... in Brooklyn Heights, which the Center for American Progress identified last year as having one of the richest Parent Teacher Associations in the country, and which has a relatively diverse student body. While 64 percent of its students passed the state math test in 2016, compared with 36 percent of students citywide, black students at the school were nearly a full proficiency level behind their white peers. (emphasis added)
I raised this same concern three years ago, observing that average Black-White achievement gap in seven desirable Brooklyn elementary schools was 37 percentage points in English and 43 in math.
At the time I wrote to one Brooklyn mom that until we wake up every morning asking, “why is this?” we’re fooling ourselves that we’re solving the problem.
It seems we are still asleep.
A co-author of the New School's study told the Times her study “shows diversity, and whether a school does or does not have diversity. But there’s a big leap between having diversity and having integration.”
ICS kids have yet to take state tests. We've made our overall view of the role of state testing data very clear. That is not the same as asserting that ICS will not face a gap. We know where the challenges lie.
But we're not hiding from them.
A ray of hope in the New School report is a diverse-by-design charter school in Cobble Hill, where the economic gap does not predict the academic gap. Many of you will know this school is part of the Success Academy network. There's an interactive site here where you can look up individual schools and districts.
Meanwhile, we continue to invest in our children and their families. With high quality instruction, emotional support, and harassing messages to please get your kids to school by 8:00. Because we believe all kids can succeed, and income must not be allowed to predict outcome.