Saturday, February 24, 2007

Little Rock schools out from under federal court supervision

Little Rock's school district has been freed from federal supervision, a federal judge ruled Friday. His ruling is here.

Little Rock, which now has a black-majority school board, was satisfactorily evaluating its academic programs in the effort to improve achievement on blacks, the ruling found.

Of course, there are those who aren't happy, natch.

"We're certainly disappointed in view of the lack of progress this district has made in addressing the needs of African-American students," said John Walker, a lawyer for Joshua Intervenors, which represents black students. "The standard was not high for the district to meet, but they certainly have not met it. We will have to pursue other means."

All I've got to say is it's about bloody time. There comes a point, and everyone needs to acknowledge this as distasteful as it may be, where those in the underachieving strata and their communities need to look inwardly at themselves and ask the hard questions as to why they are underachieving, and what cultural and social pressures are at play that keep them underachieving.

Every child can learn, but the schools and school administrators can only do so much. They can set the table as immaculately as possible, but if the children aren't motivated to learn, they won't learn. And try as the schools might, they will be hard-pressed to overcome the lack of meaningful parental involvement and motivation and the intense cultural and peer pressure to view getting a good education and wanting to succeed as somehow selling out to the establishment.

It will be up to not the larger community but the on-the-ground community of these underachieving pupils -- the parents, grandparents, friends, etc. -- that will have to change attitudes and behaviours and work to keep the pernicious influences away and keep the children's' focus on success at school.

The school districts will fail where that at-the-source influence and effort is lacking.

People, it's time to look at yourselves and to yourselves and not to a school district or a federal judge or a government.

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