M. Night Shyamalan took a year off from making movies and looked at education:
You know how everyone says America is behind in education, compared to all the countries? Technically, right now, we’re a little bit behind Poland and a little bit ahead of Liechtenstein, right? So that’s where we land in the list, right? So that’s actually not the truth. The truth is actually bizarrely black and white, literally, which is, if you pulled out the inner-city schools —just pull out the inner-city, low-income schools, just pull that group out of the United States, put them to the side — and just took every other public school in the United States, we lead the world in public-school education by a lot.
And what’s interesting is, we always think about Finland, right? Well, Finland, obviously, is mainly white kids, right? They teach their white kids really well. But guess what, we teach our white kids even better. We beat everyone. Our white kids are getting taught the best public-school education on the planet. Those are the facts.
Kevin Drum looked at the numbers and he’s right. His cure is also devoid of the usual reformer bullshit:
- Get rid of the bottom 2-3 percent of truly terrible teachers.
- Make the principal the chief academic and head coach. Let another person handle school operations.
- Constant feedback to teachers and students.
- Small schools (not small classes).
- Increased instructional time. Extend the school day and do away with summer vacation.
Reading through the interview, it’s clear that Shyamalan means this cure to apply to inner city schools. The reason is that inner city kids come back from summer vacation three months behind, academically, from when they left, compared to suburban kids who are on average a month ahead. And when he talks about increased instructional time, he’s also assuming that early childhood education programs are in place, because those programs are desperately needed.
I live in a town where suburban schools are regularly named to top 100 lists, and the city schools struggle to graduate 45 percent of their students. Kids entering kindergarten in one city school had an average vocabulary of 300 words compared to 3,000 in a suburban school. Schools are just one facet of why those kids start off at such a great disadvantage. Focusing on inner city schools, not schools in general, gets us back to discussing the real problem, poverty.
One more thing: Maybe Shyamalan is a serial one-hit wonder. He should find some other endeavor that isn’t movies or education and focus on that next.
How about the money? What about it? The funding of schools based on the value of local real estate is a huge problem and perpetuates the “separate but unequal” school systems. It’s an insane system.
I live in an affluent suburban neighborhood with expensive houses and ergo well-financed schools. A few miles south the houses are cheap and the residents poor and ergo their paltry taxes cannot finance their schools to the same levels as my kid’s school. We have stadiums and afternoon activities and clean facilities and good cafeterias. All of this takes money. They have nothing because they have no money. How is this remotely fair?
Add to this that if my kids happen to fall to a less-than competent teacher I can easily compensate because I’m a well-educated professional; but if the kid down the street whose mother is a single teenager struggling to survive and not knowing how, the kid is left to drift and by the time she’s a teenager she’ll probably have a kid too and be poor. But it is that kid that needs far more ample resources than my kid. She needs not only an equally good school with all the facilities money can provide but far more to compensate for the perpetuating conditions of poverty.
I’ve long thought this–our public schools are pretty good. Both my kids have gone to the local public school, and while all was not sweetness and light, they’ve gotten good educations.
But it has become a media meme, endlessly reported by our worthless MSM. Repeat the lie often enough…
I think this is also true of the US Postal Service. People love to pour hate on the USPS. OK–they’re not perfect, but they do a damned good job every single day, under some pretty serious legal restrictions, and for a very reasonable price.
I think the hate mostly comes from the fact that both the teachers and USPS are largely unionized. And if there’s anything our Betters and the MSM hate, it’s unions.
Thought he took fifteen years off. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
Or maybe he should shift his focus in movie-making and do more documentary-style films. He could be the Ken Burns of education-related documentary films or something.
I think the skin color disparity in education that Shyamalan and Drum have outed is a feature not a bug. Having an uneducated class of people that have fewer options is the point. It’s what the ruling class wants. Color-coding them by skin so they’re easy to pick out makes it even more convenient.
Mike in NC
So, lucky us for being spared his terrible movies.
Couldn’t agree more.
Marx had their number, long ago.
Dad spent most of his career as a teacher working in a school that had five housing projects located in its demographic mix. His experience was that the deficient service was more about class than color, because at that time, it was about 50/50 in that mix of projects.
Hard to teach a large group of middle schoolers from the wrong side of the tracks – they were already on intimate terms with sex, sexual abuse from adults, substance abuse, serious crime and parental neglect, and if they hadn’t experienced it first hand, they knew people who had. Meanwhile, their peers in better neighborhoods were generally learning these concepts on a slower, more digestible level.
Everybody in America sort of knows at an intuitive level public schools are not totally screwed up, because 95% of us have kids in public schools, have attended public schools as kids and/or know people, who attended public schools.
You cannot escape interacting with someone, who is a product of public education.
And most of us do not think we are undereducated. We know we have had a good education.
I really think the whole idea of “failing schools” needs to be examined, in terms of a cultural phenomenon. I mean no one thinks they or their kids were or are poorly educated, but the whole notion of “kids these days aren’t as educated as we were” seems to have gained traction for a couple of generations as part of the conventional wisdom and seems to be driving the thinking, with regards to changing education for the sake of change.
For this, I am prepared to forgive Shyamalan for Signs.
There can be no forgiveness for Lady in the Water or The happening.
@Cervantes: There’s a great book on this called something like “Learning to Labor” about the way class divisions are reinforced inside schools so that the kids who are “destined” to be working class or poor get pushed right to the margins in their classrooms and schools until there are no other alternatives left to them. It all emerges quite naturally from the context of the way kids are taught and punished for failing to learn if they come from one class, and helped to succeed if they come from another.
Via BJ commenter RSR from another thread,
a piece discussing student performance across countries, and what happens when you take poverty rates into account.
Unsurprisingly, it turns out that we don’t have an education problem in this country; we have a poverty problem.
And, of course, a race problem that is very difficult to separate out from the poverty problem.
@aimai: Yes, that’s Paul Willis, who is now at Princeton.
I like your summary. Have you looked at the book from a feminist point of view? There are some criticisms out there, as you might expect.
Davis X. Machina
Money is virtue. And who are you to second-guess, with your sinful, fallible mortal intellect, how Jehovah, from before the beginning of all time, has decided to distribute, unearned and unbidden, the good things of His world?
Blasphemer at worst, and presumptuous at best.
I’m glad MN Shyalaman turned his attention to this. He called it right.
If this is what it takes to get an honest discussion going, all for this.
Yes. It’s Learning to Labor: How working class kids get working class jobs
I agree. Kevin Drum and Bob Somerby have an actual (intermittent dialogue) going between them about test scores. Drum does a good job with straight reporting and explanation of test scores, but even he makes mistakes:
The fact is, if test scores are the measure, we’re not smarter than “kids today”, not white kids, not black kids, not Latino kids. They’re “smarter” than we were.
