To “reduce racial isolation among students,” the Obama Administration has issued official guidelines to promote diversity in the nation’s public education system by, among other things, blending the rich with the poor.
A district with two elementary schools—one with a large enrollment of students from households with “higher than average annual incomes” and the other with a population of kids from “lower than average annual incomes”—should mix pupils, according to the new guidelines.
This will help achieve racial diversity and ultimately prevent “racial isolation,” the administration claims. A joint venture between the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Education (DOE), the guidelines are expected to be implemented by the nation’s elementary and secondary schools as well as colleges and universities that receive taxpayer dollars.
Educators are encouraged to consider a student’s race in “carefully constructed” plans to promote diversity or reduce racial isolation, which is far too common and increasing in America’s classroom’s, according to Obama Education Secretary Arne Duncan. The racial isolation has bred “educational inequity,” Duncan says, adding that this is inconsistent with America’s core values.
Besides, diverse learning environments promote development of analytical skills, dismantle stereotypes and prepare students to succeed in an increasingly interconnected world, says Attorney General Eric Holder. The new guidelines his agency helped craft will aid educational institutions in their efforts to provide “true equality of opportunity,” Holder assures.
Let’s take a quick look at the guidelines for elementary and secondary schools, which are referred to as K-12 because they go from kindergarten to 12th grade. First off, they let schools off the hook by saying that districts are required to use “race-neutral approaches only if they are workable.” Assuming that they are not “workable,” the administration is pushing drawing new attendance boundaries, grade realignment and a restructuring of feeder patterns.
The postsecondary guidelines aren’t much different and encourage colleges to consider race in admissions, recruitment, mentoring, tutoring and retention programs. As a “race-neutral” approach (when workable), the DOE and DOJ suggest considering students’ socioeconomic status. Regardless, diversity must be attained because “postsecondary institutions play a unique role in opening doors for all segments of American society, including people of all races and ethnicities.”
In a deplorable waste of taxpayer dollars, a hip-hop themed public high school that has taken more than two years and half a million dollars to plan will never open its doors in Oregon.It’s bad enough that Portland education officials approved the failed project in the first place. Many admitted having “lingering concerns about the school’s academic curriculum” before giving it the green light in 2009, but went along with it because they appreciated its “innovation, creativity and potential to draw students who aren’t being served in the district’s current system.”Reading between the lines that likely means perpetually low-performing minority students who might find inspiration in a hip-hop music and dance theme. The idea, according to the woman behind the publicly funded charter school, was to prepare students to be successful in society while engaging them through recording arts.But the charter school will never open its doors because planners failed to have the minimum curriculum and materials, according to a local newspaper report. Not only did they blow 500,000 taxpayer dollars, they owe an additional $200,000 for renovations to the building. The spent money, compliments of Uncle
Sam, came in three chunks—$50,000 for planning and two separate $225,000 “implementation” grants.Now that the cash has been lost, the Portland School District finally cut off further funding, citing an “astounding lack of readiness.” It only took them two years to come to this realization. The woman who was in charge of the disastrous charter school, a local parent, actually blames state and district authorities for not regulating her and the school more forcefully. She’s right.The idea behind the now defunct REAL Prep Charter Academy was certainly unique. It promised to offer a “revolutionary 21st century education” created by global artists and activists, among others. Students would benefit from “brain-based learning” as well as “project-based learning” and “real cultural competency.” We will never know exactly what this means.One student who enrolled at the charter says he was promised that he could work at his own pace rather than be held back like in a traditional public school. His mother said she was sold on the charter’s promise that kids would learn academic skills by doing “meaningful hands-on projects” like starting their own record company.