The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

A Failed State: California Admits It Can’t Teach Black Children How to Read

Posted on | February 22, 2020 | Comments Off on A Failed State: California Admits It Can’t Teach Black Children How to Read

An admission that will cost California taxpayers $50 million:

The state of California [on Thursday] agreed to settle a years-long, high-profile lawsuit that accused the state of depriving low-income students of color of their constitutional right to a basic education — by failing to teach them reading skills.
Under an agreement reached with plaintiffs in the complaint, Ella T. v. State of California, the state will provide $50 million specifically to improve literacy in the 75 California elementary schools with the highest concentration of third-graders scoring in the bottom tier of the state’s standardized reading exam.
The agreement, part of which needs the Legislature’s approval, also requires the state to advise public schools how to reduce disparities in discipline of students of color, according to an outline of the agreement provided by Public Counsel, the pro-bono firm representing the suit’s plaintiffs.
Public Counsel celebrated Judge Rupert Byrdsong’s approval of the settlement, calling it “a historic first step forward towards affirming the (right to literacy) for all children in California.” . . .
The plaintiffs represented by Public Counsel and the law firm Morrison & Foerster included current and former students of three California elementary schools with some of the lowest reading proficiency marks in California: La Salle Avenue Elementary in Los Angeles Unified School District, Van Buren Elementary in Stockton Unified, and the Inglewood charter school Children of Promise Preparatory Academy. The suit sought to hold the state responsible for the students’ poor literacy, noting that 11 of the country’s 26 lowest-performing large school districts were based in California.
Ella T., a 7-year-old black student at La Salle Elementary when the complaint was introduced, did not receive the “intensive support” and interventions she needed by the time she left first grade reading below kindergarten level, according to the suit.
Several other students of color represented in the complaint also were several grade levels behind in reading literacy. One black student who attended La Salle, identified in the suit as 11-year-old Russell W., did a book report for his fifth-grade class on “Cat in the Hat,” a book meant for kindergarten readers.

To understand how bad it is, look at this graph (click to enlarge):


In California, 77% of Asian students and 66% of white students score “proficient” on reading tests, compared to 41% of Latino students and 33% of black students. In other words, white students are twice as likely as black students to read at a “proficient” level, and two-thirds of black students are reading below grade level. The lawsuit claims that the state of California is to blame for this education disparity, and I’m perfectly willing to accept that claim, because f**k California, a state wholly controlled by the Democratic Party. If, however, you reject such a simplistic explanation, liberals will help confuse the issue:

Over the last decade . . . California has initiated sweeping reforms in an attempt to channel more resources to high-needs students and to better level the educational playing field. These and other efforts have, to some extent, improved academic outcomes — but black, Latino and poor students still lag dramatically behind Asian American, white and wealthier students. . . .

(Note the assumption that “resources,” and the distribution thereof, can lead to “improved academic outcomes.”)

UCLA researchers recently found that California was the most segregated state for Latinos, “where 58% attend intensely segregated schools,” exacerbating inequities in educational opportunities. More than half of the state’s black students are concentrated in just 25 of the state’s 1,000 school districts. Of the students enrolled in K-12 public schools in California, less than 30% are white, the researchers found. . . .

(Wait a minute — California is “the most segregated state for Latinos”? Has anyone told Nancy Pelosi about this? And what’s up with the shortage of white children in California? Maybe Democrats can start a program to import white kids to California from out of state.)

A recent study by Stanford researchers found student achievement gaps are mainly driven by school poverty — not a school’s racial composition. “Racial segregation appears to be harmful because it concentrates minority students in high-poverty schools, which are, on average, less effective than lower-poverty schools,” the study found. . . .

(Keep in mind, when they say “segregation,” they’re not talking about some kind of Jim Crow policy, but merely the fact that “minority students” go to schools in their own communities with children from similar backgrounds. And notice the assumption that the school is independently responsible for education outcomes, as opposed to the individual student being responsible. If your kid flunks math, just blame the “high-poverty” school.)

In 2018, researchers with the American Institute for Research looked at California’s spending the prior school year and calculated that, to educate all the state’s K-12 students to California’s learning standards, the state would have had to spend an extra $25.6 billion over the $66.7 billion it spent that year.

A simple solution — MORE MONEY!

Do you see now why California is circling the toilet bowl? Their entire way of thinking is limited by their liberal worldview, so that they can never understand any problem where the facts contradict their belief system. The “sweeping reforms” intended to “level the educational playing field” were premised on the idea that differences in test scores could be explained in terms of “resources,” so that all they needed to do was target more “resources” (i.e., taxpayer money) at schools with low test scores. Throw in a lot of social-justice talk about poverty and “segregation,” and you make it seem as if only a racist bigot could be skeptical of the efficacy of such “sweeping reforms.”

After years of this kind of “reform” effort, you’ve got fifth-graders doing book reports about The Cat in the Hat, and taxpayers will have to pay out an extra $50 million to settle a lawsuit, but did you notice where this money will go? To “the 75 California elementary schools with the highest concentration of third-graders scoring in the bottom tier of the state’s standardized reading exam.” Yes, the worst-performing schools in the state will get this money, so that the result is to reward failure, and does anyone think that’s actually going to solve the problem?

Liberalism is a mental disorder, and putting liberals in charge of public education guarantees that the madness will become an epidemic.

Oh, and for the record: As of the 2016-2017 school year, 54.2% of California public school students were Latino — an absolute majority — while 23.7% were white, 12.1% were Asian and 5.5% were black.

What do these numbers suggest about California’s future? Are the state’s educational problems likely to get better, or worse?



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