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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Racial Divide On MEAP

   Racial Divide On MEAP
        The MEAP scores were dished out this week and there was a collective sigh of relief from the governor on down because a major aspect of the story was missed by the mainstream media.
        The bulk of the coverage was quite glowing with all sorts of headlines about scores going up for the third year in a row.  Sure 30% of the kids were flunking, but as long as there was progress, who could really complain?
        Well if you are a parent of an African-American or Hispanic student, you had plenty to gripe about, but that angle didn't get much coverage, if any.
        Buried in the myriad of MEAP data were these findings: 81% of the Asian and 79% of the white students got passing grades.  But only 56% of the Hispanic and 43% of the African-American students passed.
        Put another way in more human terms about every other Hispanic student and six out of ten Black students are struggling to read, write, and figure out math and science.
        In other words there continues to be a huge racial divide in our schools and there is no quick fix to close it.  The implications are far reaching including a prison population that will continue to mushroom and a welfare system that may be stretched to its limits as uneducated persons grapple to make a living, legally or otherwise.
        State School Superintendent Mike Flanagan, to his credit, did acknowledge that Michigan confronts a tough challenge in our urban and outstate rural districts.
        He reports there are some "shinning stars" in those areas. But let's be blunt: The MEAP scores reveal, most of the "stars" are tarnished.
        How long to turn it around?  He thinks three to four years.
        Maybe miracles will happen.


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