Sunday, May 20, 2012

"The one tool that has been shown to work"

From the New York Times:  "Making schools work":

"AMID the  ceaseless and cacophonous debates about how to close the achievement gap, we’ve turned away from one tool that has been shown to work: school desegregation."


Anonymous said...

As a teacher who has taught in all black schools, mostly white schools and totally integrated schools, I have to agree. I saw my colleagues take students who had all the the same socital issues, health issues etc. andf if they were in our integrated school for a couple of years, but the end of 5th grade they were at least at grade level. Also, I saw the students who needed outside services were more likely to get those services. When it came to technology, all were starting at square one, cause most kindergarteners cant read, so they all assumed they could learn equally well, and they did. One of the things that right-sizing did was making more kids go to segregated schools, or tipping the balance and having more needy kids in the same school. This administation has absolutely NO regard for maintaining integration in Pittsburgh.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Nice read. Fantastic comments too.

---- snip ----

And, by the way, over 70% of the New York City Public School system are minority students. How integrated can NYC schools get even if we wanted them more integrated?

--- snip ---

This same issue is pressing on Pittsburgh too. The key of integration (as per author) becomes impossible if too many have voted with their feet and departed the entire district.

Hence, the need is to retain, as well as rebuild a dynamic, diverse city that has a population where the key could be used.

Plus, another element to integration is after school opportunities. The city kids get to start some play with some scool teams in the WPIAL. It is a stretch, but a value and a reason to stay for some.

Anonymous said...

I liked the article (and its reliance on reality, rather than the fantasies promoted by most "reformers).

The comments section was a little odd -- some of them didn't seem to read it very carefully before registering their complaints!

For instance, being 70% minority does NOT mean that a district has integrated schools. NYC has plenty of all black schools, all hispanic schools, etc. It's at the school level that it's important.

Anonymous said...

I am NOT sports minded but I agree Mark-- I have seend that city kids need to see there are other places-- and surprisingly-- some of my suburban friends were very impressed with the facilities etc in the city. This is why I keep saying there has to be comprehensive middle schools-- those athletic directors kept kids in school and INTO school at the age where many were looking to the street life. Keep fighting for strong athletics- it will help

Mark Rauterkus said...

Yes, it is the middle years sports programs that are getting closer and closer to the axe. That is also true in suburban school settings as well.

But, suburban school sports in grades 6, 7 and 8 are often inferior to what is done in the sandlot programs. The community programs there are much stronger, (big, hairy generalization). Meanwhile, in the city, for too many, the sandlot programs are frail or fully absent. So, the middle school programs can be more critical.

We do have some great 'sandlot programs' for youngsters in the city, no doubt. But, the numbers served are small when contrasted to the number of kids in the overall district.

Bram Reichbaum said...


Anonymous said...

However educational intergration was meant to work both ways, but it never did. It only forced African American kids to go to white schools, not the other way around, so the schools in African American communities still remained segregated. But for the ones the went to white schools, in theory the premises is a good one. It still just leaves a lot of others left behind.

What white familys will allow there kids to be bused into minority communites and schools if they can fight it or send them else where. The only schools that survive that are real specialized like Capa and Obama. Look at Westinghouse and Uprep. The district promotes them both as college prep programs. Yeah Right!

The only way we can assure every kids gets a quality education no mater where they go is to hold our adminstrators accountable for educating all kids and help the communities to help their selfs and quit turning away their own people.

Anonymous said...

I believe that this should be a new post.

Could the person who posted the youtube video

please explain the content. The video has been removed by the person who posted it.

I've been out of town and am trying to catch up. So much has occurred in such a brief period.

Questioner said...

The admin and a board member emphasized at the agenda review that the Success program was only intended to address behavior, and that additional and different efforts would be needed to address academic performance.

Another board member pointed out that when students from the same neighborhoods as current U Prep students were at Schenley, no "Success floor" or outside consultant was needed. They weren't all angels, but the principals had it under control and you didn't see the kind of situation U Prep is facing. The students haven't changed but their school has. This is a cost (monetary and human) that wasn't accounted for when the "savings" from closing Schenley were tallied up.

Anonymous said...

True, "behavior modification" as a "school wide approach" not a "one floor model" is being recommended by U-Prep Administration and was not an approach that was needed for Schenley, nor Milliones in previous history. We need experiences, knowledgeable, caring, committed,once-upon-time principals in our schools, people who do not need consultants to run schools or train all staff.

Anonymous said...

Yes, once upon a time principals are surely missed. Our principal had a process for everything and made sure that every staff member, student, parent and community organizations were in the communcation loop. Expectations for everyone were clear and concise. Now with a PELA principal, a handful at best of professional staff are engaged and sometimes even those few are out of the process. As for para's, security and clerks, well they are never included.

Funny how some schools have 3 - 5 administrators and they still can't manage the school. Our old time principal knew just about anything you asked and if she didn't, you could bet she'd follow through for an answer.

The school operated like clockwork and her #1 priority was always the students. She cared for our students as if she birthed them! It was always our collective responsibility as a staff to devise a proactive intervention plan for students. Maybe PPS needs to ask her why our school was so successful? Although Central administrators know of her success, only those assistants who worked under her have the good sense to model and implement many of her recipes for success. It starts with CONSISTENCY!