Education Roundup: Where Are All The Black Male Teachers?

Majory Collins/

  • Despite delusions of past academic grandeur, it turns out that the United States was never that great at math, reports Education Week. “The United States never led the world,” states a new report by the Brookings Institute. “It was never number one and has never been close to number one on international math tests. Or on science tests for that matter.” Brookings then delivers this crushing blow: In the First International Math Study, conducted in 1964, we ranked 11th. Out of 12.
  • Speaking of history, on Monday a South Dakota legislative panel endorsed a plan that would ban the state from using national standards for teaching the subject, reports The Daily Republic. “History is one area of study that is most subject to interpretation and debate,” says the bill’s main sponsor, Rep. Jim Bolin, R-Canton. “What is taught and what is left out in history is crucial.”
  • Thought that was scary? Only 28 percent of teachers teach evolution in biology classes. And now a New Mexico bill wants to protect public school educators who teach evolution or climate change as “controversial scientific topics,” Wired reports.
  • Spike Lee and Education Secretary Arne Duncan joined forces at the historically black Morehouse College to call for more black men to do the right thing by going into teaching, HuffPo reports. GOOD‘s Liz Dwyer asks where this pool of qualified black males is supposed to come from, considering the achievement gap.
  • Worse, less than half of the students graduating from New York public high schools are ready for college or jobs, The New York Times reported Monday. But firing NY high school principals doesn’t solve that problem; apparently there aren’t enough replacements. Nor are charter schools the solution, writes MoJo’s Kevin Drum: New stats show that they’re not magic, either. 
  • Meanwhile, if Louisiana’s Gov. Bobby Jindal gets his way, businesses in that state will start their own charter schools where they’ll get to be on the school board and reserve 50 percent of the space in the classrooms to the children of their employees, Shreveport Times reports. Think Citizens United: School Edition. Yikes!
  • And remember the Pennsylvania school that’s experimenting with segregation to boost test scores for black students? NewsOne took to Harlem to ask black people how they felt about the issue.
  • So, what would the Founding Fathers say about the tea party desire to kick the federal government out of public education? HuffPo Education‘s Jack Jennings provides a primer on the feds’ role in public ed.
  • Speaking of the DREAM Act, only an estimated 20 percent of undocumented students enroll in college. MoJo’s education reporter Kristina Rizga covers what happens when one of those students gets an invitation to fly out to Harvard University for a college interview. 
  • In other news,  Harvard University just dropped this bomb: Four year colleges aren’t for everybody. Or as, Rishawn Biddle at Dropout Nation put it: “Harvard Ed Profs to Poor and Minority Kids: You Don’t Deserve College Prep Education.”
  •  Former US Education Secretary Rod Paige argues Texas public school teachers should be paid based on their performance not their seniority, reports The Houston Chronicle. Edutopia agrees.
  •  Dana Goldstein covers news of Wisconsin teachers’ union battle with GOP Gov. Scott Walker over tying teacher tenure and performance ratings to student test scores.
  • Meanwhile, the entire GOP has set its sights on eliminating or at least scaling back teacher tenure, Slate reports.
  • Rizga reports on the difference one star student’s absence makes in a classroom. 
  • The religious right is taking aim at anti-bullying efforts in California schools (Minnesota’s already been hit) by labeling events like “No Name-Calling Week” as “homosexual propaganda,” Right Wing Watch reports.
  • And a Pennsylvania mother was jailed for not paying truancy fines for her son’s school attendance problems, CBS Pittsburgh reports. 
  • Finally: want President Obama to speak at your public high school? Here’s how.

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