Diversity in Schools

Debates

Edited by: Frank Brown, Richard C. Hunter, Saran Donahoo, Charles J. Russo & Allan G. Osborne Jr.

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    Editors-in-Chief

    Charles J. Russo, University of Dayton

    Allan G. Osborne, Jr., Principal (Retired), Snug Harbor Community School, Quincy, Massachusetts

    Volume Editors

    Frank Brown, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    Richard C. Hunter, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Bahrain Teachers College, University of Bahrain, Kingdom of Bahrain

    Saran Donahoo, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

    Advisory Board

    Francine DeFranco, Homer Babbidge Library, University of Connecticut

    Ralph D. Mawdsley, Cleveland State University

    Martha M. McCarthy, Loyola Marymount University and Indiana University

    Mark E. Shelton, Monroe C. Gutman Education Library, Harvard University

    Copyright

    View Copyright Page

    About the Editors-in-Chief

    Charles J. Russo, JD, EdD, is the Joseph Panzer Chair in Education in the School of Education and Allied Professions and adjunct professor in the School of Law at the University of Dayton. He was the 1998–1999 president of the Education Law Association and 2002 recipient of its McGhehey (Achievement) Award. He has authored or coauthored more than 200 articles in peer-reviewed journals; has authored, coauthored, edited, or coedited 40 books; and has in excess of 800 publications. Russo also speaks extensively on issues in education law in the United States and abroad.

    Along with having spoken in 33 states and 25 nations on 6 continents, Russo has taught summer courses in England, Spain, and Thailand; he also has served as a visiting professor at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane and the University of Newcastle, Australia; the University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina; South East European University, Macedonia; the Potchefstroom Campus of North-West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa; the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and the University of São Paulo, Brazil. He regularly serves as a visiting professor at the Potchefstroom Campus of North-West University.

    Before joining the faculty at the University of Dayton as professor and chair of the Department of Educational Administration in July 1996, Russo taught at the University of Kentucky in Lexington from August 1992 to July 1996 and at Fordham University in his native New York City from September 1989 to July 1992. He taught high school for 8½ years before and after graduation from law school. He received a BA (classical civilization) in 1972, a JD in 1983, and an EdD (educational administration and supervision) in 1989 from St. John's University in New York City. He also received a master of divinity degree from the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, New York, in 1978, as well as a PhD Honoris Causa from the Potchefstroom Campus of North-West University, South Africa, in May 2004 for his contributions to the field of education law.

    Russo and his wife, a preschool teacher who provides invaluable assistance proofreading and editing, travel regularly both nationally and internationally to Russo's many speaking and teaching engagements.

    Allan G. Osborne, Jr. is the retired principal of the Snug Harbor Community School in Quincy, Massachusetts, a nationally recognized Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. During his 34 years in public education, he served as a special education teacher, a director of special education, an assistant principal, and a principal. He has also served as an adjunct professor of special education and education law at several colleges, including Bridgewater State University and American International University.

    Osborne earned an EdD in educational leadership from Boston College and an MEd in special education from Fitchburg State College (now Fitchburg State University) in Massachusetts. He received a BA in psychology from the University of Massachusetts.

    Osborne has authored or coauthored numerous peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, monographs, and textbooks on legal issues in education, along with textbooks on other aspects of education. Although he writes and presents in several areas of educational law, he specializes in legal and policy issues in special education. He is the coauthor, with Charles J. Russo, of five texts published by Corwin, a SAGE company.

    A past president of the Education Law Association (ELA), Osborne has been an attendee and presenter at most ELA conferences since 1991. He has also written a chapter now titled “Students With Disabilities” for the Yearbook of Education Law, published by ELA, since 1990. He is on the editorial advisory committee of West's Education Law Reporter and is coeditor of the “Education Law Into Practice” section of that journal, which is sponsored by ELA. He is also on the editorial boards of several other education journals.

    In recognition of his contributions to the field of education law, Osborne was presented with the McGhehey Award by ELA in 2008, the highest award given by the organization. He is also the recipient of the City of Quincy Human Rights Award, the Financial Executives Institute of Massachusetts Principals Award, the Junior Achievement of Massachusetts Principals Award, and several community service awards.

