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Expanding the Village: Including Diversity in an Interdistrict Magnet High School Saturday Program

by
Alan K. Frishman


Contents of Curriculum Unit 97.04.03:

To Guide Entry


I am very lucky to be where I am at this time in history. My school, Career High School, has been designated an interdistrict magnet school: its student population will be drawn from both the suburbs and the inner city, and be deliberately (by quota) diverse. One of the most important aspects of my position at Career, as Magnet Resource Teacher, includes promoting the school to other districts, advocating the concept, and increasing the likelihood—through development of the staff, education of the students, and liaison with our university, business, and government partners—that its mission will be successful.

The millions of dollars the state of Connecticut is spending to build the new state-of-the-art Career High School (ready in the summer of 1998) to attract students come with strings in the form of quotas. One-third of the students in the new school must be from the suburbs, one-fourth must be white. By comparison, the present statistics are, respectively, four percent and nineteen percent.

After devoting a year to promotional activities, and sitting in on innumerable meetings with students, parents, and educators, I can state that getting the numbers to work is the easy part. The challenge lies, rather, in including the new students (and staff) in Career’s “village” culture.

It is often said that we learn most about ourselves—and our culture—by looking at what is so obvious we take it for granted, as the fish takes water for granted: our assumptions. It will prove beneficial, therefore, to examine the assumptions behind this interdistrict mission. And from a teaching/learning perspective it is essential for the students themselves to examine the assumptions. What are these assumptions?

The means (quotas) justify the ends (a diversified student population).

A diversified student population is advantageous.

Race itself is a meaningful concept.

Later on I will discuss the processes where the students will engage in the conversation around these three assumptions.

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OBJECTIVES

First, though, in order to put this unit in perspective, we need to examine both the purpose and the form of the CAPTAIN (C[onnecticut] A[cademic] P[erformance] T[est] A[chievement] I[n] N[ew] H[aven]) program, of which this curriculum unit is a part. The funding for CAPTAIN comes from the State Interdistrict Cooperative Grants Program (1). Mirroring the desire of the state program “to attempt to reduce racial and economic isolation by giving urban and suburban students legal permission to attend schools outside of the districts in which they reside” and to “further diversity in a balanced and managed manner,” (2) the purpose of CAPTAIN is threefold:

1. scholastic preparation: to prepare students in critical thinking skills, math, science, language arts, and the kinds of testing techniques used on the CAPT, and teachers in the instructional techniques that are most effective in promoting the acquisition of those skills
2. diversity: to bring together students, staff, community leaders, businesspersons, university fellows, and parents, from both urban and suburban communities who might not otherwise work or study together
3. efficiency: to demonstrate efficient delivery of educational services by using an otherwise dormant school on Saturday
The emphasis on the diversity component of CAPTAIN acknowledges the current inequities in Connecticut’s public educational system. Community leaders throughout the state, and all who care about the future of public education, have become increasingly outspoken regarding these inequities, among urban parents, and the relative isolation of non-minority students, among suburban parents. The Sheff v. O’Neill Case is one outcome of the urban parents’ frustration and desire for their children’s equal educational opportunity (3).

In addition, the report of Regional Forum #2, which includes most of the districts involved in CAPTAIN (from Milford east to Clinton and New Haven north to Cheshire/Wallingford) called for increased opportunities for students to interact across district lines.

The student demographics for three districts represented in the CAPTAIN program clearly show the level of racial isolation: In 1996-97 the New Haven Public Schools’ 19,303 students were 58% (11,319) African American, 27% Hispanic (5,103), 13% white (2,449), and 2% Asian (389). Over 64% of the system’s students received reduced or free lunch. Again, local districts provide comparison: Amity Regional School District No. 5 was 92% white, 5% Asian, 1% African American, and 2% Hispanic. One percent of Amity students received reduced or free lunch. The North Haven Public Schools were 92% white, 4% Asian, 3% African American, 0.9% Hispanic and 1% Native American. In North Haven 6% of the students received reduced or free lunch.

