What Can Be Done? by Libero Della Piana
- Improve the quality of teaching.
Redesign teacher credential programs to ensure that teachers are thoroughly trained to meet the needs of diverse student populations. Provide funding incentives to those school districts that train their teachers in the use of multicultural curricula and classroom methods.
Bring more people of color into teaching. Allocate adequate resources, including federally funded scholarships, to encourage and enable college students of color to become teachers.
- End high stakes testing and tracking and provide support to schools to prepare all students to have the option of taking advanced classes.
Academic tracking and standardized tests, based on biased and dubious criteria, serve as a cover for intra-school segregation and unfairly determine who advances, who graduates, and who gets left behind.
- Roll back resegregation by reconfiguring school districts.
- Create district-based “Racial Equity” Councils.
Over the last 25 years, the Supreme Court has moved to prohibit desegregation across school district boundaries, erecting a legal fire wall between students of color in under-funded inner city school districts and wealthier, whiter neighboring districts. Consolidating core urban school districts with those of surrounding suburbs is one strategy that could address the vast spending gulf between rich and poor school districts and give inner-city students of color access to the same resources as suburban students.
Establish in every school district a recognized, legitimate forum where parents, students, teachers, administrators, and community members can regularly air issues of race and education.