View Full Version : Multiracial pupils to be counted in a new way

03-24-2009, 01:13 AM
Concern over difficulty of monitoring groups that have trailed in school

....................................."Arabic Eskimos ?"

WASHINGTON - Public schools in the Washington region and elsewhere are abandoning their check-one-box approach to gathering information about race and ethnicity in an effort to develop a more accurate portrait of classrooms transformed by immigration and interracial marriage. Next year, they will begin a separate count of students who are of more than one race.

For many families in the District, Montgomery and other local counties that have felt forced to deny a part of their children's heritage, the new way of counting, mandated by the federal government, represents a long-awaited acknowledgment of their identity: Enrollment forms will allow students to identify as both white and American Indian, for example, or black and Asian. But changing labels will make it harder to monitor progress of groups that have trailed in school, including black and Hispanic students.

Racial and ethnic information, collected when children register for school, can inform school board decisions on reading programs, discipline procedures or admissions policies for gifted classes. The government looks at test scores of minority groups to help determine whether schools make the grade under the No Child Left Behind law. In an increasingly data-driven culture, educators also scrutinize such test scores and enrollment figures to pick programs meant to narrow achievement gaps and equalize academic opportunity.

03-24-2009, 02:04 AM
Ugh...MSNBC!? The problem could be children who have been told by parents that they have ancestors of __X__ and they end up putting that. For instance a parent tells a child that waayyy back, they have an ancestor who is native american and that child ends up putting Native American and White. Also, there is much controversy as to Hispanics being a distinct race. The 2000 census asked if you were of hispanic origin as a separate question as race. Many, but not a majority, of Hispanics are of a mix of Amerindian, Spanish, and Black descent...what do they call themselves? Not just that, but "African-Americans" are quite distinct from African immigrants. I can tell the difference, can anyone else? Even then, Africans in the south of Africa are very distinct from the black-skinned, Muslim Africans who live around the Sahara. What about Indians (from India)? They're grouped into "Asians'", but don't you think they are quite distinct from Chinese, Japanese, & Vietnamese people!?

And by the way, there is no such thing as "Arabic" race...Middle Eastern people are 'white' (or sometimes 'Caucasian'). I am half-Egyptian and have never seen a "What is your race?" question which has "Middle Eastern" or "Arab" as choices. While on that, I should note that "Middle Eastern" and "Arab" are two distinct classifications, as Arabs originated in the Arabian peninsula and conquered the Middle East...but in countries like Egypt and Lebanon, the Christian communities are descendants of the original inhabitants, having remained separate communities and not interbred with the Arab invaders. If I were in Egypt, for instance, I, being of Coptic descent (Coptics are the Christian descendants of the ancient Egyptians), would be a bit distinct from 'Arabs' in much the same way that Jews are distinct in parts of Europe and the Middle East (yes, they're similar, but Jews are distinguishable in many regions of the world, aside from the hats and beard). The official definition of "White" in the 2000 census was, as found on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_ethnicity_in_the_United_States_Census#Rac e):

"White. A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa. It includes people who indicate their race as 'White' or report entries such as Irish, German, Italian, Near Easterner, Arab, or Polish."

03-24-2009, 03:10 AM
You so wonderfully illistrate exactly how artificial and bogus the contruct of race is. :)

03-24-2009, 08:57 AM
It's time for schools to stop keeping racial statistics. It would be a good first step in ending any type of racial discrimination in the educational system.

I remember when I applied for college, race was asked on all the forms, including the one for residence halls. You had several choices, about living with foreign students or "students of a different racial backround". They were separate questions. I asked my parents and guidance counselor about why was race asked, and was told it had to do with applying for different kinds of scholarships.

I found out later from one of my black friends, after I started going there, that all black students who scored under a certain number on the ACT were required to attend the MLK program the summer before school (which, of course, cost money) to prepare them for college. My friend had to attend-she did poorly on the test, but had good grades from a decent high school (not Detroit Public Schools). The school did not require white kids to attend the program if their scores were low.

I can think of at least 3 reasons why the University had this program-1. they recruited heavily from the Detroit Public Schools and, in recognition that the schools were bad even in the 1980s, they wanted to ensure success for the mostly black graduates from that system, 2. some kind of silly federal requirement that forced them to do it, or 3. a way to shake down 10-20% of the student body for extra money. In the case that it was first reason, then they should have focused their efforts on graduates from low-achieving schools, and included white students from those schools or who scored poorly on the ACT.

03-24-2009, 09:37 AM
Noonwitch is correct: end race-counting completely. People know what their personal ethnic background is and they can play that up or not depending on their inclinations. Behavior is the best predictor of all the many problems and "isms" that the government is so concerned about. A stupid, reckless Asian kid is much more likely to be a failure than a smart, goal-oriented black kid.

Let's give that 'character' thingy a chance.

03-24-2009, 09:54 AM
Let's give that 'character' thingy a chance.AMEN!! I long ago decided not to answer any of those race questions when they ask.

03-24-2009, 10:25 AM
AMEN!! I long ago decided not to answer any of those race questions when they ask.

Back in my misspent youth, I spent a summer working on the census (1980). One of our neighbors was a mixed couple, the dad was Irish and the mom was Puerto Rican. Their son had an Irish name and didn't look Latino (blond hair and fair skin), but his parents insisted that this was his race. Needless to say, it paid off when he applied to college.

Counting by race is meaningless, since the racial definitions are so broad. What we ought to be doing is counting by country of origin. That way, you're either a native-born citizen or a naturalized citizen from whichever teeming shore that you're the wretched refuse of, which provides useful statistics for immigration policy. Legal aliens should be counted, but there needs to be a decision on whether they count towards the apportioning of congressional seats (the Constitution is silent on this). Illegals should not be counted, especially since congressional representation is determined by the numbers, and illegals have no right to representation in the congress.

Needless to say, I do not expect any Democrats to support this concept, although I have every reason to suspect that Imaginary Americans will be receiving far more services after this census.