Blog #4 for week 10: Whither school integration?

Blog #4 for week 10: Whither school integration?

There has been an ongoing debate about whether it is best to have schools segregated or desegregated. The first major decision about this subject was with the case of Brown vs. the Board of Education in 1954. This was about a little African American girl who wanted to go to a better, predominantly white school because she was not getting a proper education at her segregated school that was farther away. There are three main reasons that underprivileged students wanted to transfer to a predominantly white schools. Their school had little to no materials and what they did have was old or ruined. They had non-qualified or non-caring teachers and were taught in broken down buildings. These reasons along with race made the Supreme Court make an unanimous decision that racial segregation was not allowed in the public school system.

This court decision was a huge leap for the African American community, but there were still battles that the community needed to overcome. First of all, the predominantly white schools were not welcoming to the African American community which made it a difficult transition for them. Second, in 1967 the “majority-white middle-class public schools scored two years ahead on achievement tests, while students in inner-city school tended to be at least two years behind (Goldstein, 2014). Thirdly, teachers were not fond or good at educating poor non-white students that still affect students today.

We currently still encounter this problem as Nikole Hannah-Jones noted in her recent interview called “The Problem We All Live With,” she explains what has happened to two schools in Missouri. The first school, Normandy exhibited difficulty and was a low performing school which resulted in the decision/law that the students could choose to stay at their current school or they could be bused to a higher performing school that was 30 miles away to a school called Francis Howell. This was beneficial because this school was accredited by the state and had better materials, buildings, and teachers. On the other hand it was problematic because students had to wake up very early to get on the bus in order to be on school at time, but at the same time students were getting a better education with better amenities. This was a huge problem for the parents for Francis Howell just as it was for the parents in the 1960’s. Parents were concerned for the safety and educational well-being of their children. Parents from Francis Howell were afraid that if students came from Normandy it would jeopardized the school’s credentials or safety of their children (Glass & Hannah-Jones, 2015). Yet, when the two schools integrated together it ended up very beneficial for the Normandy students. For the most part, the students were integrating very well at Francis Howell, were getting a better education and their assessment test scores were improving.

So as we have learned over the years, integrating students is more valuable than desegregating students for any reason. We need to focus more on collaboration and integration with every student, not because of the law, but because it is morally right. It is helpful to have students on different levels to work together to improve their cognition. Also, I feel that it is vital for all students and schools to have the same opportunities. The local, state, and federal level needs to come up with a plan for everybody to have the same quality education in order for everybody to reach their full potential.

References

Goldstein, D. (2014). The teacher wars: A history of America’s most embattled profession. New York, NY: Doubleday.

The Problem We All Live With | This American Life. (n.d.). Retrieved October 26, 2015, from http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/562/the-problem-we-all-live-with

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16 thoughts on “Blog #4 for week 10: Whither school integration?

  1. Hi Hannah, Your blog this week really made me think and see the patterns of strong parental influence on views of race, government, and school unto their children. How this strong parental influence has shaped and continues to shape each generations view on each one of these issues. I am pointing this out because if the strong influence is resonating from the home- how can educators and administrators help reconstruct some of the negative parental influence on race, government, and school? I just read a very encouraging article on how this may be possible: http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/apr96/vol53/num07/How-Parent-Liaisons-Connect-Families-to-School.aspx
    The article addresses utilizing parents to bridge school and community by partnering with school staff. How parent liasons can connect children and families with the ever changing menu of external organizations- adult literacy programs and therapist for their children as well as school-based after school activities. Many families see school as a government institution and not a resource (Lewis, 1993). If we can use the school to open up a place of community maybe some of the negative stereotypes that parents may believe of race, government, and school can be seen as a positive force that is there to help them and their child. In your blog you said, “So as we have learned over the years, integrating students is more valuable than desegregating students for any reason. We need to focus more on collaboration and integration with every student, not because of the law, but because it is morally right.” I couldn’t agree more and having that understanding must be exposed within the home and school community in order for this issue to become a priority. Hopefully by connecting parents and schools this will allow negative bias to fade and a new postive change can happen.

