James report released - Tracking and other "Inopportunities" cited
On Thursday, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jeffrey Villar released the full text of the Loyola study "EXCELLENCE AND EQUITY: THE IMPACT OF RACIAL INOPPORTUNITY ON STUDENT DEVELOPMENT AND ACHIEVEMENT AT WINDSOR HIGH SCHOOL," conducted over the past year under the leadership of Dr. Marlon James,
According to the "Executive Summary" the study
"is organized into three independent but mutually supportive analyses, each containing a targeted review of literature, research questions, methodology, results/findings and recommendations. This format allows for each inquiry to be discussed independent of the whole work, or when taken together readers can glean a macro perspective of schooling at WHS.
The first analysis considers the impact of the learning environment at WHS from the perspectives’ of students, and finds that a system of tracking animates micro-aggressions in student-educator interactions. The byproduct is an actualize culture of failure and mediocrity, which undermines both the capacity of educators to establish a nurturing learning environment, and the academic, social and emotional development of students, particularly among culturally diverse learners. We implore policy makers, leaders, parents, educators and students to consider alternatives ways of organizing the learning environment of WHS.
The second analysis acknowledges the progress made by WHS in increasing access to Advanced Placement courses, but exposes critical opportunity gaps when AP data is disaggregated by both students’ race and gender. We recommend the re-establishment and expansion of an AP taskforce to develop, assess, and seek funding to expand equality and equity systems that will support student access, preparation and success in AP courses.
The final analysis employs descriptive statistics, correlations, and multi-regression analysis to document the structural nature of racial inopportunity at WHS, the importance of initial track placement to future enrollment patterns, and how access to high quality courses can potentially close 50% of achievement disparities among students.
To dismantle tracking and other forms of racial inopportunity at WHS we recommend the formation and empowering of an Equal Opportunity Commission tasked with oversight of this critical work. In short, the researchers conclude that actualized systems of equity are the most efficient and effective means to educational excellence at Windsor High School." [emphasis by the website editor]
For the full text of the study, please click here
A first impression of the report is that the analysis and the findings are far less "revolutionary" than many hoped or feared, although it is certain that the recommendation the district move away from a tracking system will certainly meet resistance - considering that tracking has been making a comeback across the country.
Far more controvercial promise to be many of the group's recommendations, among them the placement of the district under state control if the BOE fails to dismantle the "systems of inopportunities" that prohibit closing the gap in a short period of time.
A more thorough analysis of the study and its proposals will be published in this week's Windsor Journal.