- Education and Science
White Flight & No Child Left Behind School Mandate
It actually should be, "affluent" flight, since it is not just "white", in any case, there are many school districts in California struggling with an overpopulation of Latino kids from families on the low end of the economic spectrum. In California, where the population is anywhere from 35-45% Latino, many school districts are strapped for funds because of the Federal program called, No Child Left Behind.
For most districts, this funding plays a major role because anywhere from $4-6K is given per student if the district meets Federal academic performance scores. These scores are based on the standardized tests that its students must take every year. If after several years a school continues to fail to meet them, funding ends. The school is then left on its own to find funds from the county or city to pay for its daily operations. Things can worsen, as parents hear about this and take their kids out of a poor performing school and drive them across town to one that is doing well academically. It use to be that a child could only attend a school within their school district. This old way is coming back to prevent "student" flight. Because any parent can enroll their kids in any school district and because the middle and upper classes earning more can afford to take their kids to other districts, the poor and low income families tend to stay in under performing schools. It is more economic than race that drives the exodus whatever color the skin is.
The problem between K-3 grades is lack of English. When a school has a 65-90% of its students English as second language and 90% of them are eligible for federally funded for free lunch and then scores under the passing 800 score mandated, it is too many kids have not mastered English well enough to understand the English standardized tests that all schools take. Usually it is not the teachers, but the students and the overwhelming load on the them and teachers. Many Kindergarten classes have 50% that know little English. The Teacher, even if bilingual, cannot devote her attention to just them. Hiring extra teachers to assist seldom ever happens-too costly. Then, the child's English skills are often not reinforced at home by speaking English because the parents have no incentive to learn it.
Parents should be eager to learn English so to help their kids and understand homework and school events. The teachers cannot do it themselves when their class grows to 25 kids and 15 of them need one on one English tutoring for spelling and pronunciation. Yet, these kids are allowed to continue and all must take the English exam with dire results. The more students like this, the more likely the school will suffer and not pass.
Then, when the district must close the school because of funds being pulled for not passing, those non-English speakers start to yell, "racists" and "discrimination". They simply do not understand where school funding comes from and why having their kids learn English with fluency is so important, not to mention, it is America.
When funds are cut at a school, many programs are cut-music, art, drama etc. Parents want the best for their kids, they see the school's poor performance on the test, many know why and enroll their kids in schools that have ranked high on the tests, the more above 800, the better the school. If you look at stats, schools with a higher student percentage of English as primary language (white and others), always do much better than schools where over 75% are English as a second language. This is not racist or anything, it is about English fluency.
Obviously, if one is fluent in English, they will perform better than those who are not. There are plenty of Hispanic kids who are, and score high, those are the ones that will go onto college. Of course, knowing English is part of it, knowing the material on the test is another, but it all comes into play with the Federal Academic Performance Index (API) score results.