That’s a simple sentence, “whites are doing a little better and blacks and hispanics are doing way, way better” one you will never, ever see that in the NYTimes but that’s what the scores actually say.
maximiliano furtive, formerly known as dr. bloor
I’m OK with shortening summer vacation, but I think educational policy wonks have to look hard and long about lengthening the school and increasing “instructional time.” I know a little bit about child/adolescent development, and I can tell you that aspects of my son’s middle school schedule (three minutes passing time between classes, twenty minute lunch, no study periods, limited art/gym) were absolutely counterproductive. Don’t get me started on the folly of trying to teach more than a small handful of kids algebra in the seventh grade and geometry in the eighth.
Excellent! That’s really good news!
Yes, yes, YES! This is the kind of message that – as a former 3rd grade teacher and elementary school principal – I have been trying to get across to friends & family for years.
I do wish MNS had focused more on rich/middle class schools vs poor schools, instead of white and black. There are plenty of poor white kids in less-than-stellar rural schools, and plenty of middle class minority students in great schools.
But still, great stuff – will be spreading the links far and wide
Until Americans learn to value work again, this inequality will continue.
Consistently, as a people, we’ve overvalued the wrong things, and ignored accomplishment.
We overvalue fame for the sake of fame.
We overvalue ownership, and in particular, inherited ownership.
We overvalue ridiculous ostentation for the sake of a display of status.
We don’t support the professional athlete when he strikes for a greater share of the profit he is generating through his body-destroying efforts, calling it “just a game”; meanwhile, we fail to recognize that nobody is paying to watch the owners own or the front office to manage.
We don’t support the orchestra musician when he strikes for a living wage, while front office personnel make many multiples of money beyond what the musicians that the customers are paying to see earn.
We don’t support the line worker in the union because his job (slowly destroying his joints through repetition) is “easy”.
We disdain the counter person at the fast food joint, the counter person at a retailer and the teller at the bank because they make low wages Even though their position requires a great deal of concentration across multiple tasks.
In that environment, why should a poor kid give a shit about education, when he sees that playing by the rules won’t benefit him?
If ed reformers had gone about this in a straight-forward way, if they had said “although scores have been steadily rising for 40 years, we should do better” I would accept that as a good faith argument for improving public schools. But they didn’t. They presented this as “public schools are failing and we need a whole set of ‘market-based’ reforms”
I feel about them as I do about people who say “entitlements are insolvent and have to be ‘reformed’.
That’s not true. Social Security is solvent. Medicare has problems. If you’re lumping them together you have an agenda other than “solvency”.
if they’re presenting these scores as proof that public schools are failing, and they are presenting them with that message, well, that’s not what the scores show, so what’s the agenda? Obviously the agenda is not “improving public schools” because that would involve telling the simple truth as a starting point.
The only reasonable solution is to turn school funding entirely over to the state government rather than local governments. That still leaves the problem that schools in awful neighborhoods need more money to make up for the tougher learning environment, but that’s at least theoretically manageable. The elephant in the room is that the problems with our current system come at least partly from malice rather than simple neglect, so you can count on any attempt to make things better being fought tooth and nail by bigots who don’t want to see their money go to improve
education anything for Those People.
@maximiliano furtive, formerly known as dr. bloor: You’re absolutely right with this. And there’s interesting research in areas people don’t generally think about–like standing desks for boys increases their concentration and test scores. Because they’re constantly moving when they’re standing (shifting weight from leg to leg), they burn off that excess energy and it allows them to concentrate and learn better. The sit-down-and-be-quiet form of learning that is prevalent in most classrooms is not productive for a lot of people.
I think there’s a whole group who are selling the idea that our schools are failing in general as a way of pushing changes to the system that would be intensely unpopular otherwise. Once the for-profit charter school business got started, it was inevitable that there would be a whole class of doom-sayers who would push the idea of failing schools to advance the school privatization move.
The TAL episode on housing seems especially apropos right now.
@Botsplainer: Re the value of work … Aimai just now mentioned an old (1978) book by Paul Willis. Here are the opening paragraphs from one of his more recent (2004) articles:
It goes on.
Here’s the abstract:
Surely through some oversight, the full text is not ordinarily available on line …
I don’t know the solution but IMHO the problem is lack of involvement in their kids’ education/kids’ lives by their parents. The root cause of a lot of this is income. I have an acquaintance who is looking after her grandaughter whose parents essentially had her too young and now don’t want to deal with the responsibility(goes back to contraceptives and teens). They moved in the middle of the semester so she just moved the kid to the school closer by because grandma can’t be bothered to drive the extra four miles to the old school. What kind of education continuity is his kid getting?. It’s stupid shti like this that drives me crazy.
I don’t think we have to approach this as “the only way”. There’s another way.
One of the expenses for public schools in poor areas (and it isn’t just urban, it’s rural too) is that they fill all kinds of “safety net” roles that they probably shouldn’t have to fill.
We give public schools everything; nutrition, physical health, mental health, ‘family services”. We’ve essentially dumped everything regarding helping working class and poor kids on public schools and said “oh, by the way, we want high scores too”. If we had a stronger safety net outside of schools then schools could concentrate on education, like they do in wealthier areas.
We had a push here to add a basic money management class for high schoolers. It’s to help them avoid getting ripped off by our predatory financial/lending sector. I agree they need that, particularly our lowest income students, but it’s just one more thing we’re dumping on public schools. They can do it, they ARE doing it, but time and resources are finite. If they’re also now tasked with “creating informed financial products consumers” something else will suffer.
Flame away, but I really really liked Signs. Not the actual cheesy looking aliens, but the concept that was hung on the horror story – to have faith that everything is meant to be. Swing away Merrill!
ETA: Roger Ebert gave it 4 stars, so that’s good enough for me.
@mai naem: Sometimes when you have no hope for yourself, it must feel like a lie to give hope to your child.
They’ve been bleating about OurFailedSystemOfEducation for a third of a century at least.
Why haven’t right wingers simply just become teachers, and taken over the system from within, like any naturally superior Randites? How many Galt’s Gulchers does it take to wrest command from the weak-willed lazy union slobs, especially in a Rheeist-friendly state?
I have one small bone to pick with his suggestions. Smaller class sizes are very important in the early grades (K-3). I have taught all levels for 33 years and can attest to that fact. It is quite possible to teach older students in larger class sizes, but younger children fall through the cracks when they can’t get individual attention. Once an elementary class goes over 25, learning will decline.
@Cervantes: Well done, Cervantes! I should have googled it for people and put in a link. I haven’t read the book for years, being out of academia (for the moment). Its somewhere on my shelves with a related book. Its pretty old so I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a lack of feminist consciousness (that is to say a lack of interest in the ways class/race/and gender are also reinforced by the educational system.)