Second, what are the student goals for the program? Based on its desire to balance the present ethnic/racial isolation of public school students, CAPTAIN has three goals for its students:

1. The successful student will be able to evaluate the results of close collaboration with university and community leaders.
2. The successful student will be able to evaluate the results of working with students from other racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds.
3. The successful student will be able to apply the skills he/she learned in CAPTAIN in his/her regular school program.

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STRATEGIES

Central to the CAPTAIN program is the fact that is voluntary. According to A.S. NeilL (1992) and other respected educators (4), forced learning is an oxymoron. Learning only begins once the student—sooner or later—makes the decision to learn. CAPTAIN, therefore, will be voluntary, held on Saturday mornings, following the pilot project I directed at Career High School for 279 students for eight weeks in Spring 1997. Specifically, CAPTAIN will offer eighteen sections of fifteen students each, with eighteen teachers for its 270 students. Eight of the teachers will also spend time recruiting in various high schools, because some students will need an extra push to attend class on a Saturday.

Similarly, CAPTAIN will build upon the instructional methods that developed during the pilot project. Teachers from that project implemented and began to refine effective team-teaching models. They made frequent use of extended instructional periods (some classes ran for 90 minutes, others for 3 hours), collaborative student activities, rubrics for both assessment and goal setting, and interdisciplinary curricula. During their weekly self-evaluation sessions, teachers began the use of a number of techniques to reflect on their practice (some of which had been introduced into the staff through the Critical Friends Group of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform). All these initiatives will be further developed through CAPTAIN.

Recognizing the importance of communication for students, CAPTAIN will employ John Collins’s process of teaching writing across the curriculum. Students at Career High School who have been engaged in this writing process have shown significantly increased levels of comfort and achievement in the types of written responses called for in the CAPT as well as in-depth classroom discussions. Teachers at Career High School who have been engaged in this writing process feel more comfortable with cross- and inter-disciplinary units.

Recognizing that many inner city students lack the social and networking opportunities their suburban counterparts take for granted, CAPTAIN will expose its students to experiences that are generally outside of their experiences in school, either in content or intention, by featuring regional planning and close contact with the faculty and personnel from area universities as well as parents and members of the respective communities of the students. There will eight field trips during the 24-week session of CAPTAIN and fifteen opportunities for guest presenters

Since a vital important component of the CAPT—and the workplace, according to the latest SCANS Report (1992)—is the ability of students to work together in small groups (“They can work on teams, teach others, serve customers, lead, negotiate, and work well with people from culturally diverse backgrounds [italics added] (5), students will receive frequent opportunities to practice that skill, as the curriculum will be designed for that purpose. And since these small groups will be composed of students from different districts, both urban and suburban, including both minority and non-minority, the program will thus combine both cognitive and social development.

Finally, what is the transference value of the program? Since all the curriculum for CAPTAIN will be designed with the collaboration of faculty from the represented districts, and since the project in designed to run for 24 weeks, from October through May, there will be a strong incorporation of many aspects of the Saturday program within the regular school day. The monthly staff development / reflection / student assessment meetings will have as one of their main themes this design of incorporation. It is intended that curricular reform initiatives that have been successfully piloted in CAPTAIN can make their way into the regular school day.

Since students learn as much from how we, as teachers, behave as they do from what we say, and since every student learns to read the hidden curriculum of each class, we must remember teaching that diversity in the classroom involves more than just covering the content. It also means developing a supportive context. We must always be aware of how we treat our students, of how our students treat us, and of how our students treat each other. Here, then, are a dozen teaching tips about upholding a diversity-supportive context in the classroom, adapted from the Fisher College of Business, Ohio State University (6):

