Florida really sticks it to poor black kids.

In homage to the state’s race based schools, talk about the soft bigotry of low expectations and Cleve Warren’s charter school in an abandoned mall, I represent just a few of the ways Florida really sticks it to its most vulnerable kids.

I could have written “poor kid” but we should all know by
now that nobody cares about poor kids.

Lets get right to it.
Charter schools are being put in poor neighborhoods and
being sold as miracle cures, unfortunately snake oil is closer to the truth.
Stanford’s CREDO, the definitive study on charter schools said that kids in
Florida charter schools lose an average of seven days in reading and hold
steady in math, which is hardly a miracle right. However it is worse because
when you factor in selection bias, low numbers of ESOL and ESE students, the
ability to counsel out poor performers, kick out kids with discipline problems
and their ability to impose requirements on parents, with all that going for
them, they should be killing public schools but they aren’t and instead they
are lagging behind. 
Then there is Teach for America, which does the exact
opposite of what we know to be best practices. They take non-education majors
and put them through a five week teacher boot camp and then put them in our
neediest classrooms, you know the ones with all the black kids, err make that
poor kids. There they stay for two years and leave, or most of them do anyways,
only 8% of Jacksonville’s first class of TFA teachers made it to year 4. That’s
right instead of recruiting our top teachers to work with our most needy
students we would rather have an ever-revolving door of neophytes, so much that
the champions for, privatization, err, change recently pledge to invest 11 million
dollars into the program.
Say some of them do somehow make it through all this and
graduate with a well rounded education, well there is no guarantee they will be
able to go to college since the state changed the bright future rules. From the
Gainesville Sun: The percentage of Alachua County high school seniors receiving
Bright Futures will drop by 63 percent under the new guidelines. Low- and
middle-income students will feel the brunt of the changes unless action is

The Miami Herald also weighted in: Starting next
year, Florida students will need to post higher scores on the SAT and ACT
scores to qualify for the state-funded scholarships. The change will likely
cause the number of college freshman receiving Bright Futures awards to drop
dramatically, with poor and minority students suffering the most. 

Who is going to pay for college, oh some of you are thinking
they can get student loans, well not so fast. According to the Washington Post,
The Obama administration’s rules
for approving student loans are causing a disproportionately large number of
blacks to be denied because of blemished credit histories.
A reduced chance of getting a quality education, coupled
with no scholarships and no loans to go to college for those few that do make
it is sadly what many of our neediest kids are now facing. Sadly that’s what I
believe many of their parents and grandparents faced too.
The real problem is the only
time the state doesn’t ignore poverty is when it says poverty is an excuse,
well look where all the schools that are struggling are. There isn’t a school
in Mandarin or at the beach doing poorly. St. Johns has zero charter schools
too. They are all in high poverty areas.
Poverty, by the way, which common core ignores is the
number one quantifiable measurement in education; those students that live in
it as a group do worse than those that don’t. But that’s not to say we should
just throw our hands up, quit, dismantle public schools, though many
influential members of the state government would like us to and ship the
students out.
Instead we should employ
common sense solutions that don’t break the bank or reinvent the wheel, and
perhaps most importantly that don’t wreck neighborhoods in the process. We
should have disciplined and rigorous classes. We do students no favors when we
pass them along without discipline, or a work ethic, or the basic knowledge
that they need. We need to provide legitimate after school and summer school
opportunities to catch the kids up to where they should be. We could make the
schedules more manageable (8 classes at a time, really) and make school more
enjoyable to kids by making sure each student had a least one elective on their
schedule. That and we can make many of their education experiences more
meaningful by offering more trade, skill and arts opportunities. We can’t continue to make school such drudgery or irrelevant
for kids and then wonder why so many do poorly or drop out.
we need social workers and mental health counselors because often why a kid
does poorly in school has nothing to do with school. We could make a change. We
could be doing so much better if we wanted to.
Please forgive the pun but a lot of kids, our poor white
kids and our poor black kids start behind the eight ball and we don’t do much
to help them get out from behind it. It is almost like the plan from the
beginning is to keep the cycle of poverty that affects so many of them going.
It is tough to be a black kid in

I could have written “poor kid” but we should all know
by now nobody cares about poor kids.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *