Only 7 Oregon High Schools Had Any African Americans in Calculus Class, Feds Say

Betsy Hammond, The Oregonian, July 7, 2011

Among the 50 Oregon high schools with at least 25 African American students in 2009-2010, only seven had any African American students enrolled in calculus and none had more than five black students take the course.

That is according to a U.S. Department of Education civil rights survey, released last week, that found poor and minority students have less access to rigorous courses and experienced teachers than other students.

According to the feds, Portland’s Grant High, whose 375 African American students gave it the largest African American enrollment of any Oregon high school, didn’t have a single black student in calculus that year. Grant did have a handful of African American students take physics, and it had 85 students take calculus–all of them white, Asian or Latino.

According to the federal figures, somewhere between 7 and 35 African American students took calculus in an Oregon public high school during the 2009-10 school year out of the state’s more than 4,000 African American high school students. (When fewer than five students of any race take a particular course, civil rights officials round the number up to five to protect student confidentiality.)

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Latino students were better represented in advanced math. According to the federal data, about 35 Oregon schools had at least one Latino student take calculus that year, with Woodburn High enrolling about 30 Latino students in the course.

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Portland Public Schools recently adopted a racial equity policy under which it acknowledges that African American students have experienced inferior educational outcomes. District leaders say they will work hard to try to change that.

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  • Anonymous

    “Portland Public Schools recently adopted a racial equity policy under which it acknowledges that African American students have experienced inferior educational outcomes.”

    “Experienced” bad outcomes? That word makes it sound like it’s someone else’s fault – Whitey’s.

    What are they going to do, fix the number of blacks in calculus class? Then they’ll have to give them all A’s, to fix the problem of their all getting F’s.

  • Sureesh

    No whites in son’s AP calculus class- all Asians in a school that’s 80 percent asian and 20 percent white. How come liberals haven’t started programs to help whites overcome this gap?

  • Anonymous

    Portland Public Schools recently adopted a racial equity policy under which it acknowledges that African American students have experienced inferior educational outcomes. District leaders say they will work hard to try to change that.

    Calculus is a very racist subject. Has been, and always will be. I wish Portland luck in their attempts at equity, but they may need some help. I suggest they call the Metro Atlanta school district and obtain suggestions.

  • BLACK HAT

    The solution is very simple.

    All African American students are REQUIRED to take Calculus. Yep, we must FORCE the white math teachers to accept them. Sorry. No excuses racist white math teacher. You WILL allow these qualified and deserving African American students into you class.

    That will solve the problem. It is obvious these African American students do want to take Calculus and the ONLY reason they are denied this “opportunity” is due to the color of their skin. Fine.

    FORCE the math teachers to let them in the room. Force open the door and if you have to beat the teacher, do so. Keep a police man at the door so the racist white math teacher can not block it (a la George Wallace). That will solve this problem.

  • BLACK HAT

    The solution is very simple.

    All African American students are REQUIRED to take Calculus. Yep, we must FORCE the white math teachers to accept them. Sorry. No excuses racist white math teacher. You WILL allow these qualified and deserving African American students into you class.

    That will solve the problem. It is obvious these African American students do want to take Calculus and the ONLY reason they are denied this “opportunity” is due to the color of their skin. Fine.

    FORCE the math teachers to let them in the room. Force open the door and if you have to beat the teacher, do so. Keep a police man at the door so the racist white math teacher can not block it (a la George Wallace). That will solve this problem.

  • Question Diversity

    That there were no blacks in Calculus at Oregon’s high school with the largest black enrollment, while the miniscule number of blacks in high school Calculus anywhere in Oregon were elsewhere in the Portland area or in Eugene doesn’t surprise me. You figure, a high school with a lot of blacks probably services the shiftless ghetto(s) of Portland, while black students who are the children of black parents who live in either suburban-ish Portland or in Eugene (University of Oregon), probably have enough intellect to where a few are Calculus-worthy at the top of their bell curve.

    District leaders say they will work hard to try to change that

    How? We already know that at the state’s high school with the most blacks, none are taking Calculus, so it’s not an opportunity thing. Tell me how you’re going to force obviously feeble minds to grok a form of math that is so obviously an abstraction. How will you teach the proverbial pigs to whistle?