If the class includes group work, even if the students choose their own team members, insist that the group composition be as diverse as possible.
Pay attention to how you address different groups of students? Do you address the females differently from the males? Strive for consistency.
Monitor the comments from the class to ensure that one group’s opinions are not over-represented.
Use a random system for asking general questions or soliciting class participation so that every student has the same chance to participate.
When students are speaking to each other, monitor the discussion to ensure that the students show consideration and respect. Make sure that all groups are able to participate.
If a difficult situation arises based on a cultural or diversity issue, ask for a time-out while everyone writes down his thoughts about the incident.
If you use case histories, chose ones which involve diverse populations.
Do not allow students to sit in the same seats all the time. Encourage students to sit next to students they don’t know and allow two or three minutes at the start of each rotation for people to introduce themselves to others.
Allow students frequent opportunities to provide anonymous feedback about the course.
If a student makes a blatantly sexist, racist, or other comment which is likely to be offensive—whether intentional or not, ask the student to rephrase the comment to express the idea without offending other members of the class. Use the opportunity to inform the class of the inappropriateness of such comments.
Do not talk over a student’s comment. Allow the student to finish before you respond.
If students make group presentations, insist that every member of the team have a speaking part.
Let us return now to the three assumptions: The second was: A diversified student population is advantageous.

Diversity is natural. Several examples: A diversified portfolio allows an investor to hedge his bets: the very dissimilarity of the investments ensures him protection. This concept is similar to the greens on the Yale Golf Course. Unusually, they are composed of a variety of grasses. Although they do not present the perfect uniform green of an expensive country club, they are nonetheless incredibly hardy—resistant to the diseases that might harm any particular strain. If one strain becomes diseased and bare, the other strains quickly fill in the spot, resulting in a uniform consistency, though not a uniform color.

When I was a child I used to have two recurring visions, both involving music. In one all the peoples of the world, suspended somewhere between heaven and earth, were playing together in a great orchestra, each section in turn making its unique contribution yet all sounding together as one melodious whole. In the other vision, Soviet bombers flying over the United States, ready to drop their nuclear weapons (This was the era of the Cold War.) would hear the strains of America the Beautiful wafting up from the people on the ground and be so struck with the beauty and special place of the country they were about to destroy that, permanently transformed, they would turn their planes around and fly home.

Jesse Jackson, in his speech to the Democratic National Convention, July 20, 1988, made diversity his theme:

America’s not a blanket woven from one thread, one color, one cloth. When I was a child growing up in Greenville, S. C., and grandmother could not afford a blanket, she didn’t complain and we did not freeze. Instead, she took pieces of old cloth—patches, wool, silk, gabardine, crockersack on the patches—barely good enough to wipe off your shoes with.

But they didn’t stay that way very long. With sturdy hands and a strong cord, she sewed them together into a quilt, a thing of beauty and power and culture.

Now, Democrats, we must build such a quilt. Farmers, you seek fair prices and you are right, but you cannot stand alone. Your patch is not big enough. Workers, you fight for fair wages. You are right. But your patch is not big enough. Women, you seek comparable worth and equity. You are right. But your patch is not big enough. Women, mothers, who seek Head Start and day care and prenatal care on the front side of life, rather than jail care and welfare on the back side of life, you’re right, but your patch is not big enough.

Students, you seek scholarships. You are right. But your patch is not big enough. Blacks and Hispanics, when we fight for civil rights, we are right, but our patch is not big enough. Gays and lesbians, when you fight against discrimination and a cure for AIDS, you are right, but your patch is not big enough. Conservatives and progressives, when you fight for what you believe, right-wing, left-wing, hawk, dove—you are right, from your point of view, but your point of view is not enough. But don’t despair. Be as wise as my grandmama. Pool the patches and the pieces together, bound by a common thread. When we form a great quilt of unity and common ground we’ll have the power to bring about health care and housing and jobs and education and hope to our nation (7).

Not everyone, however, believes that different groups making music together— or studying together—is desirable. Not everyone listened to Jesse Jackson’s grandmother. Milwaukee public schools, for example, are experimenting with ethnically separate populations. New York City is considering female-only public schools. The University of Pennsylvania publishes a yearbook exclusively for its African-American students. When I visited suburban schools during my promotional campaign this last year I noticed that in most cases the handful of African-American students in these schools sat together in the lunchroom and walked together in the halls. I have noticed that even in my own school, at staff meetings, the faculty tends to cluster together in ethnic/racial pods.

