Blogorrhea

by Robert Pondiscio
April 7th, 2008

Jay Matthews of the Washington Post today has a list of the top education blogs of 2008.  It’s rock solid, consisting of many of the sites on the Core Knowledge blogroll:  Joanne Jacobs, D-Ed Reckoning, Eduwonk, Eduwonkette, Bridging Differences, This Week in Education and Sherman Dorn are among the cited and deserving.  If Uncle Jay were to ask for my two cents, I’d add the highly readable and vitriolic NYC Educator, eduflack, Early Ed Watch, Intercepts, Michele McNeil’s Campaign K-12, and David J. Hoff’s NCLB Blog.   

Culture, Race, Ethnicity and Achievement

by Robert Pondiscio
April 7th, 2008

Mercury NewsNice piece of enterprise journalism turned in by the San Jose Mercury News (hat tip: Joanne Jacobs) on culture, race and ethnicity in Silicon Valley schools, which takes an unblinking look at cultural expectations of student performance among various ethnic groups. Among Latino kids:

“The 17-year-old seniors are called ‘whitewashed.’ Mataditas – dorks. Cerebritas – brainiacs,” the Mercury News reports. “They’re told they’re ‘losing their culture’ – just because Sandra has a 4.0 grade-point average and Bibiana has a 3.5. The put-downs are clear: Smart is not cool. And too many Latino students are choosing cool over school.” The paper contrasts this with a heavily Asian middle school nearby where the attitude is exactly the opposite. If you’re not smart, “you’re really looked down on,” says a Vietnamese-American eighth-grader.

“After years of tiptoeing around racial issues for fear of invoking stereotypes, California educators are now looking squarely at how ethnicity and culture shape achievement and attitudes toward school,” the paper reports.

More on this theme can be found in a recent report by researchers at Vanderbilt University, which found that gifted black students who underperform in school may do so because of peer pressure to “act black.”

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