Monday, May 15, 2017

Elite or Selective?: Reconsidering Who We Educate and How | radical eyes for equity

Elite or Selective?: Reconsidering Who We Educate and How | radical eyes for equity:

Elite or Selective?: Reconsidering Who We Educate and How

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Sharde Miller’s California teen describes his road from Compton to Harvard University offers a powerful subtext about the American Dream as well as the enduring belief in education as the “great equalizer,” embodied by Elijah Devaughn Jr.:
Devaughn grew up in a single-parent household in Compton, California, a city that has been plagued by gun violence and gang activity for decades….
“Getting accepted into a prestigious university like Harvard, I think it means the world,” Devaughn said. “It means God is able. It means that hard work pays off. It means that, you know, struggles end.”
What if we unpack the label of “prestigious” by making an important caveat: Is Harvard University elite or selective?
As a point of reference, over the past three decades of high-stakes accountability in public education, schools have been annually labeled as excelling and failing; however, once we look beneath the A-F rankings, a strong and consistent correlation persists between schools identified as excelling or failing and the socio-economic status of the students [1] (as well as the racial and language demographics).
Consider also that for every year of the SAT being administered, average scores have fallen perfectly in correlation with parental income and parental years of education [2].
My university has begun gathering data to analyze our impact on students. The university is selective, having high standards for the academic backgrounds and achievements of students.
Some initial data are telling. When students with high preparation are compared to students with low preparation, extrapolating over four years of college, high preparation students are more successful and the gap with low preparation students widens during years 2 and 3 and then never closes by year 4 (year 1 and year 4 gaps are about the same).
If we persist in suggesting that education is the great equalizer (despite ample evidence education does not, in fact, equalize) and a foundational mechanism of the American Dream, we must reconsider how and why we identify any schools as “prestigious.”

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