Sunday, December 18, 2011

The main culprit

On another post Anonymous wrote:


From today's P-G:

Don't blame teachers for the racial achievement gap - blame poverty."


Questioner said...

From the article:

"Increasingly, I see colleagues who at one time were convinced that the education gap could be solved by improving teachers and schools move away from this idea. While they still recognize the importance of good teaching, most now focus on engaging what might be called "extra-school means of influence." That is, they now spend as much time talking about factors operating outside of the classroom as inside it -- and this is a good thing.

I support comprehensive community school efforts, such as the Harlem Children Zone, which are at the forefront in attempting to prevent and undo the effects of poverty. These efforts improve the lives of small but significant numbers of black children. But they do much more: They demonstrate that if we provide the resources to poor black children that middle-class white children have -- predictable meals, mentors, parents who know how to parent, health care and a safe environment -- black children can learn as well as any other children.

Some will argue that poverty is not an excuse for poor academic performance. They are correct; poverty is not the excuse, it is the cause."

Old Timer said...

You beat me to it, Questioner. Thanks for posting it. I am going to send it to Dr.Lane and her executive staff, as well as PFT proponents of RISE.
Principals are having it beaten into their heads that white teachers are the problem. RISE teams are rolling out what amounts to finger-pointing, racism in reverse "activities" meant to hammer the point home. The "teacher center" has been hammering the idea since it began operations. And those who are doing the finger pointing seem to take great pride in finally finding a school district that validates its usage of the race card.
For the record, I know of no white teacher who employs racial bias in any way. And for the record, I know of no black teacher who employs a bias, either. This is another sickening attempt by administration to place blame on teachers. And oddly enough, it's validated by the PFT.
It's almost 2012, and not 1972. Instead of once again attempting to open old wounds and point fingers, we have individuals who would rather place blame and apparently, a great many in administration and consultancy whose livelihood depends on placing blame.
I truly believe that the achievement gap must be pared down. I truly believe we can do more. But I know in my heart that no administrator can stand in the shoes of a PPS teacher and do it. I know in my heart that no weasel consultant can last a day in most classrooms. And I know that this sickening display being pushed by PPS will hurt more than help and create problems where there are none.
I appreciate this article and appreciate the writer's ear to the ground approach. Truly, he gets it.
It's not that Dr.Lane 'doesn't get it', it's that she cannot make public proclamations about the root of the problem because she lacks the courage.
As does French.
As does Otuwa.
As does Lippert....

Shame. It's easy to target teachers nowadays and unfortunately, our students are the losers.

Anonymous said...

I am wondering if Larry Davis, the article's author, is the same Larry Davis who taught at Herron Hill in the early 70's and later on worked for the Board in another capacity?

Anonymous said...

Outrageous commentary here! Totally refutable! Research, in abundance, will REFUTE, CHALLENGE and ‘SET STRAIGHT’ the egregiously racist statements set forth by "culprits" herein who need an EXCUSE to justify FAILURE to EDUCATE.

Research, profound, concrete and intellectually articulated, has set forth in very clear educational, philosophical, and psychological treatises, that not only COUNTER, unequivocally, but demonstrate, substantiate and validate quite the reverse of statements made here.

Thinkers in this area provide systematic exposition of the facts and principles that methodically and conclusively argue against with evidence and documentation the outrageous commentary contained in "the main culprit."

Anonymous said...

Wow, apparently the word never reached Mr. Davis that all that is needed to achieve success for every student is a highly qualified, effective teacher in the classroom.

From early on we've heard "model the habits" you want your children to acquire and "if your kids see you reading they will be readers" and so much more. How about if you want Johnny to work hard at school find his Mom or Dad training and a job that will provide a stable home. Poverty can't be cured completely but if we don't all start chipping away at it in ways that have proven successful it will never get better.

Anonymous said...

Let us hope that THE Dr. Larry Davis who once served at Herron Hill/Margaret Milliones and as Principal/Director/National Speaker in other places will respond here. (He is not the author of this article.)

Rather, he is a true EDUCATOR, who has much to contribute to this 'conversation.'

Anonymous said...

Just perhaps, readers here might want to consider the possibility that the LACK of quality and equity in EDUCATION is one of the greatest (outside of racism) CONTRIBUTING FACTORS to POVERTY.

anon said...

To Anonymous 1:44, Could you please cite the research?

Old Timer said...

