Contact: Cara Halstead Cea, Pace University Public Information, 914-906-9680, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Barry Allen Gold, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Management, Lubin School of Business, Pace University, email@example.com
Pace University Management Professor available for comment on Increased New York City School Funding
Additional Funding Not the Sole Answer for Urban Schools, says Author of New Book
New research, also weighing No Child Left Behind, supports planned diversity, tactic at issue in US Supreme Court case to be decided this spring
More funding for urban schools is only half the way to fix them, according to Barry A. Gold, PhD., an expert on organizational change who is Associate Professor of Management at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business and author of a just-published study of recent school finance changes in New Jersey, Still Separate And Unequal: Segregation And The Future Of Urban School Reform (Teachers College Press, 2007).
Gold’s research shows that to improve educational opportunity for urban students, teachers need to teach them the same way suburban students are taught. Moreover, some form of integration is necessary.
Gold documents and analyzes the implementation of the first four years of the landmark 1998 New Jersey Supreme Court Abbott V ruling and the first three years of the 2002 federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act. In four high-poverty, low-achievement urban elementary schools in New Jersey, these unprecedented reforms proposed to change all elements of the schools except their population characteristics — two were African American and two were Latino. Hence a related but more important research question was: Can separate education be equal? According to Gold, the answer is still no.
Gold found that teaching and learning did not improve and, in many cases, became less effective. This was primarily because administrators and teachers rejected the reforms or modified them to fit their idea of appropriate education for urban students, which as they understand it is different than the kind that suits suburban students. By focusing on test scores, in a powerful example of an unintended consequence NCLB actually increased the use of ineffective teaching methods—rote drill and obsessive reiteration of “the basics”—that often are used in the urban education that the Abbott V mandates tried to change.
According to Gold, the lingering socio-cultural ecology of segregation, which Abbott V and NCLB did not try to alter, insidiously reproduced the less effective kind of urban education.
In June 2007, the United States Supreme Court will rule on the use of planned diversity to achieve racial balance in public schools. The January 8, 2007 edition of the NPR program “Justice Talking” <http://www.justicetalking.com/viewprogram.asp?progID=580> is an excellent debate on the complex issues. Still Separate and Unequal: Segregation and the Future of Urban School Reform supports planned diversity to improve equality of educational opportunity, particularly under the conditions of extreme segregation that characteristic of most metropolitan regions in the United States.