    Osborne spends his time in retirement writing, editing, and working on his hobbies, genealogy and photography. He and his wife Debbie, a retired elementary school teacher, enjoy gardening, traveling, attending theater and musical performances, and volunteering at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

    About the Volume Editors

    Frank Brown is the Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership and Dean Emeritus, School of Education, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Brown holds a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley and has held several academic and administrative positions: lecturer in education and acting director of mathematics and science education, University of California at Berkeley; associate director, New York State Commission on the Quality, Cost and Financing of Elementary and Secondary Education; assistant professor and director of University's Urban Institute, City College of New York; professor of educational administration and PhD program in public policy and director of the Cora P. Maloney College, State University of New York at Buffalo; and visiting scholar, Graduate School of Education, University of California at Berkeley. He has authored more than 300 publications and is listed in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in Black America.

    Richard C. Hunter is a professor of educational administration and former head of the Educational Organization and Leadership Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He holds an EdD in policy, planning, and administration from the University of California at Berkeley and was professor and chair of the Educational Leadership Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has worked as a teacher, a principal, and an assistant and associate superintendent in the public schools of Berkeley, California; U.S. Air Force Schools in Tokyo, Japan; Richmond, California; and Seattle, Washington. He also was the district superintendent of the public schools of Richmond, Virginia; Dayton, Ohio; and Baltimore, Maryland. He was an associate director for education for the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity in Arlington, Virginia. He was given a Fulbright Scholar Program Award from the U.S. Department of State and is currently serving as a lecturer at the Bahrain Teachers College of the University of Bahrain.

    Saran Donahoo is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Administration and Higher Education and the director of the College Student Personnel Program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She earned both her PhD and her MA at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She completed her BA in secondary education at the University of Arizona. Her published works include coediting Teaching Leaders to Lead Teachers: Educational Administration in the Era of Constant Crisis and articles in Teachers College Record, Equity & Excellence in Education, Christian Higher Education, Urban Education, and Education and Urban Society, as well as an array of book chapters. She also serves as associate editor for Media Reviews for the Journal of Student Affairs Research & Practice. In 2009, she received both the Joyce Cain Award for Distinguished Research on African Descendants from the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) and the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Division J Outstanding Publication Award.

    About the Contributors

    Nimo Abdi is a doctoral student in K–12 educational administration at Michigan State University. Her research interests include issues relating to school experiences of Somali refugees/immigrant students in public schools. More specifically, she is interested in student identity and self-perceptions in both school and community contexts.

    Katrina A. R. Akande is a PhD candidate in the Department of Family Science at the University of Kentucky. Her research interests are family diversity, fatherhood, and racial socialization.

    Wendy W. Amato is a doctoral student at the University of Virginia in the department of Curriculum and Instruction. Her research focuses on culturally congruent pedagogy for English language learners.

    Clare Beckett-McInroy is a coactive coach/psychometrist, senior consultant, and president of Bizladies, Bahrain Chapter, at Bahrain Teachers College, University of Bahrain, and lecturer/tutor with University of Strathclyde (United Kingdom). Clare has worked in a variety of leading positions including university dean. She has presented at numerous international universities and conferences, including Harvard University and the University of Manchester (United Kingdom), and has many publications.

    Lynda Brown Wright is a professor of in the Department of Educational, School and Counseling Psychology at the University of Kentucky. She has 24 years of experience as a trainer and instructor of multiculturalism. A primary research interest includes the examination of factors related to the cognitive development and schooling experiences of children and youth of color.

    Mona Bryant-Shanklin is associate professor with the Department of Early Childhood, Elementary Education, and Special Education at Norfolk State University (Virginia). Her background with “at risk” populations is the basis for her current research and publication interests, which among other topics include social justice issues for traditionally underrepresented groups.

    Jennifer L. Burris is a PhD student in the Department of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology at the University of Kentucky. Her research interest is academic motivation and achievement among African American children.

    Sonja M. Feist-Price is a professor in the Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling at the University of Kentucky where she has been on faculty since 1992. In addition to her doctoral degree in rehabilitation research from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, in 2006, Feist-Price completed a PhD in counseling psychology from the University of Kentucky.

