Archive for November, 2018

Students at Wilder High School in Idaho: Learning on iPads is a Hoax!

November 30, 2018 Comments off

Though the Wilder ID students are doing poorly on standardized tests, they are doing VERY well in Democracy 101. And… SURPRISE… the Trump administration did not pay attention to details, like these facts that are included at the end of this post:

the State Department of Education identified Wilder Middle School as one of the lowest-performing schools in Idaho. At Wilder Elementary, where Trump and Cook checked in Tuesday, just 26.7 percent of students scored “proficient” on math Idaho Standards Achievement Test in 2017-18. At Wilder High School, the go-on rate in 2017 was 25 percent, well below the state average of 45 percent, according to Idaho EdTrends.

via Students at Wilder High School in Idaho: Learning on iPads is a Hoax!

Helicopter Parents Stymied by Administrators in Darien, CT

November 29, 2018 Comments off

Today’s Boston Globe features an AP article by Michael Melia describing a problem faced by Darien CT: over-protective parents joining their children for lunch!

In Darien, a town of Colonial-style homes behind stone fences where the median household income exceeds $200,000, so many parents had begun attending lunch that principals felt they were affecting the day-to-day running of the elementary schools, according to Tara Ochman, chairman of the Darien Board of Education.

The decision by the Board had a mixed reception:

One Darien mother, Beth Lane, said at an education board meeting last month that she welcomed the change.

“It was good because kids have to be able to learn how to work with each other and socialize with each other, and putting a parent in changes the dynamic dramatically,” she said.

But others who spoke up at the meeting said the midday visits allowed them to see how their children were faring and to help them resolve friction with other children. For the youngest children, they could offer helping opening milk cartons and finding items in the lunchrooms.

Terry Steadman, a parent, told the board she was shocked and driven to tears by the news.

“To just ban parents from the lunchroom, which is effectively what you’re doing with this email, I don’t think it’s right. I don’t think it’s in the spirit of a collaborative environment,” she said.

As the article notes, this is a “problem” that could only be encountered in a school district where stay-at-home mothers are prevalent, stay-at-home mothers with the time and energy to visit their children at lunch. In a couple of throwaway paragraphs Mr. Melia dismisses this as a situation where parents are disengaged and a spokesperson for a county district in FL sees it as something that “MAYBE” some parents can’t do.

The practice is unheard of in many urban and poor areas where parents may not have the same engagement with schools.

“In some schools it’s not really an issue at all because based on the population, parents aren’t able to come and have lunch. It’s something maybe parents aren’t able to do,” said Tanya Arja, a spokeswoman for schools in Hillsborough County, Florida.

I have news for Mr. Melia and Ms. Arja: there are a whole host of parents who are “disengaged” because they need to be ready to work when their workplace demands it and they cannot predict whether they’d be available for parent conferences let alone lunch.

The Darien parents may think their visits are helpful, but ultimately, a special education therapist at a school in nearby (and equally affluent) Weston CT  has it right:

“From a professional perspective, when we’re the ones left dealing with your child when you leave, it wasn’t good,” said Ms.Franzese, who worked for eight years as a special education therapist in Weston until earlier this year. “We would call them helicopter moms.”

In short, kindergartners are better off opening milk cartons and putting on their leggings than having mom there to help them. It might teach them the “grit” that school reformers see as the essential element poorer kids need to get ahead.

How the Teacher Revolt Promoted the Blue Wave

November 29, 2018 Comments off

I am reading Anand Giridharandas’ book Winners Take All in preparation for a course I will be offering in our communities Adult Education program this winter. (NOTE: Expect many quotes and concepts from this book going forward!)

One of the points Mr. Giridharandas makes in the book is that the plutocrats have managed to convince employees that they are “mini-corporations”. Consequently, many members of younger generations do not appreciate the power of banding together with colleagues at work to change the system. They have bought into the idea that they are “free agents” who can hop from career-to-career and devise their own health plans and their own retirement plans. If you enter teaching (or any career path) with the notion that it is a way station and not a job you want to commit to for life the idea of pushing back against the forces that want to undercut your wages, hours, and working conditions is alien.

In reporting on the “wildcat strikes” in these states where unions are unwelcome and under- appreciated one fact has been overlooked: the teachers marched together are the teachers who are the most passionate about their work and the most committed to their career. They WANT to teach and are only asking for wages that will enable them to devote their time and energy to making their classrooms the focal point of their life.

As one who sat across the table from union leaders for 29 years, I came to appreciate the fact that unions are not only looking out for the interest of their employees, they are looking out for the well-being of public education.

via How the Teacher Revolt Promoted the Blue Wave