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Hugh McInnish's Letter to the U.S. Department of Justice

Hugh McInnish's Letter to the U.S. Department of Justice

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A leader in the Madison County Republican Party has written a letter to federal officials stating that disparities between white and black students in Huntsville's school system exist because "life is unfair."
A leader in the Madison County Republican Party has written a letter to federal officials stating that disparities between white and black students in Huntsville's school system exist because "life is unfair."

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Published by: The Huntsville Times on Mar 02, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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03/02/2011

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HughMcInnishHuntsville,Alabama36802(256)February28,2011Ms.Allison
R.
BrownTrialAttorneyU.S.DepartmentofJusticeCivilRightsDivisionEducationalOpportunitiesSectionWashington,DC20004DearMs.Brown:Yourletterof16FebruarytoMr.
J.
R.
BrooksconcerningtheHuntsvilleschoolshasbeenwidelycirculated,andacopyhasfallenintomyhands.MayIhaveyourpermissiontoofferyouafewcomments?Sinceyoudon'tknowme,Iwillbrieflyintroducemyself.Iamneitheralawyernoraneducator,butaretiredengineer.Althoughretired,Istilldosomeconsultingwork.Myinterestintheschoolsisasaparent,agrandparent,andaboveallasaveryconcernedcitizen.IhavelivedinHuntsvillesince1964.AsIproceedIbelievethatyouwillseethat,forbetterorforworse,myviewpointwillbeanewone.Someofmywords,thoughnotsointended,willperhapsbeoffensivetosome,buttheymustbesaid.Mycommentswillbeconcentratedonthesubjectsof
StudentAssignment
and
StudentDiscipline.
In
regardtocourseofferingsyoupointoutthatwhiteChallengerMiddleSchoolhadstudentsenrolledin29sectionsofadvancedprograrnrning,whileblackDavisHillsMiddleSchoolhadonlynineenrolled.YouthencomparedpredominatelywhiteHamptonCoveMiddleSchoolwithpredominatelyblackEdWhiteMiddleSchool.Thefirsthad31advancedandthelasthad14.Anadvancedprogrammingcourseisboundtobechallengingandforwhichonlythosewiththemostabilityandpreparationaresuited.Anditiscertainlytruethatmathematicalabilityandproficiencyinreadingisagoodmeasureofsuch.Thechartbelowshowsthetwopairsofschoolswhichyoucompare.Notethattheblack-whitegapinmathis,ineachofthepairs,about50percentilepoints,andinreadingabout45.
It
isaltogetherplausiblethatthisgapaccountsforthedifferenceinthenumberofadvancedprograrnrningcoursesoffered.Beingcalled"advanced"meansthatitisnotfortheordinarystudent,butfortheexceptionalstudent.
 
MiddleSchoolSAT10Scores
90
-~
-
---
8070
~
60
z
50
=
i;,j
u
40
~
Q.
30
2010
0
MathScore
ReadScoreChaliengerDavis
Hill:li1mplonCoved
White
School
Source:ALSDETurningtothehighschools,YoumakecomparisonsamongGrissom,Huntsville,andButler,pointingoutthedifferencesbetweentheenrollmentnumbersintheadvancedcoursesbetweenpredominatelywhiteGrissomandHuntsvilleontheonehand,andpredominatelyblackButlerontheother.Thechartbelowispertinenttothispoint.
It
showsthepercentageofstudentsateachschoolwhoscoredinAchievementLevelIV,thehighestachievementlevelasmeasuredbytheAlabamaReadingandMathTest(theARMT).Sincethesearethemostadvancedstudents,itisonlylogicalthatthoseselectedforadvancedcourseswouldcomemostly,ifnotentirely,fromamongthem.Asthechartshows,wecanonlyexpectafewstudentsfromButlertobeselectedfortheadvancedcourses.
-------,
PercentARMTLevelIV
706050
.....
c:
40
Q.)
1:
i;,j
Q.
20100
MathReadGrissom
HuntsvilleButler
School
Source:ALSDE2
 
Finallytherearetheelementaryschools.HereyoucomparetherelativelyhighnumbersofstudentsinfivelargelywhiteschoolsenrolledinadvancedcourseswiththesmallernumbersinlargelyblackLakewoodandRollingHills.YouwillprobablyanticipatewhatImightsayhereandIwillspareyoutheneedlessredundancy.ThechartbelowmakesthepointsimilartothatIhavemaderegardingtheelementaryandhighschools.
ElementarySchoolSAT10Scores
10090
~
8070
....
60
c
Il.I
50
u
40
..
~
30
Q..
20100
MathScoreReadScore
School
Source:ALSDEYoualsodiscussthelackofblack-whiteparityinadvancedcoursesinschoolsthatarepredominatelywhite.Thedatabrokendownbyraceineachschoolisincomplete,butwouldalmostcertainlyshowthesamepatternashereifitwereavailable.Youconcludeyourdiscussionofthedisparitiesbetweenthewhiteandblackschoolsinregardtoadvancedcourseofferingswiththestatementthat,"ThusblackstudentsinthepredominatelyblackschoolsintheDistrictwerenotaffordedthesameopportunitytoenrollinadvancedcoursesastheirpeersinthepredominatelywhiteschools,andblackstudentsinpredominatelywhiteschoolswerenotenrollinginadvancedcoursesatnearlythesamerateastheirwhitepeers."IthinkIamsafeinsayingthatinordertoenteranadvancedcourseastudentmust(1)beanexceptionalstudent,and(2)askforsuchacourse.Youhavenotpresentedanyevidencethatanystudenthasrequestedanadvancedcourseandbeendenied,eitherbecausethecoursewasnotbeingofferedorforanyotherreason.Further,youhavegivennoevidencethatwhereadvancedcoursesareofferedandthenumberofblacksenrolledisdisproportionatelylow,thatthedisparityisduetotheblacksbeingexcludedfromthecoursesordiscouragedfromenrolling.Inbrief,thereisnoevidencethatopportunitiesarebeingdeniedblacks,andtheleapfromtheobservationofthenumberofblackparticipantstotheconclusionthatthenumbersprovealackofopportunityisanonsequiturofmonumentalproportions.3

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