Tuesday, March 2, 2004

Dwight Lewis: nation still suffers from 'separate and unequal' educational dichotomy

"'… The bleak record of public education for ghetto children is growing worse. In the critical skills — verbal and reading ability — Negro students are falling further behind whites with each year of school completed. The high unemployment and underemployment rate for Negro youth is evidence, in part, of the growing educational crisis.'"

"That was 36 years ago, and one would hope that by now, this nation's schools, indeed, do know how to equip its children to develop their potential and to participate fully in American life."

"Unfortunately, that appears not to be the case."

"'Half or more of black, Hispanic and Native American youths in the United States are getting left behind before high school graduation in a 'hidden crisis' obscured by the U.S. Department of Education regulations issued under the 'No Child Left Behind' Act that allow schools, districts and states to all but eliminate graduation rate accountability for minority subgroups,' a report released Wednesday by two non-partisan groups, the Civil Rights Project at Harvard and the Urban Institute, said."

"The report went on to say that while 75% of white students graduated from high school in 2001, only 50% of all black students, 51% of Native American students and 53% of all Hispanic students got a high school diploma in the same year."

"The problem was even worse for black, Native American and Hispanic young men at 43%, 47% and 48%, respectively, the study found."

"Twenty years after issuing its first report, there was a call for a second Kerner Commission because while 'the nation was no longer as divided by race as it was in the 1960s, great gaps remained.'"

"Now, 36 years later, look at the gaps not only in education but elsewhere. Isn't it a shame to grow older and not wiser, even as a nation?"

The Tennessean

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