December 16, 2004

Race, Family Income and Standardized Tests:


The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (Fair Test) has released some interesting information. This information caused the College Board which owns the SAT to demand that Fair Test remove the data from its website. Fair Test has put charts on its website that breaks down SAT scores by gender, ethnicity and family income. The College Board sent Fair Test a letter asserting that “publication of the data, significantly impacts the perceptions of students, parents, and educators regarding the services we provide." Fair test responded in a letter to the College Board stating: "That is precisely our goal”.

Looking over the charts, you will see that the data is quite interesting. The charts show that the SAT and ACT both render approximately the same results. The ACT Chart starts with families that make less than $18,000 per year going up to families with incomes of $100,000 per year; the higher the family income the better the scores. Does this reflect better parenting by rich folk or better access to good schools? The income differences rises in increments of six thousand, eight thousand and ending with increments of ten thousand by the time you get to sixty thousand a year and above. The test scores rise varies, but probably average around five points as you travel up the family income bracket, thus the family with a yearly income of 18k-24k a year scores on average 18.0 on the standardized test while a family with a yearly income of 24k-30k scores on average 18.7.

It is no secret that the more money a family make and the more affluent the community they live in, the better the schools in that community will be and the more money they will receive per pupil will be. When we break down the numbers by race the results gets worse. Black men and women average 17.1 the lowest on the chart with the highest being Asians and Whites with a tied average of 21.8. How does race and income for Black men and women affect our scoring on standardized test? The arguments are many, some argue that it is a class issue; some argue that it is a race issue. I believe it is both, and the proof is in the scores of children of the Black middle class.

In his book Solution for Black America, Jawanza Kunjufu writes about integrated schools that are segregated internally because of tracking, and schools that employ racist teachers with skewed expectations of Black children versus that of white children. Bush calls this “soft bigotry” as if that makes it less offensive and damming for our children. In his book Black Students – Middle Class teachers, Kunjufu notes that two consecutive years of ineffective teachers could destroy a child for life. Imagine having more ineffective teachers than effective teachers. How many of our children are right now sitting in a classroom with an ineffective teacher? I learned long ago that most people with an aversion to math avoid it because as a child being introduced to math and not understanding it, no one actually made sure they understood and now they avoid math like it is a disease of some kind. Most people will tell you as a child growing up when learning addition and subtraction they loved math, but as the math difficulty increased their understanding of it lessen and the response they received from their lack of understanding from teachers was one that made them feel stupid thus they shut down and every since, they have avoided math or any subject they did not understand.

I believe the charts on Fair Test site affirm a few things. It affirms that comments about personal responsibility or the lack there of in the Black community is the least of our problems as it relates to education. It affirms that Race and Income play far more a greater role in how our children do in school than most people are willing to admit and It affirms that America’s structural racist system only produces that which makes the system possible and is not structurally built or maintained to produce anything that may work against it and a strong and informed Black populace is not in the best interest of the system or those that benefit from it.


At 7:28 PM, Blogger EG said...

It's not clear that a correlation both race and income affect the scores equally (that is, how do Black children with family incomes of $40-50K score compared with White and Asian children with the same income). The SAT scores of the Black children seem to correlate around $16K family income. The ACT score income measurements start at $18K so that's why a definitive correlation is difficult.

The College Board admitted (reluctantly) that the SAT needed an overhaul due to perceived biases.

To me, this post makes a stronger case for personal responsibility. If the local school has ineffective teachers, it is incumbent upon the Black child and parent to spend the extra time to minimize the disparity between the school and the expectations of college. The ineffective teachers will not be fired so the high school will not change. The school board will not add more money per pupil to the school. The loser in this vicious cycle is the student. Therefore, the student must take personal responsibility to overcome these problems.

At 8:30 PM, Blogger Faheem said...

EG, lets just say all that you just wrote is the truth and I accept it as that. This again says to Black men and women because of race and class in America we should expect to work twice as hard as white folk and rich folk in general and be ok with that. I can not submit to that form of reasoning. I know that disparaties will exist but I will not accept disparaties as they are today and as wide spread as they are today. I swear the more and more I think about it, the more true the words of Paul Street rings with truth when he wrote:

"The harsh material and structural-racist reality of American society interacts with timeworn, victim-blaming ruling-class explanations of poverty to play an ugly game on the nation’s most truly disadvantaged. They are expected to magically leap beyond their social-historical circumstances – to exercise an inordinately high degree of sound personal responsibility just to keep their heads above water – while others are structurally empowered to “pass Go and collect $2 million” without such exercise, and indeed to deepen the well of black disadvantage"

and for those that don't know Paul Street is a white man.