    Resources

    Lewis, D. W., and F. B. True, (1993), “Enter the Home-School Consultant: The Changing Role of the School Toward Families in Need,” ERS Spectrum 11, 1: 3-6.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hannah I’d like to add to the part of your blog when you talked about how the parents reacted to the integration of schools in Missouri as well as the one during Brown VS Board of Education. Many parents during the Francis Howell integration put down the fact that it was mostly about race. They purposely ignored the fact that they were discriminating against a certain race and turned it into a matter of education being the problem, when in fact; it was the parents being racist. Also, I want to touch on the third point you made. It is stated by Nikole Hannah that, “They don’t have that effect of kids who can help boost them” (The Problem We All Live With). This shows that integration in schools allows students to push one another and better themselves. It is important to have diverse cultures in school because it allows the students to learn different backgrounds and have a better understanding of personal afflictions.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Alexandria,
        Thank you so much for bringing these points up in your comment. I do not think that I made these points clear enough in my blog. I do agree with you on all these points and I do think that the parents at Francis Howell were trying to sugar coat the fact that they were being racist. It was mainly the parents who were being racist and not the students of Francis Howell. Also, I do agree that having integration between the two schools did help the students at Normandy and bring the students closer to grade level. Also, having a diverse cultures in the schools will help push each other and better themselves. Thank you for bringing these points to my attention so I could clarify what I was trying to say in my blog.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Tiffany,
      Thank you for you comment. I have always believed that there needs to be more parent involvement within the school. I may not have agreed with the parents at the town meeting to Francis Howell, but at least they were getting involved and letting their concerns be heard. More importantly, I loved how involved the mother was at Normandy. She took her lunch time and researched schools around the area to make sure that her daughter was getting the best education possible. These parents were passionate and were looking out for their children.
      I like how you mentioned teacher liaisons. Teacher liaisons are usually used for students with special needs the liaisons help give ideas to parents to make sure that they are continuing their education at home. I believe that we need more liaisons and to have them available for all students who need it. I truly believe in making sure that the school and parents are involved more and start building a community together. Thanks again for your comment.

      Hannah

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Hannah,
    I really liked how your post is very organized and easy to read along with! You’ve made a strong point in the parent involvement in the schools, just like it did in the material we read over in class. Today as I was listening to the “The Problem We All Live With” it brought chills down my back just by listening to what certain parents had to say. It is unbelievable that even up to this day segregation exists to a certain extent. In my opinion, integrating schools is a great opportunity for the community, students, teachers, staff, and even the parents. It can be used as a learning experience, and can even help the students grow as individuals. How do you think schools, administrators, and teachers could have helped the transition be smoother?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jackie,
      Thank you so much for your comment. It brought chills down my spine as well that the majority of the parents at Francis Howell were displaying a lot of racism with their remarks and that it is sad that we are still dealing with this even today. I wonder when or even at all, if racism will ever end? I think the important thing for teachers to do in order to try to diminish or end racism is to make sure that we celebrate and teach or students about different cultures. More importantly, that everybody is unique and to embrace it. We are all special and that is a wonderful thing. When the students from Normandy came to school at Francis Howell, I thought that they did a great job welcoming the students of Normandy by having some students of Francis Howell out front of the school greeting them on their first day. I think little things can go a long way. For example, the schools could make welcome signs and post them around the school. Administrators and teachers can treat the students as guests at their home. They can make sure everybody is comfortable and making sure that everybody is getting along and if students are not getting along then address the problem and make sure that everybody is respectful to each other. Thanks again for your comment.

      Hannah

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hannah,
    Thank you for your insightful post. There are a lot of things we still need to do as members of a society to help students who are underprivileged. The first major court case with school integration is Brown vs. Board of Education however it was not as successful as others may think it was. When teaching students our bias of students who are underprivileged students should not get in the way of our teaching. Even though we have come some way, there is still a lot to be done with school integration.
    -Samantha

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    • Samantha,
      I agree with you and that we still have so much to do as members of society to help students who are underprivileged. Yes, Brown vs. the Board of Education was not perfect and we are still dealing with these problems today. However, I do feel that it was a big deal that it was an unanimously decision that segregation was against what the constitution said and that African American students could go to an all white school and if a school denied them access, then they are breaking the law. This did not fix everything and still needs to be fixed, for example, whether they discriminate students based off of gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. We cannot bring our personal opinions about these topics into our classroom. We are suppose to teach the students how to be respectful of other peoples differences and learn from each others uniqueness. Yes, we have come long way, and we still have a long way to go. Thanks again for your comment.