Or take the case of the great ninth grade curriculum debate in Montclair, New Jersey: A decision by then English department chairwoman Bernandette Anana to “detrack” the ninth grade curriculum upset the equilibrium in this model suburban town

to the point of creating permanent fissures within the community. At the center of the debate was indisputable statistical evidence indicating that black students were disproportionately assigned to remedial courses while whites were overwhelmingly placed in advanced placement classes (8). David Hernon, a parent and one of the founders of Concerned African American Parents, acknowledged that there was

no real social interaction and only superficial friendships between blacks and whites, or people from different economic backgrounds. The communications consultant remembers his response to a white friend who questioned their relationship after learning of Herron’s position on the ninth grade curriculum issue. “I can’t remember the last time you had me over for tea,” quips Herron, recounting the manner in which he challenged his friend’s indignation (9). The controversy in Montclair seemed to be about curriculum. But it went deeper. It was about race and class. According to local journalist Steve Adubato, white anxiety was tied to the “delicate balance that suggests that you cannot have a majority black student population and a quality school system.” (10). Beneath the hidden racism and elitism lay a failure in communication:

The failure to engage in a communal soul searching on these issues consigns conflict to those places that provide cover for real feelings. Residents can argue without fear about quality education—while the true issues are race and class. Thus, school children effectively shield parents from any direct hits based upon opinionsÉ (11) These and other such experiments in informal, unconscious, or sanctioned public separation make powerful statements against the optimism of diversity. Yet, because these statements are caused by people both ignorant of other cultures and not engaged in real contact with them, there is hope—that education is the answer, that if we start with our school children, we just might be able to make progress.

How, then, do our students feel about the issue? One useful exercise to find out involves the continuum process. First the teacher poses a question that can command completely opposite responses, either of which can be reasonably argued. For example, in the context of our discussion (Assumption No. 2)

“The needs of students from different racial and ethnic backgrounds are better served through a population that is diverse.” Students are then asked to align themselves physically along a continuum from “strongly agree” at one end to “strongly disagree” at the other. Next, each student is allowed the opportunity to explain his/her position. At any time students are allowed to move their positions and, if desired, are given an opportunity to explain why they moved.

The resulting conversations tend to be both interesting and useful, particularly when student begin to allow themselves to shift their positions. It is also useful for students who never moved from their original positions to reflect on their steadfastness—did they have strong convictions, or were they just stubborn?

The continuum process may also be used in opening discussion on quotas (Assumption No. 1). The question might be:

“It is appropriate for the State of Connecticut to fund the new Career High School only with the provision that its student population meet particular racial and geographical percentage quotas.” or, more broadly,

“The ends justify the means.” Let us now consider our third assumption: Race itself is a meaningful concept.

Why do we think the way we think? We learn to make distinctions. Science has shown that those who are born blind and given their sight in later years have to learn to distinguish between a square and a triangle, that such apparently obvious differences are actually learned perceptions. Certain peoples in isolated areas of the world have no concept of right angles, either in the abstract or in the materials of their world. As with geometric figures, so with people. According to Barbara Fields, race is not biologically determined, but political.

Much energy has gone to examining the relationship between the black and white races. But is there in fact such a thing as a distinctive and separate black race? This question has been explored by geneticists and physical anthropologists, no less than political scientists, with some of the most notable work being conducted by Kenneth Kidd of Yale:

Kidd and his colleagues have been taking DNA samples from two African Pygmy tribes in Zaire and the Central African Republic and comparing them with DNA samples taken from populations all over the world. What they have been looking for is variants—subtle differences between the DNA of one person and another—and what they found is fascinating. Éin almost any single African population É there is more genetic variation than in all the rest of the world put togetherÉ. In a sample of fifty Pygmies, for example, you might find nine variants in one stretch of DNA. In a sample of hundreds of people from around the rest of the world, you might find only a total of six variants in the same stretch of DNA—and probably every one of those six variants would also be found in the Pygmies. If everyone in the world was wiped out except Africans, in other worlds, almost all the human genetic diversity would be preserved (12).

Responding to a discussion on diversity, an unknown caller to New York’s “Talk of the Nation” on public radio put it similarly when she said: “There is more difference between two African Americans than there is between an African American and a white” (13).

