EppsNet Archive: Schools

NYC to Eliminate Gifted and Talented Programs?

Last week, a school diversity task force in New York issued a report recommending the elimination of New York city’s gifted and talented programs. The “problem” being addressed is that white and Asian students dominate the selective programs, leaving black and Hispanic students in highly segregated schools, so instead of figuring out how to bring underachievers up to the mark, let’s eliminate the programs. Critics of the plan worry that middle class (i.e., white and Asian) parents will either move out of the city or send their kids to private school, making the New York schools even more segregated than they are now. An NYU professor weighs in to say that many parents in cities like New York value diversity and want to send their children to schools that serve everyone. “Many parents” = the parents of the dumb kids. Nobody else gives a shit about “diversity.” I assure you that… Read more →

The Interests of Schoolchildren

More than 30,000 teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) went on strike this week. LAUSD serves 640,000 students and is the second biggest school district in the country. The mean annual wage for LAUSD teachers is $75,000. In the local reporting I’m seeing on the strike, teachers and union reps are unanimous in saying that they’re striking for the benefit of the schoolchildren. I’m reminded of something Albert Shanker — former president of the United Federation of Teachers (1964-1984) and the American Federation of Teachers (1974-1997) — used to say: When schoolchildren start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of schoolchildren. I can’t say for certain that the LA union reps are being disingenuous but it does make sense that they’d be representing the interests of the people who are paying them. Read more →

Teaching Computer Science: Inequality = Bad?

I’m volunteering a couple mornings a week in a high school computer science class . . . “Why don’t schools and classes have sponsors?” I ask one of the teachers. “When my kid was in school, they were always complaining about not having enough money. So why couldn’t you, for example, come in and say, ‘Hey kids, before you come to 1st period, make sure you have a good breakfast at McDonald’s. I’m lovin’ it!’? “And McDonald’s pays you 100 grand or whatever to say that.” “My concern,” he says, “is that would lead to more inequality in education.” I’m not sure he really thought that through. It seems more like a mechanical response to an abstract notion, i.e., “Inequality is bad.” As a parent, I always supported inequality in education. I wanted my kid to get the best possible education, better than most other kids. As a classroom volunteer,… Read more →