Thursday, December 14, 2006

Trevor Phillips U-Turn.


This one's for Will, who commented on my ealier post about the 2006 Racial Equality Awards.

We all recall Trevor's speech in September 2005 where he advanced the argument that we were sleepwalking into segregation, don't we? Well, on 7 March 2005, the BBC reported that Trevor had made a slightly different speech. This one suggested that it was in the interest of black pupils, particularly black male pupils, to be taught separately from their contemporaries in school.

Yet, six months later, Trevor made the now infamous "sleepwalking into segregation" speech and, "Mr Phillips told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that schools should be leading the way in terms of integration but research had shown they were in fact slightly more segregated than their wider neighbourhoods." Quote taken from, yes you guessed it, the BBC.

And, as an early Christmas present to my readers, I have saved you the trouble of having to click on the links, by reprinting the two pieces, both from the BBC, below.


Black boys 'segregation' rejected

Black boys' exam results are below average
Teaching underachieving black boys in separate classes for some subjects has been rejected by the government.
Trevor Phillips, head of the Commission for Racial Equality, suggested they might benefit from such a move, which had been tested in the United States.

But the Department for Education and Skills said such separation would have "negative effects" and risked "stigmatising" black pupils.

Head teachers had questioned the legality of racially-divided lessons.

In England, only 27% of Black Caribbean boys got five or more good GCSEs last year, considerably below the national average for boys of 46.8%.

Among girls, 44% of Black Caribbean girls achieved five or more good GCSEs, against a national average for girls of 57%. Black Caribbean pupils are also three times more likely than white pupils to be excluded.

'Wall of attitude'

After visiting a scheme in the US, Mr Phillips suggested some black boys were hampered by a lack of self-esteem and positive role models, as well as an attitude that being clever was not cool.


Saying, 'I want you to go to room five instead of room one because you're black', potentially could create a great deal of difficulty
Martin Ward
SHA

School separation 'no solution'
Black school's traditional values

"If the only way to break through the wall of attitude that surrounds black boys is to teach them separately in some classes, then we should be ready for that," he said.

But the Department for Education and Skills said research showed segregation was not the best way forward and could "have negative effects in terms of teacher and pupil expectations".

"There are schools where black boys are achieving at the highest level. These schools don't segregate pupils in the way suggested," said a spokesperson.

'Extra help'

The Secondary Heads Association warned any segregation based on skin colour could create "great difficulty" and may be illegal.


If it's a scheme to help their education then how can it be racist?
James Bucknall, Scotland

Have Your Say

SHA deputy general secretary Martin Ward told BBC News: "Saying to a pupil 'right, I want you to go to room five instead of room one because you need extra help', that's one thing.

"Saying 'I want you to go to room five instead of room one because you're black' potentially could create a great deal of difficulty."

But Shahid Malik, chairman of the Labour Party's ethnic minority forum and a former CRE commissioner, said "many African-Caribbean people would feel it was a debate whose time had come".

Black teachers

Speaking on BBC's Inside Out programme Mr Phillips had also suggested black fathers not living with their sons should be denied access to them if they refused to attend parents' evenings.


If they can't be bothered to turn up for parents' evening, should they expect automatic access to their sons?
Trevor Phillips

Raising black performance
Teachers' Jamaican lessons

And he called for more male black teachers, tempting them with extra cash if necessary.

His comments were not aimed at black girls - GCSE results in England show that "black African" girls are scoring higher grades than "white British" boys.

The CRE said that Mr Phillips had not called for all black boys to be segregated in schools.

It said he was "not sure" how the US measures would work in the UK, but that he felt "we should look at the scheme to see if we can learn anything from it".

Inside Out will be broadcast at 1930 GMT on Monday on BBC One in the London area.




Britons warned over 'segregation'

The young are 'more exclusive' than older people, Mr Phillips said
The UK must enforce "equality, participation and interaction" to avoid US-style segregation, the head of the Commission for Racial Equality says.
Failing to do so could lead to people living in a New Orleans-style Britain of passively co-existing communities, Trevor Phillips warned.

It was a worrying fact that "younger Britons appear to be integrating less well than their parents", he said.

The comments were "very pessimistic" said his predecessor, Lord Ouseley.

Mr Phillips was speaking at a Manchester Council for Community Relations lecture.


If we allow this to continue, we could end up... living in a New Orleans-style Britain of passively co-existing ethnic and religious communities
Trevor Phillips

Schools 'must fight segregation'

He cited economic and racial divisions in the US which, he said, were highlighted by Hurricane Katrina.