    I think I know what they’ll do — They’ll do the course title inflation thing — Put up a bunch of classes called “Calculus,” put a bunch of black students in it, but not really teach Calculus.

  • Anonymous

    when will this white delusional thinking about black/hispanic abilities stop. what a waste of taxpayer money. no one is keeping them down. if that was the case, there would no Asians in those advanced abstract classes, either.

  • anonymous

    I’d love to hear from the 7 schools how the blacks did in calculus…………

    can I quess?

  • Anonymous

    Culture plays an important role as blacks from the Caribbean

    and Africa are more likely to major in mathematics and

    science than native born blacks. Go to any predominantly

    black college and you will see that the maths, engineering,

    physics and science major are foreign born blacks not American

    born.

    Whereas blacks abroad are exposed to blacks in maths and science

    and thus serve as role models, many American blacks may spend their entire lives not knowing any black mathematican or scientist .

    If a 15 year old Nigerian American, Saheela Ibraheem can obtain a perfect SAT math score 800(2340 overall), then many more blacks can do better in mathematics.

    It is interesting that black Americans are said to have higher

    IQ than blacks from abroad , yet it is the foreign blacks who

    are the black mathematicians and scientists in America.

  • olewhitelady

    I assume calculus is an elective, so no one except the black students themselves are responsible for not taking the course. I also assume that the majority of white and Hispanic students are also not electing to take it.

    When I was in high school I was in an advanced-learning program in which we had to take algebra and geometry, but not trig or calculus. We could elect the latter two, and I assume any student in the school could do so. Students without high IQ’s and high grades would have probably been counseled against it, but presumably no one would have absolutely forbidden it.

  • deadindenver

    I think the real issue here is not who is taking Calculus, it’s that there only 4000 Black kids enrolled in Oregon high schools. Liberal White Oregonians should reach out to other states and offer to take in more of there Black kids, might cut back on the “teen” flash mobs.

  • Howard W. Campbell

    Since the average black who graduates high school is functionally equivalent to a White 8th grader, let’s compare apples to apples. How many 8th & 9th graders in Oregon took calculus? My guess is that the number would be similar at best to the number of blacks taking calculus. I’m sure there are a few really bright 13 & 14 y.o. kids in Oregon who can handle math at that level. A black kid with 1 or 2 college professor parent(s) or the child of a successful businessman is probably going to accomplish more than Dontrelle or LoQuisha.

    There may have been 1 or 2 blacks who took calculus when I was in high school, but even that would have been a rarity. There was generally a cohort of 5 – 8 for each grade year who could keep up with the whites. Maybe 20 – 30 blacks in the entire school of around 1000 students (approx. 750 blacks, 240 whites, 5 – 10 “other”). I’m including the two half-Asians among the whites since there were in 95% white classes. There were some derelict whites, but they were pretty easy to spot & avoid. If memory serves, one had to take Algebra I, II, Geometry, and Trigonometry before Calculus. Unless you doubled up somewhere, you had to start with Algebra in the 8th grade. Most of us took it in 9th or 10th grade. If Pre-Algebra is kicking Quantavious’ “backside” in middle or high school; calculus is probably not in the cards anywhere down the line.

  • BO_Bill

    In the interests of fairness we should consider the Northwest Airlines underwear bomber from Africa. This lad is a mechanical engineer and would have had to have not only taken, but passed most likely two or three semesters of calculus. The fact that he couldn’t figure out how to light his pants on fire is more evidence of bad teachers.

  • sam d

    “Among the 50 Oregon high schools with at least 25 African American students in 2009-2010, only seven had any African American students enrolled in calculus and none had more than five black students take the course.”

    I’m sorry, but from my actual life’s experience I have to conclude that those figures are skewed, because I don’t believe there are more than a wee handful of blacks who can understand Algebra II and geometry let alone calculus.

    What good would it do to force more blacks to take the course…even if the school passes them as they do other courses just because they’re black…..if they can’t do the work?

    Sorry folks, but I’m sick and tired of playing “let’s pretend there’s no difference but skin color.”