I’ve said it in another thread about education but the best thing I’ve read on the issue lately is Diane Ravitch’s latest Reign of Error which pretty much spells out the whole thing. I’m in the middle of it and it makes me a bit chary of some of Shyamalan’s solutions which drift a bit to close to the “reform” movement to me. An excellent excellent book for those interested in this issue. And it bears repeating that Ravitch began as a privatization reformer and was convinced by the actual real data that it didn’t work.
@Kay: Good point about money management. Interestingly enough our (wonderful) mayor’s summer program for any teen in our city not only pays the kids to work in the summer but also includes a paid course in money management, opening a bank account (which they get you to do because you are paid by check), and also college visiting information. They pay the kids to do all this because they figure that the middle class kids have parents who can help them do it for free but working class and welfare class kids won’t get that help or have any incentive.
The paid class the kids too was organized by a local bank and included a LOT of information on the kinds of frauds that are perpetrated by poor people against other poor people–check kiting, promises to pay, stealing and misusing social security numbers of people in your own family. It was actually pretty useful, I thought, because it covered a lot of stuff that trips kids up early in their lives and can end them up in bad credit hell.
Like many other anti-conventional wisdom stories, this analysis of our test scores needs to be posted often. Say every day for a month and weekly thereafter. The reform side has had a long time to write about our failing schools and go on TV and talk about failing education systems with their lazy teachers in their dastardly unions. It’s going to be difficult to push that aside.
@ruviana: Thanks for the reminder. She’s been excellent on TV and NPR.
Reign of Error is an Amazon linky.
I agree with your take on MNS’s suggestions. The overriding difference between poor-quality inner city schools and well-performing suburban schools is resources. Solutions that don’t address resources ($, class sizes, facilities, and the neighborhood economy (unemployment, day care, transportation, after-school programs)) are only working on small parts of the problem.
@I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet: I agree with that, but unfortunately I also worry that taking on the problem of the gap between the schools of the poor and the schools of the middle class and wealthy is going to run into problems if it starts to tackle all of the other social effects of poverty.
Right, but you have to be careful. I was asked to help with a money management program backed by a bank when my eldest was in middle school. I ended up not helping because I objected to it. The plan was to have them open savings account in the “school bank” but it was just loaded with swag for the bank. It wasn’t a “donation” at all. It was free advertising for the bank. Public schools are strapped. They’re always looking for money. My sense is we need a much more critical eye towards “public private partnerships”. Who benefits? I know I’m a pain in the ass and a hater, but I want to be really careful of selling kids something under the guise of “private sector help”. Look a gift horse in the mouth. Thanks but no thanks, Mrs. Bank Manager.
A lawyer I like showed me this internet clip from BoA on “credit” the other day. It starts with the premise that poor people “need” a credit score. No, they actually don’t. They “need” a credit score if they need to borrow money. It should start with the question “do you need to borrow money? Can you pay it back?” They’re selling credit. Let’s be clear about that. I’m really wary.
Shut up. Ubreakable was awesome.
He’s got a decent visual eye. He needs an script editor or producer to keep him reined in.
I’ve got a kid in HS and one in middle school.
The older one is learning advanced math at an earlier age than I did.
When my wingnut friends on FB whine about the failing schools, I drop a payload of napalm on their threads flaming anyone even remotely connected it.
@Kay: There’s a place in Florida called Enterprise Village. A class of elementary school kids goes there for the day and learns about business. It’s set up like a strip mall or office plaza with a bank, fast food store, medical office and other places of business. The class studies up on things like banking and commerce for about a week or two before going. Every kid is assigned to a specific place of business with a specific job and they spend the day conducting commerce. It sounds like a great idea but every single place is branded – the bank was Bank of America, the fast food was McDonalds, the medical office was a local hospital, etc. My kid came home with a bunch of logoed swag and I had the same reaction you did – this wasn’t really education, it was marketing. Why can’t they take this good idea and run it generically?
@Suffern ACE: Good point, but (as I think we agree) the problem won’t get solved until we start addressing it.
As with many other problems, you can’t find the solution if you don’t properly frame the question. Sure, fire bad teachers (duh). But don’t think that kids in crumbling inner city schools are going to do as well as kids in, say, Lexington, MA without spending much more money.
It’s a big problem that will take decades of work to solve, but it can be solved if we have good data, think about history, learn from successful systems, and don’t let ideology (“market good, union bad, government bad, etc.”) guide our efforts. Starting sooner is better.
James E. Powell
If ed reformers had gone about this in a straight-forward way, if they had said “although scores have been steadily rising for 40 years, we should do better”
It might be the truth, but the truth won’t generate income.
James E. Powell
Smaller class sizes are also important for middle school and high school students who are year behind their peers in reading and writing. These students also tend to engage in classroom behaviors that prevent them or anyone else from being educated.
Villago Delenda Est
DING DING DING DING DING
Reduce the income inequality gap, and most of these problems are drastically reduced in scope.
James E. Powell
Part of the “problem” is that we are now trying to educate 100% of the population. We never even tried to do that before. The drop out rate in 1960, back in the Leave It to Beaver days of perfect schools, was 27.2% – nobody cared whether one-fourth of the population graduated because there were factory jobs aplenty.
If no one has ever done it, should we call not doing it a failure?
If no one has ever done it, why do people believe that film directors or young MBAs or billionaires know how to do it? They never have.
@Josie: I second the smaller class size in the primary grades. Not only do the kids have short attention spans, but they are also being taught about basic social norms like line, no cuts, no touching/poking fellow classmates, indoor voice, listening, respect, etc. Also, as has been stated some kids don’t have involved parents so the kids have to be taught how to hold a pencil, how to open a book properly, etc. This all takes time.
My head would explode. If it’s going to be transactional (I don’t think it should be, but if it IS) at least negotiate a good deal for them. At least.
I’m trying to influence our school superintendent to look at “public private partnerships” differently. She’s not a beggar. Our kids aren’t little supplicants, looking for a corporate handout.
I’m perfectly serious about this.
I think we should start negotiations like this : “We have this great group of incredibly valuable and open-minded second graders. Who wants to line up to help them? It’ll be the best day you ever spent in your life. You’ll get way more out of it than they will. The competition for you to have the privilege to get in front of them will be fierce. Bring your best offer! No branded garbage and you can’t sell them anything. They’re much, much too valuable for that shit. They’re not “consumers”. They’re our students.”
“Gift” means “free”. Words have meaning.
@Violet: That might in isolation be true, but if you think you can get a bunch of boys (or anyone, for that matter) to stand at a desk for six hours straight and not have any problems, you’ve got another think coming.