Let us remember the fish in water and consider some of those very assumptions that are so ingrained in the culture that we take them for granted. Maybe they are so ingrained because we—and certainly our high school students who are great consumers of the popular media—keep hearing them over and over. By way of illustration, here are two instances of how the media perpetuate this myth:

Black athletes achieve their success through natural ability and whites through effort.

(1) In a recent article Sports Illustrated described the white basketball player Steve Kerr, who plays alongside Michael Jordan for the Chicago Bulls as a

“hard-working overachiever” distinguished by his “work ethic and heady play” and by his shooting style “born of a million practice shots.” Bear in mind that Kerr is one of the best shooters in basketball today, and a key player on what is arguably one of the finest basketball teams in history. Bear in mind, too, that there is no evidence that Kerr works any harder than his teammates, least of all Jordan himself, whose work habits are legendary. But you’d never guess that from the article (14). On the National Public Radio broadcast of “Only a Game” (May 17, 1997) Robert Kahn, author of The Boys of Summer, was talking about a recent conversation he had with Willie Mays about his famous catch of Vic Wertz’s 430-foot fly ball in the sixth game of the 1954 World Series against the Cleveland Indians. (I was an Indian fan then and remember the catch vividly.) It was the eighth inning, the score was tied 2-2, one out, and Larry Doby (who broke the color barrier in the American League and suffered through trials as difficult as Jackie Robinson’s in the National League) was on second. After the ball was hit, and in the few seconds he had to race one hundred feet to catch the drive, Willie Mays made the following, careful six-step analysis:

I will definitely catch this ball.
I need to catch it over my shoulder, facing the wall, which is solid brick and quite capable of breaking my face
I need to time my run so that I do not have to leave my feet because . . .
. . . I need to prevent Doby from scoring after I catch the ball by tagging up from second base since he is a smart runner (He’ll stay on base until the catch.) and a fast runner (He’s capable of scoring from second since I am 460 feet from home plate.).
Therefore, I need to catch the ball in such a way that I can throw it home immediately after I catch it.
Furthermore, I need to catch the ball at a place in my body so that I can spin and throw in one motion, be facing the intended target, and have my body positioned so that I can get sufficient force behind the throw to carry 330’ on the fly
Kahn, who was at that game, pointed out that the next day the New York papers completely ignored the complicated analysis May performed while running full speed towards a brick wall (There were no padded fences in 1954.). Instead, they all raved about Mays’ “instinctual” catch. Mays told Kahn he was quite annoyed at that characterization, as he later would about similar references to Jimmy Brown’s “raw physical ability” on the football field. (Brown was a careful student of the game.) and Mohammed Ali’s (who invented “scientific boxing”) in the ring (15).

Is Fields right? Was/is race itself a deliberate creation. We may draw our students’ attention to four incidents from American history.

Two 325-pound black men continually pound each other for money, one to protect a smaller white man, the other to slam him to the ground.

Rich whites (3%) fear the poor whites (52%) will identify, and align themselves with, the poor blacks (45%). Fearing the consequences of the identification along economic lines (If the 52% and 45% actually united, they would discover that the 3% had sufficient resources for all 100%.), the rich whites deliberately foster identification along racial lines through a campaign of misinformation.

White landowners employ Native Americans to capture runaway black slaves.

One hundred years after (3), the white government employs newly freed black slaves to capture and kill Native Americans.

Item (1) refers, of course, to the National Football League, where, statistically, the above scenario is most likely to be repeated hundreds of time each Sunday in the fall. It seems innocuous enough, almost not worth mentioning. But, from the perspective of history, how related is it to Items 2 and 3?

Item (2) refers to the strategy of the early Southern planters to engage in their campaign of racial bias (a early form of media manipulation) to preserve their economic clout and drive a wedge between the two large groups of poor peoples., who, if they ever united, could easily overthrow them. Item (3) refers to the strategy of these same planters to drive a wedge between two large groups of potentially threatening forces. Item (4)—the “Buffalo” soldiers during the Indian Wars—is a reversal of Item (3), but with similar intent.