  • Question Diversity

    11 Howard W. Campbell:

    If nothing has changed since the last I knew, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) thinks that even the dumbest high school students should take Algebra II, aka College Algebra aka Advanced Algebra, as a senior, and as a graduation requirement. That would put them at Pre-Alg as a Freshman, Alg I as a Soph., Geometry as a Jr., then Alg II as a Sr. The NCTM’s reasoning is that you need every HS graduate to know at least Alg II in order to be ready for college math, as any given major state university will have Trigonometry as their easiest math class.

    From what I am told, California seems to have taken the NCTM up on that advice. Good luck with that.

    I have news for the NCTM — If a given student can’t grok Algebra I until sophomore year, s/he probably won’t grok Algebra I at all, much less any higher level course.

  • Anonymous

    So what! Is the school district in violation of any Fed law or mandate. If so, what? If it was in violation of anything, the Feds would have threatened to drag the school district into court. Also, how does “civil rights” become involved? Were minorities prevented or even discouraged from taking calculus? Higly unlikely!

    What happened is that black students have enough sense to realize that taking calculus will be a waste of their time, and they don’t take it.

    By the way, I wonder how much the U.S. Department of Education civil rights survey added to the FedGov’s debt?

  • Anonymous

    I teach at a college in Canada, but have had no experience with African Americans. However sometimes we get students from Africa. Last year one of these African students did very well and got an A+ in calculus, though he worked hard for it and got a lot of extra help. Sometimes the African students have trouble with math, but they are always quiet and respectful in class.

    The African Americans seem to act like whiny victims who are always angry and disgruntled at something. The Africans students I have known aren’t like that at all. Of course, likely only the smarter ones get a chance to go abroad to study.

  • Anonymous

    If my blak history is correct, the white man stole math (along with other ideas too numerous to list)from the blak man. seems like blak students are passing up a great opportunity to steal it back.

  • Kevin

    How dare Newton and Liebniz create a system that results in “inferior” experiences by blacks. Typical evil white guys, going around making life tough for black folk.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    No whites in son’s AP calculus class- all Asians in a school that’s 80 percent asian and 20 percent white.

    No East Indians in son’s AP Calculus Class (I asked). School is 42% White 42% Asian.

    BTW: My White son got a 5 on the AP Calculus test. He got a 5 on the AP Physics test and a 5 on the AP Biology test too. Said the top students in each of those classes were Whites; son tutored Algebra II last year to a group that included Asians.

    Bon

  • Anonymous

    To Sureesh

    ‘No whites in son’s AP calculus class…’. ‘How come

    liberals haven’t started programs to help whites overcome this gap’

    This is just one calculus class , and the Asian and white gap is

    much smaller than the black and white gap.

    Many people also dont question whites’ ability to learn advanced maths. Afterall China and Russia are the top two performing

    nations on the International Maths Olympiad. Russia overperforms

    USA (a country with a larger population) and Japan (a country

    with almost the same population).

    So when one sees An Asian and white gap in AP calculus, they

    believe that one group just needs to study math harder.

  • American Son

    Math is hard, calculus is even harder. Sometimes the rationale of the underachievers is beyond reproach. Instead of accepting their shortcomings, the “blame game” must be played, and more taxpayer money must be spent. All to come back the same result as before.

    I expect the ciriculum to be adjusted accordingly. Which is downward of course. We can’t let nonWhites get their wittle feewings hurt because of the complexities of cow-que-wus. Remember folks, up is down in the liberal utopia.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    I expect soon Calculus WILL be required for a HS diploma in California soon, even though:

    In the fall of 2004, 48,000 LAUSD ninth-graders took beginning algebra; 44% flunked, nearly twice the failure rate as in English. Seventeen percent finished with Ds… Among those who repeated the class in the spring, nearly three-quarters flunked again.

    The school district could have seen this coming if officials had looked at the huge numbers of high school students failing basic math.

    BUT to the double digit IQs on the racist LA school board, if hispanic or black students aren’t taking and passing Algebra I, II and Calculus, they are being prepared “for a life of cleaning toilets and raking leaves.”

    Thus were all auto shops closed, gardening and landscaping classes shut down and the gardens allowed to fallow, the majority of home ec classes eliminated, woodworking classes gotten rid of — the very classes where those with double digit IQs could succeed.

