May 31, 2016 08:34 AM EDT
Racially Diverse High Schools In America Are Throttled By Low Confidence; Is There A Solution?
North High School was suppressed by low expectations not too long ago as several struggling minorities' students were either given seventh-grade worksheets or an easy extra credit so that they could pass but things have changed drastically since then.
Despite having 900 students, the Des Moines school offered only one Advanced Placement class, which too lacked success as only 15 students took part in it.
Fast forward to the present, North High School has not only lifted expectations but it now offers 14 Advanced Placement courses, and school leaders motivate students to participate in at least one.
This is definitely a remarkable progress from where the school was about 10 years before, The Des Moines Register reported.
Vice Principal Eddie McCulley recalled parents often called him to complain that their kid is "not smart enough". To this, his response was, "We're going to believe that they can."
North has come a long way and even President Barack Obama recognized the school's intense efforts when he visited the school in September.
Apparently, the significant turnaround is not good enough for prepping several minority students, most of which are African-Americans for college and a career. What further contributes to the problem is the fact that the teachers and even school officials do not expect enough of those students, assuming they will fail to match the same level as other kids.
Former North Principal Vincent Lewis, who is black dubs "reducing expectations" as one of the most offensive forms of discrimination that can be put upon a child.
Black students in Iowa manage to score some of the lowest scores in the nation - well below African-American students in other states including Florida, West Virginia and Illinois.
According to a Des Moines Register review of educational data, a shockingly low 15 percent of black students are actually academically ready for college in reading, as opposed to 43 percent of white students (2015 state data).
Des Moines have been making news for all wrong reasons lately. High school students in Des Moines chanted "Trump! Trump!" this week, following a boys' basketball game, LA Times reported.
Those chanting Trump's name were from Dallas Center-Grimes High, which has majority of white students. The chants followed their loss to a more racially diverse Perry High School.
Dionna Langford, a member of the Des Moines School Board said the data is more disturbing than surprising. Langford, an African-American is hopeful as far as the new changes, particularly at area high schools are concerned. As they move across Iowa, graduation rates are also climbing at Des Moines.
We see bright spots," Langford added.
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