Some predictions aren’t that bold, and this is one of them:
I predict there will be much shouting and gnashing of teeth over the newest CREDO charter schools study and that the Kids Count 2013 report will dissipate into thin air like smoke from an abandoned camp fire.
Ultimately, the charter school debate continues to be much ado about nothing because charter schools produce about the same range of quality as public and private schools. Charter schools are school-choice-lite so they appease the beefy middle ground of conservatives and progressives who want to appear reasonable, but charter schools are not credible solutions to our pressing social and educational problems that remain primarily issues of equity and opportunity.
Schooling in the US continues to be a reflection and perpetuation of the inequities of our society; they don’t transform society, and they never have—primarily because education remains a tool of the political and economic elite who simply do not want social reform since that reform would challenge their perches atop the masses.
And the Kids Count report will remain ignored because it proves exactly that—social reform is needed in the US.
But most disturbing of all, beyond how debates about the CREDO study and charter schools will overshadow substantive examinations of social inequity, is that the CREDO study helps perpetuate the mindless and also distracting focus on data that ignores the ugly underbelly of many charter schools—segregating children by race and class, perpetuating “no excuses” and zero tolerance policies for African American and Latino/a children (but not white children), demonizing and de-professionalizing teachers and teaching, and reducing education for “other people’s children” to test-prep factories beholden to textbook publishers and high-stakes testing regimes (such as the ACT).
Count of this; my prediction will be proven true.
And we all lose in the process.
And almost no one is paying attention to the Pew report on economic mobility—except for Matt Bruenig and The Atlantic. Why? Because just as the Kids Count data refute the big political lies, so does the Pew report in terms of the American Dream; for example:
Americans raised at the bottom and top of the family income ladder are likely to remain there as adults, a phenomenon known as “stickiness at the ends.”
- While a majority of Americans exceed their parents’ family incomes, the extent of that increase is not always enough to move them to a different rung of the family income ladder.
- Forty-three percent of Americans raised in the bottom quintile remain stuck in the bottom as adults, and 70 percent remain below the middle.
- Forty percent raised in the top quintile remain at the top as adults, and 63 percent remain above the middle.
- Only 4 percent of those raised in the bottom quintile make it all the way to the top as adults, confirming that the “rags-to-riches” story is more often found in Hollywood than in reality. Similarly, just 8 percent of those raised in the top quintile fall all the way to the bottom….
There is stickiness at the ends of the wealth ladder.
- Sixty-six percent of those raised in the bottom of the wealth ladder remain on the bottom two rungs themselves, and 66 percent of those raised in the top of the wealth ladder remain on the top two rungs.
Blacks have a harder time exceeding the family income and wealth of their parents than do whites.
- Sixty-six percent of blacks raised in the second quintile surpass their parents’ family income compared with 89 percent of whites.
- Only 23 percent of blacks raised in the middle surpass their parents’ family wealth compared with over half (56 percent) of whites.
Blacks are more likely to be stuck in the bottom and fall from the middle than are whites.
- Over half of blacks (53 percent) raised in the bottom of the family income ladder remain stuck in the bottom as adults, compared with only a third (33 percent) of whites. Half of blacks (56 percent) raised in the middle of the family income ladder fall to the bottom two rungs as adults compared with just under a third of whites (32 percent).
- Half of blacks (50 percent) raised in the bottom of the family wealth ladder remain stuck in the bottom as adults, compared with only a third (33 percent) of whites. More than two-thirds of blacks (68 percent) raised in the middle fall to the bottom two rungs of the ladder as adults compared with just under a third of whites (30 percent).