    All Voc Ed destroyed, the huge, empty rooms used for storage, replaced with “rigorous curricula” such as Algebra II with attendant and predictable astronomical failure and drop-out rates (unless cheating and grade inflation are involved) — and the usual chorus from the trustees, community and educational officials that it’s The Teachers’ Fault when hispanic/black students fail classes they don’t have a prayer of understanding, let alone passing.

    I’m not kidding when I write that I work in an utter insane asylum. An Insane Asylum!

    Algebra I is sheer torture for teachers and students on the left side of the Bell Curve because Algebra is abstract requiring more than a double-digit IQ to unlock its logical progression.

    I’d like to see those on the trustee board who scream that “the schools are failing ‘our’ black/brown students” try to pass Algebra I.

    Bon

  • BLACK HAT

    I began school in Hong Kong. Age 3. I remember standing before the class and reciting the multiplication tables, up to 20 X 20, in both English and Chinese.

    Learning the tables PERFECTLY as soon as you can is the #1 thing one can do for math. I have always loved math, and no, it was never “hard” for me and I took all the math classes to Calc II. I have a B.S. Degree in Chemistry, by the way.

    Why don’t the blacks DEMAND all their kids learn the tables by age 6 or 7 (1st and 2nd grades?) It can be done. You just do it over and over and over. THEN move on to regular math.

    Blacks control all the major Urban school system. They have no whites to take orders from and no whites to tell them what to do?

    But, alas, we all know why. I do feel sorry for the little black kids who are never given a chance and are held down by African-Americans. Whites are the friends of black kids but the way they are treated by African-Americas is a shame.

    The best thing we could do for the Black race is to take their children away and have them taught by Whites only. They may have a better chance if white people get to them first rather than they be destroyed by the Black race.

  • BLACK HAT

    I began school in Hong Kong. Age 3. I remember standing before the class and reciting the multiplication tables, up to 20 X 20, in both English and Chinese.

    Learning the tables PERFECTLY as soon as you can is the #1 thing one can do for math. I have always loved math, and no, it was never “hard” for me and I took all the math classes to Calc II. I have a B.S. Degree in Chemistry, by the way.

    Why don’t the blacks DEMAND all their kids learn the tables by age 6 or 7 (1st and 2nd grades?) It can be done. You just do it over and over and over. THEN move on to regular math.

    Blacks control all the major Urban school system. They have no whites to take orders from and no whites to tell them what to do?

    But, alas, we all know why. I do feel sorry for the little black kids who are never given a chance and are held down by African-Americans. Whites are the friends of black kids but the way they are treated by African-Americas is a shame.

    The best thing we could do for the Black race is to take their children away and have them taught by Whites only. They may have a better chance if white people get to them first rather than they be destroyed by the Black race.

  • ProudtobeWhite

    Misguided libs will tell you that the problem is not enough black calculus teachers, but in reality the only way to get black kids to pass these courses is to dumb-down the curriculums to the point of absurdity.

    It must be frustrating when math teachers try to esplain sine and cosine to black kids, when all they can relate to are gang signs!

  • ok

    @ #10 — deadindenver at 7:25 PM on July 12

    Damn it, Denver Hush!!! please dont make light of the wonderful disparity here in our state! lol

    As for the Hispanic numbers in Woodburn, they are still dismal considering the fact that Woodburn is Hispanic central here in the state.

  • Anonymous

    Graduate-level degrees granted to Black university students tend to be disproportionately in low-hurdle domains such as education

    or social work. This is likely another manifestation of what underlies the Calculus statistics in Oregon. In the USSR I have heard there was “a whole lot of whispering” at the Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow about the high-hurdle challenges faced by many African students sent there, but I am not able to document this with any printed reference and would be grateful to know if any retrospective about this has been written up by contemporary Russians.

  • Freyr

    Almost Number 4, almost. But instead just deny Blacks calculus and get a George Wallace type to bar the door. They’ll flood in like gangbusters. Al and Jesse will be there to complete the festivities.

