Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Brown Vs Board of Education: Solidified (update, 10/21}

    Brown vs Board of Education clearly disallowed school segregation at any level.  "The Kansas case was unique .... that there was no contention of gross inferiority of the segregated schools' physical plant, curriculum, or staff." - 

This clearly rejects any exception to the rule under any conditions.  

However, what it does not consider is the equality of preparation necessary for students to be successful, not only on a pathway to a university, but a pathway for daily living beyond the four walls of the school.  Hidden in the depths of the curent system and philosophy of education is the lack of equality created by a lack of understanding that all students are different and perform in different ways.  I call this the EQUALITY OF DIFFERENTIATION.  

As the microscope focuses on individual students, the system is designed to see all through a blurred lens.  Why isn't every child in the same place at the same time taking the same standardized test. In reference to the movie Stepford Wives, we do not have Stepford Kids  as in the movie. Can you imagine what life would be like under those conditions?

Those conditions will never exist in our lifetime and hopefully will never, ever exist.  In an academic sense, students will never have the same ability to take a standardized test, or invent a new mouse trap or overcome failure, or graduate after four years.  This is clear with the wide range of those with special learning needs as well as those in general education and even gifted programs. 

When considering equity, we only need to look at the recent pandemic for the answer. "The amount of time students were confined to their homes, away from in school learning, was devastating to their education. It soon became clear that with skill levels now all over the board, those students would not return to school fitting into the 'one size fits all' education curriculum currently available." - A Failed System; Pandemic Related Solutions to a 200-Year-Old Education"; Roman and Littlefield, Eldon "Cap" Lee. author.

Questions that arose, without answers in the current system are:  What grade are the students in?  Are they promoted without learning? Are retained into oblivion taking the first steps to the school to prison pipeline?  Will they be excluded by an SAT or other standardized test designed to, in the words of Thomas Jefferson, "rake a few geniuses from the rubbish?"

The lessons of the pandemic are clear.  The system is not working for those students, and never will. It was never designed to serve all students.  What is clear to some, but not clear to many, is the system has never worked for some black and brown as well as occasional white students for the last 200 years.  The systemic goal of education is to maintain the subclass by ALLOWING roadblocks to learning to be systematically placed in front of unwitting students.  

Learning is slowed by childhood stress, malnutrition, lead in the water and a host of other issues especially including a "failure system" that is designed to push kids out of school.  Once behind, the current system makes it nearly impossible for students to catch up and graduate on the same day at the same time as the "accepted" norm.  It is important to understand that all black and brown students are not subject to these roadblocks.  In fact many, if not most, are protected from those roadblocks and will do well undermostl circumstances..  

However, when students enter a classroom, no teacher knows which students have faced roadblocks and which haven't.  That is why all students must be met with high expectations to allow those skilled black and Brown students to advance to their fullest potential regardless of the assessment methods.

This discussion is not about what students can or can't be successful under the current admission system  It's about the real way students can demonstrate the skills needed to move forward to their pathway to success.  Real demonstrations of learning will be documented to indicate their real skills.  Letter grades and the test are artificial and therefore must be excluded from the process.

Solutions are available if only we could get around the massive roadblocks put in the way of educators.  The reality is that corporate leadership and pandering politicians demand the status quo by simply blaming the teachers. The Pete Seeger song "Where's the Trouble at the Bottom?" points out the confusion that exists trying to fix a failed system of education. Those who are pushed out of the system are acceptable to the corporations and politicians and, as an added bonus, it saves them money in their education budget.  Of course, the prison budget is another story.

What if, as a solution, students developed a portfolio throughout their final four years of secondary school.  And this portfolio was presented to the University Admission Department without meaningless letter grades and test scores.  And that portfolio was scrutinized by a team of Professors, Social Workers and others. Think of the possibilities. The results could be a completely different approach to University or College admittance  

Consider this: A student is accepted and admitted to a University with a specific focus as determined by their portfolio and the passion of the student. Or, they are not accepted at this time but when they increase their skills in well defined, specific areas, their application will be reviewed.  Community Colleges would then be seen as an extension of high school, a stepping stone to a University and/or preparation for a career of ones choosing.  Most are already proficient in those roles, however under this plan, there would be specific learning goals for specific students.

Of utmost importance is, unlike letter grades and a standardized test, the portfolio would allow students to access their background information.  This demands the complete acceptance of cultural differences.

When this becomes the norm, an even playing field would be available with guidance from Brown vs Board of Education.  The law would then demand fair integration on all levels and take away excuses of PERCEIVED lack of abilities determined by an artificial test, fake grade point averages and any school discrimination.. ANY DISCREMENATION WOULD BE LOUD, CLEAR AND INEXCUSABLE!  The EQUALITY OF DIFFERENTIATION would take every child to their maximum potential! 

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