Very interesting, and I agree that ‘educational apartheid’ is the exact phrase for what is going on. I’m wondering if there have been any studies looking if there’s also a gender gap as well, especially among poor performing inner city (and rural) schools?
@James E. Powell:
Smaller class size is important for the developmental students I teach at community college too.
I’ll give credit to Shyamalan for stating the problem correctly, but as others have pointed out his solutions aren’t that great, and Ravitch’s are both much more comprehensive and better contextualized.
I had been hoping to hold out until middle school to put my son in a private school, but not sure I can wait another year. The wingnuts have thoroughly beaten down our public education here and I’m just tired of being one of the few fighting them and pushing back on the ISD/school board.
It is absolutely disheartening to see the apathy that has set in at my K-4 school over the last 3+ years. The wingnuts have killed the AP and G&T programs, removed the art teacher and put music to once a week. Not “one day” a week. One period of a day, once a week.
They hand out printouts from some generic website for homework assignments. The questions often have discrepancies between the bar/pie graphs and the numbers in the word problem. They have misspelled words and questions worded so poorly I sometimes give up after 10 minutes and just write a note to the teacher explaining our confusion. Her response? “Well, I didn’t write the questions.”
He was recently given a project assignment to write a report about a planet and do an accompanying physical model. They had never taught him how to construct a paragraph, do useful research, write an outline or rough draft or anything relevant. Ninety+ percent of the assignment was done at home. Why was this assignment given if there was no prep work or teaching lead-in? Why, when I was googling for info did I find the EnchantedLearning.com website where they had pulled the instructions from?
Well, what are you actually teaching them, you ask?
In my parent/teacher conferences I’m told of the constraints they face and without saying it out loud, they essentially say they are forced to dumb down the lessons and outcomes because some parents aren’t involved and then complain about having to do too much.
I could go on, but it’s so incredibly frustrating and scary to consider that now I’m wondering if I should get on a wait list for a private school next year. So I can pay the highest tax rates in the Greater Houston Metro Area AND also pay the equivalent of tuition at University of Texas so my 9 year old can actually learn something useful.
And this is in a diverse middle-middle class (with some upper middle class) Major Suburban ISD, so it’s not a black/white thing, urban/rural, nor is it strictly poverty vs wealthy.
James E. Powell
Although I have an aversion to short lists of “fixes” to complex problems like public education, let’s address each of Shyamalan’s points.
Get rid of the bottom 2-3 percent of truly terrible teachers.
Is there any evidence that this is not already being done? Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia have no collective bargaining. Are their schools perfect? Did Shyamalan include this on his list because “fire bad teachers” is required on all such lists in order to be regarded as “serious” in the corporate press/media?
Make the principal the chief academic and head coach. Let another person handle school operations.
Totally agree – but you can bet that the Chief of Operations will very soon hire more staff, cut funding to education programs, and otherwise use the power of the purse to squeeze the academic end of the business.
Constant feedback to teachers and students.
We do quite a bit of this now and we are working to do more. The internet helps. But we need to consider how much time the teachers have for out of classroom work. We constantly hear how we only work six hours a day, as if the only time we are working is when we are in the classroom with students.
Small schools (not small classes).
Didn’t Shyamalan get the memo? Gates Foundation pulled out of this concept a couple years ago. Large schools have larger resource bases for programs like sports, choir, orchestra, drama, dance, etc. These things are tough to put together in a small school.
Increased instructional time. Extend the school day and do away with summer vacation.
Does every list of fixes for public education problems have to include a proposal for teachers to work longer hours and more days without mentioning any increase in salary?
@Villago Delenda Est: but are they? When students in low income schools fall behind during summer vacation and those who aren’t keep moving forward (more slowly, but still) is the issue going to be tackled by solving the poverty issue? Low literacy backgrounds are still there even if the better paying jobs come back.
@James E. Powell:
I agree with what I think is behind your question. It’s not a “problem” to want to educate all comers, but it is, indeed, a problem. And one that has to be looked right at, as a society. We can’t allow some population to not have access to education, so this demands societal remedies/adjustments.
And I can tell you first hand, that ain’t ever gonna happen. They will kill public education, and I mean end it instead of just strangling it slowly, before they agree to do what’s right for our community/society.
All of my state’s (New York) reform initiatives are so completely linked with foundation/corporate “solutions” that everything must be standarized for imagined economies of scale. Every step being taken to improve educational outcomes for struggling students is being taken for every other student. Those who were previously receiving a good or great public education are now facing a considerably diminished experience. It’s as though everyone were being told that, since McDonalds does a more adequate job of feeding diners on the lower end of the income scale, all restaurants below the level of Michelin 4 stars (i.e. independent private schools) must be reconfigured and operated as McDonalds franchises.
Families and communities that complain about this approach are considered by reformers to be doing so specifically because they want to stand in in the way of equity (they want to maintain an unfair advantage,) This is where that Arne Duncan comment about the “white suburban Moms” originated.
I’m not going to say every teacher is wonderful, but this doesn’t make sense to me. There will always be a bottom 2-3% of teachers. That’s bell curve 101.
TPM Cafe did a series of excerpts from Diane Ravitch’s new book last week. She also did a live chat, but that was only available to their subscribers.
Villago Delenda Est
FYWP is eating my comments.
@James E. Powell:
I’m not, nor have ever been, a teacher. I understand it’s a very difficult and demanding job with a lot going on I am probably unaware of. But from my observable anecdotes, I’m not sure what other time is spent by an average K-4 public school teacher?
the score lie is the first one. The next one worth discussing is the need for ever higher standards.
@AMinNC: ha, thanks. I was just about to repost that. Glad I read the comments first this time.
Villago Delenda Est
And FYWP did it again. Fuck it.
Ha. The wingnuts in my area use this as a way to promote equity while really using it to reduce spending and kill educational outcomes. If I’ve heard it once I have heard it a hundred times, “If we can’t provide AP/G&T/IB for all students, then why should we provide it for some!?”
It’s just a bullshit copout.
Fuck Arne Duncan. Fuck him right up his stupid ass.
@Villago Delenda Est:
WordPress Delenda Est
@Villago Delenda Est:
It’s probably hungry due to reductions in Head Start / school lunches programs.
@Corner Stone: Um, lesson preparation? Decorating the bulletin board?
@hamletta: They get those from websites and then make copies. It isn’t time spent grading either, in most cases. My son’s class does in-class cross grading for most graded assignments. It isn’t spent formulating a curriculum as those are state mandated to teach to the standard testing.
Is it parent teacher conferences? I’m not sure as any time I request a meeting my son brings home a calendar with available times. Almost all are usually open. The last time I marked 8 openings I could attend, of the ones available.
I’m honestly not really sure, so that’s why I asked.