    Brandon Fox is a PhD student in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in multicultural education at Texas A&M University. His research interests include culture and mathematics, equity and access, and multicultural teacher education.

    Jesulon S. R. Gibbs is an assistant professor of educational leadership at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. Her research and teaching foci are public school law and educational policy analysis. She is also a contract attorney for Boykin & Davis, LLC, a school law firm. Dr. Gibbs's recent book is titled Student Speech on the Internet: The Role of First Amendment Protections.

    Cosette M. Grant is a senior instructor and also serves as an adjunct professor at Pennsylvania State University Greater Allegheny. Her research focuses on the challenges and opportunities offered by increasing diversity in education. Her work includes published research on gender, diversity, and mentoring in peer-reviewed publications

    Paul Green is on the faculty in the Ethnic Studies Department at the University of California, Riverside. His research and teaching focus on policies, practices, and laws that impede or advance educational and social opportunity for children and youth of color.

    Dana Griffin is an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Being a former school counselor, she researches school-family-community collaboration and parental involvement in African American and Latino populations. Further, she explores culturally appropriate strategies for working with parents from these populations.

    Miguel A. Guajardo is an associate professor in the Education and Community Leadership Program at Texas State University–San Marcos. His research interests include community building, community youth development, leadership development, race and ethnicity, university and community partnerships, and Latino youth and families.

    Deborah A. Harmon is a professor of curriculum and instruction at Eastern Michigan University and the director of the Office of Urban Education and Educational Equity in the College of Education. Dr. Harmon's research is in multicultural education, urban education, and gifted education.

    Valerie Hill-Jackson is a national award–winning educator, AERA/Spencer and Geraldine R. Dodge fellow, and clinical associate professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture at Texas A&M University. Her interests are passionately located in critical teacher education, community studies, and STEM education for underserved learners.

    Rachel Jackson is an undergraduate senior with a major in human resource development, a minor in creative studies, while seeking a teaching certificate from Texas A&M University. On completion of her bachelor's degree, Jackson plans to continue research in giftedness for the underserved and using organization development in revamping the public education system.

    E. Lincoln James is professor of communication and managing editor of The Western Journal of Black Studies at Washington State University.

    Marlon C. James is an assistant professor in the School of Education at Loyola University Chicago. His teaching and research focuses on developing social justice educators and fostering transformative schooling environments for African American males.

    Enid Beverley Jones, professor emeritus, earned an EdD in educational administration from University of Florida, Gainesville, and held several positions as faculty, department chair, and director of doctoral universities. She has made presentations on educational administration and education finance at local, state, national, and international conferences. Her publications include a textbook on education finance and several journal articles.

    Carl Byron Keys, II is an educator specializing in program development and in the doctoral program at University of Virginia. His research interests lie in understanding how educational leaders can build agency for members of their schools and use the affective nature of the schooling process to improve achievement. Keys is currently engaging in praxis in San Diego, California.

    Muhammad Khalifa is a faculty member in K–12 educational administration at Michigan State University. He was previously an urban school teacher and administrator. His research addresses culturally appropriate school leadership practice. He has looked at successful urban school leadership, as well as principals in alternative schools and in Middle Eastern and African countries. His current research examines disparities in school suspension, urban school closures, and educational experiences of refugee children.

    Robert C. Knoeppel is an associate professor and chair of the Faculty of Leadership, Counselor Education, and Human & Organizational Development at Clemson University. His research interests include school finance, leadership, and accountability policy.

    Wayne D. Lewis is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership Studies at the University of Kentucky. His teaching and research are in the areas of education politics and policy, school reform, school-family-community collaboration, and diversity in education.

    James E. Lyons is professor of educational leadership in the Department of Educational Leadership at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He joined the UNC–Charlotte faculty in 1979 and served as Department Chairperson for 15 years. During the last 25 years, he has published more than 40 articles and book chapters.

    William J. Miller is assistant professor of political science at Southeast Missouri State University where he specializes in public opinion and American public policy.

