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View Diary: An important book about educational equity and our national future (64 comments)

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  •  Much the same here (6+ / 0-)

    FL government loves to tout the benefits of the state lottery for education.  What they don't say is that for every dollar the lottery contributes to education, a dollar is subtracted from the general fund that goes to education.  Jeb Bush mastered that accounting trick.  So even though they say that the lottery has added millions to education it was a simple shell game.

    Then there's the idea of districting schools -- the wealthy parents  here will not even consider equitable distribution of students and resources.  So we have predominantly white, upper middle class schools with all the bells and whistles that may have very small class sizes due to population density.  

    Other schools are overcrowded and underfunded because poor people and people of color tend to live in far more densely populated neighborhoods.

    My own school has a very high population of English language learners and special education students.  We welcome them with open arms and make a difference in their lives.  But their test scores count the same as any other student and they are not meeting the very high threshold in adequate numbers so we are being told we will be fired or at least taken over by the state for "failing" to teach these children.  

    The "good" schools either don't have to contend with the challenges these populations bring (they simply transfer the students to our school) or they have such a small number of students that meet this criteria that the test scores don't count at all for their school grade and making adequate yearly progress.

    And everyone seems perfectly happy with this status quo, at least politically.  It's comforting to use the poor schools with children of color and children who have special needs as scapegoats to "prove" that schools are failing and that teachers are lazy and incompetent.

    We have had several teachers come to "show" us how it's done from the "good" schools.  They rarely last more than a few weeks or months, complaining constantly of the lack of support, lack of materials and supplies, and the behavioral challenges they face every day in the classroom.  

    Yet the plan is to fire us and replace us with these "good" teachers, a plan which Duncan tried in Chicago and failed at miserably.  Rhee is trying this in DC too.  It's tragic.

    •  Anyone who doesn't start from the premise that (0+ / 0-)

      teaching ELL, SPED, and free/reduced lunch kids costs much, much, MUCH more than students without those characteristics, and requires much stronger teaching skills, has no business making any decisions whatsoever about public education policy.

      It just doesn't take that much skill to get kids to pass the test if they are upper-middle class, speak English as their first language, and have two college-educated professional parents. Yes, there are exceptions on both sides of that rule. But statistically, if that is your student population, high test scores don't mean you're any good at your job. And conversely, if your student population has high percentages of ELL, SPED, or free/reduced, low test scores don't mean you're bad at your job.

      The only legitimate measurement of educational achievement by which schools or teachers should be evaluated is how much academic growth the individual students are experiencing from year to year. The total number of passing test scores don't usually tell us much about the teaching; mostly they tell us about student demographics.

      Relax - the adults are in charge now.

      by NWTerriD on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 12:28:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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