Thursday, September 1, 2011

"Decelerating learning academies"

From the City Paper:


Anonymous said...

While the complete set of official data from the State is not yet available to the public, a report was released by Pittsburgh Central Administration this past Monday (8/29/11) on the Achievement of African American students in PPS for 2011.

This report revealed the following regarding the ALAs:

1) The ALA has been deleted from school titles in the report;
2) There was significant improvement (up 10 to 16%) in both Reading and Math at Fort Pitt, Northview and Weil (ALAs).
3) There was an average of 6% improvement at Murray (ALA) in Reading/Math
4) There was a decline in achievement in Reading and Math at Colfax, Arlington, and M.L. King (ALAs)
5) Three ALAs are the LOWEST-ACHIEVING PPS (K-5, K-8) schools in both Reading and Math
6) In Reading and Math five of the eight LOWEST achieving PPS (K-5, K-8) schools are ALAs.

As stated up front, these statistics are attributed to “Economically Disadvantaged African American Students” in the PPS Report.
(Note: The achievement gap between Black and White students at Colfax exceeds 40%.)

Anonymous said...

In other words:

Compleye and utter failure of an idea.

Anonymous said...

Certainly, there was no more improvement at the ALAs than there was at other Elementary (K-8) school and the cost was exorbitant. There are very clear reasons for the lack of success. While the model had embedded best practices that work everywhere (not just America's Choice) there were very critical components that were were missing from the model. "Fidelity" to the America's Choice model prohibited the inclusion of these critical pieces. A similar obstruction (to improvement) is occurring with the IFL model and a "managed curriculum" that shift the focus in ways that deter teachers from teaching the obvious and precise "thinking skills" needed for success in academics and life.

Randall Taylor said...

I believe the ALA experiment was destined to fail from the outset. Mark Roosevelt was told to limit the intial amount of schools to two(2), and keep those schools populations to 400. He instead opened eight with a population of over 700 at King.

The Board flat out refused to ask questions or to gain regular updates on the ALA's progress. The ALA's got lost in the blizzard of new Roosevelt experiments.

It is important that the Administration either declare the ALA expeiment over so that we begin again. The need to attack persistant failing schools is vital. Yet, unless they admit their failure, we can never begin to ask what went wrong, how did it go wrong, and what can we learn from this?

Finally, we must remember the children of Clayton. A school, like Lincoln, that was doing very well and growing stronger. Those children were removed from a good school to the failure that became ML King ALA.

Although, this effort failed, we must try again. This time lets take our time, take small steps, and monitor daily and monthly its progress. We know great schools can be built in very difficult places.