    John A. Oliver is an assistant professor of educational and community leadership at Texas State University–San Marcos. His research explores intersections of effective partnerships between communities, schools, and institutions of higher education for community change. Oliver was a public school teacher and assistant principal in Michigan for over 8 years.

    Paul E. Pitre is an associate professor of educational leadership at Washington State University. His research focuses on underrepresented students' experiences in the college choice process and factors that predict college attendance. His research interests include P–16 education policy and higher education governance.

    Patrice Preston-Grimes is an assistant professor at the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education. Her research interests include civic education, African American educational history, the sociocultural contexts of teaching and learning, and, more recently, the use of technology in social studies instruction.

    Linwood J. Randolph, Jr. earned an EdD in curriculum and instruction from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2011. He is a National Board–certified teacher and currently is assistant professor of Spanish and coordinator of foreign language teacher education at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. His research interests include heritage language maintenance and multiculturalism in world language education.

    Latish Reed is an assistant professor of educational leadership at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. Her previous experiences as an urban school teacher and administrator influence her current research agenda, which centers on school leadership with focus on serving the needs of traditionally marginalized students.

    Xue Lan Rong is professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on culture, race/ethnicity, and education, and the effects of immigrant generation on young adolescents' schooling. Rong's publications include 5 books, 3 edited journal volumes, and more than 40 journal articles and book chapters.

    Martin Scanlan is on the faculty in the College of Education at Marquette University. His scholarship focuses on how schools work to create educational opportunities for traditionally marginalized students. His current research is on schools meeting students' special needs and dual immersion schools, as well as on collaboration among institutes of higher education, K–12 schools, and community organizations.

    Christopher N. Thomas is an assistant professor and department chair of the leadership studies program at the University of San Francisco and was recently named 2010 Professor of the Year by the Association of California School Administrators. His primary responsibility is training and preparing educators to become instructional and social justice leaders.

    Deneia M. Thomas is an associate professor in counseling and educational psychology at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky. She has vast experience promoting equity and accountability within K–12 settings and postsecondary institutions. Thomas maintains a record of scholarship relating to the examination of factors that promote success among diverse populations.

    Natalie A. Tran is an assistant professor in the Department of Secondary Education at California State University, Fullerton. Her research focuses on instructional practices and social contexts affecting student achievement in science. Her methodological interests include hierarchical linear modeling, experimental design, quasi-experimental design, and survey studies.

    Tiffany R. Wheeler is an assistant professor of education at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky. Her teaching and research interests include culturally responsive pedagogy, sociocultural perspectives of literacy instruction, race and ethnicity issues in education, and immigrant children. She received the Bingham Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2011.

    Miguel Zavala is assistant professor in the Department of Secondary Education at California State University, Fullerton. His research focuses on the role teacher-led community organizing spaces play in fostering social justice teaching and action-research projects. Zavala has extensive experience working with urban and migrant Latino youth.

    Introduction

    This volume covers several salient diversity indicators, including race, ethnicity, language, and socioeconomic status, that must be considered in order to ensure quality education in public schools for all students. These indicators are discussed in the context of efforts to achieve educational equity through multicultural education and broader social policies addressing issues such as school funding, segregation, and teacher training.

    Efforts to provide educational equity for all students can be traced to the women's rights movement of the 19th century and the civil rights movement of the 1950s. These efforts accelerated after the landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education supporting school desegregation. In the 1960s, we witnessed the racial and ethnic pride movements. These activities were followed by demands for changes in school curricula, more minority teachers and administrators, and later, gender equity.

    However, resistance to demands related to diversity has been strong and persistent (Brown, 2004a; Brown, 2004b). There was resistance at all levels of the federal government, state governments, and local school boards. Individuals in these units of government expressed opposition to school desegregation, changes in the curriculum, affirmative action plans to employ more minority personnel, ethnic studies, and bilingual education. Several states banned the use of state funds for racial desegregation, teaching of English as a second language, and the establishment of ethnic studies programs. Some school districts and their supporters pressured book publishers to remove or reduce the multicultural content in their books and school libraries to ban books popular among minority students.