      Hannah

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Contrary to the fears of Francis Howell parents, the Normandy students’ scores did not bring down the averages of Francis Howell. The Normandy students were flourishing under teachers who cared for them, believed in them, and wanted them to excel. As this example shows and as Dana Goldstein notes in “The Teacher Wars” (2014), students’ academic success and teachers’ expectations of their students are directly linked; high expectations result in high academic success and vice versa. The Normandy students also did well at Francis Howell because they had access to good resources and better opportunities than they had had at their previous school.

    References
    Goldstein, D. (2014). The teacher wars: A history of America’s most embattled profession. New York, NY: Doubleday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sarah,
      Thank you for your comment. I do not think that I made it clear enough in my blog that the Normandy students did not bring down the scores of the Francis Howell students and that the Normandy students did flourish because they had teachers who cared for them, believed in them, and wanted them to excel. These things along with having access to good resources and better opportunities helped the Normandy students excel. More importantly, having these two schools integrate with each other helped the two schools improve their educational career. I hope that this makes sense. Thank you again for bringing this to my attention so I could clarify.

      Hannah

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hannah,
    I’m glad you mentioned the book and what Goldstein had wrote regarding this topic. Something I would like to add is that Goldstein talked a lot about who should control education. There was a part in ch.7 that had discussed community control and that parents and local school boards should have main control of who teaches their children, their pay and firing them. As great as small local school boards sound, I personally don’t agree to the logic that parents should have control over those things. I can see schools becoming very political and if there were parents who necessarily didn’t like a teacher they could just fire them. Yes, parents should have a say in their child’s education but should not have control of it. There should be a healthy balance of teacher and parent involvement in education. A teachers duty is to teach the students at school and a parents duty should teach their children at home.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Darci,
      Thank you for your comment. I agree with you and Goldstein completely. I think that teachers, students, and parents should collaborate together to make sure that the students are receiving the best education possible. I do agree with you that parents should have a say in their child’s education, but not control it. If the parent and teacher are not collaborating well and does not think that their child is receiving the best education possible, then that parent can decide to get the student in another class or school in order to make sure that their child is in the best learning environment possible. I also agree that parents should not decided how much a teachers’ salary should be and whether they should be fired. That should stay with the administration and the school board. If there is a huge problem happening in the classroom between the students and the teacher, then the parent can bring it to the attention of the school board and administration, but they should not have the final say in whether the teacher should be fired or not. Thank you again for your comment.

      Hannah

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Hannah, unfortunately this low funding is due to gerrymandering, which is defined as “manipulating the boundaries to favor one party or class, because of this children get affected by this act of ignorance, this reminds me of an episode in Simpsons where the parents move to a California 90210 school and live in a ghetto apartment just to receive proper education from a good school, when we should just give children each a proper education none of this would happen. I really love how you said” We need to focus more on collaboration and integration with every student, not because of the law, but because it is morally right” that’s spot on ,at the end of the day we all die at the grave the same way ,we all bleed the same WE ARE ALL HUMANS, everybody deserves a chance.

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    • Sarah
      Thank you for your comment. I like your reference about parents moving to under privileged neighborhoods just to make sure that their children are getting a proper education. That reminds me of a few of my students when I was working as a Deaf Ed Teachers’ Assistant; I had parents who rented apartments within the district just to make sure that their child could come to our school. This is very devastating and parents should never have to worry about whether their kids are getting a proper education, it should be expected. It is are job to make sure that they are getting the best learning experience possible. Every school, no matter where it is, should be a safe haven in order for people to learn, grow, and reach their full potential. I think that our schools have become way to political and sometime hinders teachers to do the best job possible. Your are absolutely right when you say that “we are all humans.” I think as humans, one of our rights is to have a proper education and there should be nothing to stop that. Thanks again for your comment.

      Hannah Jones

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Fantastic post, Hannah! You really summarized and synthezies a number of important issues with regards to school integration well. A couple important points – there were many great teachers in segregated black schools – the bigger problem was the lack of funding, materials, & concentrated poverty. Also, Brown v. Board actually was preceded by many Supreme Court cases that NAACP lawyers won over 20 years as we saw in the Road to Brown film we watched after you posted this blog. Also. I think you mean “segregate,” not “desegregate” students in the first sentence of your last paragraph. Well done overall!

    Like

    • Dr. Krutka,
      Thank you so much for the kind words. I have learned a lot in this class and I know that I will take what I have learned and become a better teacher because of it. I will make the changes to the errors in my blogs. Thank you again.

      Hannah Jones

      Like

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