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View Diary: Parents and Educators Pack Hearing to Oppose Turnaround of Chicago School (63 comments)

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  •  Where was this passion before? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril, Woody, Linda Wood, FG

    I won't debate the intentions of the private vendor. I have no idea what their record is or what their goals are. But I do question why a lot of these parents and activists did not show the same passion earlier to improve the schools significantly? Money problems is hogwash. Go to third world countries where kids learn without the aid of expensive equipment. Sure, I support giving more money to schools, but in the absence of that, the parents and administrators need to get creative.

    We are losing generations of kids in such communities to poor education. Another generation of mcdonalds employees. We need to do whatever it takes to educate them until politicians can be forced to deal with it better.

    •  Giving less money is inexcusable though. (7+ / 0-)

      I do find it reprehensible that the school is given less funding in an effort to try to sink the school and make the private competition look better.

      •  Less is never more (5+ / 0-)

        Cannot be more. The most lavishly funded district in spending per pupil in my metro area is a wealthy, upscale area of college-educated professional parents. They will spend anything to give their kids what they need, but if they could get the exact same results with less, they would be doing it. They know you can't.

        It's even more wildly unlikely that inner city kids, already funded at half that amount, could do just as well with even less.

        Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07.

        by anastasia p on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 06:32:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I never said the same (0+ / 0-)

          Of course less is never more. But you can make the most of a bad situation if there is a will. For that , I admit, the government needs to spend more on social welfare and counseling dysfunctional families that are killing the productivity of future generations. Democrats need to use economic arguments to sell such policies since compassion is lacking among half the population.

          Sure, at that money, they will never get the same educational benefit as a rich kid. BUt we can do better than what we have if the parents do a better job of raising their kids. Not all the parents are dysfunctional, but they have ahard time when other families break their end of the bargain and a lack of a good environment for kids to study exists. There needs to be an emphasis on education built into the next generation of parents.

          This is why I am so anti-war. Until Democrats show some spine, they will continue to fail to get funding for social welfare causes.

    •  Poverty is good for the soul, right? (10+ / 0-)
      Money problems is hogwash. Go to third world countries where kids learn without the aid of expensive equipment.

      "And magnificently we will float/ Into the mystic" -- from van Morrison's "Into the Mystic"

      by Cassiodorus on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 02:32:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think pravin is saying (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        that poverty is good for anything, the soul or anything else.

        I think the point is that this crisis in the public schools is not all about bucks, whether in the districts, the particular local schools, or in the families, but that the problems and low tests scores may have something to do with what's going on in the actual classrooms in terms of educational quality.

        I recommend pravin's comment because I believe there are schools that provide very good skills in very disciplined school environments in very poor neighborhoods and countries. From my point of view, the success or failure comes from the motivation of the designers of policy, whether they want to raise the quality of life for their people, or whether they want to keep the low cost workforce in their place.

        •  Yep, that's what i meant. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Linda Wood

          I support the notion that our schools are underfunded. But some of these communities need to realize that until the government wakes up, they need to figure out how to make the most of the situation. I don't mean to say they will be educated on par with a rich suburban kid. But there are ways to get more out of less to the point where they can get an OK education. Is that good enough. Absolutely not. BUt it is a start for today. And tomorrow we can use this as leverage to demand more.

        •  I'm still not impressed. (0+ / 0-)

          This is still part of the folkloric narrative about the public schools that every politician learns to exploit in politician school.  "Teaching is easy but teachers are such idiots that they don't even know how to do that."  Puh-leeze.  The tests correlate to nothing so much as the socioeconomic statuses of the parents of the students.

          "And magnificently we will float/ Into the mystic" -- from van Morrison's "Into the Mystic"

          by Cassiodorus on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 04:37:46 AM PST

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          •  I would agree with you if there weren't (0+ / 0-)

            controversy about curriculum. Your assertion, I think, is that teachers do everything they can to provide children with what they need to succeed in our country and that many children are so disadvantaged that they cannot benefit from those efforts as easily as more advantaged children.

            I understand your logic. But I think you may be unaware that during this period of declining skills nationwide, districts have been using curriculum products and teaching methods that have been questionable from the start, have been challenged by parents and teachers and concerned community members for decades, and that these products effect what good teachers, dedicated teachers, and the most well-intentioned teachers in the world can do.

            These insidious curricular products have created this terrible opening for profiteers and have brought us to this true crisis, threatening the existence of public education in this country, in my opinion.

            •  If I actually had some power to change the schools (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Linda Wood

              I would work on these things:

              1) more education for parents as regards how they can help with the education of their children.  This is the main cause of inequity in schooling -- the wealthy have an advantage in the educational toying of their children, and they intend to keep it that way.

              2) more books for school libraries, and more events promoting a culture of literacy -- if you really want to make sure children are learning, as opposed to preparing them for specific tests or making sure they think ideologically pure thoughts, you need to provide them with a) reading and b) elements of a culture that values literacy and the sort of knowledge gained through reading.  The rest of the literacy problem will be resolved through student motivation once you have good readers.

              3) a more direct focus upon learning from the natural world -- what used to be called "nature study" and "outdoor education."  Giving students a chance to understand the planet is at least as important as mathematical literacy.