    Recently, policymakers have attempted to replace the nation's commitment to public education with an emphasis on school choice and to define educational excellence in terms of student achievement on standardized tests. There are many other controversies related to how best to meet the needs of diverse students, but we have chosen the topics for this volume because of their relevance to diversity and excellence as keys to the nation's ability to meet the challenges of the 21st century, especially with respect to effectiveness in the global economy. An underlying assumption is that effective implementation of goals related to diversity will lead to quality education for all students. The debates in this volume focus on a number of broad issues relating to diversity and quality education, ranging from desegregation and multicultural instruction, to educational and funding equity. These topics introduce the readers to the nature and complexity of diversity in public education.

    Diversity and Quality Education

    Quality public education has been deemed important at all levels of government, and imperative for the country's survival in the global economy (Byrd, 2004; Spring, 2008; Wilson, 2009). Diversity in education is influenced by the racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity of the U.S. population. The United States has one of the most financially unequal systems of education with respect to educational funding per student enrolled in public K–12 schools. Most countries have a single national funding system for public education, with equal expenditures per student nationwide. The United States has 50 separate state systems, with expenditures per student that differ between the states, and between school districts within each state, with one exception: The state of Hawaii has only one school district with equal funding per pupil across the entire state. Education achievement in the United States lags behind other rich countries (Darling-Hammond, 2010, pp. 26–64). In addition, achievement gaps exist between minority and nonminority students and between low-income students and their more affluent counterparts.

    There are several reasons for our approach to diversity in this volume. First, we are concerned about equity in the funding of schools that promotes a better chance for an equal educational opportunity for all children within each school district within each state. Students' test scores serve as a gatekeeping function for success in school. In today's economy, high academic skills are important, and in an era of high-stakes testing, the penalty for having lower academic skills is greater (Magnuson & Waldfogel, 2008, p. 2; Winerip, 2011, p. A17). Thus, an achievement gap in education means unequal opportunities in the larger society. An example of such a gap is that between test scores of Black and White students. The test score gap between Black and White students narrowed until 1988, but then it began to widen. This narrowing of the gap was evident for both Black boys and girls until 1988, but after 1988, Black girls began to outscore Black boys (Magnuson & Waldfogel, 2008, pp. 6, 13). This achievement gap also exists for other racial and ethnic minorities. Second, this country needs more and better educated citizens to compete successfully in the global economy. Finally, academically, there is a lack of quality education for most minority students, who live in poorer school districts with less educational funding per pupil. The lower levels of education funding result in these children having less qualified teachers, which usually results in an inferior education compared to most White students who reside in wealthier school districts (Darling-Hammond, 2010; Magunson & Waldfogel, 2008).

    This volume debates several significant issues that are central to achieving this goal of providing students in each public school an equal educational opportunity between the states and within individual states.

    Desegregation

    After 1865, slavery ended, but 31 years later in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), the Supreme Court held that states could meet the equal protection requirements under the Constitution by providing “separate but equal” opportunities for Blacks and Whites. It wasn't until 1954 that the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education ruled that racially segregated schooling was unconstitutional. Even after that decision, major progress in implementing desegregation did not occur until 1970 (Brown, 2004a; Brown, 2007), and after 1980, school integration declined (Brown, 2004a; Cashin, 2004). More recently, in its 2007 ruling in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, the Supreme Court struck down voluntary assignment plans in Seattle, Washington, and Louisville, Kentucky. The Court held that that a public school student assignment plan that gave preference to racial minority students was unconstitutional where there was no preponderant proof that such a plan was necessary to achieve racial diversity. The case arose when parents in two school districts challenged voluntarily implemented assignment plans that gave preference to minority students. The Court found that the two districts did not have a compelling interest in adopting the assignment plans since they were not being used to remedy the effects of past intentional discrimination. Further, the Court indicated that the objective of creating racial balance, while laudable, was not compelling. This decision represented a setback for the diversity movement, in that it limited a neighborhood school's racial and ethnic population to that of the immediate geographic area (Brown, 2007).

