Posts Tagged: education

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togetherforjacksoncountykids:

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"It’s Okay to be Neither," By Melissa Bollow Tempel

Alie arrived at our 1st-grade classroom wearing a sweatshirt with a hood. I asked her to take off her hood, and she refused. I thought she was just being difficult and ignored it. After breakfast we got in line for art, and I noticed that she still had not removed her hood. When we arrived at the art room, I said: “Allie, I’m not playing. It’s time for art. The rule is no hoods or hats in school.”

She looked up with tears in her eyes and I realized there was something wrong. Her classmates went into the art room and we moved to the art storage area so her classmates wouldn’t hear our conversation. I softened my tone and asked her if she’d like to tell me what was wrong.

“My ponytail,” she cried.

“Can I see?” I asked.

She nodded and pulled down her hood. Allie’s braids had come undone overnight and there hadn’t been time to redo them in the morning, so they had to be put back in a ponytail. It was high up on the back of her head like those of many girls in our class, but I could see that to Allie it just felt wrong. With Allie’s permission, I took the elastic out and re-braided her hair so it could hang down.

“How’s that?” I asked.

She smiled. “Good,” she said and skipped off to join her friends in art.

‘Why Do You Look Like a Boy?’

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Source: rethinkingschools.org
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Sunday Feminist Fuck You: David Brooks

socialismartnature:

The other day David Brooks jumped on the bandwagon of folks wringing their hands in distress because–horror of horrors–girls are outperforming boys in school.

Brooks claims that little boys could reasonably conclude–based on playground safety rules and classroom behavioral requirements–that “the official school culture is for wimps and softies.” This claim reminded me of the story Tony Porter told in his TED talk about a little boy telling him he’d “rather die than be a girl.” We are still implicitly telling little boys that femaleness is less valuable than maleness–and therefore that traditionally female behavioral traits like nurturing, listening and collaborating are inherently less valuable than traditionally male traits like rambunctiousness and aggression. No wonder little boys don’t want to sit still. Sitting still would be wimpy and soft and so humiliatingly female. You can almost hear Brooks whining about how it just isn’t fair to ask boys to behave themselves.

So never mind that the United States’ K-12 math and science education ranks 48th out of 133 nations. Never mind that girls still lag behind boys in math and science, though as Brooks laments, “that gap is nearly gone.” Never mind that classrooms are overcrowded, and that already underpaid teachers routinely spend their own money on classroom supplies. Never mind that relationship violence among middle and high school students is rising. And never mind that this country can’t even fund science-based sex education. No, clearly these things aren’t nearly as important as the fact that boys are struggling to sit still in school. And this fact alone demands an immediate and complete overhaul of the entire system. Because those other problems weren’t enough to make that fact readily evident, and because–as everyone knows–the success of one sex must always come at the expense of the other.

I agree with Brooks that we need an education overhaul, and that those who are designing that overhaul need to account for individual differences in students’ personalities and energy levels. Overall, all children regardless of their sex or gender need much more time for unstructured play and exercise than we give them. Recess and PE are really important. And it may be that because girls are socialized to be more accommodating than boys, they are more likely to be comfortable abnegating that need in favor of sitting quietly and pleasing their teachers.

But whatever the problems in our school system, calling out the underperformance of boys in isolation and using it to call for an educational overhaul is like freaking out over a flesh wound when the patient has cancer.

Source: socialismartnature
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trubr0wn:

smallrevolutionary:

peaceshine3:

Because its being done to poor black/hispanic kids.

thepeoplesrecord:

Why isn’t closing 40 Philadelphia public schools national news?

In what should be the biggest story of the week, the city of Philadelphia’s school system announced Tuesday that it expects to close 40 public schools next year and 64 by 2017. The school district expects to lose 40% of current enrollment to charter schools, the streets or wherever, and put thousands of experienced, well qualified teachers, often grounded in the communities where they teach, on the street.

Ominously, the shredding of Philadelphia’s public schools isn’t even news outside Philly. This correspondent would never have known about it save for a friend’s Facebook posting early this week. Corporate media in other cities don’t mention massive school closings, whether in Chicago, Atlanta, NYC, or in this case Philadelphia, perhaps so people won’t have given the issue much deep thought before the same crisis is manufactured in their town. Even inside Philadelphia the voices of actual parents, communities, students and teachers are shut out of most newspaper and broadcast accounts.

