There is a great article on SunSpot.net about a racially diverse school, Pikesville Middle School, that has managed to maintain the quality of education for it’s students as it’s racial diversity increased over the years.
Pikesville is sandwiched between two very different communities. To the west of Pikesville are the communities with the county’s highest concentrations of minority students – and many of its lowest-performing schools. To the east stand some of the county’s most comfortable middle-class white neighborhoods – and many of the stars of the school system. The school has a mixture of students from both extremes, and manages to provide an excellent education for it’s students.
Although the school does pretty well on the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program tests (MSPAP), the white students are statistically performing better then the African-American students. The administration attributes that to the fact that most of the back students come from different elementary schools than the white students. And the predominantly white elementary schools push the gifted and talented courses, much harder than in the predominantly black elementary school – so the quality of education is different.
Teachers at Pikesville are working to close the achievement gap, by building a qualified and experienced teaching corps, and recognizing and dealing with the challenges of social and economic diversity. In addition, the school won a $6,000 county grant to help bring more African-American pupils into higher-level math classes.
The article is a good read on the issues facing a racially diverse school system.