Agreed. You can’t base anything real on a big lie. There’s really two camps of “reformers”. There’s the score-liars and the score-dissemblers. Arne Duncan is a score-dissembler, while Jeb Bush is a score-liar.
Bush says public schools suck, and Duncan says public schools suck in comparison to some future metric of “college and career ready”.
What’s truly disturbing to me as a Democrat is the “solutions” are the same. The language is slightly different, Duncan doesn’t spit out “government schools” but there is NO daylight between the two camps on anything tangible and practical and real. If the “solution” is more testing and more charters and more trashing of public schools generally, then Duncan-Bush differences make no difference to MY public school.
I have a (perhaps) weird perspective, because my kids range in age from 25 to 11 and they all attended the same public schools. Ed reform has not helped my public schools. I would argue it has HARMED my public schools. I know this because I’ve been watching it, in action, for more than a decade.
If ed reform doesn’t benefit existing public schools then it failed, because 95% of kids ATTEND existing public schools. We were not sold “replacing public schools”. We were sold improving public schools. It’s been more than a decade of this approach. Mine aren’t better. They’re worse. Ed reformers have to address this. Was improving public schools the goal at all?
since my ‘the only PISA stat that matters’ post was already linked, all toss this one into the mix-
Meet The Nate Silver Of Education. Bruce Baker Will Bring Sanity To Reform Hype
The hidden variance of access to education just makes me think of access to heath care — it has similar wild swings, neighborhoods with developing world infant mortality rates within miles of cutting edge techniques being used electively. Only in that case, it serves the monied classes to insist “best health care in the world!” while for schools the $$$$$ is to be made touting “reform our failing schools!”.
@Corner Stone: unexpected teacher-parent meetings every time you visit a shop in public can occur in certain areas. grading, filling out all the friday packets, weekly evaluations, finding new classroom materials, more grading, lesson planning, constant mental rejigger of just what to do with Edward known throughout the district as a basket case and heading to your classroom next year, and that’s just from visiting an aunty one.
aside. the 1940 census pages are easy to find and look at and ask highest grade achieved. The difference between generations, between urban and rural is blatant. 8th grade for earlier generations seems most common, but 5th etc not uncommon. The pulse of younger people suddenly most with high school is clear. Granted, I haven’t been looking at the poshist of neighborhoods, but hey! for the middle working classes! it’s also got income information.
It’s utter lunacy how broadly the anti-public-servant prejudice has spread. I can understand the pathology that makes people resent the IRS or the EPA – no one likes the bureaucrat in the suit taking your money or throwing the book of regulations at you, even if it is absolutely necessary and you’d be much worse off without them. But what the fuck has the postman ever done except deliver the mail to your front door in a timely and efficient fashion, and what the fuck has the schoolteacher ever done except put up with your kids for the entire working day and try to teach them the skills they’ll need to succeed in life?
“Public servant = lazy moocher” has become a religious mantra that people repeat with the unthinking zeal of an evangelist, without ever bothering to stop and wonder how the hell they ever got carried this far.
@Kay: “Was improving public schools the goal at all?”
Probably for some ‘useful idoits’ as my wife calls them. The do-gooders who help with all the ‘oh, the children’ rhetoric.
But, IMO, the answer is largely no. They want(ed) the money. Better outcomes were never necessary. While better results would (and are) championed (even when they’re questionable), worse outcomes actually help accelerate the destruction of the existing system.
The problem is we’ve somehow convinced ourselves that our 1%er/big businessman class are the ones who create all the wealth and jobs in the country and everyone else is just sharing in their greatness through their own goodness… when in fact they create neither.
The wealth creators are the people who do the actual, physical work of turning your lead into gold (the workers who refine useless black liquid into usable car fuel, the workers who refine raw minerals into what the rest of us think of as “metal,” the truckers and sailors and air crews who ship these things to their destination). The job creators are the consumers who buy all that shit. The big businessmen’s function is to be the middleman between those two, and in our present era, they do it in a way that squeezes the Job Creators for everything they can afford, pass on as little of that as possible to the Wealth Creators, and keep everything else for themselves. And apparently, we’ve decided that this is normal.
IMO political opinion, ed reformers are sensitive to the fact that they all sound like Milton Friedman (true, BTW, whether they’re ‘liberal” reformers or ‘conservative” reformers) so they’ve latched onto early childhood ed as proof of their liberal bona fides. They’ll back funding for early childhood ed! That means they’re well-intentioned!
But aren’t they just going to apply the same “market based” reforms to much younger children? I read the House bill on early childhood ed, and yes, yes they are!
So I don’t want to expand early childhood ed if we’re simply taking the theories of Bill Gates and applying them to three year olds. I don’t want to double down on what I consider a huge mistake. Duncan never changes his mind. Nothing penetrates. His early childhood program will look exactly like his K-12 approach, and I think his K-12 approach sucks.
Did you see the Greens in Sweden apologized for ruining the public schools there by backing privatization? An apology! I was so impressed. Think we’ll get one from US “liberal” and Democratic reformers when public schools are gone? I don’t think so!
I read Gary Miron from Western Michigan U. He backed charters and now he testifies that MI charters are a money sink of corruption and profit and rampant rip-offs. No one listens to him, although they listened to him when he was backing “reform”, of course, because they needed credibility, so he was useful.
I want to scream. What the fuck did he think was going to happen? It never occurred to him? He’s EMPLOYED at a public university. They’re coming for you next, dumb ass.
@Kay: “But aren’t they just going to apply the same “market based” reforms to much younger children? I read the House bill on early childhood ed, and yes, yes they are!”
And they just announce similar concepts for higher-ed, too, right? Quelle surprise.
I don’t know if I’m just noticing it more because of your posts, but I’ve seen more discussion and push-back against the education reform movement in the media than I have in the past. Maybe de Blasio’s election has something to do with it.
Weird thing about Duncan is, I thought he had taken a relatively strong stand against for-profit colleges. But perhaps that was just window dressing.
What’s a “Friday packet”? I’m sure grading and recording them does take quite a bit of time, for the assignments they grade personally. They don’t do weekly evaluations here they do 4 week progress reports which are grade averages in subjects, not evaluations. Classroom materials and lesson planning are set by the district here.
It seems there’s a disparity that’s causing me a bit of trouble when I try to reconcile some of these issues.
Kind of makes one wonder, eh?
@JR: I always thought this. Why do we spend so much money in Suburbia when we don’t really have to – our kids will learn without so much prodding because they know it’s something they have to do, parents take a personal interest, and so on. Every time the budget comes to a vote, and they want to buy yet another new school bus or renovate the cafeteria or whatever I’m left shaking my head and wondering where the money goes. I think school systems should pay a luxury tax to the state government for redistribution, the way some professional sports leagues do with player salaries. If the residents still want their property taxes raised 18% so 2/3 of it can go to Albany, well, let them. See where their property values go from there. Are you listening, Gov. Cuomo? I just handed you a really good idea that would work on one of your stated priorities. You’re welcome.
