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By Scott B. Sigmon

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In 1979, landmark cases in California (Larry P. v. Wilson Riles) and Mississippi (Mattie T. et al. v. Charles E. ) highly publicized the extent of the problem, although an important but less well-known study by the Massachusetts Advocacy Center (1978) preceded the resolution of the infamous litigation. Officials with the New Jersey State Department of Education, reacting to the legal issues above, researchedas education officials in other states probably did as wellNJ's status and had the courage to document and distribute their findings (Manni, Winikur, & Keller, 1980).

Once alerted to problems, the American public tends to support their amelioration, and the main beneficiaries are those whose needs are finally recognized and met. Missing from this interpretation is much analysis of the social context that created conditions favorable to the category's emergence. , Apple, 1981; Spring, 1976). This literature suggests that changes in schools are instituted mainly to serve more efficiently existing social and economic structures, although changes may also offer some benefit to students whom schools had previously.

Johnson (1969) earlier warned us about the "emotionally disturbed" and "socially maladjusted" labels for "inner city" students. Schools Page 14 act as a sorting mechanism and have not served as the "great social equalizer" because of unequal opportunity both before and upon finishing one's education. "The relationship of measured intelligence to socio-economic level is one of the best documented findings in mental-test history" (Tyler, 1965, p. 336). Make no mistake, whether looking at global IQ scores, specific school-related learning (dis)abilities, or "college readiness tests'' (my phrase for college aptitude examinations), the culturally different minorities who are often socioeconomically depressed in racist American society and the white poor will always fare worse as a group when compared to more affluent students.

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