"A child's learning is the funtion more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Schools Where Half Graduate Now Moving to College Prep?

It is really the saddest and most persistent reality in the long history of urban education reform : as one foundering reform is replaced by another lined up to take its place, each high-sounding plan remains persistently blind to the effects of poverty that assure its failure beforehand and the failure of each subsequent reform.

Now in school systems where only half of the students graduate in four years, plans are underway to turn all these schools in college prep academies. Another grandiose sweet smelling illusion that ignores the unassailable truth that continues to be stringently denied by those hoping to staunch the hemorrhage with a never-ending supply of expensive band-aids.

ENDING POVERTY WILL ALLOW EDUCATION REFORMS A CHANCE TO SUCCEED, WHEREAS IGNORING POVERTY WILL ASSURE THEIR CONTINUED FAILURE.
Hoping to end poverty by improving education places the cart exactly in front of the horse.

Another blind example from the NY Times:

BOSTON — At Excel High School, in South Boston, teachers do not just prepare students academically for the SAT; they take them on practice walks to the building where the SAT will be given so they won’t get lost on the day of the test.

In Chattanooga, Tenn., the schools have abolished their multitrack curriculum, which pointed only a fraction of students toward college. Every student is now on a college track.

And in the Washington suburb of Prince George’s County, Md., the school district is arranging college tours for students as early as seventh grade, and adding eight core Advanced Placement classes to every high school, including some schools that had none.

Those efforts, and others across the country, reflect a growing sense of urgency among educators that the primary goal of many large high schools serving low-income and urban populations — to move students toward graduation — is no longer enough. Now, educators say, even as they struggle to lift dismal high school graduation rates, they must also prepare the students for college, or some form of post-secondary school training, with the skills to succeed.

In affluent suburbs, where college admission is an obsession, some educators worry that high schools, with their rigorous college preparatory curriculums, have become too academically demanding in recent years.

By contrast, many urban and low-income districts, which also serve many immigrants, are experimenting with ways to teach more than the basic skills so that their students can not only get to college, but earn college degrees. Some states have begun to strengthen their graduation requirements.

“This is transformational change,” said Dan Challener, the president of the Public Education Foundation, a Chattanooga group that is working with the area public schools. “It’s about the purpose of high school. It’s about reinventing what high schools do.”

What is required, educators say, is nothing less than revolutionizing schools built for another century, when a high school diploma was a ticket to social mobility in a manufacturing economy, and students with only basic skills could make it into the middle class. But the task is daunting, and the outcome uncertain, experts say.

“We don’t know yet how to get everyone in our society to this level of knowledge and skills,” said Michele Cahill, a vice president at the Carnegie Corporation, which, along with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is financing many of the new efforts. “We’ve never done it before.” . . . .

ENDING POVERTY WILL ALLOW EDUCATION REFORMS A CHANCE TO SUCCEED, WHEREAS IGNORING POVERTY WILL ASSURE THEIR CONTINUED FAILURE. Helloooooooooooo.




No comments:

Post a Comment