    In this volume, the first chapter specifically examines the question of whether litigation should be the primary focus in efforts to desegregate the schools, while several other chapters look at other means of providing equal educational opportunities to diverse student populations. In this respect, Chapters 1, 2, and 3 debate various diversity strategies, such as racial and ethnic school desegregation, multicultural counseling, and school personnel preparation programs that should educate such personnel to deal effectively with such a diverse student population.

    Instruction
    Curriculum

    Establishing a school's instruction and curriculum has traditionally been a function of state and local governments. State boards of education set curricula standards and approve textbooks. However, special interest groups often request funding for additional instructional activities and curricula offerings to supplement the district's standard curriculum. The movement toward curriculum diversity has stimulated an ongoing political and legal debate that often becomes highly charged. Many curricula disagreements end in court and become issues in political elections to statewide offices and local school boards. Indicative of the ongoing struggle, some educators have suggested that elements of popular youth culture, such as hip-hop, should be incorporated into the curriculum, a proposal that is debated in Chapter 8. As this debate clearly shows, there are both pros and cons to using pop culture to teach a diverse student population, and some argue that the decision of whether to adopt such a strategy should depend on the overall culture of the school and community.

    Personnel

    Academic achievement among African American, Latino, and some other ethnic minority students continues to lag behind that of White students and some groups of Asian Americans. One cause of this gap is that many teachers have a low expectation of minority students and assign a disproportionate number of minority students to lower level academic courses or tracks (Darling-Hammond, 2010; Oakes, 2005). A second cause of this achievement gap may be that minority schools have less experienced teachers and higher rates of teacher turnover. Another issue is the lack of male teachers of all races. Chapter 15 debates the merits of gender-based student loan forgiveness programs to increase the percentage of male teachers and administrators.

    America is a capitalist society, and attracting better teachers to work effectively with all racial and ethnic groups will require better financial benefits. When the talent pool for teachers declined in the 1960s, the National Science Foundation and the Ford Foundation spent hundreds of millions of dollars to help elite colleges prepare teachers. Both programs recruited the best and brightest into education by paying the total cost of their education and providing spending money. After the U.S. Congress enacted the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that opened better opportunities for racial and ethnic minorities and females of all races to enroll in greater numbers in academic professions such as medicine, law, and business, many of these individuals no longer sought careers in public school teaching. This resulted in fewer academically talented individuals entering the teaching profession. In addition, most elite colleges and universities beginning in the late 1960s eliminated their teacher preparation programs. These events caused a decline in the quality of teachers, which contributed to a decline in students' test scores by 1980 (Magunson & Waldfogel, 2008). The earlier National Science Program had provided fellowships to practicing teachers to enroll in programs in science and mathematics with all expenses paid by the government. The current STEM program that began under President George W. Bush has a much smaller budget and aims primarily to encourage more college students to seek majors in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)—not teaching careers. Despite current programs designed to attract a talented pool of candidates into teaching, such as Teach for America, a large number of young teachers leave the profession within 5 years (Darling-Hammond, 2010; Klein, 2011; Ravitch, 2011, p. A25). This suggest that states may need to pay teachers higher salaries (a) to attract more of the most academically talented college students into the teaching profession to accomplish this goal and (b) to encourage more elite colleges and universities to enter the field of preparing public school teachers and administrators. Further, there is a need for greater diversity among our teaching force. Several essays in this volume examine ways of bringing more diverse and talented candidates to education. Chapter 15 looks at ways to attract more males to the teaching profession, a profession that is currently dominated by female teachers.

    Title I and Race to the Top Programs

    The primary purpose of public education is to provide instruction/teaching for students. Thus, several chapters in this volume review efforts to improve instruction for all students. The first national effort dealing with the country's diverse student population began with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965. This program recognized the lack of quality instruction for poor minority children. This statute has been reauthorized several times, most recently as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001. The ESEA was originally approved to bridge the academic gap between economically disadvantaged and advantaged students. Specifically, Title I of the statute provides compensatory education for students and supports the education of students with disabilities and bilingual education. It also allows students to transfer from low-performing schools to better schools.

