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

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Reform Blitzkrieg 0-3 in Indianapolis

A hundred years ago ed reformers were trying to build schools like factories. The Gates and Broad inspired movement in recent years has shifted to make schools resemble, not factories, but correctional facilities, with year-round sex-segregated pods and population densities that can be easily managed.

Sanity just struck back in Indianapolis:

District pulls small-school and same-sex classes and ends extra days for some schools

By Andy Gammill

Facing low graduation rates, declining enrollment and poor test scores, Indianapolis Public Schools unleashed a blitzkrieg of reforms, from dress codes and alternative schools to new magnet programs and reshaped high schools.

But three years later, the district is dropping several of those highly touted programs -- ones that never jelled or cost too much with too little to show for the effort -- while leaving in place many more that it says are working.

The programs to be ended were launched with high hopes but clashed with harsh realities:

» Carving out smaller groups of students at each high school was expected to boost test scores. Research now says the approach doesn't work.

» Teaching boys and girls in separate classes is believed to eliminate distractions. But only 100 students signed up.

» Teaching struggling students for an extra 25 days a year was supposed to help them catch up. But hundreds skipped out, and IPS had to pay the staff for added workdays.

Superintendent Eugene White had promoted all three of the initiatives as essential for student learning or for offering choices to parents. Now, he says they just didn't work out. . . .
Read the rest of the story here from the Indy Star.

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