Monday, November 9, 2009

A+ troubled by PPS racial achievement gap

The PG notes that according to the PG, the PPS achievement gap in reading has widened since 2005 even while statewide the racial achievement gap in reading has decreased.


parentone said...

I think it's about time we go straight to the kids and ask them what the hell is up!! I have been to a Promise Night where the parents are obviously informed and asking the questions that let everyone know they are aware of just what is riding on meeting Promise requirements. Yet, here we read the gap is not decreasing. We call this a racial achievement gap, but isn't more accurate to call it a socio-economic achievement gap? Here is any easy starting point story.

I was at the kitchen sink washing dishes earlier and saw a neighborhood boy walking down the street exposing 1/3 of his underware and very proud of it. How about picking up your pants kids and having one less thing to worry about? If you didn't have to use one hand to hold up your pants you might be able to carry a book home. The shorts were charcoal and navy boxers, BTW.

Questioner said...

At many high schools lots of kids leave for the day or the weekend not carrying any books. It would probably be informative for someone from PPS to stand near the exit doors and ask some of them why they are not taking any work home. If some percentage of kids just can't or won't work at home it may be necessary to create new models- maybe involving longer days for those not "on the path to the Promise."

Anonymous said...

If some percentage of kids just can't or won't work at home it may be necessary to create new models- maybe involving longer days for those not "on the path to the Promise."

Excellent idea -- the resources at a school are better and there are more likely to be teachers or support staff at after school hour type things that *can* help with the work. It would also be an excellent use of college age type tutors and helpers.

That and physical and/or creative activities in small enough groups to make them actually worthwhile.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, interesting that they chose the 2005 date. Didn't Roosevelt arrive just before the 2005-2006 school year? I don't know which year Read 180 was started, but the new reading program for elementary started no later than the next fall (2006). That's enough for three years of test scores -- certainly enough time that scores should have shown some improvement, at least equal to the state.

Questioner said...

Yes, it makes sense to choose the 2005 date b/c the tests for 2005 were taken in Spring 2005 and Roosevelt arrived in August 2005.

Anonymous said...

Sorry folks, you just can't make staying after school for any help or even enrichment sexy enough to make it worth my while!

Questioner said...

Updated article:

"The district's achievement gap is greatest in the high schools and narrowest in elementary schools. K-8 schools have bigger gaps than K-5and middle schools."

- Often it seems like the k-5/ middle school model is showing better results than the k-8 model, and yet we are increasingly eliminating k-5 and middle schools.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Statement above:
"I think it's about time we go straight to the kids and ask them what the hell is up!"

Generally, the kids don't know what they don't know.

On another point from above, IMNSHO, "Afterschool can be sexy." I'd not put that slogon on a t-shirt, but it can be much, much more than what we've got.

Sure, even a rich suite of jazzy options won't tickle everyone's fancy, but, it would and should cater to a vast majority.

Two other new points:

- public boarding schools, and
- 13th grade.

In New Zealand, where they don't do any homework, they do have public boarding schools. Christchurch, a city about the same size as Pittsburgh, has 4 such schools. Two for boys and two for girls.

Imagine that.

In PA, we've got the Milton Hershey School as an example.

Questioner said...

There was a recent lengthy article in the NYT magazine about a public boarding school (HS) in a US city. Students seemed to be doing better in terms of attitude and graduation rates, but test scores weren't very impressive. And test scores are what really seem to count these days rather than less quantifiable measures like attitude.

To get test scores up, it may be that steps must be taken earlier in life.

Mark Rauterkus said...

.. or ..

DC Boarding School article in NY Times

A new film on the Milton Hersey School is out, but I could not find a pointer to it.

wondering said...

what happens to parent involvement as an essential part of lerning when we ship kids off to boarding school?

Anonymous said...

Wondering -- what a great question!

I still maintain that what schools really want/need aren't parents who can tutor or reteach or the like, but who are supportive of the school and teachers. That is, the assumption on the part of parents isn't that their child is being picked on by a teacher or the like, but that the teacher wouldn't be calling or making it an issue if there weren't a problem.

There's a school somewhere in PGH (East Liberty? Garfield?) that has kids there for something like 10-12 hours a day -- feeds them, does sports and activities, oversees homework, and sends them home basically to socialize for an hour or two and sleep. It's been written up in the P-G a few times, though if I recall, when you divided up their funding by the number of students it was a shockingly large number...

wondering said...

I am disturbed by the thought of the state taking over the parenting of children. BUT... maybe its better that than putting kids in prison later. Scary that it has come to this.

kanonymous said...

Anon 1:27, I believe you are writing about NEIGHBORHOOD ACADEMY. They wear nice uniforms, may go to school year round and if I recall have tremendous support. They were featured on a local tv talk show within the past few years. They have sports teams too. They play rough and at least scrimmage against PPS girls' teams. Using "small" to describe the school is understatement.

Anonymous said...

One article featured a class of maybe 5 girls, telling where there were a couple of years after graduation. Most of them seemed to be continuing their education at least part time.