Set this at, oh, 125% of the state average per pupil spending, and confiscate 2/3 of the remainder to be reallocated toward fixing the problems with our city schools. See how people feel about class sizes below 20 then.
@Corner Stone: Every teacher, regardless of the grade they teach, has a ton of out-of-school-hours work they have to do. There’s more they need to do if they are going to be a good teacher, let alone a great one. scav is right about a lot of the things those teachers must do. Grading homework is always hanging over a teacher’s head. Every grade level has homework and by fourth grade there’s plenty of more complex homework that must be graded by the teacher, and that’s frequently done out of school hours, not in class like the worksheet a first grader might have.
Parent-teacher conferences, decorating bulletin boards, buying the stuff to decorate the boards, going to continuing education classes–and not just the ones they make you do but ones you go to because you want to learn more and be a better teacher, attending school performances or sporting events, going to pick up supplies from the district supply department because they cut funding for delivery years ago, talking to a local vet because the classroom hamster isn’t doing so well and you are poor and don’t know what to do to take care of it. Etc.
Basically, ANYTHING outside of sitting in the classroom interacting with the kids is done on the teacher’s own time. Think of any prep work, any meetings, any decorating, ANYTHING–that’s all personal time.
Davis X. Machina
In some schools it’s an envelope — the Tyvek ones can be used over and over again — that goes home with the kid every Friday and comes back — or is supposed to — every Monday, with announcements, forms to be filled out and returned, samples of student work for the week, for the fridge door, etc. Some schools do weekly student narrative reports. And Flat Stanley doesn’t take cabs…
It’s an attempt to communicate with the parents on an ongoing basis beyond, and more frequently, than just report cards and stuff. Postage adds up, and the kids are making the trip anyways. So they go home with the kids.
(Do they all go all the way home? Are there two packets, one custodial and one non-custodial? Do they all get opened? Do action items actually get returned to school? Are the nice, durable Tyvek envelopes used week after week? That’s another post…)
For-profit colleges are another embarrassing area for Democrats, actually. Pelosi changed the rules along with the health care bill, tightened them up, but when it got to Duncan’s DOE there was a massive lobbying effort (many of the lobbyists were former Clinton people) and the rules were gutted. Then there was a lawsuit that the DOE lost. They’re once again trying to regulate them, but two Democrats in the House took huge money from for-profits and they’re blocking regulation. The whole story is really depressing.
What’s interesting to me, and this anecdotal, is that the for-profit online schools were such rip-offs that it has reached even my clients. We used to follow them out to the parking lot to beg them not to sign up, because student loans are not dischargable in bankruptcy, so they are screwed once they sign.
It’s like word got around. They’re back to attending the local (public)community college which is a much better deal and actually trains them in something where they are employable here. For profits screwed ENOUGH of them that they destroyed their own reputation.
@Corner Stone: Could be a district thing — hers was a good one. Friday packets were indeed weekly reports on accomplishment, completed and uncompleted work, notice of upcoming things, for the parents, might even have had a bit to be signed and returned on Monday. While she had a general school curric assigned, the getting it tailored to her class of students with their needs and strengths was up to her, esp as on-paper plans are often either impossible or worthless on the ground. Over her career, the need to enter everything into standardized, often poorly designed, reporting programs ate up more of her time. She also took it seriously, so that probably enters into it.
You sure about that? The weekly evaluations might be something required by the school for in-house purposes and you only see the 4 week evaluations as a parent.
@Violet: I would like to live in an ISD where your teacher works.
@Corner Stone: Why? What part do you like?
Davis X. Machina
@Violet: Parents get as many evaluations as they ask for. It’s a rare PET conference or IEP that doesn’t pop “weekly report of student progress” out as a required adaptation. I’ve got colleagues who do them for 1/3 of their students — 20-30 a week.
@Davis X. Machina: Ah, I see thanks. That’s the “red folder” here. But it just contains conduct marks for all periods for the previous week. I have to review and sign that there are smiley faces for that previous time. I guess there might be commentary if there were not smiley faces there.
There’s a “yellow folder” that goes home nightly with his homework assignment and any fund raiser notice or special event like Holiday Lunch this next week.
Yeah, for-profit colleges are student loan mills, it seems.
I think it’ll take a while before the Democratic Party leadership catches up on education reform. You know better than I do, but it seems like the charter school movement grew out of the fight in the 90’s to keep the GOP from implementing “school choice.” Charter school ideas offered the grifters a way for Democrats to get behind a “reform” that appeared non-partisan and largely secular, while a good source of donations to boot. So now they are a bit entrenched, and it will take some doing to get them un-entrenched.
At least that’s my impression of how things happened.
@Corner Stone: I taught in two near-suburban districts in Houston. If one of my student’s parents sent an email like your’s to the administration, I would expect be having a meeting that very same day.
@Violet: In 4 years I’ve never heard of it, but it certainly could be happening without my knowledge. I’m not a helicopter parent but do make a point of consistent interaction, whether just to let them know I want to know, or ask for clarification on something.
@Davis X. Machina: I’ve never received a written evaluation for any of my parent/teacher meetings, only verbal.
I’ll allow I didn’t request a written one, so maybe that is my mistake.
@Corner Stone: Is there a way you can transfer your kid to another school within the district? Have you looked into that? It’s a way to keep your kid in the public schools that you’re paying for.
@Keith G: I was thinking the same thing. Talking to the school’s administration is the first step. If that gets you nowhere, the district administration might be more helpful. There are teachers who aren’t very good and possibly CS’s son is in one of their classrooms.
@Keith G: That’s kind of my problem when I mentioned “apathy”. Last year I had several meetings with my son’s teacher, asst principal and principal. I also met with a member of the school board I know.
Essentially, there was a disruptive and sometimes violent child in the class. He would throw everything off his desk or just at random times stab the child in line in front of him with a pencil.
The answer to my question of WTF? was consistent. I could take measures that essentially punished my child, but they had their hands tied with the disruptive student.
In retrospect, I should have removed him from the school at that point, instead of just having him moved to a different class. Yes, that was the answer they gave me. Make my son leave his friends/routine and class to avoid this child.
How long ago were you a teacher?
Davis X. Machina
@Baud: Charters were originally embraced by the unions, esp. the AFT. Al Shanker was a proponent of them before they became part of the grift. They were also a weapon against vouchers.
The original intent was to be able to go to the school’s governing board and say “We’ve got this nifty idea X. If we agree to meet the same outcome goals as regular schools, will you let us try X?”