At 8:37 PM, Blogger Faheem said...

To be clear, my comment above should have read:

This again says to Black men and women because of race and class in America we should expect to work twice as hard as white folk and rich folk in general FOR THE SAME RESULTS and be ok with that.

At 3:00 AM, Blogger EG said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 3:03 AM, Blogger EG said...

... and be ok with that.Then I totally agree with your post. We should NOT be ok with that. But the public school system within the context of the American political and economic system (or as you state, America’s structural racist system), the child being educated by a dysfunctional school system must take the issue into his/her hands.

For different reasons, this is the impetus for home-schooling. I am not suggesting that Blacks, who typically cannot afford to have a parent not work, take on home-schooling as a solution. But until the educational system is fixed, millions of children are left with a stunted level of education.

If your home is suddenly on fire, you will call 911 for help. Until the fire trucks arrive, will you attempt to dash out the flames with a water hose and ensure your loved ones are safe?

Looking back at previous posts, we agreed that our parents told us we needed to work at least twice as hard for the same recognition as whites. Perhaps what the past 40 years of civil rights efforts have done is to allow Blacks to forget that admonishment. We need to continue to fight for equality but realize we are not there yet.

At 6:33 AM, Blogger Scott said...

usually most of these studies fail by trying to correlate income levels, when they should be correlating wealth levels as the dependant variable, when they do that race usually drops out as a variable. (mainly because race is a dependent variable in wealth).

At 7:23 AM, Blogger Faheem said...

EG, we did agree that it has been commonly known in the Black community that we had to work twice as hard as white folk for the same results and as you said until true equality is established this may continue to be the status-quo. My contention is that when we talk about the failings of the public schools system and the education of Black children those that primarily criticize and blame Black men and women for the failure of the public school system by saying we lack personal responsibility is not doing so under the guise that we must compensate for the school systems failure, they are saying the school system is doing their part and the parents are failing and that is a lie.

I believe what you are saying is, yes, the schools are bad and because of that we have to do what others do not have to do and that is exhibit and inordinate degree of personal responsibility in order to compensate for the failure of the public school system. I can agree with that and have said so in the past but this is not the argument of the Negro-Con or that of white folk, their position is Black educational failures is do entirely to the lack of personal responsibility and that is complete and utter falsehood and this is what Black Introspection seeks to expose.

At 11:23 AM, Blogger Scott said...

Faheem you are not paying attention. NCLB basic premise is the SCHOOLS suck. Thus allowing kids to leave bad schools.

It in no way blames the students. I full places the responsibility on the schools and teachers. That is why the teachers union hates it.

At 12:20 PM, Blogger Faheem said...

Scott follow the bouncing ball. I said; something as fundementally flawed and under funded as the NCLB Act was not made a reality beacuase Negro-Cons like yourself were out front speaking about the dismall condition of the public school system, it is because of Black men and men who cared about our children and do not believe our children are inferior to other children that there is even a thing called the NCLB Act. Thus I said, Negro-Cons like you celebrate the NCLB act but did not have a damn thing to do with bringing to the forefront the problem our children face in the public schools that gave birth to the NCLB act nor will you have anything to do with future legislation that will help change the condition of these mind destroying centers across America.

You see Scott, while we are still raising a fuss about various things that need to be change and God willing we will see changed, you are cheerleading for white folk and accepting their interpretation of what is going on in our communities and you know damn well they have no idea what is going on. So as I stated, in 2015 when things are better than they were in 2005, Negro men and women like yourself will not have anything to do with things being better because as you see it things are the best they are going to get right now, but progrssicve Black men and women do accept such foolishness.

At 12:24 PM, Blogger Faheem said...

The reason the teachers union oppose many things is because the teachers union is a white organization that is not concerned with educating our children. They are more concerned with keeping things as they are. Rod Paige may have been right about them being a terrorist organization, they sure in the hell are terrorizing our children by fighting to keep these schools in there current condition.

At 4:21 PM, Anonymous lf said...

faheem - am I to understand that you support nclb? I realize that I have come into this converstaion rather late, but am curious none the less.

At 7:24 PM, Blogger Faheem said...

I do not support NCLB, and I have stated that several times throughout this Blog; however I am aware that NCLB is mix of good and bad things. There are some good things that were included in the NCLBA but the bad definitely out weigh the good. My argument in this particular thread was that NCLB as flawed as it is, did not come by way of turncoats professing everything is alright, it came by way of Black men and women continually pointing out the disparities in education in America.


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