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.

NYT: “The Making of a U.K. Millennial Socialist”

Stand with our British sisters, brothers, and comrades!!!

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