What is central in this discussion is the notion that racial bias is a deliberate, learned behavior. And if it learned, it can be unlearned. That is the hope of the interdistrict grant.

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CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES

1. Continuum Process (See previous discussion.)

2. What is the First Thing You Notice When You See a New Person?

Let us guide our students in the direction of bringing their assumptions to their consciousness. For this purpose we use the guided exercise, “What is the first thing you notice when you see this new person?” In this process, we show our students various pictures and segments of videos and have them determine which particular indicator is most important to them at any given time, based on particular needs. We ask the students to hypothesize which situation would make which pair the most significant, for example: interviewing a candidate for a job, choosing someone to date, picking up sides for a ball game, sitting next to a stranger on a train, selecting a college roommate, choosing a partner in class for a collaborate exercise.

For this exercise here are some possible pairs:

malefemale
non-whitewhite
youngold
able-bodieddisabled
“good-looking”not “good looking”
healthysick
shorttall
richpoor
heterosexualhomosexual
well educatedpoorly educated
United States citizenalien
English speakingnon English speaking
literateilliterate
intelligentnot intelligent
regular education studentspecial education student
gracefulclumsy
urbansuburban
peacefuldisturbed
cooperativedisruptive
well spokenpoorly spoken
By way of illustration, we discuss with our students the lottery process for selecting students for the four interdistrict magnet schools in New Haven. There are only two indicators of significance, aside from a student being in the proper grade and residing in one of the fourteen enrolled towns:

white / non-white resides in New Haven / resides outside of New Haven.

There is much controversy about having only two indicators and having those two. We solicit our students’ opinions as to the selection process for the school. What indicators would they consider important? Why were these the two indicators chosen?

3. What Are You? (16)

We start out by asking our students to consider what makes a culture. We may suggest they consider items such as gender roles, family, shared stories, interpersonal relationships, social expectations and behaviors, language and communication patteterials:

Post-It Note Pads (each student needs 10 sheets)
12 8.5 x 11 pages to post around the room, each pages having a label from this list: Teenage Boy, Teenage Girl, Old Man, Old Woman, Black,
White, Jew, Puerto Rican, Asian, Adult Woman, Adult Man, Unwed Mother
First we discuss with our students how our attitudes toward and beliefs about other people are shaped. Then we ask our students to think about words that describe a person’s behavior and character traits, both positive and negative. We have a long enough discussion to generate some thinking and to encourage our students to stretch the responses to use more precise words. Not “good” and “bad,” for example, but “industrious,” perhaps, or “untrustworthy.” As the students respond we put some of the words on the board.

Then we pass out the Post-It sheets and ask our students to write five negative and five positive words on them. While our students are doing this, we put up the 8.5 x 11 sheets with the label words around the room. We then ask our students to attach their Post-It words on the sheets with the label words, so they match our society’s stereotypes of those categories of persons.

Finally, we have a discussion around the following questions:

To what extent are these stereotypes accepted by the group being typed?

Was it harder or easier to attach the positive or negative words? Why?

How has this image helped the group?

How has this image hurt the group?

5. They are not like us.

Central to the fear of diversity is the statement, implied or manifest, that “they are not like us.” Here is an exercise that puts this fear into a historical perspective, helping our students understand that, throughout United States history, xenophobic attitudes have existed, yet at the same time our culture has survived and been enriched by each new wave of immigrants:

First, our students will read this updated excerpt from a speech written by a “famous American” without being told who he/she is:

I agree that these people are a matter of great concern to us. I fear that one day, through their mistakes or ours, great troubles may occur. The ones who come here are usually the most stupid of their nation. Few understand our language, so we cannot communicate with them through our newspapers. Their priests and religious leaders seem to have little influence over them. They are not used to freedom and do not know how to use it properly. It has been reported that young men do not believe they are true men until they have shown their manhood by beating their mothers. They do not believe they are truly free unless they also abuse and insult their teachers.

And now they are coming to our country in great numbers. Few of their children know English. They bring in much of their own reading from their homeland and print newspapers in their own language. In some parts of our state, ads, street signs, and even some legal documents are in their own language and allowed in courts.

