Monday, November 12, 2012

Damaging Statement

I just started reading Creating the Opportunity to Learn (Boykin and Noguera).  I came across the following statement on page 33.

Too often, attitudes and beliefs that contribute to the normalization of failure are unchallenged, and when failure is normalized, educators often grow comfortable seeing minority students underperform and fail in large numbers...  Likewise, parents and the broader community can become so conditioned by pervasive and persistent failure among certain groups of students that, over time, low test scores, discipline problems, and high dropout rates generate little outrage or concern.

I re-read this section several times and wrote in the margin "damaging statement".  I cannot imagine a worse depiction of a school, district or community than when failure is normalized and becomes part of the accepted outcome.  Rightfully Boykin and Noguera state,

Reforms may be implemented- new textbooks and new curricula may be adopted, schools may be reorganized and restructured, principals may be replaced- but unless there is a strategy for countering the normalization of failure, it is unlikely that disparities in achievement will be reduced or that schools will ever change.