Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Poor Chilldren Who Learn

It's not inevitable that impoverished students will fail, although teacher inexperience, crappy curriculum, and poor administration is a Triple Threat to Success.

It's belief that it can be done, effective teaching methods, and willingness to do what it takes that seem to do the trick.

Oh, and an administration less concerned with making excuses for poor student behavior than with helping them to modify their behavior for success.

The more successful teachers - measured by: whose students can pass/excel at objective tests - should be the ones selecting curriculum, vetting hires, and leading other teachers.

Not "principal's pets". Not "appropriately diverse". Not "says all the right things and checks off all the boxes".

Student success at specific standards.

  • Can they read? Can anyone give them a random piece of writing at grade level, have them read aloud, and make sense of it?
  • Can they handle basic mathematics? Add, subtract, multiply, divide, measure, count, etc. Not "can they use a particular way of solving the problem", or "is their answer CLOSE", or "can they spout some words that dance around the fact that THEY DON'T KNOW THE ANSWER". Give a problem, can they solve it? Given a real-life/word problem, can they come up with the answer?
  • Can they form the letters of the written language sufficiently clearly to have readable handwriting (exception for those students with visual/coordination problems)? By the end of 4th grade, is their cursive comprehensible - at least to them (yes, I have had students who couldn't read their own handwriting)? Failing that - without use of technology (again, physical disabilities excepted) - can the kid take notes fast enough to be useful?
  • Disabilities - all physical disabilities accommodated. Other disabilities must be verified by an expert of the district's choosing - not the medical quack that, for a consultation fee, will certify ANYONE as disabled.
I've said for years, just about every kid is smart enough to manage a public school education with at least minimal success. No, those kids whose developmental disabilities are severe may not hit that standard - although some will. But, the acquisition of what used to be called a basic 8th grade education is within the reach of almost all. Those that don't meet that standard need to be given the extra help, whether that means Saturday school, summer school, or after school. No matter what plan, that education needs to be led by a specialist in disabilities, not just a teacher who wants to make more money.


knuckledraggertech said...

I was born in 1952 in rural down-east Maine, and my first 5 years in public school were spent in a one-room wooden schoolhouse, with 5 grades, one teacher, and privies. Our water source was a 12-qt galvanized pail, fetched by teams of two children from a neighbor's house, from which we dipped water with paper cups. The 'blackboard' was boards, painted with flat-black enamel, probably lead-based (had to be careful of the cracks to avoid breaking the chalk); the bare wood floors were treated with Gulf paraffin oil to keep the dust down (think about the fire hazard..). We even had the famous 'Dick and Jane' readers as text books.
Yet I graduated from Ellsworth High School 4th in a class of 107, winning the Harvard Book and the Bausch & Laumb Science award in the process. We may have had primitive facilities, but we were expected to learn and we wanted to learn. One of the the greatest successes of the National Teachers' Unions is to convince the public that Money equals Education and that the education establishment should not be judged by their product.

Glenda T Goode said...

It used to be that an education was a means for someone from a poor family to make a better life for themselves. These days, an education is not what it used to be. I started school in 1960 and it was still Dick and Jane. The major difference I see in the education my children received in the 1990-2007 era compared to mine is that they had a lot more social education and a lot less fundamental education.

The social learning does nothing to improve earning potential and does not properly prepare a student for higher education. Since we have given control over the syllabus to the federal government the content of a high school education has suffered even more. At first standardizing education content seemed like a good idea but no one saw that the government would use this concept to inject the left's social agenda.

You want to fix schools and educate kids? Move the control of the schools back to the local community and let the market pressure of both the job market and the college market steer the content that is taught.