The people who live in Harlem and other large urban centers know better than anyone the devastating impact substandard schools have on their communities. Just 2,000 of the nation's 20,000 high schools produce almost half of all high-school dropouts. But nearly half of all black high-school students wind up in one of these "dropout factories." The prospects for black males who don't graduate are not good, quite aside from lower lifetime earnings. The sadder reality is that 60% of all black male high-school dropouts in their mid-30s have prison records.
This year, Harlem's charter schools received more than 11,000 applications for 2,000 available slots. More than 7,000 children are on wait lists. Yet the United Federation of Teachers and its political acolytes in the New York state legislature are hell-bent on blocking school choice for underprivileged families.
Illinois' governor is talking budget cuts again--well, why not use the school dollars we have more wisely--in schools that cost less and teach more. Front page Sun Times today, a grade change scandal from fail to pass. At Hyde Park Academy. President Obama's home in Chicago. (But his kids won't be headed there when they come home, no, no, no, they'll continue to go to their private school, as they do in D.C.)
There are success stories, like the one of the all boys charter school in Chicago which has placed all its graduating class in college.
We need more. And we need them now:
When state Sen. James Meeks asks fellow Democrats to give education vouchers to kids who attend some of the worst schools in Chicago, the legislators often tell him they don't want to divert dollars from public education.
Meeks' response: "If the public schools are not doing their job, why do you want to continue to reward them with money?"
More. A head-scratcher:
On Monday, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that his department will expand its efforts in civil rights enforcement. Its civil rights division will monitor racial disparities in enrollment in college prep classes, school discipline, and teacher assignment. Like everything this sounds fantastic in the abstract. Who after all publicly declares that they oppose protecting civil rights?
The details, though, paint a more troublesome picture. First, the shamelessness of it is astonishing. This is the same Department of Education that can’t support a voucher program in Washington DC to help minority children escape the grinding incompetence of the DC school system. Now it wants to spend its resources determining whether schools in Fairfax County or Westchester have a disproportionate number of white kids in college prep classes. Someone’s priorities seem misplaced. Even Nixon would blush.