Unless the storm of these people can be turned away from their country to other countries, they will soon outnumber us so that we will not be able to save our language or our government. However, I am not in favor of keeping them out entirely. All that seems necessary is to distribute them more evenly among us and set up more schools that teach English. In this way, we will preserve the true heritage of our country (17).

Second, based on clues from the passage we will ask them to determine who is speaking, when the speech was made, and what group of people is being described. Are they Cubans? Haitians? Cambodians?

Third, we will lead a general class discussion. We will ask such questions as: “What is fact and what is opinion?” “What is the concern of the speaker?” and “Might there be any validity to his/her concerns?”

Fourth, we will reveal the author and the topic. It is Benjamin Franklin, referring to immigrants from Germany.

Finally, we will discover if our students are, as we would suspect, surprised. If so, we will ask why and elicit their responses.

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Notes

1. Since 1989, the Interdistrict Cooperative Grants Program has been used to support programs enhancing educational quality and diversity. There were 116 district programs in operation in 1996, involving 153 of Connecticut’s 166 school districts.
2. “Educational Improvement Panel Report to the Governor and General Assembly” in the Hartford Courant, May 21, 1997.
3. Section 10-4a of the Connecticut General Statutes defines the educational interests of the state: “The educational interests of the state shall include but not be limited to, the concern of the state É that each child shall have .. equal opportunity to receive a suitable program of educational experiences.” The State Board of Education has defined equal educational opportunity to mean “student access to a level and quality of programs and experiences which provide each child with the means to achieve a commonly defined standard of an educated citizen. The Board has further stated that “evidence of equal educational opportunity is the participation by each of the state’s student sub-populations (as defined by such factors as wealth, race, sex, or residence) of educational outcomes at least equal to that of the state’s student population as a whole.” On April 26, 1989, Milo Sheff, et al., students from the Hartford Public School System, filed suit in Superior Court alleging that the racial and economic isolation in Hartford’s schools violated the state constitution and “deprived the plaintiffs and other Hartford children of their rights to an equal educational opportunity and to a minimally adequate education” (plaintiff’s brief). After the trial court found for the defendants, the case was appealed to the state Supreme Court. On July 9, 1996, the Supreme Court found for the plaintiffs in a 4 to 3 decision, declaring: “The uncontested evidence of the severe racial and ethnic isolation of Hartford’s schoolchildren demonstrates that the state has failed to fulfill its affirmative constitutional obligation to provide all of the state’s schoolchildren with a substantially equal educational opportunity.”
4. Neill, A.S., The New Summerhill (London: Penguin Books, 1992).
5. “Learning a Living: A Blueprint for High Peformance—a SCANS Report for America.” The Secretary’s Commission of Achieving Necessary Skills, U.S. Department of Labor, April 1992.
6. Adapted from Josephs, Susan L., “Teaching Diversity.”
7. Ravitch, ed., The American Reader: Words That Moved a Nation (New York: Harper Collins, 1990), pp. 386-369.
8. Fields, Walter, “The Myth of Montclair: Is Tolerance the Best We Can Do?” in New Jersey Reporter: Center for Analysis of Public Issues, Nov./Dec. 1996, vol. 26 no. 4.
9. Ibid..
10. Ibid.
11. Ibid.
12. Gladwell, Malcolm, “The Sports Taboo,” in The New Yorker, May 18, 1997, p. 52.
13. “Talk of the Nation,” WNYC, May 13, 1997.
14. Gladwell, p. 54.
15. “Only a Game,” WNYC, May 17, 1997.
16. I am indebted for the formats of this lesson and the next to De. Beverly B. Title, Teaching Peace, Hygiene, CO.
17. “From a Speech by a Famous American,” in Social Education, October 1991, pp. 396-397.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR TEACHERS

Cocking, Rodney R. and Greenfield, Patricia M., eds, Cross-Cultural Roots of Minority Child Development, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, NJ, 1994.

This book offers an examination of how socialization and development are expressed within ancestral cultures and then re-expressed in the United States in new societal contexts.

