Friday, June 16, 2006

Culture and a Lack of Achievement

When I mentioned that culture, and not just race, causes the achievement gap, I'm accused of being a racist. When Bill Cosby says it, he's a race traitor or just plain wrong. What happens when a young black woman says it?


EllenK said...

This is a little off topic, but since you are a Dad, Happy Father's Day. I think we need more attention to the importance of Fathers in this world and maybe in a certain light, that is what Bill Cosby is trying to do. I also wrote a little bit about my own Dad, if you care to read it.

Robert said...

If you read my blog at all (and I know you do sometimes, Darren (thanks)) you have heard me carp on this all the time.

A huge portion of what we call problems with *education* are problems with *culture* -- that is, how we assign meaning to things. LaShawn was right on in that post. And there is no law or "reform measure" that can even come close to fixing it. We as a society simply have to make up our minds to do the right thing. For my, as an educator, I'm just trying to make things better one student at a time, one class at a time, one semester at a time.

The kind of cultural change we need results only as the aggregate of a whole lot of people making very small differences all the time, for a long time. NCLB and its ilk are just efforts to short-circuit that work and as such are doomed to fail.

Darren said...

I think that NCLB does just the opposite. By focusing the attention on the students who are not succeeding, it can serve to motivate the very incremental change that you mention.

EllenK said...

I would agree with the previous comments. When people look at stats and see that minority students fail more often, the quick fix is money. But in the long run, when you look at successful students across the board, there is at least one strong parent supporting that student's efforts to succeed. When you have parents that are little better than kids themselves, who rely on welfare for income and who sometimes drift into alternative lifestyle choices of homelessness, drug use and alcoholism, it's actually a wonder some kids do as well as they do. We have to get away from this weird attitude of "my baby's momma" and "my baby's daddy" and start making it important to make long term life time decisions to build families. One way would be to get away from the penalty on public support for families with two wage earners. If they are both working and still in poverty, then let's help them out because that way their children will have more people looking out for them. On the other hand, we need to find a way to strongly discourage the macho image of fathering as many kids with as many women as possible. This has been a positive image in some sectors for quite a while. It has to change.