Education as a Human Right: The Civil Rights Issue of This Generation

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Common Dreams

Education as a Human Right: The Civil Rights Issue of This Generation

By now it is abundantly clear that the federal government plans to do nothing about enforcing the Fair Housing Act, which was passed in 1968 as a sop to those grieving the assassination of Dr. King, just as it is clear that the Feds plan to do nothing to stop funding the resegregation and cultural neutering of American minority children by corporate reform charter school missionaries.  

When Arne Duncan proclaimed that he had a Rosa Parks moment as he watched the corporate welfare school informercial, "Waiting for Superman," it was clear that the civil rights movement that began in the 1950s with Brown v Board was on its death bed, and that Arne and corporate foundations were standing by with the pillow.

Duncan's own office just released a new study that documents the grisly reality that Obama/Gates policies embellish each year:

Racial minorities are more likely than white students to be suspended from school, to have less access to rigorous math and science classes, and to be taught by lower-paid teachers with less experience, according to comprehensive data released Friday by the data released Friday by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

In the first analysis in nearly 15 years of information from all of the country’s 97,000 public schools, the Education Department found a pattern of inequality on a number of fronts, with race as the dividing factor.

Black students are suspended and expelled at three times the rate of white students. A quarter of high schools with the highest percentage of black and Latino students do not offer any Algebra II courses, while a third of those schools do not have any chemistry classes. Black students are more than four times as likely as white students — and Latino students are twice as likely — to attend schools where one out of every five teachers does not meet all state teaching requirements.

The Education Department’s report found that black, Latino, American Indian and Native Alaskan students are three times as likely as white students to attend schools with higher concentrations of first-year teachers. And in nearly a quarter of school districts with at least two high schools, the teacher salary gap between high schools with the highest concentrations of black and Latino students and those with the lowest is more than $5,000 a year.

Timothy Daly, president of the New Teacher Project, a nonprofit that recruits teachers, said that while the data looked at educator experience and credentials, it was also important to look at quality, as measured by test scores, principal observations and student surveys.

“Folks who cannot teach effectively should not be working with low-income or African-American kids, period,” he said, adding that the problem was difficult to resolve because individual districts are allowed to make decisions on how to assign teachers to schools.

As long as we are willing to listen the nitwits like Daly who claim that separate schools are not inherently unequal because they have the test scores to prove it, and that it is the fault of elected school boards that impoverished schools don't have good teachers, then that is how long we will continue the barbarous crusade to replace urban schools with corporate chain gangs inspired by eugenicists, David Levin and Angela Duckworth--who are hellbent on cognitively rewiring children to make them compliant little happy robots, regardless of the sociological truth.

Looking back a hundred years, it is easy to see the human rights violations of the Eugenics Era that began in England and the U. S. and culminated in Hitler's Germany.  It is time to call the egregious and unrepentant abuse of children that is happening right before our eyes in the total compliance apartheid testing camps what it really is: human rights violations.

The human rights restoration of children in schools will be found in American courts or, if not there, then in the world courts.  Human rights has become the civil rights issue of our generation.  It is time to start acting on this realization.

Jim Horn

Jim Horn is Professor of Educational Leadership at Cambridge College, Cambridge, MA. He is also an education blogger at Schools Matter @ the Chalkface and has published widely on issues related to education reform and social justice in education. With co-author, Denise Wilburn, his new book, The Mismeasure of Education, was published in July 2013.

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