I'm going to excerpt just the first few paragraphs from this article.
This is what I went through for the first 1.5 years of high school
when I went to Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, a science,
engineering, and technical high school. It is what is called a magnet
school, today, but to get into the school, you had to have an 85/100
average and no grade below an 80.
The first 1.5 years of high school, I played catch up AND I had to
adjust to *gasp* white people *gasp* and some who were smarter than me
*gasp*. Essentially, I had to learn how to think more and study. I
went from spending 15 minutes doing homework a night to literally
doing 4 hours a night *PLUS* time to study if I had a test.
Entering my freshman year at Georgetown University, I should have felt
as if I’d made it. The students I once put on a pedestal, kids who
were fortunate enough to attend some of the nation’s top private and
public schools, were now my classmates. Having come from the D.C.
public school system, one of the lowest-performing in the nation, I
worked extremely hard to get here.
But after arriving on campus before the school year, with a full
scholarship, I quickly felt unprepared and outmatched — and it’s taken
an entire year of playing catch-up in the classroom to feel like I
belong. I know that ultimately I’m responsible for my education, but I
can’t help blaming the schools and teachers I had in my early years
for my struggles today.
Even though I attended some of the best schools in the District —
including my high school, the Cesar Chavez Public Charter School for
Public Policy, at the Parkside campus near Kenilworth — the gap
between what I can do and what my college classmates are capable of is
enormous. This goes beyond knowing calculus or world history, subjects
that I didn’t learn in high school but that my peers here mastered
long ago. My former teachers simply did not push me to think past a
basic level, to apply concepts, to move beyond memorizing facts and
Looking back, I realize that the D.C. public school system is like a
neglectful parent who isn’t around much but still likes to brag about
her child’s accomplishments. Since the third grade, my teachers told
me I was exceptional, but they never pushed me to think for myself.
And when I did excel, they didn’t trust that I’d done the hard work.
They assumed I was cheating. Now, only 10 milesfrom those teachers and
schools where I was considered a standout, I’ve had to work
double-time just to keep up.
Read the entire thing, because although the introduction is good, it
gets MUCH deeper in the paper.
And this is why I think urban school systems need to be blown up and
Kudos to Darryl Robinson!