    Recently, President Barack Obama's Race to the Top (RTT) program, designed to improve underperforming schools, has supplemented the NCLB. RTT supports such programs as charter schools, magnet schools, private management of public schools, vouchers, and alternative teacher preparation programs. Authors in several of the chapters in this volume debate the merits of Title I and RTT. With regard to Title I, Chapter 6 takes up the issue of whether aid to schools under Title I of ESEA is an appropriate strategy for closing the achievement gap that exists between White and minority students. Chapter 5 discusses whether Title I is effective in closing the achievement gap between those who are economically disadvantaged and their more affluent peers. Chapter 4 addresses RTT and whether this and related programs can be successful in meeting the goals of improving underperforming schools.

    Support Services

    Counselors and administrators are a valuable resource for teachers as well as for students and their families. Disadvantaged minority students and their parents may need special assistance from school personnel, and there may be a greater need for more face-to-face interaction between parents and school personnel. For example, parents of special education students may not fully understand their rights or why their child is not progressing academically. As children progress through school, parents should be informed personally as to what is required of their children. Given the high dropout rate among disadvantaged minority students, it is also important for counselors and administrators to assist students and their parents in managing the demands of school so that students are better able to succeed academically. Several chapters in this volume deal specifically with issues that touch on the support services that can be provided to a diverse student population. Chapter 2 in this volume deals specifically with the question of whether multicultural counseling programs are needed to improve the academic achievement of students. Another chapter, Chapter 11, examines support services for students from limited English speaking families and different cultures. This chapter also asks whether English-only is the best method for teaching English language learners. Chapter 9 examines the many issues surrounding the use of ability grouping and tracking in schools. Chapter 13 examines ways to provide additional support services to minority students and their parents, specifically utilizing full-service community counseling models to assist students enrolled in majority-minority schools to improve the students' chances of being more successful in school.

    Educational Equity

    Research has shown that in the United States, family wealth is related to children's academic achievement (Cashin, 2004; Darling-Hammond, 2010; Wilson, 2009). Yet, being poor and minority is not the same as being poor and White in the United States (Stricker, 2007; Wilson, 2009). There are more opportunities to escape poverty for Whites than for racial minorities (Stricker, 2007; Wilson, 2009). As stated earlier, there is an academic achievement gap between minority students and White students, as well as between low-income students and higher income students. One proposal for providing equitable educational opportunities is the full-service community school model, in which public health, social, and/or community services are provided along with education services. Chapter 13 of this volume debates whether such full-service models are useful for achieving educational equity.

    Educational Funding
    State Funding

    Public education is a state function, but the financial ability to support education varies from state to state and district to district within a state. Also, there are funding disparities between neighborhood schools within each school district. Wealthier school districts are better able to attract the best school personnel to meet the high standards that all school districts desire. However, more minority students tend to live in low-income neighborhoods with less funding for their schools.

    As is apparent from the essays in the Finance volume in this series, public school funding is complex, and because public education is a state responsibility, funding is highly political. District level funding is based on support from state and local funds, and the source of local and state funds varies widely by state. For example, some states support up to 75% of the cost with 25% coming from local funds, with other combinations in between, and the amount of local funding also varies widely. Some states generate funds from sales or income taxes, and some generate funds from a combination of sales and income taxes. Basically, local funds are drawn mainly from property taxes, and local sales taxes if permitted by the state.

    There are state formulas for providing funds for schools. First, states may provide local school districts' funds based on their enrollment, property wealth, property assessment ratio, and tax rate. Second, most states provide each school district a basic support level regardless of its wealth or property tax rate. But several states provide each local school district a single funding rate per teacher per class without regard for property value or tax rate.

    Federal Funds

    The federal government provides about 7% of local school bud gets to support such programs as special education, meals for poor children, compensatory education (Title I programs), bilingual education, dropout prevention, and Native American education. These programs address special needs but do not address the unequal funding among the states or among schools within a single district.

    The Future of Educational Funding

    In 1973, the Supreme Court in San Antonio v. Rodriguez held that unequal state funding across school districts did not violate the Constitution. After 1973, school funding equity cases were processed through state courts with not much success (Odden & Picus, 2008), and some scholars believe this situation is unlikely to change (Guthrie, Springer, Rolle, & Houck, 2007). These legal challenges have not to date resulted in increased revenues for poor schools servicing largely disadvantaged minority children.

