This topic may be incendiary, though that's not the idea. I intend it to illustrate the deep and enduring problem that has eluded a solution on any broad scale anywhere in the U.S. It's the difference in education achievement levels between black and white students, as measured by standardized tests.
I linked yesterday to the latest state list of schools on the state improvement list for failing to reach federal No Child Left Behind requirements as measured by students' performance on standardized test scores. Of the state's, 1087 schools, 375, or more than a third, were on the list.
A school gets on the list when a insufficient percentage of students fails to meet proficiency standards as judged by test scores -- 55 percent at grade level in literacy and 56 percent in math at the elementary level, for example. A school could also make the list by failing to have merely one demographic subset of students fall below that proficiency standard in any one of six categories -- white, black, Hispanic, poor, non-English speakers or the disabled.
Here's what I noticed at a glance of the handy presentation of the entire list of schools over two pages in the morning Democrat-Gazette. School shortcomings were far more likely to be rooted in black students than white students.
I tallied the number of schools in which a subset of white students did not meet No Child Left Behind standards in Arkansas in either literacy or math. Bottom line: Only 23 of the state's 1087 schools fell short. For your perusal, those schools were, by school district:
ASHDOWN -- high school.
AUGUSTA -- elementary school
BERRYVILLE -- high school
BLEVINS -- Emmet High
BLYTHEVILLE -- Blytheville High
CEDARVILLE -- elementary
CENTERPOINT -- high school
DREW CENTRAL -- high school
FORT SMITH -- Trusty and Tilles elementary and Kimmons Jr. High
LAVACA -- High school
MALVERN -- High school
MOUNTAINBURG -- High school
NEWPORT -- High school
PULASKI COUNTY SPECIAL -- Jacksonville and Landmark elementaries; Jacksonville, Mills, Robinson and Sylvan Hills high schools.
TWO RIVERS: Plainview-Rover elementary
WALDRON: High school
No school in North Little Rock or Little Rock failed to meet proficiency standards among white student populations. The story wasn't so good among black students and poor students, with dozens of their schools falling short in lifting blacks and poor students and, often, Hispanic students.
Note: at least 40 students must be present in a subgroup before a school is judged in that category.
What's it mean? You tell me.