On the anniversary of the Brown Versus Board of Education Supreme Court landmark desegregation decision, The Atlantic magazine assembled a diverse cross-section of industry experts to examine the state of contemporary American education. From ‘The Resegregation of American Schools ‘ to a video essay on ‘Inside Detroit’s Failing Public Schools’, the Summit revealed an unsettling picture of one of the nation’s most controversial subjects.
It also provided a unique perspective of a nation in transition on the eve of a presidential election. The case study in transition from public to private influences is Jim Shelton former Obama administration deputy secretary of education from 2013 to 2014, who later joined a company called 2U selling technology to public and nonprofit colleges and is now returning to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to lead their education efforts.
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was founded in December 2015 by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan to advance human potential and promote equality through the focus areas of personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people, and building strong communities. The Zuckerbergs have also made a commitment to contribute the majority of their Facebook generated wealth over the balance of their lifetimes to charity.
Ironically, the same summit examined the failures of a $100 million investment by the Zuckerbergs in the schools of Newark, NJ during Corey Booker’s tenure as Mayor that despite a five year effort was not sustainable. The most troubling panel discussed the rising trend toward privatization of public schools, where 93% of New Orleans and 44% of DC students now go to charter schools. Why are Black-majority and control cities leading the charge on this disturbing trend?
AFI President Randi Weingarten supported charters as a legitimate ‘alternative’ to poorly administered public schools, and warned that, “the One-Size-Fits-All approach does not work”, as the No Child Left Behind era of conservative republicans proved.
Even more disturbing is a finding from Cara McClellan’s group ‘My Sister’s Keeper Collective’ that Black girls are 6 times more likely to be suspended than white girls. The school-to-prison pipeline is not only effecting black boys disproportionately as a new network of private schools ‘Behind Bars’ have been developed to serve the rising population of incarcerated youth.
Follow the two day Atlantic Summit online that wraps up Wednesday @Atlantic_Live and use #AtlanticEDU to link to their social media feeds. © 2016 Malcolm Lewis Barnes.