Is it "racist" for the school principal to meet with the black students prior to state testing, and to tell them that they score lower than their white peers, presumably to motivate them to do better? If it's not racist, is it just dumb?
Or is it neither? We know that American blacks, as a group, underperform compared to their white counterparts; are we not allowed to tell them that?
Perhaps one way not to have to worry about this is just to reclassify the students as white. That's right, just find the ones that are mixed race and ask their parents to reclassify them. If the school doesn't have enough students in a particular subgroup, that subgroups scores don't have to be identified--and if it's a traditionally low-performing subgroup, that subgroup will no longer count against the school if it doesn't perform well! Oh, the individual scores will count in the school's tally, but the subgroup won't officially "exist" at the school and hence cannot be broken out.
Why is this important? Because the No Child Left Behind Act states that if a particular (racial or socioeconomic) subgroup doesn't meet improvement goals, then the school is considered a failing school. No group, no failure.
This is one of those times where I need some assistance from my readers. I might be holding contradictory viewpoints here, and I could use some clarity. In general, I don't like racial classifications. I don't think skin color matters in education, or in matters before the law. However, certain groups of students consistently don't do well on standardized tests, and those groups are those with black or brown skin. Yes, culture has much to do with that gap, but even affluent black students don't score near as high as affluent white kids in the same neighborhood. In wanting to make sure we don't let these same kids fall through the cracks--in order to make sure they're not left behind by having their scores lost in the school average--I support breaking school scoring data down by subgroup.
So in general I don't like these (racial) subgroups, but I like the idea of using them to identify where we in the education business aren't doing as well as we can with certain kids. Am I being contradictory here? If not, can you explain to me how I'm not? And if I am, can you explain how I might modify my beliefs--keeping in mind that racial colorblindness is one of my bedrock beliefs--in order to ensure that schools continue to shine a light on students, whether as groups or as individuals, who don't perform as well as they could or should?
I genuinely want to reconcile these beliefs into a consistent framework.