Education Investment Gap

Huffington Post reports -- schools that enroll 90 percent or more non-white students spend $733 less per pupil per year than schools that enroll 90 percent or more white students. This according to a study released by the Center for American Progress. These 'racially isolated' schools make up one-third of the country’s schools. Nationwide, schools spend $334 more on every white student than on every nonwhite student.

Unequal Education

According to CAP's report -- titled "Unequal Education" -- the traditional claim that variation in schools’ per-pupil spending stems almost entirely from different property-tax bases between school districts does not hold true. Rather, variation within a district can be largely attributed to district budgeting policies that fail to take into account teacher salaries. For instance, new teachers who often start out in high-need schools that enroll many students of color earn less money than veteran teachers located in more affluent, Whiter areas.


St. Paul Discrimination Suit

Timothy Olmsted
Heights Community School parents have filed a lawsuit that is now moving to federal courts against the St. Paul Public School District amid an investigation into allegations that teacher Timothy Olmsted discriminated against Black students.

In the suit, parents claim that the district failed to protect their children from Olmsted, the Star-Tribune reports. Latasha Tolbert, mother of 12-year-old Jamia Ware, said she made nearly 100 calls to school officials in the fall regarding Olmsted's classroom behavior but no action was taken until January.

Front, left to right - Melissa Dobbs,  Jamia Ware and Aulecia Jones. Behind - Vanessa Boyd, Melissa and Jamia’s grandmother,
Latasha Tolbert, Jamia’s mother, and Miguel Jones, Aulecia’s father.

Olmsted resigned once the district placed him on paid leave in the spring after parents complained that he called African American students "fat, Black and stupid" and told them, "you will never amount to anything" and "you only have one parent," WCCO reported.The teacher also allegedly forced African American students to sit in the back of the classroom, or sit with their desks facing the wall."He told the whole entire class that it is easier for him to teach rich White folks than poor Black people," Tolbert told WCCO.

Olmsted has a long history of inappropriate and offensive behavior. He resigned from Heights Community in March, but is still being paid through the first week of October -- and parents are dissatisfied. He is not facing disciplinary action due to the resignation.

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There have recently been two similar cases in the news -- a case at North End Middle School in Waterbury, CT and one at Marshall High School in Falls Church, VA.


School Turns Back on Special Ed

A month before school starts, the families of 40 Minneapolis students with special needs were informed their children would not be welcomed back to the one-year-old charter, Minnesota School of Science. The school replaced Cityview Elementary School in August 2011 due to poor standardized test scores, the Twin Cities Daily Planet reports.

Originally, the arrangement stipulated that special education classrooms would remain in the building. It meant Cityview’s high-needs students would not have their schooling disrupted, and the district wouldn’t need to locate space for more classrooms in already-crowded schools.On July 9, however, the charter school’s board notified the district they would not re-sign a contract to mainstream MPS students this coming fall.

Diane Ravitch -- in her education blog -- points out that the Minnesota School of Science is part of a chain of urban, Midwestern charter schools managed by the controversial, Concept Schools.