"Residentially, some [UK] districts are on their way to becoming fully fledged ghettos - black holes into which no-one goes without fear and trepidation, and from which no-one ever escapes undamaged," he said.

"If we allow this to continue, we could end up in 2048, a hundred years on from the Windrush, living in a New Orleans-style Britain of passively co-existing ethnic and religious communities, eyeing each other uneasily over the fences of our differences."

'American nightmare'

Mr Phillips said America's "segregated society" had been caused by a "failure to act until they were in too deep to get out of the state they are now in.


To be so sweeping to suggest that in Britain we're not talking to each other, we're not aware of differences, we're not getting on in many parts of the country, I think is totally wrong
Lord Herman Ouseley

"That is why, for all of us who care about racial equality and integration, America is not our dream but out nightmare."

Mr Phillips also warned that communities were being left "marooned outside the mainstream".

These would "steadily drift away from the rest of us evolving their own lifestyles, playing by their own rules and increasingly regarding the codes of behaviour, loyalty and respect that the rest of us take for granted as outdated behaviour that no longer applies to them".

And he warned that levels of racial segregation in Britain could create a "fertile breeding ground for extremists".

"It also remains true that younger Britons are more exclusive than older Britons," he said.

Community relations

Lord Herman Ouseley, a previous head of the CRE, said: "I think he's right not to warn us to be complacent because there are difficulties and problems in some parts of the country.


"But to be so sweeping to suggest that in Britain we're not talking to each other, we're not aware of differences, we're not getting on in many parts of the country, I think is totally wrong."


Home Office Minister Paul Goggins welcomed the issue of integration being raised.

"We have very good community relations in this country and its something to be proud of and to build on," he told BBC News.

"But he's right to say we need to do yet more to make sure our communities are fully integrated."

Earlier on Thursday, Mr Phillips told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that schools should be leading the way in terms of integration but research had shown they were in fact slightly more segregated than their wider neighbourhoods.

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Will said...

Isn't this shocking: "In England, only 27% of Black Caribbean boys got five or more good GCSEs last year, considerably below the national average for boys of 46.8%."

12/14/2006 11:54 AM  
Blogger Scrybe said...

what I find shocking is that the national average is so low. I recall my school putting up braggin GCSE stats around school. one read "last year we achieved the national average of 45% of pupils attaining 5 or more GCSEs grades A-C!"

oh dear.


mind you, in the school I went to, one of my classmates started an affair with a teacher when we were in year 9. he has now left his wife for her and she has just had his baby. I did consider sending a "congratulations on your new baby!" card via the school. and in other recent news, a different teacher was arrested for having an affair with a similarly young pupil. they were spotted having sex in her car in a car park by a random lorry driver/buider/somebody.

again, oh dear.

12/14/2006 12:01 PM  
Anonymous Will said...

Oh dear indeed.

There was a case at my school I think allegedly. It didn't get talked about officially so it is hearsay but one of the women teachers took her extra cirricula support for a male member of the upper sixth a bit to seriously.

There is also a government minister I know of who married one of their teachers but that was after they left school.

12/14/2006 12:16 PM  
Blogger Scrybe said...

sixth form isn't quite as bad as year 9 (3rd year for anyone who was confused by that). my school has plenty of such shocking stories. it is a wonder I emerged relatively unscathed/unmolested. I may post more of them, if I can be bothered. or if I can't be bothered to wwork. from my perspective, Christmas start at the beginning of December.

12/14/2006 12:20 PM  
Anonymous David Floyd said...

"what I find shocking is that the national average is so low."

Yes, it's not as if GCSEs are difficult. I managed to get a C in double-science and I slept through the lessons, never did any homework and - not surprisingly - know nothing whatsoever about science.

You could get a decent pass by guessing the multiple choice in a vaguely logical fashion.

"Isn't this shocking: "In England, only 27% of Black Caribbean boys got five or more good GCSEs last year, considerably below the national average for boys of 46.8%.""

I don't know how shocking this - from a racial point of view - because I know how the results of Black Caribbean boys compare to white boys (or others) from similar economic backgrounds.

In a general sense, Black Caribbean boys are more likely to be poor than many other ethnic groups.

Trevor Phillips is a well-meaning guy but this is one of the many political issues where his thinking's all over the place.

12/14/2006 3:59 PM  

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