Monday Reading List: Educators Reflect on 9/11 and Measuring American Attitudes About Schooling

On the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, David McGuire of Indy/Ed looks to educators for reflection:

Tragedy teaches us that in unity there is strength. Tragedy has a way of making people forget about their differences in the pursuit of a common goal. It was Martin Luther King that said, “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.” Through tragedy we often see the very best in people ... On the 16th anniversary of September 11, 2001, this blog will share this day through the eyes of the educators who remember where they were and what they were doing.

Whether you're an educator or not, please feel free to share your own story in the comments section below.

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Terrell Starr, writing at The Root, looks at the particular challenges facing Black immigrants in the wake of the White House's DACA decision:

Mwewa Sumbwe ... came to America from Zambia with her parents when she was just 4 years old and settled in Silver Spring, Md ... Being black in America in general is a daily process of walking on the eggshells of white supremacy, but being undocumented adds another layer of racial aggression. As the Daily Beast reports, people who are stopped by cops are subject to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers being alerted to their arrest because the Department of Homeland Security has said that ICE can use DACA information to deport people under arrest. And, as we know, black people are much more likely than members of any other group to be stopped by police. For a black person who doesn’t have documentation issues, they just have to worry about an arrest. For Sumbwe, an arrest could mean deportation.

While the largest group of undocumented immigrants in this country comes from South and Central America, it's important to remember that there are many different immigrant stories. The intersection of race and immigration status is important to understand, particularly given the aggressive, racially-biased methods of American policing.

In other news, Halley Potter of The Century Foundation dissected the results of the most recent Phi Delta Kappan poll of Americans' education attitudes: 

The biggest takeaway from the poll’s results on school integration is that a majority of parents value racial and socioeconomic diversity in schools. Almost three-quarters of all parents say that it is somewhat or very important to them that their public schools are racially diverse, and a similar percentage say that economic diversity is important ... Moving beyond this general support, however, parents’ views of school integration were not always so rosy. More subtle results from the PDK poll point to some of the political stumbling blocks that can hold up school integration efforts. Being mindful of these potential obstacles could help to strengthen school integration outcomes overall.

At the risk of oversimplifying the results, while many parents profess to want more diverse schools, very few families - in particular, white ones - are willing to do anything to hasten greater integration. Last week I interviewed the president of PDK about the poll, and I will share that interview later this week.

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Finally today, Jonathan Chait is in New York comparing the data on public charter schools with the rhetoric about them:

The most striking thing about the coverage of charter schools is the contrast between the tone of data journalism and narrative journalism. In the New York Times, readers of the the Upshot, its data site, have absorbed a story of a movement producing clear successes. “A consistent pattern has emerged from this research,” wrote University of Michigan professor of education, public policy, and economics Sue Dynarski in 2015. “In urban areas, where students are overwhelmingly low-achieving, poor and nonwhite, charter schools tend to do better than other public schools in improving student achievement" ... But it is the anecdotes, not the data, that command the largest and most prestigious real estate in the Times. And the anecdotes tell a very different story.

Chait has a point here, and my hunch is that public charters are on the receiving end of a disproportionate number of the "man bites dog" style stories in education. There are great public charters and there are questionable ones, just like there are both great neighborhood traditional schools and dreadful ones. The mistakes of the most egregious actors shouldn't be a proxy for the viability of an entire sector. Critics of traditional public schooling should learn the same lesson.

Have a great week!