It was an attempt to create incubators for heretofore-untried approaches, support in-house entrepreneurship, etc. Basically a way to keep your most hard-driving and innovative teachers in the profession, and to make up for the lack of much formal R&D in the industry.
Shanker repudiated the experiment later, in 1993 (7/12 Ravich column for WaPo)
I’m sure that it would help schools in poor areas to have good public services delivered outside of school, but that still leaves a big difference in the ability of parents to help their kids succeed in school. Well educated parents can help their kids academically- giving them an enriched pre-K environment, tutoring them in areas where they’re doing badly, and generally providing all kinds of resources- in ways that poorly educated parents can’t. That would still be true even if we had a great social safety net, and the schools in poorer areas would still need extra resources to make up for that disadvantage.
Davis X. Machina
@Corner Stone: To be honest, I think ‘weekly written report’ one of the IEP special ed adaptations that people make when they can’t think of one, or of any others. Along with ‘preferential seating’ and ‘untimed testing’.
@maximiliano furtive, formerly known as dr. bloor: It’s amazing how often “longer instruction time” is called for even though the school day & year are longer than when I was a child and, after the lowest grades, the students have no breaks in their day. Picture a day in the life of an 11 or 12 year old in which from the homeroom bell until lunch students are expected to be perfectly silent unless otherwise directed by the teacher as a part of the learning activity. At lunch (a 30 min period effectively reduced to 20 min since it includes getting to lockers, going to the cafeteria & going back to classrooms), they are to remain silent until all lunches (the patty of the day) have been served at which point they may, at the principal’s discretion, have 10 minutes of socializing time after which it is back to silence until they have boarded the bus to go home. There is no physical activity except for the 2x weekly which may be turned into a “study period” if the teacher is absent & the sub isn’t phys ed certified, if they need to do more “test preparation or if the class has been “unruly”. Oh, and no going to the bathroom except for the last 5 minutes of every period.
Oddly enough, most of us managed to acquire decent education while still having longer lunch periods, a daily recess period and longer breaks in the school year.
What is happening now is not going to be (and possibly is not intended to be) productive of healthy adults who value education & maybe even enjoy learning. I believe it is a serious factor in attendance problems and that extending the day even longer will only make it more of a purgatory for kids who already have too little time just relax & enjoy life & to be who they are instead of little test taking robots.
@Violet: No I haven’t because the entire ISD and others around here are essentially captured. I’d either have to move across town ( to The Woodlands or Kingwood) or to WestU/Bellaire border to get a better (anecdotal) public ISD. I could move to Kingwood but that makes it harder on my support structure. As I have mentioned, I am a single parent and provider for my child and rely on family for a lot of help due to a challenging occupation.
@Davis X. Machina:
Thanks. That was really interesting.
This is true. When I worked at the church, we did intake for a homelessness prevention program/ministry, and one of my clients said something about continuing her vocational education. I suggested she avoid for-profit schools, and she replied something to the effect of “Aw, hell no! I know about those scams!”
@Corner Stone: 1982-2006. Half of that time in middle school – 7th graders rock! The other half in high school – seniors rock!!
BTW ..Spring Branch ISD and then Spring ISD.
Davis X. Machina
@gelfling545: There’s a whole lot of social signalling going on where set of adults X is sending a message, or staking out a position, to set of adults Y, and what they do to the kids — preposition chosen carefully — is just how they send the message.
Politics, in other words. Education is the continuation of war by other means, as Clausewitz would have said, if he was here to watch.
@Corner Stone: It does take a village… Sorry you’re having such a challenging time. Are other parents as frustrated as you? Perhaps with more parents speaking up things might change?
@Corner Stone: If your kid’s already been displaced from his friends in class, how much wiggle-room have you got in pushing for better teacher classroom assignments going forward? It’s a bore (on both sides) and takes time to learn who’s better, but does happen and a better teacher in a mediocre district is still something.
James E. Powell
Meet The Nate Silver Of Education. Bruce Baker Will Bring Sanity To Reform Hype
I don’t know this man and I cannot judge his work, but I state with great confidence that if he does not support the “failed and failing schools” and “fire teachers” and “more testing” plans of the corporate school movement, he will remain an obscure figure.
@James E. Powell: Didn’t Shyamalan get the memo? Gates Foundation pulled out of this concept a couple years ago. Large schools have larger resource bases for programs like sports, choir, orchestra, drama, dance, etc. These things are tough to put together in a small school.
Well, there are always tradeoffs. I think in this case that larger schools (especially at the high-school level) are better for children who are already have decent academic and/or social skills, while smaller schools (again at the high-school level) are better for academic underachievers and the less socially confident. I believe Shyamalan’s bullet points are aimed specifically at addressing underachieving (poor/minority) students, so I think his call for smaller schools is justified. (There is, of course, the question of how he defines “small”.)
That’s an interesting time frame. We moved here from an apt in The Heights/Memorial (*sobs gently remembering*) in Nov 2003, specifically for the consistently good school system. Plus, my ex is an RN so easy access to Medical Center, so it made sense. Welp, that seemed to be about the time the wheels started falling off. Two years ago the local K-4 went from Exemplary to Recognized. Which is damned hard to do, if you ask me. About 90% of that BS ranking (I’ve come to find out) is a combo of attendance and results on standardized testing. For some odd reason, it seems teaching to the tests produces a *worse* outcome than in prior years. NCLB seemed to really be taking hold by about 2007 or 2008, and everyone is scared straight by it. I find it funny now that Texas has been granted a waiver from NCLB and is refusing to adopt Common Core.
In any event, the TX leg refused to correct the outdated funding formula to account for phenomenal growth between 2003 and 2010, so we’re doing less with less. The cuts to NASA really hurt as well.
But this is generally a fairly prosperous area, with super high tax rates, so not sure what the problem is?
It’s not just anecdotal on my part (I mean my frustrations). I’ve spent the time to attend school board meetings, go to parent meetups, work to get “liberal” people focused on quality education elected. Sadly, that’s been a failure six years in a row. And looks to continue into perpetuity.
Shorter me: public school around here went to the crapper in about 2006 or so, and became a slap in the face about 2010.
@Violet: The problem is at least two-fold. One, I am surrounded by wingnuts so their frustrations are mostly different than mine. Two, individually, everyone seems to love their teacher even when they hate “teachers”. Just like Congresspeople, I suppose.
Another difference is that I am almost alone in being a male in this environment. At school board meetings it’s about 50/50, with the men mainly there to yell at the board for spending their hard earned money on G&T programs. At school events and parent meetups it’s almost all women, and myself. And to be indelicate, they are almost all stay at home moms. They have the time to volunteer for parties and do extended library days, take all the yearbook photos, and other volunteer stuff. I make it to about three events a year and a lunch or two each half of the year. So they have a radically different perspective than I do.