Gladwell, Malcolm, “The Sports Taboo,” in The New Yorker, May 19, 1997.

With reference to scientists, sociologists, and his own experiences as an African-American athlete, Gladwell explains “why blacks are like boys and whites are like girls.”

Josephs, Susan L., “Teaching Divesity,’ in Diversity in Business at Fisher College.

Http://www.cob.ohio-state.edu/-diversity/teach.html

This report contains useful teaching tips adaptable to various ages and school settings.

McAdoo, Harrieete Pipes, ed. Family Ethnicity: Strength in Diversity, Sage Publications, Newbury Park, CA, 1993.

This book presents a review of the demographic characteristics of the major ethnic families in the United States.

Neill, A.S., The New Summerhill, Penguin Books, London, 1992.

Albert Lamb, an ex-pupil and now the Summerhill librarian, has edited this latest edition which contains additional material from A.S. Neill’s many books and other writings. The first section covers the school itself, the second is Neill’s autobiography.

Ploumis-Devick, Evelyn, “Appreciating Differences: Teaching and Learning in a Culturally Diverse Classroom. Hot Topics: Usable Research.” (1992)

http://eric-web.tc.columbia.edu/abstracts/ed342759.html

ERIC Accession Number ED 342759

This publication is designed to provide educators with useful information on and examples of how teachers and students can better communicate and learn in today’s culturally diverse classroom.

Ravitch, Diane, ed., The American Reader: Words That Moved a Nation, New York: Harper Collins.

Self-explanatory selection.

Title, Beverly, “Teaching Peace,” P.O. Box 412, Hygiene, CO.

“Teaching Peace” offers a partnership and team building called “Synergizing through Diversity,” which focuses on cultural diversity, learning styles, and gender differences.

“Can Performance-Based Assessments Improve Urban Schooling?”

ERIC Digest Number 56

There are indications that performance-based tests might result in lower scores for low-income and minority students unless there are accompanying changes in teaching methods.

“Educational Improvement Panel Report to the Governor and General Assembly” in the Hartford Courant, May 22, 1997.

The report regarding educational opportunities for Connecticut schoolchildren, prepared for the governor and General Assembly.

“Extended Learning Time for Disadvantaged Students—Vol. 2: Profiles of Promising Practices—1995”

http://www.ed.gov/pubs/Extending/vol2/append-c.html

http://www.ed.gov/pubs/Extending/vol2/prof8.html

This report contains information on staff development, mentoring and peer tutoring, and strategies for urban/suburban initiatives.

“A Nation in Quandary: 1975-“

gopher://eric.syr.edu.70/0R0-26069-Lesson/Crossroads/middle/Unit_XII

The activities in this unit are designed to give students an awareness of some of the numerous issues that surround them and may become challenges to them in the future.

“Recent Case Studies of Extended-Time Programs”

http://www.ed.gov/pubs/Extending/vol2/append-b.html

Descriptive reports containing profiles of extended-time programs for disadvantaged students. Both successes and problems are featured.

“Saturday School”

http://www.ed.gov/pubs/Extending/vol2/prof7.html

This report centers on a program in Silver Spring, Maryland, that has been effective in raising Hispanic academic achievement. The program has been in place since 1992 and used Total Quality Management techniques to build leadership skills in the participants.

“Saturday School Delivers One-on-one Assistance”

http://www.caller.com/newarch/news1254.html

These are success stories from a program in Houston funded by Citgo that has been running since April 1996.

“Using Time in New and Better Ways”

http://www.ed.gov/pubs/Extending/vol2.pt1.html

This report spells out the goals that promote high academic and behavioral standards and that cultivate productive links between the student and the community.

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READING LIST FOR STUDENTS

Gladwell, Malcolm, “The Sports Taboo,” in The New Yorker, May 19, 1997.

With reference to scientists, sociologists, and his own experiences as an African-American athlete, Gladwell explains “why blacks are like boys and whites are like girls.”

Ravitch, Diane, ed., The American Reader: Words That Moved a Nation, New York: Harper Collins.

Self-explanatory selection.

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