HOLC's 1936 security map of Philadelphia showi...public domain image via WikipediaHOLC's 1936 security map of PhiladelphiaWhy Is Congress Redlining Our Schools? | The NationRedlining was the once-common practice in which banks would draw a red line on a map—often along a natural barrier like a highway or river—to designate neighborhoods where they would not invest. Stigmatized and denied access to loans and other resources, redlined communities, populated by African-Americans and other people of color, often became places that lacked businesses, jobs, grocery stores and other services, and thus could not retain a thriving middle class. Redlining produced and reinforced a vicious cycle of decline for which the residents themselves were typically blamed.
In the new vision for ESEA, these schools, once identified, will be subjected to school “turnaround” models that require the schools to be closed, turned into charters, reconstituted (by firing nearly half the staff) or “transformed,” according to a complicated set of requirements that include everything from instructional reforms to test-based teacher evaluation. The proposed array of punitive sanctions, coupled with unproven reforms, will increasingly destabilize schools and neighborhoods, making them even less desirable places to work and live and stimulating the flight of teachers and families who have options.
"There is no plan in the current or proposed ESEA or in other federal legislation to stem the rapid slide of families into poverty, homelessness and food insecurity; to address the inequitable distribution of state and local funds to schools; to improve teaching and learning conditions in underfunded, high-poverty schools; or to recruit and train expert teachers who will stay in these schools and stop the revolving door of untrained novices who leave children further behind. There are no significant investments in training to better prepare teachers to teach new English learners, students with disabilities and others with a range of needs."
The racial and economic segregation that sets the stage for redlining is now firmly in place. One in four American children lives in poverty, nearly 60 percent more than in 1974, and the number of people living in severe poverty has reached a record high. A national study released in 2009 found that one in fifty children in America is homeless and living in a shelter, motel, car, shared housing, abandoned building, park or orphanage. The proportions in some school districts exceed one in ten, and the number is growing rapidly.
The schools are not just lacking in investment: the schools themselves take money and resources out of communities and actively breakdown local social ties.  Schools have never become interactive with their environments, they haven't built skill at that level of interaction.  In an effort to at least show some ability to care about schools that will never be a happy cog in the machine grinding out big jobs, schools try the turn-around. Some schools can crank into gear and achieve the now stale wonder of multiple moving parts, at least to some degree, but many schools cannot manage the charade and these districts need the positive social networking and interaction with schools that provide real services. I do not mean corporate curricular programs or remote control testing. Indeed, the one weakness in this strong Darling-Hammond piece is her link to the Common Core Standards.  Acceptance of the Common Core Standards is the part that anchors schools to the factory model in its totality. This is because the Core is not core, meaning concise, smaller than what we have now.  If schools are to move beyond the factory model, they will need a smaller core curriculum, a lot more focused, to allow time for many other things like health and exercise and sleep as well as other activities they choose. This core is needed because the vast majority of families, if given the choice, will still want their kids to attend and get some core subjects, though, in time, many would begin to stray into other activities and classes. If the Core were a core, then three or so hours a day would be the core everyone wants, and schools would be able to handle many other activities and classes as well.

background posts
real school reform (and a changing view of attendance)
voluntary attendance
the compulsory attendance mindset
centers for continual learning
reforesting the commons
blaming families, juvenile justice edition
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