Thursday, September 11, 2014
Was it my decision to peacefully accept whatever the day brought? Was it the fact that a pet rescuer lives on the street and had bacon? Was it a sign when the UPS truck came up the quiet street as I was sitting alone, peacefully, in the sun (Sally HATES the UPS truck and I half-expected to see her chasing it)? Was it a sign that I had told someone earlier, "it's a beautiful day to catch that damn dog"? Did all these things - and more - work together to bring Sally back to us on this particular day? I don't know, but I like to think so.
Nicely written, TW! Congratulations once again on getting Sally home.
And, I will mention something that you said elsewhere...my town just did away with advanced math for sixth graders. I talked with a few administrators, and was basically told that having advanced math hadn't really improved those kids' MCAS test scores, so they were going to just randomly assign kids to classes because the kids who do well could model good habits for the others.
Without stepping onto my own personal soapbox about all of this, I'll just mention that like you, I'm not against the extra help. However, I'm so tired of the pervasive thinking that the high achieving kids will be 'fine' because they can figure it out on their own. In a day and age where we seem to be struggling to compete globally, this really makes me shake my head. We are doing our own math enrichment at a separate school whose focus is math.
Please put that in bold face, and maybe all caps.
Our school system has an outstanding special ed program. So outstanding that it attracted many additional special ed students, families moving into town for it. The extra expense crowded out the good program we had for talented and gifted children, unfortunately, which was abandoned. The most talented and most gifted ended up going to private high schools. No one speaks for them, even though enriching their education pays enormous dividends.
BTW, try some bacon. It's good for you.
Nerdy parents unite and provide enrichment for their own kids - this is a great environment because your kids are around other bright kids and have true peers - you go from freakish nerd amongst "normal kids" to nerd amongst nerds. It's a wonderful transition.
Maybe we need to split the difference between my el-ed years (late 1950s) and now. Back then, the "gifted" students got lots of additional attention, while the students with difficulties of almost any sort were left to their own devices.
I suppose if there's only one way to do things, I'd opt for more help for those most in need.
And--we're thrilled that you recovered Sally.
I think you're wrong here. My school board measures a lot of things it doesn't value, and values a lot of things it doesn't measure. At least if by "value" we mean " rewards people administering those programs.
Case in point: gifted students. No more expensive to educate than regular students: same size classes, teacher salaries the same(1). Ample indications of student success: nearly 100% graduation rate(2), lots of awards, scholarships, winning academic contests, etc. Yet the gifted program is under budget threat every year. School principals with a good gifted program are given no credit for it; instead, they are castigated because in the rest of the school numeracy scores dropped by 0.2% (3), which is statistically insignificant.
I think it more accurate to say that what gets rewarded gets valued. If administrators are rewarded for good test scores (and punished for bad ones) then they will act to raise test scores. Ditto teachers, of course.
(1) Up here, teachers pay for their own specialized training, and don't get paid extra for extra qualifications.
(2) Far higher than that for students identified as gifted who are regular program, who drop out at a greater rate than non-gifted students.
(3) The statistical numeracy of the people who interpret test scores seems to be nil, from what I can tell. I vividly remember talking to an administrator who couldn't understand that when you only had two students in a category, and one had failed for understandable reason, your failure rate would be 50%. How can someone get a PhD (even if it's in Education) and not be able to understand that???
Schools Are Prisons.