              I really don't understand the concern with "curricular products," much less "skills."  To create a good school you give students the tools they need and provide them with an environment in which they can feel motivated to learn what they want to learn.  Nobody wants to learn "skills" outside of any applied context, and "curricular products" have always been a substitute for books, computers, and the real world.

              "I think the Obama campaign would be taking this populist-sounding tack even if Occupy had never happened." -- Paul Street

              by Cassiodorus on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 01:54:30 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I appreciate your response and (0+ / 0-)

                recommend it wholeheartedly. I agree in particular about your point here:

                if you really want to make sure children are learning... you need to provide them with a) reading and b) elements of a culture that values literacy and the sort of knowledge gained through reading.  The rest of the literacy problem will be resolved through student motivation once you have good readers.
                The longest running controversy and struggle about curriculum in American schools has had to do with the teaching of reading, precisely because of your point, that everything else a child experiences in school depends on that skill, including math of course. Questionable teaching methods, especially in the earliest grades, have been sold as curricular products and have been challenged by parents, teachers, and community members for the last 2 decades. This is one of the most crucial areas of debate that have led to the call for reform.

                Your point about the natural world, so beautifully stated, is also connected to this debate about the teaching of skills. I agree that love, respect, wonder, and awe of the planet are intrinsically precious and important. But in our time the very survival of the natural world is threatened by our own hands and by our own ignorance. We cannot stand up to Monsanto if we don't know what a gene is or if we don't know what petrochemical toxins are, or how they work, because our schools have introduced us to concepts but haven't provided us with solid skills.

    •  Sometimes they don't know... (18+ / 0-)

      What I've seen happen in a lot of schools is that parents aren't always aware of how the budget is being cut in their kids' schools. Especially with the economy being crap, a lot of parents accept that there will be some cutbacks, but often it takes something like this for them to realize that the whole "we dont have the money" argument is hogwash.

      In addition, most people assume that more money in the schools automatically equals things like computers or technology. Often, especially in poorer districts, it equals things like transportation for kids to get back and forth to school (many buses companies contractors and they need to be paid) or paying staff extra for latch-key services or early drop-off to help accomodate working parents schedules, medicine and supplies for the school nurse for kids who don't have the best access to health care -- after school snack services etc. Schools are trying to patch up a lot of the holes in the "safety net" and in poorer districts, that's where a lot of the "extra" money goes.

      How can you thank a man for giving you what's already yours? How then can you thank him for giving you only part of what's already yours? You haven't even made progress, if what's being given to you, you should have had already.

      by on second thought on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 04:54:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  if only all the Pravins out there could hear what (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bookwoman, chipmo, Tonedevil

        you have to say, they wouldn't be making comments like Pravin.

        His silence says everything we need to know.

        by livjack on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 06:01:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Here in Cleveland, (6+ / 0-)

        it was pre-K and transportation funding to get high schools kids to far distant schools since all the schools close to them had been closed. Cutting Pre-K means kids permanently behind. Cutting bus passes for high school kids means education is basically inaccessible to the poorest and they have no choice but to drop out or attend that failing for-profit charter school in their neighborhood (and make no mistake — virtually all the for-profit charters are trash, to put it kindly).

        Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07.

        by anastasia p on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 06:35:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Your contention is "hogwash" (8+ / 0-)

      If money was such "hogwash," then let's take away the lavish funding of wealthy school districts — it's clearly a waste since they could do just as well without it. For that matter, why are private schools squandering so much money per public? They could slash spending and cut tuition. Let's require them to do it before getting vouchers. Let's just starve our schools and make them perform magic. You cannot do "more with less," particularly when you have a challenged student boy.

      How do YOU know what the parents did before? This is probably the explosion after they quietly went through channels and were rebuffed. Poor parents get used to be ignoring, until one day some of them explode.

      And kids in the third world mostly don't even have access to education and if they do, for a vast majority it stops very early. Is that what you think "works"?

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07.

      by anastasia p on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 06:31:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If you are a parent... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      icemilkcoffee, Linda Wood

      ...passion gets you nothing.

      Most school districts have "parents associations". These have no budget, curriculum, or policy authority. They exist to give activist parents a place to vent and to give he illusion that they are providing "input".

      The wealthiest parents in this Chicago neighborhood showed their "passion" long ago.

      They moved to the suburbs.

    •  Yes, in other countries in the world schools do (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      much more with much less. I've taught in a public school in one of those countries. The class had a little textbook and I had a blackboard and chalk. I also had students who lived in an entirely different culture - one in which everyone understood the critical importance of education and the value of it and they exhibited every kind of behavior that leads to success in school, e.g. coming to school every day, coming on time, coming prepared, eatling healthy meals - every little school in the country has a kitchen with a full staff of cooks who prepare a nutritious meal from whole foods every day for the children, etc., etc., etc. I doubt that that culture prevails in inner-city Chicago.

    •  that's not true (0+ / 0-)

      most third world countries don't do as well in science as the US, for example. Hard to excel in science when you can't afford a basic lab.

      competitiveness numbers between the US and other countries are quite deceptive, too, as most compare apples to bananas.

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