  • Sureesh

    To BLACK HAT:

    I agree that learning times tables could be done earlier and more efficiently in American schools. In India, we all MASTERED our times tables by the end of first grade. Here in America, I live in a very high achieving school district where Asians make up 80 percent of the enrollment. Nonetheless the schools didn’t formally “introduce” multiplication until third grade. My kids brought home these silly little picture worksheets with pictures of animals in groups with problems like “There are 3 groups of cats and 4 cats in each groups. How many cats are there in all? Count them.”

    My wife had already taught them their facts up to the 12 x 12 the summer they were going into second grade so the work was a joke. It wasn’t until junior high that my kids could take accelerated courses where they could actually be challenged (95 percent of the students in those classes are Asian; 5 percent are White).

    About people with low IQs learning times tables, yes they can memorize them but they still don’t have the gray matter to learn higher maths. I think they are best served by mastering the basics of learning up to sixth grade math and then given vocational training. I’m sick of hearing about those liberals obsessed with closing the gap and talking about how all the AP classes are “WHITE”- Like I said in many posts before, they need to come to Cupertino, California, where the AP classes are only 5 to 10 percent white at most. Better yet they need to try to explain why Asians are overrepresented in these classes.

    I’m seriously thinking of starting a website called http://www.beyondskincolor.com to talk about how Indian immigrant kids achieve despite having the same skin color as Blacks.

  • Anonymous

    The explanation is simple–calculus is impossible for anyone with an IQ of 85, as is even basic algebra. Unfortunately for the education reformers, there is no way to dumb down or simplify calculus in order to get more blacks passing this subject. More than any other subject, calculus provides objective, irrefutable proof of racial IQ disparities.

  • Anonymous

    #29 calculus is impossible for anyone with an IQ of 85

    Is it possible for anyone with an IQ of 100? (since the

    85 is an average)

  • Question Diversity

    30 Anonymous:

    100 is the white average (maybe a tad below), and it is my assessment that the average white person can grok Algebra I and non-proofs Geometry at best. So I think the answer is no.

  • White Guy In Japan

    My aunt is a retired high school math teacher who taught for years in DC. She admitted that many blacks did not qualify for algebra. Even some blacks who did would choose not to take a “white” math class. Those who qualified and took the course got a lot of flack from their “brothers”. Sad.

  • Sureesh

    At my kid’s high school, those who take algebra as a freshmen are perceived as “slow” as the majority of kids are Asian and take algebra in 7th grade and pre-calculus as a freshmen and calculus as a sophomore.

    The few kids that wait until 9th grade to take algebra are usually whites who only make up 20 percent of the school. It’s ironic that ‘acting white’ at my kid’s school is ‘taking it easy’ and not stressing over math.

    I wonder what the liberals would say about a school where the whites are seen as the “slackers”. I’d like to see them come to Monta Vista School in Cupertino and start their ‘do good’ programs to increase the number of whites in AP classes- maybe they can claim the tests are ‘culturally biased’ towards Asians and push for a strong dose of Euro-centric math.

    Oh, yeah, it’s the whites who created the tests and calculus WAS invented in Europe so it is already euro-centric. It becomes clearer and clearer to me that Asians and Indians are “invisible” to liberals because we debunk every excuse made for lack of Black achievement.

  • Anonymous

    To Sureesh ‘we debunk any excuse made for lack of Black achievement.’

    Not all Asian community leaders agree. And some will point

    to the USA poverty rate which according to the latest census whites in 2008 had the lowest poverty rate at 8.6 percent not Asian Americans.

    As for more Asians than whites taking calculus , this is due to culture as foreign born Asian Americans take maths and science at an higher rate than American born Asians. So it should not be

    a surprise given that most Asian Americans are foreign born.

    Many native born Americans may feel that they can have successful career in business and other fields without knowing maths well. This is often true in developed countries as there

    are many careers to make a good living from without knowing

    advanced maths.

  • Anonymous

    #33

    Note that African immigrants do well in the USA. About half

    have a college degree. If they were the only blacks in the United States, then the stereotypes some have of Asian Americans would be same some have of them .

    This begs the question that if the USA had shared its border with India or some other country in Asia instead of Mexico, would the current stereotype that some have of Asian be the same?