Thursday, February 6, 2014

Summer reading affected by state standards

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"new topic-- Gates/ Common Core hijacking library summer reading programs

PPS and other urban school districts are not the only place where the long dollar of Bill Gates is reaching-- big brother is indeed everywhere-- including something that should be relaxed-- summer reading."


Anonymous said...

It would be good if more people understood what Andrea Greene does about the Gates money. It is not helping children. It is paving the way for corporations to line their pockets with tax payer money. Charter Schools are businesses. Testing companies are businesses. Once there are no more public schools, only charter schools, corporations will have a bottomless well to draw from. High stakes testing will insure that this will happen.

Anonymous said...

9:52, you are almost completely correct. However, public schools will continue to exist. They will exist to take the students that the charter schools reject.

And I don't entirely blame the corporations for this. Urban public schools have shown that they are absolutely unable to reform in any meaningful way.

Urban public schools all approach systemic problems the same way. Put out a bold press release. Then put up a few posters in the hallways and fire a few unlucky teachers. Then it's back to business as usual.

Charter schools are not good for the country. But they exist only because the urban public school administrators are such miserable, cowardly failures.

Anonymous said...

Hold on 11:47 PM. Urban education is not failing children because of school principals or teachers. It's failing because we as a nation have failed to adequately fund education and allowed the great income gap to ruin our once great urban cities. Instead of dealing with the issue of income inequality and the vast problems created by poverty, the catch all has been that our urban educators are failures and need to be weeded out. Central Office Administrators in many urban cities including PPS with the hiring of MR / Lane have never been educators or as in Lane's case never served as a school principal who actually were responsible for trying to improve student performance. Instead this new breed of Broad Academy Superintendents have failed in having critical and courageous conversations with the Gates and Walton's of the worlds.

Instead the conversation is let's can the curriculum, replicate teaching strategies in every content area that leaves no room for creativity and differentiation by the teacher then test the students until they are experience brain drain or become so neurotic regarding their performance results.

We all know that great teachers matter but we are also intelligent enough to know that having two parents in the home matters just as having a place where the family calls home, food in refrigerator that doesn't run out at the end of the month, utilities to meet daily needs, a safe community without fear of gunshots that ring out in the night, and most importantly a family structure that values education by modeling reading in the home, providing quiet homework study time, visiting the school not just if there is an issue but because the parent or guardian in the home genuinely is a partner in the child's education.

Billionaires of the America, if you want to improve urban education then put your money to a greater cause like eradicating the poverty so many children. Instead of a handout, create living wage jobs for parents and guardians who are helpless in picking themselves up by their own bootstraps.

11:47 said...


"Urban education is not failing children because of school principals or teachers."

I agree with only half of that. Many of today's principals are a part of the problem. They are careerists. Their schools are just stepping-stones to higher positions. They make decisions on what's best for them, not on what's best for their schools.

For example, most PPS principals will do anything to reduce suspension rates. Their schools are in chaos, but their stats look good.

On the other hand, most PPS teachers see their work as a calling, a calling to help their students. They try every day, against all odds. I assign very little blame to the teachers. Yet, nationwide, they bear the brunt of the criticism.

"It's failing because we as a nation have failed to adequately fund education"

No. School funding has next to nothing to do with urban education problems. Give me students who want to learn (and that will be the majority of the kids, even of the desperately poor kids). Keep the standards high. Remove the violent and disruptive students. Give me some freedom to teach as I know best. Build meaningful study halls into the school day. I don't care if the books are 10 years old and the ceiling leaks. I'll get the job done.

"Instead of a handout, create living wage jobs for parents and guardians who are helpless in picking themselves up by their own bootstraps."

Here we agree 100%. It is a national tragedy that a person with a high school diploma can no longer find a decent full-time job.

Questioner said...

The move to a low paying service economy is a huge problem, but also, a high school diploma doesn't mean what it used to. An employer cannot be sure that a Pps high school grad can read and do math at a high school level.