Full article

america…..

i’m moving.

ok reblogging AGAIN

EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW THIS K

(via fromonesurvivortoanother)

Source: truth-out.org
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Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota) has introduced legislation that would “create a federal prohibition against discrimination in public schools based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. In addition, it would forbid schools from discriminating against LGBT students or ignoring harassing behavior. Schools that violated the act could lose their federal funding.”

Representative Jared Polis (D-Colorado) has introduced sister legislation in the House.

Emphasis mine. Source. Call or contact your senators and representatives in support of this act ASAP!!!

Source: shakespearessister.blogspot.com
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"There’s no discussion anymore among anybody about what makes good teaching or good learning,” Hirschmann said. The only questions are “How do we get good test scores, how do we use the test scores?"

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Standardized Tests Hurt Kids and Public Schools: Teachers, Parents Take a Stand Against Corporate-Backed Test Regime | | AlterNet

Great article touching on the monetization of test scores, corporations using the absurd standardized testing system for profit, economic disparity within the system and the very real way class affects educational opportunities.

Source: alternet.org
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I went to a poor elementary school, I was in one of those multi-grade classrooms that included third and fifth grade students as well as my fellow fourth graders. It was a big class, like all of the classes in my school, between 25-30 kids. Most of the teachers were barely squeaking by with their sanity.

I met one of those teachers (who I never had, but who every child in the school agreed was a big-mean-ogre) many years later, retired and still volunteering to help under-privileged children. She is a sweet, quiet, competent woman who I now understand was vastly outnumbered, overworked, and underpaid.

My teacher was different. At least to my untrained eyes. Endlessly patient, endlessly energized and motivated to teach. She wanted us to learn, she craved our understanding, her desire to see us grow and absorb new concepts was readily apparent. And she had a library.

A Library. In her classroom.

She had converted a supply closet, with its precious and rare storage space, into a classroom library from which she doled out Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume and Alice in Wonderland. Number the Stars and a plethora of other Newberry medalists were there, with their gold-foil circles gleaming out at us. We were breathless and a little baffled, children being trusted with books.

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Source: readanythingonce.wordpress.com
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heavenearthandhoratio:

This year, in honor of that teacher and that library, I want to give back. As I’m sure you’re aware school systems around the nation are struggling with budget cuts, oversized classrooms, and a lack of necessary supplies such as paper, markers, and tissues.

To help some amazing and dedicated local teachers who are facing all these challenges and more, I’ll Read Anything Once is launching our first annual ‘Save a Teacher, Plant a Library’ book and supply drive. We want to help five deserving teachers begin to build quality classroom libraries of their own, as well as supplying them with some much needed basic supplies for their classrooms.

Our goal is to collect at least once copy of each of the 79 books on our gift recommendations lists which will be divided between the 5 classrooms (by age level) as well as donations of basic classroom supplies (a list which is forthcoming). ‘Save a Teacher, Plant a Library’ will begin today and last through Friday, December 23rd. That gives us five and a half weeks to reach our goal.

If you would like to donate any of the books or supplies email us at Readanythingonce [at] gmail [dot] com for information on how to do so.

More details and specifics on how you can help, including master lists of items we need, will be coming throughout the day.

Go here for more information. The people who are running this book drive are really amazing, even if you can’t donate anything please pass it along to your followers.

Reblogging myself, lets get some (really awesome) books donated to this great cause.

Source: readanythingonce.wordpress.com
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This year, in honor of that teacher and that library, I want to give back. As I’m sure you’re aware school systems around the nation are struggling with budget cuts, oversized classrooms, and a lack of necessary supplies such as paper, markers, and tissues.

To help some amazing and dedicated local teachers who are facing all these challenges and more, I’ll Read Anything Once is launching our first annual ‘Save a Teacher, Plant a Library’ book and supply drive. We want to help five deserving teachers begin to build quality classroom libraries of their own, as well as supplying them with some much needed basic supplies for their classrooms.

Our goal is to collect at least once copy of each of the 79 books on our gift recommendations lists which will be divided between the 5 classrooms (by age level) as well as donations of basic classroom supplies (a list which is forthcoming). ‘Save a Teacher, Plant a Library’ will begin today and last through Friday, December 23rd. That gives us five and a half weeks to reach our goal.

