The alternative of school vouchers is becoming a reality for many tradition schools districts. This new alternative will force schools to transform their everyday business unless they provide solutions that will help keep students in their schools. Since the school voucher program will focus on students who achieve the less, schools can eliminate the need for should vouchers by eliminating any perception of racism.
According to the article, Research & Commentary: School Vouchers would Help Illinois Children, the Illinois General Assembly has introduced a school voucher program for low-performing schools. Students can qualify for the program if they attend a school ranked in the lowest-performing 10 percent of the schools in its school district.
This proposed voucher program would cover either the lesser of the full cost of tuition and fees at a private school or the amount of the state’s foundation level for general state aid funding ($6,119 in fiscal year 2015–16) for students with household incomes below three times the federal poverty level. For students with household incomes up to four times the federal poverty level, the voucher would amount to 50 percent of Illinois’ foundation level. Students whose family’s household income exceeds four times the federal poverty level would receive a “flat grant” based on general state aid level for the school district, which is determined by the available local resources per pupil for the district as well as the district’s average daily attendance figures.
Illinois Public Schools have a challenge with educating students. Only 37 percent of Illinois 4th graders and 32 percent of 8th graders tested “proficient” in math on the 2015 National Association of Education Progress (NAEP) test, also known as the “Nation’s Report Card.” Only 35 percent of 4th graders and 8th graders tested proficient in reading. These results show Illinois’ public school system is failing to educate roughly six out of 10 4th grade and 8th grade students to a proficient level in reading and mathematics.
One of the areas in Illinois that has the lowest performing schools is in Chicago. Chicago Public Schools student demographics reveal that the majority of the students are Black and Hispanic. Black and Hispanic students have perceptions that can foster a low performing school climate due to the perception of racism.
What are the perceptions of Black and Hispanic students that can contribute to the need of a school voucher program?
When incorporating students into a marginalized society by slavery, conquest, and colonization, students believe school is detrimental to their identity. Indians, Hispanics, and Blacks share the same travesty of being brought the United States society against their will and then relegated to subordinate status. Blacks and Hispanics are caste-like immigrants who were involuntarily incorporated into the United States. Involuntary minorities are not willing to perform well in school due to difficulty with crossing cultural lines.
Student perceptions and feelings regarding teachers influence student achievement which can become a primary need for a school voucher program. Students do better in school when they believe getting a good education will increase their chances for success. Students who perceive that teachers have favorable feelings toward them have higher achievement levels when teachers have positive views toward them. Children who have positive feelings regarding teachers have higher achievement levels.
Black parents have developed a process for overcoming the challenges associated with the perception of racism in schools. Black parents prepare their children to live in a dual cultural world that involves helping them to develop skills for adult roles such as wage earners and parenthood in addition to negotiating a dominant society that has different cultural values and judges people by their skin color or ethnic background. Blacks who live in an urban society and a society that dislikes them for the color of their skin ensure they do not become victims by approaching people with caution, wariness, and a sense of distrust.
It is the perception of racism that continues to contribute to the need for a school voucher program. School will continue to loose students at the request of the parents. Parents will now have the option to place their children in alternative programming such as a school voucher program unless school make a concentrated effort to promote positive racial teacher student classroom relationships.
All the best,
Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 4707 Cherry Hill, NJ 08034
Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships and Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology
The Raccelerate Phenomenon
Treasures of Hidden Racism in Education
“Dr. Campbell did his part and now all we have to do is run with it.”
~ Tom Coleman ~
Woodstown-Pilesgrove Public Schools Superintendent of Schools
“The model that you use to analyze teacher-student relationships is a good one for most school districts”.
~ Joe Vas ~ Perth Amboy Mayor
“Dr. Campbell’s Cultural Relationship Training Program is comprehensive, informative, and should be required training for all schools”
~ Darrell Pope ~ Hutchinson Kansas NAACP President