    Given such funding disparities and the high correlation between federal education programs and the overrepresentation of minority students, Chapter 10 debates whether current funding structures marginalize ethnic and racial minority students.

    Conclusion

    It has been more than 50 years since the Supreme Court outlawed racial segregation in schools with Brown v. Board of Education (1954), and 40 years since Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education (1971), when the Court authorized the use of race to desegregate schools. It has now reversed that 1971 decision by its ruling in Parents Involved against the use of racial criteria to desegregate schools, thereby returning schools back to the neighborhood concept. Equal funding through the courts also has not been successful for plaintiffs. Using the federal courts to equalize state funding across school districts in 1973 was not successful (San Antonio v. Rodriguez). Also, subsequent challenges in state courts for equal school funding have not been very successful.

    The ability to racially desegregate schools beyond one's neighborhood or the ability to equalize funding of schools across all neighborhoods within each school district could have a positive impact on the ability of schools to address the needs of their diverse student populations. Unfortunately, school districts may have difficulty desegregating public schools or receiving equal funding for all schools within a school district.

    Attracting more diverse and talented college students into teaching as a career will incur additional costs. Top schools, academically, are able to recruit and retain top college graduates, and schools that cannot afford to attract top teachers should not expect to be highly ranked (Klein, 2011, p. 76). Although there are many reasons why schools have difficulty in diversifying their staff, financial shortcomings may restrict their ability to diversify the teaching faculty and administration by race, ethnicity, and gender. Financial restrictions may also impede efforts to diversify the curriculum, including extracurricular activities.

    The challenge for education policymakers is how best to provide schools with the tools and conditions needed for programs that meet the needs of diverse populations of students, teachers, administrators, and parents necessary to secure a quality education for all students.

    FrankBrown, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    Richard C.Hunter, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Bahrain Teachers College, University of Bahrain, Kingdom of Bahrain
    SaranDonahoo, Southern Illinois University
    Further Readings and Resources
    Brown, F. (2004a). The first serious implementation of Brown: The 1964 Civil Rights Act and beyond. Journal of Negro Education, 73(3), 182–190.
    Brown, F. (2004b). Nixon's “Southern Strategy” and forces against Brown. Journal of Negro Education, 73(3), 191–208.
    Brown, F. (2007). Ending the Brown era: What is the future for equal educational opportunity?School Business Affairs, 73(9), 8–10.
    Byrd, R. (2004). Losing America. New York: W. W. Norton.
    Cashin, S. (2004). The Failure of Integration: How race and class are undermining the American dream. New York: PublicAffairs.
    Darling-Hammond, L. (2010). The flat world and education: How America's commitment to equity will determine our future. New York: Teachers College Press.
    Guthrie, J. W., Springer, M. G., Rolle, R. A., & Houck, E. A. (2007). Modern education finance and policy. Boston: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon.
    Klein, J. (2011). The failure of American schools. The Atlantic, 307(5), 66–77.
    Magnuson, K., & Waldfogel, J. (2008). Steady gains and stalled progress. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
    Oakes, J. (2005). Keeping track: How schools structure inequality (
    2nd ed.
    ). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
    Odden, A. R., & Picus, L. O. (2008). School finance: A policy perspective (
    4th ed.
    ). Boston: McGraw-Hill.
    Ravitch, D. (2011, May 31). Waiting for a school miracle. The New York Times, p. A25.
    Spring, J. (2008). Research on globalization and education. Review of Educational Research, 78(2), 330–363.
    Stricker, F. (2007). Why America lost the war on poverty—and how to win it. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
    Wilson, J. W. (2009). Why the poor stay poor: Being Black and poor in the inner city. New York: W. W. Norton.
    Winerip, M. (2011, February 13). Closing the achievement gap without widening a racial one. The New York Times, pp. A15, A17.
    Court Cases and Statutes

    Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).

    Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, 20 U.S.C. § 6301 et seq. (1965).

    No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, 20 U.S.C. §§ 6301–7941 (2006).

    Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, 127 S. Ct. 2738 (2007).

    Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896).

    San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 1 (1973).

    Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, 402 U.S. 1 (1971).

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