Anonymous said...

Poverty is not, has never been and never will be the reason children are not learning a school. Understand that and schools will become places that engage children, respectfully, in the art of teaching and learning to outcomes that will send them into a world prepared to work productively, solve problems and create successful futures.

Questioner said...

It is not poverty itself but rather everything that goes along with poverty in our society that makes learning more difficult.

Anonymous said...

8:25- You're right, it's not the actual state of being poor that produces bad students. It's the self-destructive culture of entitlement and lack of personal responsibility that has taken root in our poor neighborhoods that produce bad students. There are plenty of neighborhoods in the US that are "poor", but rich in community. That makes a difference. Blaming it on teachers and schools is just making excuses for failed social policies and even more so, communities that have failed their own children.

Anonymous said...

All the Gates money, taxpayers money, Foundation money in the world won't solve the poor education problem. Good teachers and principals will and do---everyday!

Anonymous said...

yeah, in neighborhoods where the adults put the children first. It doesn't cost me a single thing to spend time with my child.

Anonymous said...


You know what, though, those kids whose parents you are insulting? Those kids are the ones who will be taking care of you in the nursing home and will be deciding your future. Even if YOUR kids put you in the nicest places, they likely won't be the staffing there.

You can either get on board with educating them now, or you can pay the price that we'll all pay for writing kids off because of their parents.

Anonymous said...

NEW TOPIC-- Matt Damon on Education,poverty and Teach for America

I spoke to them at a rally for public school teachers a few years ago. My mom’s a professor and she’s become increasingly concerned, as have a lot of teachers, about the way policy is being designed in this country. It’s being designed by a bunch of people who aren’t teachers. They talk about accountability, but they’re measuring with these standardized tests, which I believe in my heart they will start fading out. It just demonstrably does not work. No Child Left Behind does not work. I’ve always believed that they have to invite teachers into the discussion to help design policy. We would never let business men design warheads, why would you cut out educators when you’re designing education policy? This was for one of those libertarian websites and they had an attack question planned about tenure. Diane Ravitch was there, she’s a huge figure in education and she jumped in and just set them straight about what having tenure meant. It just basically means you have the right to be represented, and have your side of something heard if someone is trying to get rid of you. But in terms of education policy, I think that far too much emphasis has been put on these tests. You’re going to get teachers teaching to the test and you’re not actually giving them the leeway to do their jobs. People get tired of hearing about Finland, but they do it better than anyone, and when you look at how, it’s very simple. They have very highly trained teachers. 50% of teachers here quit within 5 years. We just send these kids to these 6 week Teach for America training courses and expect them to perform well. In Finland, 1 out of 10 people get into these teaching colleges. You have to go through the entire program and come out with a Masters, and then you’re put in room with another teacher and a class size no bigger than 20. It’s highly regarded, people don’t quit. Finland kicks our ass on any metric. They keep the class size down, they’re aggressive about confronting poverty. We have the resources here it’s just whether we’re willing to focus on it.

Anonymous said...

No they won't be.

Simply put, if you think as a teacher, of over 20 years in the district, I can make up for the lost years of social development that EVERY child needs by opening my classroom up for a few hours a day, your delusional and part of a very serious problem affecting our urban school districts. Teachers like myself, who have dedicated our lives to the very children your speaking of are being run over every day by the hand-wringers who think that just by saying "we need to close the gap" or "effective teachers..." every day will somehow fix things. No one's saying as effective teachers we can't make a difference in these children's lives, but I am saying we can't be the ONLY ones making a difference in these children's lives. It's time to start having truly courageous conversations and admitting to ourselves that the approach we've taken to fixing poor/depressed communities has been misguided and if you continue to look at teachers as the only answer, well, you're part of the problem and only getting in our way of trying to find a legitimate solution. It's time to pull our heads out of the sand and take a new approach to this dilemma. Children are being hurt everyday by these failed policies.

Questioner said...

Sorry- not able to start a new thread at this time!