Transcript_ Solomon, N. (2009). PRX _ Piece _ Mind the Gap_ Why Good Schools are Failing Black Stude - Transcript 54 minute version Mind the Gap Why

Transcript_ Solomon, N. (2009). PRX _ Piece _ Mind the Gap_ Why Good Schools are Failing Black Stude

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Transcript 54 minute version Mind the Gap: Why Good Schools are Failing Black Students Produced by Nancy Solomon [MUSIC] SOLOMON: This is Mind the Gap: Why Good Schools are Failing Black Students. Nationwide, Black and Latino students lag behind their white and Asian counterparts. The situation is most dire in low-income urban schools. But suburban schools are not immune. Over the next hour, we'll take a close look at a well-funded high school in New Jersey that does an exceptional job of educating its white students. Yet many black students are falling behind. Girl: we figured that in one way or another, the school system was holding something against us for being a certain color. Boy: I used to be the geek, always raising my hand, like teachers pet. Then in fifth grade, I felt like I didn't have any friends, so tried to fit in. Woman: we have resources to do so much more than school districts where there are no resources. So this is going to be the place where we hash this out. SOLOMON: Stay with us as we explore the minority achievement gap, after this. SOLOMON: This is Mind the Gap: Why Good Schools are Failing Black Students. I'm Nancy Solomon. The first time I visited Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey, it was 2003 and I was working on a series for NPR about the anniversary of the landmark Brown versus Board of Ed desegregation case. The school intrigued me -- a successful suburban school that is roughly 60 percent black and 40 percent white. But then history teacher James Cotter took me on a tour through the school corridors to play a game called Guess the Level. Cotter: We’re going to look inside the classroom at the demographics and we're going to be able to guess the level just based on the racial makeup of the class. Here’s our first chance .... SOLOMON: All core subjects at the high school are grouped by ability -- level two for the kids with the lowest skills up through level five, which is honors, and level six, advanced placement classes taken for college credit.
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Cotter: Ok. See a whole bunch of white kids; I’m going to say four level class. It’s a shame you can do this so accurately. This is the basic inequality of our school. Hi cooper. SOLOMON: The honors and Advanced Placement classes are nearly all white. The lowest levels, two and three, are almost all black. Cotter: I’m going to say this is a level 3 class. Why? Because I see one white kid. SOLOMON: This segregation makes the achievement gap plain for all to see. Black and Hispanic students at Columbia High School -- and minority students all across the country -- score significantly lower on standardized tests, have lower average grades and attend college in lower numbers. The gap even shows up among middle-class black students -- and there are lots of them in this leafy suburb a half-hour from New York. I live in this town, and the segregated classrooms shocked me. I moved here precisely because the two towns that make up the South Orange-Maplewood School District are so integrated. Like many of the parents who came here, I wanted my son to go to a multicultural school. But that
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