Oh The Injustice

This year, the county decreed from on high that all students who scored
either basic or low proficient on MSA (Maryland State Assessment) had
to be put into this very specific remedial reading program called Language!,
which I’m sure they paid big bucks to get.  (Some salesperson
really scored.)  Because of course almost all of our kids scored
basic (they don’t know English!), this has completed changed our
program for next year.   We’re really not happy at all with
what’s happening – the program really isn’t at all for ESOL but we’re
going with it because, well, we have to.

This applies not just to ESOL but to all the bad readers in our
school.  Among the American kids, there are only about 30 or so
non-special ed students who will be in the program.  Of those 30
students, only one student was white and the student’s parents pulled
him because they didn’t want him to be in a class with all black
kids.  In the meantime, the school’s Gifted and Talented program
is heavily white.  This is NOT a case of deliberate segregation or
racism (in my opinion).  The reality is that the majority of the
kids who are zoned to go to my school are white with well-educated
upper-middle class parents.  They went to good elementary schools
before coming to my school.  So of course they can read!
Many of the African-American students get bussed to our school because
their parents have elected to have them go somewhere else because their
zoned middle school has been persistently failing.  So they have
the right to send their kids elsewhere under No Child Left
Behind.  Basically the kids in the remedial reading program for
next year came to us vastly underprepared as compared to the kids who
went to the good elementary schools in the area.  I am sure that
there are significantly more kids in the Language! program at their
zoned school.  There is a reason why it turned out this way.
Nonetheless, it looks horrible.  And it is horrible.

Yesterday, in church, there was a presentation about Baltimore Christian School,
the school that my church started about 12 years ago.  One of the
women said something like, “We are committed to providing these
children with a quality education because it shouldn’t matter where you
live, what race you are, what gender you are, what class you are – you
are entitled to an excellent education.”  And yet, it does
matter.  It especially matters where you live and if your parents
can afford to get you out of the public schools.   It matters
immensely.  And sometimes the sadness and inequality and
unfairness of it all overwhelms me.  My pastor said once that he
thinks that education will become the civil rights movement of my
generation.   So I say bring it on.  This is a battle
Christians have to fight.

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