Quit OUTING yourself with blather. Your SHOUTING means nothing and your REVERSE RACISM is evident.
EDUCATION begins at home. You can SCAPEGOAT teachers all you want, but the truth is UNDENIABLE.
I find it outrageously LAUGHABLE that you believe that you know more than someone of this professor's stature.
HOW SAD that you have to play the race card. You're the one who is making excuses.

Anonymous said...

Anon of many capitals, thank you for illustrating that anyone, of any color, can be a racist. Your rants have proven it quite nicely.

(The real) Old Timer said...

Dear Sir or Madam:
It occurs to me that it is the holidays. It also occurs to me that one of the oldest tricks in the book is to divide and conquer. While I humbly disagree with your comments, it should not dissuade the overall viewpoint that is, you want better education for our kids. Agreed.
I believe that at the end of the day, all parties want the same thing, but differ on how to get there.
Retirement looms and it's time for younger people to stand up.
Happy Holidays to all, and best wishes in all future endeavors.

Anonymous said...

Why are you so invested in poverty NOT being a problem? Or, it's only a problem if it's caused by racism and not by a larger system which includes racism. (Poor white kids are performing poorly because of ??)

Why the obsession about the use of the word/concept of poverty?

I absolutely agree that racism is a problem, in education and everywhere else. However, everywhere I also see the differences caused by poverty.

Child not learning to read by mid-first grade? Upper middle class and above parents (of both races) are on it -- they are hiring tutors, they are having testing done, they are addressing the problem. Even if other parents wanted to do this, the option is costly and often requires one non-working parent to really carry through and keep up with what's needed. Learning disabilities in a child may require years of this sort of attention.

Child's summer spent doing what? Playing video games and watching TV at grandma's or a neighbor's place because it's not safe to play outside except in structured situations OR spent in various camps around the city, learning about dinosaurs, art, sports, writing, and how to get along with groups of kids then going on a lovely vacation to see different parts of the country or world, often including visiting colleges?

Number of books in home? Access to books on level AND appealing to that specific child? Exposure to the ideas, concepts, themes used in standardized curricula and testing? Exposure to a wide and varied vocabulary used by adults?

Please, turn down your rhetoric! We all get it, most of us know the research (and we also know that poverty as a problem is also well-researched). No one is saying that kids can't learn. In fact, many people are finally catching on to the fact that one size doesn't fit all and that just having high expectations doesn't bridge the gaps caused by...well, you know.

Anonymous said...

Old Timer, the retirement reference concerns me. I would be much happier if retirement meant you would be spending more time on issues that affect so many of us who want our education systems to thrive.

Anonymous said...

Correction: There is "no such thing as reverse racism."
Please check the many, many, clear, and thorough definitions of the term racism. Yes, it is widely misused and misconstrued, but, by definition it cannot be "reversed."

Anonymous said...

Here in Pittsburgh-TODAY-- the enemy right now is the script-- a rigid managed curriculum where teachers are no longer free to be creative, where they have to have the same dumb bulletin boards! Note- some colleges have pulled tudent teachers based on this-- this isnt what we want young teachers to learn, let alone students. Students of all races can be intrigued and interested in learning-- we couldnt even apply for Gates unless we were moving to this managed curriculum- that is why it was hurried together pre-Gates. It isnt about race-its about how we were sold out to a managed curriculum,RISE, VAM, and consultants who have never taught anyone anything.

Questioner said...

Echoing "To Anonymous 1:44, Could you please cite the research?"- 2 or 3 of the best/ most recent sources would be fine- please include the authors' names and the titles of their work (rather than for example just saying without identifying authors/ works that the information can be found in the library or at a bookstore).

Questioner said...

In other words, for two or three of the best sources, it would be most helpful to have the author's first and last name and the title of the book or paper.

Anonymous said...

We see it every day.
I don't believe in racism of any kind, and I don't believe in retribution, 5 decades removed.
Save it.

Anonymous said...

Please do not promote such ridiculousness. Pittsburgh's schools do not need one more excuse for not educating the students.

Why would you do that? Shocking and disappointing!

Questioner said...

If students lose a semester of school because of problems at the school, why not make it up to them by providing an additional semester? In other cases the fault may not be with the school- for example, many students taking a "prep year" just need more time to grasp complicated material (that was the idea behind an extra year at sci tech) or did not have the maturity to apply themselves the first time around.