Thursday, July 26, 2007

Teachers understand

The capital city had one of those very hip “community conversations” earlier this week, and although I did not attend, it looked rather worthwhile. The Little Rock Classroom Teachers Association staged the event to get some discussion going on the gap in academic performance between whites and minority children. It is very worrisome.

Looking at statewide literacy rates, as reported by the Arkansas Times blog, some disturbing results at the eighth grade level emerge. Statewide 73% of white children pass while only 44% of minority kids are appropriately literate for the grade. Since most of us to not subscribe to racist theories, there must be something else driving these numbers.

Teachers suspect, and I agree, that early influences have a lot to do with how young folks do in school. Poor kids often come from homes with few books or magazines. They come to school unable to read and socially unprepared, and it is downhill from there. Parents often expect schools to do everything, and that is simply impossible.

In less well-off families, often headed by a single mom, there is no time to help kids study. Education just does not seem important to parents, and they obviously need some help.

(Broadcast July 25, 2007)

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