Pittsburgh Schools Concerned about Racial Disparities in Achievement
The President of the Pittsburgh Public Schools board of education says priority must be placed on reducing the growing black-white achievement gap. Is this the correct way to view this problem? It is not the disparity that is important. It is the terrible academic achievement of black students, which continues to worsen from already deplorable levels. The disparity can be eliminated by reducing emphasis on white achievement, which is not all good in comparison to the better school districts in the state.
Fixing the gap is not the right approach. How do we get all students to do better? If the poor performance of the black students is caused by factors beyond the scope of the school district to address, that fact should be recognized. There are things the District could do. Number one would be to enforce attendance rules. The high levels of absenteeism in the high schools are an enormous obstacle to educational achievement. Two, offer true school choice beyond charter schools. Three, reduce the institutionalized excusitis for poor achievement that leads to a downward spiral of individual student aspirations and expectations.
Free public education is a privilege. It is simply immoral to continue the fiction that a quarter million in tax dollar spending per student over thirteen years with so little to show for it is acceptable.