Should North Shore public schools set lower academic, discipline standards for black and hispanic students? Activist to make the case.
Pedro Noguera, a UCLA professor and leading advocate of public schools establishing lower standards for black and hispanic students, laid out his philosophy to North Shore teachers and students in Highland Park.
In two presentations at Elm Place Middle School, 2031 Sheridan Rd., Noguera explained why he believes public school teachers should stop focusing on overall student achievement and instead pursue what he calls “equity,” or ensuring students of different races and ethnicities in their schools are achieving at the same level.
Noguera believes racially biased teachers are to blame for the fact that white students consistently outperform black and hispanic students on standardized tests. He’s an active supporter of requiring educators to attend “white privilege” training, which was encouraged at New Trier High School District 203.
“For the past 20 years, American policymakers have chosen to rely almost exclusively on schools to address the issue of racial inequality and demographic change,” stated an email promoting the lectures obtained by North Cook News, distributed by New Trier Assistant Principal Molly Ottolini. “However, educators have been provided with relatively little guidance in how to do this work. This presentation will describe strategies that could be pursued to counter and reduce racial inequality and improve relationships across social boundaries.”
Noguera also believes racial and ethnic disparities in school discipline are the result of teacher racism. He’s an advocate of lowering behavioral standards for black and hispanic students in public schools.
“Instead of asking why a student is disrespectful to a teacher, fighting, or disturbing a classroom, many schools react to the behavior by inflexibly enforcing rules and imposing sanctions,” Noguera wrote in a 2014 paper. “By responding to the conduct while ignoring the factors that cause it, schools inadvertently further the educational failure of these students and may ultimately contribute to their marginalization as adults.”
Noguera’s concepts have come under fire this year, as implementation of them in the St. Paul, Minnesota, school system led to “escalating mayhem” and “schools resembling war zones,” as reported by City Journal.
Noguera’s speaking fee ranges from $12,500 to $17,500.
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