If you would like to donate any of the books or supplies email us at Readanythingonce [at] gmail [dot] com for information on how to do so.

More details and specifics on how you can help, including master lists of items we need, will be coming throughout the day.

Go here for more information. The people who are running this book drive are really amazing, even if you can’t donate anything please pass it along to your followers.

Source: readanythingonce.wordpress.com
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"Making teachers entirely responsible for a student’s academic progress — regardless of whether the child eats enough or sleeps enough or gets enough medical attention — is counterproductive. Pretending that these issues can be “factored out” in some kind of mathematical formula that can assess how much “value” a teacher has added to a student’s progress is near nutty. That’s not just me saying it. Leading mathematicians say it too. The effects of poverty on children matter in regard to student achievement. That is not to say that efforts to improve teacher quality, modernize curriculum, infuse technology into the classroom where it makes sense and other reforms should not be pursued. But doing all of that while ignoring the conditions in which kids live is a big waste of time."

Source: Washington Post
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legslikesprings:

Full post here because I’m reblogging myself and long posts are long and going to get longer. Basically parents are getting arrested for sending their kids to good schools in districts they don’t actually live in cause god forbid we actually do anything about the state of the education system. Lets just ruin people lives for having the audacity to be poor instead.

(via heavenearthandhoratio)

maybe charter schools really are the answer?

See, but they’re not though.

The Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO), at Stanford University did a 2009 study titled Multiple Choice: Charter School Performance in 16 States. Which found that

"Our national pooled analysis reveals, on the whole, a slightly negative picture of average charter
school performance nationwide. On average, charter school students can expect to see their
academic growth be somewhat lower than their traditional public school peers, though the
absolute differences are small. Charter students trail the academic growth of TPS students by .01
standard deviations in reading, and by .03 standard deviations in math. Though small, these
effects are statistically significant. These findings hold for students across the board of initial
starting scores, except for students in the lowest and highest starting deciles in reading.”

While there are some positive findings, charter elementary and middle schools for example average higher rates of learning (however, high schools and multiple level schools have significantly worse results.)

The Quality Curve shows that there are a substantial number of charter schools that provide superior
and outstanding results for their students; 17 percent of the charters in this study deliver
learning gains that are better than the results that their TPS peers achieve. These schools fulfill
the promise of charter schools — both for the students they educate and for their collective
demonstration that such schooling is feasible.
But the good news of the top performers is diminished by the preponderance of charter schools
that do not perform to that high level. Thirty‐seven percent of the charters in this study produce
learning gains that are significantly worse than what equivalent TPS students accomplish. This
proportion is both alarming and regrettable.

Here’s an article discussing the findings and implications in more detail.

Center for Education Reform July 28, 2008 survey of charter schools reported that 59% had a waiting list, the lists averaged at 198 students.

From the National Education Association:

In 2004, the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) released an analysis of charter school performance on the 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as The Nation’s Report CardThe report found that charter school students, on average, score lower than students in traditional public schools. While there was no measurable difference between charter school students and students in traditional public schools in the same racial/ethnic subgroup, charter school students who were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch scored lower than their peers in traditional public schools, and charter school students in central cities scored lower than their peers in math in 4th grade.

NAGB looked at the impact of school characteristics and found that:

  • Charter schools that were part of the local school district had significantly higher scores than charter schools that served as their own district.
  • Students taught by certified teachers had roughly comparable scores whether they attended charter schools or traditional public schools, but the scores of students taught by uncertified teachers in charter schools were significantly lower than those of charter school students with certified teachers.
  • Students taught by teachers with at least five years’ experience outperformed students with less experienced teachers, regardless of the type of school attended, but charter school students with inexperienced teachers did significantly worse than students in traditional public schools with less experienced teachers. (The impact of this finding is compounded by the fact that charter schools are twice as likely as traditional public schools to employ inexperienced teachers.)

In a study that followed North Carolina students for several years, professors Robert Bifulco and Helen Ladd found that students in charter schools actually made considerably smaller achievement gains in charter schools than they would have in traditional public schools.

It seems to me pretty clear here that some of the educational regulations that Charter schools get around by virtue of being charters actually hurt their students.

