My Old KY Home: Where Class Plays a Major Role in Student Advantage

The Education Trust, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, according to a Jan. 9, 2020, article in the Courier-Journal (Louisville), found that here in my Old Kentucky Home black and other minority students are not getting their fair share of seats in gifted programs and advanced courses while in school, in a new national report. Shocking…

The study fingers as the main culprit being “tracking”: students being placed on an advanced path based off of gifted identification in elementary school typically continue on that track through to high school. 

There are multiple reasons why minority students or absent at the beginning of this road toward success, such as,

  • Gifted programs and advanced courses can rely on a teacher or counselor recommendation — often leaving room for bias in decisions. 
  • The screening process itself may also rely on a singular definition of giftedness that was not created with students of color in mind.
  • Students of color often attend schools with fewer resources or high-quality teachers. That can lead to fewer advanced courses, which schools often rely on more experienced educators to teach. 

But the last reason I found most resonant due to the fact that it is found here in Jefferson Co., KY, or the Louisville Area, where I reside, quoted from the C-J article :

Schools with higher rates of poverty or students of color — or both — often had fewer AP classes to begin with. And that means fewer seats for students. 

DuPont Manual, a top-rated magnet school, offers 31 AP classes to its predominantly white students. Ballard, a resides school in the East End, has 30 classes. 

Iroquois High School — which didn’t offer a single AP class 10 years ago — has seven AP courses. It is the smallest offering outside of Fairdale and Western, which offer Cambridge and early college classes, respectfully. 

Socioeconomic status, or SES, is, of course, a major factor in the tracking phenomenon. Along with the above observations minorities have more instances of single-mother households where the mother is the sole bread-winner. This leads to poor moms being at work instead of being at home counseling their children, unlike what happens in more affluent homes.

We are losing the class war in our schools. We must act now.

How to Change: Restraint, and Issues of Equality

In previous posts I have advocated for some rather radical societal changes: smashing capitalism, fighting off cultural hegemony, etc. But let me explain how the essence of a new, better society also needs some restraint.

First, I have advocated for a vanguard party to lead us at first, or a small group of revolutionaries who will rule in the interests of the working class, what’s called the “dictatorship of the proletariat,” as Lenin proposed. But we must learn from history that we must put some legal/constitutional regulations on this group of leaders. What can happen is, like what happened with Stalin in the old USSR, a single leader may wrestle from the people far too much power and enact a totalitarian government serving only their interests. We must hold their feet to the fire as the people.

Second, we must not make any change too fast for the people will rebel against the new society, as happened during the French Revolution. We must not have economic “Five Year Plans,” or “Great Leaps Forward,” or how Khmer Rouge emptied the cities of Cambodia and shipped all the citizens to the countryside to work in collective farms. That would be insane. We can’t make such mistakes as these as far leftists have done in the past. Revolutionaries have not always known how to run a country. We must read the people and act accordingly maybe even welcoming a period of Thermidor.

What will be enacted right away, though, in the interest of a new, better, revolutionary society is enacting far leftist social changes. We must remove all wage discrimination between women and men. We must remove all hindrances for LGBTQ citizens from gaining equal rights. We must address the issue of reparations for both the Native American and African American communities. These must be addressed immediately. Capitalist WASP’s want to divide us through these differences. If we can make these changes we will realize that the only thing that separates us is class. Than all will become apparent.

Social Protest Lit.: Pres. Abraham Lincoln “Working and Taking”

indexTaken from the Lincoln -Douglas debates from Civil War Pres. Abraham Lincoln entitled “Working and Taking” from Book V called “Revolt.” This chapter is summarized as to pertain to “The struggle to abolish injustice; the battle cries of the new army which is gathering for the deliverance of humanity.”

That is the real issue that will continue in this country when these poor tongues of Judge Douglas and myself shall be silent. It is the eternal struggle between these two principles that have stood the face to face from the beginning of time. The one is the common right of humanity, the other the divine right of kings. It is the same principle in whatever shape it develops itself. It is the same spirit that says “you toil and work and earn bread and I’ll eat it.”

 

Obama and Community College Proposal

09UP-College-superJumboOn Jan. 9th at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, TN, Pres. Obama issued a landmark proposal for the government to pay the tuition for two-year community college programs nationwide, making them free. It is a stunning step that could raise the quality of life for millions of Americans.

The obtainment of a secondary-education is the path to the middle class for both newly graduated high school students and older adults looking to advance themselves who could not otherwise afford it.

According to a piece in the NYT by Justin Wolfers, in “The Upshot”, the macro economic benefits would also be great for it would increase both output and raise living standards across the middle and lower classes. He continues that:

Mr. Obama’s proposal is an effort to revive education as one of the drivers of economic growth. If he succeeds in persuading more of the next generation to continue beyond high school, and to invest in community college and possibly beyond, there’s a strong chance the rate of economic growth will be bolstered for decades to come. And relative to other ways of strengthening growth, investment in community college is most likely to ensure that the middle class shares in the benefits of it.

Now students must attend community college at least half-time, maintain a 2.5 GPA, and make steady progress toward completing their program to be eligible. So there are strings attached that I am sure the critics will love to claim are not there.

And for those fiscal hawks out there, the government would pay for 75% of the costs (by investing $60 billion over the next 10 years) while the participating state would cover the remaining 25%. But keep in mind that the annual Federal budget is $3.5 trillion , making $60 million a drop in the bucket.

And one other thing. Make sure that we keep in mind that furthering one’s education does not solely benefit us economically. It also makes us more informed, better suited citizens ready to lead our nation through voting choices or even by holding higher-office.

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College Education is More Than Path to Wealth Alone

73f110779A good piece in The Atlantic on how high school students today believe a college education is purely a path to economic prosperity, not an opportunity to awaken intellectually.

The point is also made that this line of thought is prominent amongst lower-income students. I was one of these kids written about and it’s true. With a mother who has an eighth grade education, I did not reside in an affluent neighborhood growing up. So I fell into this trap as I entered college.

But after my initial two years of study at the University of Louisville, I found philosophy, media studies, and sociology, which were priceless in developing my critical thinking skills and have enriched my life immensely.

  Read Here.

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