Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Does segregating black students boost their academic performance?

A high school in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is defending its decision to segregate its students by race and gender. The scheme, at McCaskey East High School, separates black students from the rest of the school body, and then further breaks it down into black females and black males. The school noticed that black students were not performing as well as other students, and that research had shown that same-race classes with strong same-race role models led to better academic results. The principal admitted that no other students were divided by race at the school, but he added that academic data dictated the school take a different approach with its black students. The idea came from an instructional coach at McCaskey East. She said statistics had shown about a third of McCaskey's African-Americans scored proficient or advanced in reading on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests, compared with 60% of white students and 42% of students overall. In mathematics, only 27% of black students scored proficient or advanced. She said research had shown that grouping black students by gender with a strong role model could boost both academic achievement and self-esteem.

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