Also according to the NEA

In its official evaluation of the federally funded Public Charter School Program, Evaluation of the Public Charter Schools Program: Final Report, the U.S. Department of Education found that many charter school authorizers lack the capacity to adequately oversee charter school operations, often lack authority to implement formal sanctions, and rarely invoke the authority they do have to revoke or not renew a charter. Where charters have been revoked or not renewed, the decision has been linked more to noncompliance with state and federal regulations and financial problems than with academic performance. 

Accountability is also lacking in oversight for federal charter school programs.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the frustration with the public school system, the anger at the clear inequality that exists within it, and I will be the first one to say that it is a model that at present disproportionately harms lower income and minority students and quite often students with disabilities. It’s nice to hope for a brand new public education system, it’s nice to see the possibility of schools which vaule creativity and variety in teaching so that students, all of whom learn at different rates and in different ways, have the opportunity to have the material presented to them in the way they understand. However, I just don’t think charter schools are the answer.

Some regulations exist within the education system for a reason, such as employing teachers who have some education in teaching. Not only that, but these schools aren’t consistently being held accountable for their practices and evaluated accordingly. However, they’re still part of the same broken system of standardized-testing-as-god-and-primary-indicator-of-successful-learning that all public schools are trapped in.

Then take this article which discusses the marginalizing of the same underprivileged, minority, and disabled students we discussed earlier.

"On the surface, the existence of different kinds of schools for parents to choose from would appear to provide more opportunities for disadvantaged students. In fact, quite the opposite is the case, as an important study from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) Civil Rights Project explains. It’s worth quoting the study at length:

The ability to choose assumes ready exposure to available school options. Research suggests that families’ access to the educational marketplace is unequally constrained by a number of factors, including contact with advantaged social networks, … language barriers, socioeconomic status and the ability of parents to arrange transportation for their schoolchildren. Education studies both in the U.S. context and abroad… all highlight a basic point. Unrestricted choice results in stratification.

From the same article:

"One effect of charters’ drive to improve their test scores is that students with disabilities are systematically marginalized. Moreover, the pressure to reduce costs means that they often don’t employ the extra staff necessary to serve special education students. In 2009, students with disabilities attending charter schools in Los Angeles made up 7.6 percent of the overall charter student population, but 11.3 percent of the overall student population attending district-operated schools. During the 2008-2009 school year, just 8.1 percent of Los Angeles charter schools offered a special day program for students with disabilities. In contrast, 87 percent of district-operated schools provided this same program option.5

In Boston, charter schools were able to outperform their public counterparts by excluding special education students and students whose first language was not English. According to a 2009 Boston Globe report, nearly one-fifth of public school enrollees were English-language earners, whereas English-language learners were only 4 percent of charter enrollees.6 A 2009 study conducted by the Massachusetts Teachers Association found that more than half of students enrolled in the previous five years in charter schools never made it through graduation, reinforcing the argument that charters tend to weed out poorer performing students in order to boost their academic standings.7 

So, there are significant indications that what improvements Charter schools do show over their public counterparts are due in large part to their being able to choose potentially higher performing students as their attendees, ‘weeding out’ the populations we discussed above. Not to mention the NAACP lawsuit against the inequality between NY public schools and their Charter schools.

Also, although Charters are privately operated they still receive public funding (sometimes in addition to private donations). So there’s still the potential of them pulling money away from already underfunded public schools in the area.

Related:

With $100 billion in stimulus funding, Duncan has sternly warned states to embrace unlimited charters or risk losing money: “States that don’t have [authorizing] charter laws or have artificial caps on the growth of charter schools will have jeopardized their applications under the Race to the Top fund. Simply put, they put themselves at a competitive disadvantage for the largest pool of discretionary dollars states have ever had access to.”

So, in reality, we have to opportunity to truly focus on changing policy and improving educational funding, measures of performance (beyond standardized testing), and completely revitalizing education in this country simply by admitting that the current system, and especially no child left behind, are broken. And to focusing some energy on coming up with real solutions, one of which, yes, IS more funding for education. And yet we are choosing instead to try and build a new, privatized, system from the ground up ALONG side, and suffering from some of the same problems (and some brand shiny new ones) that plague our current system. Which is in some cases negatively impacting our current system by competing for funding, but which is allegedly better because…companies can own it?

Nope.

TL;DR Charter schools are not the answer for reasons. Many of them.

Source: alternet.org