For Whom The Bell Curve Tolls
This country has gone completely insane. In Houston, Texas, a high school of 2500 students is being shut down because a few black students can’t learn math. No exaggeration; you can read about it here.
The closure of Sam Houston High School boiled down to math.
Officials with the Houston Independent School District say they tried to solve the problem — spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix it — but for five straight years, Sam Houston could not get a small group of black students to pass the state-mandated math exam.
Now, after state Education Commissioner Robert Scott forced the predominantly Hispanic school to close Thursday, some are criticizing Texas’ accountability system as too harsh — mandating drastic action based on a few students. Others say the blame lies with HISD for letting the poor performance continue.
This year, only 29 percent of the black students at Sam Houston passed the math portion of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. Half the Hispanic students passed, which would have been just good enough to qualify for the state’s acceptable rating, if not for the black students’ passing rate.
“In one sense, closing the whole school is a very heavy-handed response,” said Ed Fuller, an education researcher at the University of Texas at Austin. “But then again, you have this five-year track record of poor math performance.”
Of the 2500 students at Sam Houston, about 110 are black. There are about 65 white kids, and the rest are Hispanic. Not that the scores of the Hispanic kids are anything to write home about; they’re not. But to shut down an entire high school because 3% of the class can’t cut it is beyond insane. They’ve already spent “hundreds of thousands of dollars” trying to raise the black math scores, to no avail. Now they’re going to spend hundreds of thousands more to farm out 2500 kids to a bunch of other already overcrowded schools, all in the name of Equality. If a black kid can’t grasp the material, it can’t be his fault, because we’re all equal. It has to be the fault of the school. Even though they’ve tried everything they know to do to raise the black math scores:
The school also adopted a new computerized math program called Agile Mind and worked with consultants from the respected Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin.
Still, only 17 of the 59 black students tested — or 29 percent — passed the math exam this year. That’s up slightly from 24 percent last year.
Here’s a black “expert” who has a New Plan to get those black scores up:
Valerie Hill-Jackson, an assistant education professor at Texas A&M University, said teachers need to learn how to connect with black students.
“We know this is a culture that is very vibrant, exuberant, likes to talk,” said Hill-Jackson, who is black. “So, if I’m a math and science teacher, how can I use that to my advantage? I can have them get out of their seats.”
Ask not for whom The Bell Curve tolls, America; it tolls for thee.