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What Minority Parents Want

 

Q. The achievement gap persists between white children, and those of color, despite the immense amounts of money we're spending on public education. What do parents of minority children think about this?

 

According to two national surveys, most African-American and Hispanic parents want standardized tests, strict curriculum, effective discipline and teachers with high expectations . . . exactly like white parents.

 

That flies in the face of what is often advocated by educators on behalf of minority parents. Often, we're told that minority parents don't want strict curriculum and discipline. But that's not true.

 

When you hear educators say that what's best for minority kids is "diversity curriculum," "group projects" and "cultural awareness," don't believe it for a second. Groups like the New York Collective of Radical Educators (www.nycore.org), who oppose standardized tests as being racially biased, simply do not speak for the majority of minorities.

 

Here's what the two national surveys found:

 

n    African-American parents, by a factor of 8 to 1, favor making schools focus on raising academic achievement rather than promoting racial integration and diversity.

 

n    They want the public accountability of publishing standardized test scores separated by racial groups, in order to expose the disparities and force schools to change.

 

n    Seven out of 10 say that white teachers have lower expectations for black students than for white students, and they want that to change, too.

 

n    Though 28% agree that standardized tests contain racial bias, they still support them.

 

-- 1998 Public Agenda survey, "New Study Explores Views of Black and White Parents

Toward Our Nation's Schools," www.publicagenda.org

n    Hispanic parents agree by a factor of 3 to 1 that standardized tests should be a key focus in public schools, and test scores are a good determinant for grade promotion and graduation.

 

n    Two-thirds agreed with the minimum standards put in place by the federal legislation, No Child Left Behind.

 

-- 2003 study reported in the Pew Hispanic Center/Kaiser Family Foundation

National Survey of Latinos: Education, www.pewhispanic.org

 

Homework: Book, Whose America: Culture Wars in the Public Schools by Jonathan Zimmerman, professor of educational history, New York University (Harvard, 2002).

 

By Susan Darst Williams www.ShowandTellforParents.com Parental Involvement 34 2008

 

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