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May 20, 2004

Black Flight to Private Schools

Here's an interesting article about black flight from public to private schools, which is apparently a growing phenomenon. And check out the results of the all black private school featured in the article:

Like the Catholic schools favored by many black parents, the Whitfield School has stuck to instruction in basic skills. The other day, the blackboard in Louise Browne-Jackson's first-grade classroom was equally divided into sections about phonics (sh, en), grammar (contractions) and mathematics (place value in three-digit numbers). Classes routinely recite aloud. Every pupil in pre-kindergarten is required to learn to read.

Such methods defy the favored approaches of many public school systems, including New York's, which downplay or altogether omit drilling and memorization. The traditional style appeals strongly, however, to A. B. Whitfield, who taught in public schools for 17 years before founding Trey Whitfield (named for his late son) in 1983. And the curriculum has helped him attract a corps of experienced immigrant teachers, many of them products of the British-style schools in the Caribbean basin, for salaries one-third lower than those in public schools.

Nobody can argue with the results. On fourth-grade math and reading tests, more than 90 percent of Trey Whitfield students meet state standards, while barely one-third do so in the nearby public schools. Graduates go on to boarding, Catholic and elite public high schools, often having won scholarships. While in eighth grade, all Whitfield students are required to collect information about colleges. The assumption, not the hope, is that they will attend.

(Via Volokh.)

Posted by Old Benjamin at 09:39 PM | Permalink


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