Friday Reading List: What Does Brexit Mean for American Public Schools?

The answer to the headline is: nothing. Read through to the bottom to figure out who you can thank for this shameless clickbait!

Moving on ... the Supreme Court upheld the legality of the University of Texas's affirmative action program yesterday:

The decision, Fisher v. University of Texas, No. 14-981, concerned an unusual program and contained a warning to other universities that not all affirmative action programs will pass constitutional muster. But the ruling’s basic message was that admissions officials may continue to consider race as one factor among many in ensuring a diverse student body. The decision, by a 4-to-3 vote, was unexpected. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the author of the majority opinion, has long been skeptical of race-sensitive programs and had never before voted to uphold an affirmative action plan. He dissented in the last major affirmative action case. Supporters of affirmative action hailed the decision as a landmark.

The internet subsequently had some fun with the plaintiff in the case. As I said on twitter yesterday, if it's not "privilege" to get denied admission to college based on merit, then appealing that rejection all the way to the Supreme Court, I don't know what is. Part of the reason racism is so hard to overcome is that mediocre white people are so committed to the fiction of their own superiority.

Anyway, in other news, the Urban Institute released a big analysis of NAEP scores yesterday. There's lots to unpack, but it looks like the incredible student performance in the District of Columbia cannot be explained by demographic changes, which is a big vindication for educators in the district:

Three TUDA districts—Houston, Austin, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg—were predicted to have slight declines in performance relative to 2005, yet nearly all districts (except Cleveland) posted gains over their 2005 performance. Washington, DC, inclusive of the charter sector, posted the highest adjusted growth: an average 11-point scale score gain on top of a predicted gain of 4 points. Atlanta and DC Public Schools were also predicted to have substantial growth based on student demographic changes, and posted gains of roughly 10 and 8 points, respectively, above those predictions. Los Angeles and Chicago had smaller predicted changes (less than 2 points), but still produced sizeable [sic] gains (9 and 8 points) over the eight-year period.

On a personal level, this means a lot to me, because I worked for the district between 2007-2009. Everyone who currently leads the charge in DC, particularly schools chancellor Kaya Henderson, deserves enormous congratulations for this work. Second, DC's success suggests that a long-term district reform agenda, coupled with a robust and regulated charter sector, is a promising cocktail for student achievement. Not all cities are experiencing such constructive growth, unfortunately. The situation in Chicago is grim, and Chris Butler wants to see action:

I have found myself as part of this beleaguered fraternity called the Black Fatherhood.  And as a member of that fraternity I have a right to be pissed-off on Father’s Day. 38% of Black children live below the poverty line. African Americans are 13% of the US total population, but almost 40% of the US prison population. Over 75% of the victims of gun violence in Chicago are Black. 71% of the perpetrators of gun violence in Chicago are Black. The dropout rate among Black male students in Chicago Public Schools is 41%. I could go on, but I think you get the point. But, I’m a Father.  And Father’s don’t just sit back and be mad.  Fathers do something about it.  So, this Father’s Day I’m pledging to do more.  I think it’s time for us as parents to take matters into our own hands.  Let the governor and the legislature and the mayor’s office and the police department and the school district try to figure out how to keep up with our ideas, our innovations and the changes we make.

I'm not sure I can, or should, add anything to that.

Finally, who can you thank for the shamelessly misleading headline of this Reading List?

Have a great weekend!