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When Good Schools Fail

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Friends of Dave charges that people shouldn't be feeling sorry for reputable schools that fail to meet NCLB requirements. On the contrary, he suggests, we should be outraged by them:

[T]he critical fact [is] that these schools have huge achievement gaps between their white and Asian students and their poor, African American or Hispanic counterparts. Despite all of the wonderful feelings that they might be giving their students, what they're not giving their poor or minority students is the ability to read, write and do basic math.


4 Comments

Everyone should read this article. He has graphs to illustrate the really big achievement gaps at a couple of schools that "just missed" due to a small number of English Language Learners that weren't proficient. Counter to all of the "one size fits all" claims, his graph includes the line that represents the percentage of students who have to pass in order to "make AYP." This percentage started somewhere around 20% and is set on a course for 100% by 2014. Dave's charts show that most of the groups that "made AYP" are just over the line--while Asian students soar on overhead.

He also brings in some counter-examples. These schools show all groups on an upward trajectory.

Dave's got a valid point. The schools that aren't making the pretty limited expectations of AYP at this point cannot be considered to be stellar examples of PUBLIC schools. All the kids have to count. And at some schools they do.

Every year school boards are faced with asking their governing bodies
for revenue they need to continue the services they provide and every
year they are short changed.
By giving school boards taxing authority, school boards would have
the authority to decide what is going to happen in their schools and
to generate the revenue necessary to make that happen.
Revenue for K-12 public schools comes primarily from state
governments, local school districts and the federal government.

A solution to the financing of public elementary and secondary schools may lay within the late Justice Thurgood Marshall’s descending opinion in U.S. Supreme Court SAN ANTONIO SCHOOL DISTRICT v. RODRIGUEZ, 411 U.S. 1 (1973)

You say: "Do basic math" So the implication is that students are being taught how to "do" somethings and not being helped to "Understand". This is a major shortcomming in the approach of teachers of mathematics (including arithmetic), administrators, and writers of instructional materials.

The basics really are understanding what "number" is and realizing that there is a difference between a number and the name of a number.

One will be amazed what can be achieved when "5 + 6" is recognized for what it really is, the name of a number; not a problem. The problem is to determine the simplest name possible for the number being named.

Many words used by arithmetic teachers are not conducive to develping students who understand. Start with how an equation is defined (if it is) and what my point is may be somewhat sensed.

Questions or comments are welcome.

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  • Marv Juel: You say: "Do basic math" So the implication is that read more
  • Frederick Horton: A solution to the financing of public elementary and secondary read more
  • Frederick Horton: Every year school boards are faced with asking their governing read more
  • Margo/Mom: Everyone should read this article. He has graphs to illustrate read more

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