Also, the school can’t tell me due to privacy, but I believe I was the only parent to say anything about the disruptive child. Including parents of other children he actually assaulted. So I don’t know what the hell to think anymore.
Which is a large component of my frustration.
I have always heard that the Suburbans school district south of Houston such as Pearl and, Deer Park, and Clear Creek were insular and the leadership a bit inbred. I didn’t know that was just geographic chauvinism, but your experiences might bear that out.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
My sister’s kids school work makes what I did in the ’70s seem like a joke in comparison. It’s hard to believe that anyone can ask more of a child since the amount of books they have to carry around is something like 40-50lbs and they are pretty much putting in 10 hour days with homework. Interestingly the people driving “today’s kids suck” narrative are people who were educated at the same time I was. Kind of sounds like projection.
@Keith G: My above comment was aimed at cornerstone.
@Keith G: And it was a direct hit! A palpable hit, sir!
@Corner Stone: I’m glad you could understand it. As I just scanned it, I realized my autocorrect was playing games with me.
The year round idea sounds good. My white suburban raised daughter is a great all black big inner city high school English teacher. She says it takes about a month to get the classes settled down after summer vacation, and a week or two after winter and spring breaks.
Couple things missing from M.’s list. Three of her students have been murdered in gang shootings in 1 and 1/2 years. All three some of her best students who resisted the gangs. I do not know the percentage, but she teaches a good number of young women with children; some of whom were raped by family or other men they know. There are a number of students with mental health issues with no treatment. No one at home to help them with homework. Kids shuffled from homes, homeless and all the rest. This all results in her being a therapist as well.
I am very proud of her. She grew up upper middle class white suburbs. Like to think some of my good values rubbed off. More teachers like my daughter would go a long way to help the city kids. She did so well her first year, the admin gave her double the maximum allowed individual classes this year. She has suffered from stress attacks trying to put together lesson plans for equivalent fourth grade readers up to English AP. (Supposed to have 20 years of experience to be allowed to teach AP, but in her school one year is close enough. She does crack me up when she meets the suburban AP teachers; and she complains about the old’s set in their ways.) She is constantly begging relatives and friends for books and supplies to help off-set the money she spends.
She loves the challenge of helping the kids. Given the above and the pay being the same or lower as in the burbs, they are chasing her out. And that is another problem. Two years teaching at that school with a good test score track record; and you can get a job most anywhere you want – even in this horribly depressed teacher economy. Too many of the good inner-city teachers are being chased to the burbs.
Good on M. Knight Shyamalan for spreading the truth. I tell my neighbors the same thing about our public schools as some of the best in the world, and “their schools” some of the worst. (Thanks to the “dialyhowler.blogspot.com”.) They are so misled by Fox and friends, it ends up their calling me a commie liberal MSNBC fag once again.
@Enhanced Voting Techniques:
Eli Broad is one of the billionaires who is “reforming” education. He and his wife attended Michigan public schools. He went on to make a bundle in the company that eventually became AIG (of bail out fame).
He wrote this passionate defense of his ed reform agenda in the Detroit paper, where he said he got an excellent education in public schools, but not today, blah, blah blah.
You want to say to him that maybe he isn’t so smart. Maybe he made all that money in financial and insurance products because he was a reasonably sharp white guy who went to college and happened to be around for the explosion in profitability of finance and insurance.
I think something else is going on too, besides ego. Wealthy people and politicians need a reason for why middle class people are losing ground. It can’t be the fault of wealthy people and politicians! It must therefore be that public schools are failing. We’re in love with the idea that the US is a meritocracy. That HAS to be true, even if it’s not really true. If it isn’t, well, that must be the public schools!
@Enhanced Voting Techniques:
You know how Broad and Gates (and the guy at the top of the page, actually) could impress me? Start a private school. Put all your awesome innovative ideas in there. Fund the whole thing. Run it for a decade and get back to us. If it’s a success we’ll think about adopting some of your ideas in public schools.
Why do they always start (privatized) public schools?
I read last week that one of our newer tech billionaires is starting a radically different private school. Great! Good for him! It’ll cost 22K a year to attend. He’s going to offer scholarships. I’ll listen to him in 5 years, take his advice.
What about the population that attends this school, as well?
If they would actually answer your challenge my guess would be we’d see a lot of very comfortable progeny attending. And doing well.
If they opened their mythical school in places with hardship we’d probably deride them for their social experiment. But if they really gave it a fair shot, it would be interesting to see.
I personally still am of the opinion that money is the silver bullet in educational outcomes. But not just to the school.
Feed a child, secure a child, give them a reason to believe they have value.
It’s hard, because our political leaders seem to be completely captured.
Arne Duncan tweeted this out the other day. Read it and weep. It’s an absolute propaganda piece trashing public schools, complete with every stupid slogan and “market based” cliche imaginable.
He’s a parody of an ed reformer at this point. You really despair listening to him. If he’s the best and the brightest we are in serious trouble.
James E. Powell
I personally still am of the opinion that money is the silver bullet in educational outcomes. But not just to the school.
There is no silver bullet in educational outcomes. Even the “Silver Bullet Solution” advocates do not really believe what they are selling. The proof is that their own children do not attend schools that are anything like what they recommend for working class children.
@James E. Powell: I don’t know what a “Silver Bullet Solution” advocate is selling, but I am of the belief that if we raise up communities with better public policies, we will achieve better educational outcomes.
@Kay: I’m not really a big fan of this admin’s economic or educational decisions.
@Mart: Good on your daughter. She sounds like someone out of “TO SIR WITH LOVE” or one of those 50s movies about teachers in rough schools. Hope she’s able to continue doing some good.
Not exactly. AIG bought his company (SunAmerica).
Anyone know what the results are like for *all* nations if you employ the ‘<10% poverty schools only' filter to them? Seems a little dodgy to me to not apply the filter equally before proclaiming the US system to be the best in the world for affluent students.
(note that I have extreme reservations about drawing policy conclusions from PISA even without delving into finer data granulation)
James E. Powell
I am of the belief that if we raise up communities with better public policies, we will achieve better educational outcomes.
On that we agree. But that is way beyond education policy, no?
@James E. Powell: I read or heard some thing somewhere that talked about Rhee’s approach, and the gist was that she thinks education will solve poverty, but that never works; it’s the other way around.
It’s a (willfully?) ignorant approach.
@James E. Powell: Of course. But I see that vector as an antidote against allowing assholes like Arne Duncan to continue spouting their inane and harmful prescriptions.
How do you separate educational outcomes from community? That’s what these reform hucksters want to do.