As we continue to look at the City School District of New Rochelle Full Day Kaleidoscope, we were interested in learning its racial/ethnic composition. In “For Children Attending South End Schools, the Full Time Kaleidoscope “Windows” Still Remain Shut”, we previously reported that 50 of the 65 students invited to the District Full Day Kaleidoscope Program were from the North End Schools. Only 15 students who attend South End Schools were invited to apply. Since we reported this same disproportionate pattern of unequal representation of North End/South End in 2008, and since the City School District has done absolutely nothing to address it, we decided further examine the issue. If the numbers were not what they are, there would be no reason to shine a big bright light on the issue. We believe that the Kaleidoscope program exemplifies how students are typically tracked in the South End schools of New Rochelle.
In order to somewhat analyze this issue of racial/ethic representation in the Full Day Kaleidoscope; we were able to obtain the Daniel Webster Magnet School Yearbook for 2009-2010. In a totally unempirical manner, we guessed what each child’s background might be. We simply did this by looking at their picture and their surname. We guessed the following:
4th grade Full Day Kaleidoscope 2010 at Webster Elementary School
Possibly Black = 0
Possibly Hispanic = 4
Possibly Pacific Islander = 1
Possibly White = 23
Other = 2
It is clear that this demographic distribution is not representative of New Rochelle's population.
In addition to the elements of race, ethnicity and socio-economic status, the issue of lack of equal access to educational opportunities for children attending South End Schools is further determined by the geographic location of the school and the quality of instruction within each building. Kaleidoscope is just an example of a pattern that perpetuates itself through the middle school, as seen, for example, in the number of students who take advanced coursework in Science and Math. This pattern is amplified up at the high school and reflected in the poor graduation rates, lack of representation in Advanced Placement Courses, admissions to four-year colleges, etc.
The measures/instruments (also called “windows”) used by the City School District of New Rochelle to determine eligibility to the Full Day Kaleidoscope are:
2. Raw Score on NYS 3 English Language Arts (ELA) Assessment
3. Raw Score on NYS 3 Mathematics Assessment
4. A perfect rubric rating on two writing samples (one written in May and another selected from the student’s portfolio)
5. Highest score in the Ranzulli Hartman Creativity Scale
Oddly enough, the order number of the instrument seems to have somewhat of a relationship with its level of objectivity. The 5th item seems to be the most subjective of all. In order to qualify for the Full Day Kaleidoscope Program in New Rochelle, a student’s undeveloped raw potential is not as important as the quality of prior instruction a student has received. Either way, regardless of your ethnic or socio-economic background, if you are a parent whose child attends a South End School, it is very easy to develop a sense of feeling cheated and trapped in a mediocre educational track. Some will argue that this is not true. Nevertheless, the New Rochelle High School graduation rates tell a different story. This issue would be easily put to rest if the Board of Education of the City School District of New Rochelle would simply release the graduation rates disaggregated by middle school of origin. Of course that will not happen in our lifetime without State or Federal intervention. As many of us feel, the State and the Federal Government are asleep behind the wheel, while the liars, cheats and thieves continue to profiteer and make a mockery of our public institutions. We, as well as others, will continue to press the issue as we approach the long overdue and proverbial “tipping point.”