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 Post subject: Charter Schools and Resegregation
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 9:29 pm 
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From the NYT:
Quote:
The failure of the No Child Left Behind regimen to narrow the achievement gap offers the sobering lesson that closing underperforming public schools, setting high expectations for students, getting tough with teachers and opening a raft of charter schools isn’t the answer. If we’re serious about improving educational opportunities, we need to revisit the abandoned policy of school integration.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/20/opini ... .html?_r=1:

For more detail:
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Today, Detroit has two school systems--the Detroit Public Schools and a state-run Education Achievement Authority--that compete to attract students, with 35 percent of Detroit kids attending charter schools.

In Philadelphia, school authorities, backed by Democratic Mayor Michael Nutter, are seeking to dismantle the entire school system, handing operations over to an array of nonprofit organizations, charter school management groups and academic institutions.

In Cleveland, another Democrat, Mayor Frank Jackson, worked with union-bashing Republican Gov. John Kasich to pass legislation funneling even more tax money to charters, giving them equal standing with traditional public schools.

In driving these changes, [local government officials are] making use of the Bush-era federal law known as No Child Left Behind, which ties federal funds to state and local school officials' willingness to close or "turn around" schools that fail to improve test scores.

The Obama administration itself amped up the "school reform" agenda through its $4.3 billion Race to the Top competitive grant program. To have a chance at the money, state legislators had to pass new laws expanding charter schools and imposing harsh evaluation systems on teachers while weakening job security.

What all this amounts to is the end of universal public education as we've known it--a cornerstone of U.S. society, in the North anyway, since the 1850s.

Unwilling to pay the kind of taxes necessary to support quality public education across the U.S., business and its political operatives are creating a system in which access to good K-12 public education will be rationed, with working class and students of color funneled into either budget-strapped neighborhood schools or into charters with corporate and political clout, but dubious educational quality.

The first part of this program has been in place for decades--housing policies and income inequalities enabled the white middle class to leave big cities and enroll their kids in better-funded public schools in the suburbs. Since school funding across the U.S. is overwhelmingly based on property taxes--and since factory closings drained old industrial cities of their tax base--inequality between urban and suburban school districts increased, with African American and Latino students concentrated in underfunded city schools.

The result has been the re-segregation of public schools more than half a century after the U.S. Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education found that separate Black and white schools were inherently unequal.

As David Kirp, a University of California-Berkeley professor, wrote in the New York Times

[D]esegregation is effectively dead. In fact, we have been giving up on desegregation for a long time. In 1974, the Supreme Court rejected a metropolitan integration plan, leaving the increasingly black cities to fend for themselves. A generation later, public schools that had been ordered to integrate in the 1960s and 1970s became segregated once again, this time with the blessing of a new generation of justices.


http://socialistworker.org/2012/08/29/i ... -education

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 Post subject: Re: Charter Schools and Resegregation
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 9:53 pm 
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The education system in this country is really screwed, and all the reforms are only making things worse.

I am happy that I teach in a very diverse (by all measures) school; it makes for such a positive learning environment.

NCLB is one of the worst pieces of legislation to ever be produced, and yet everyone outside of education, dems and reps alike, seem to think its the best thing since sliced bread.

The sickest thing? Teachers are now going to be punished for teaching at under performing schools. Ha
F of my evaluation this year is tied to the test scores of my students. Historically, my school scores lower than most in our district. This is because of challenges inherent in our population. We have kids who must struggle daily to make it to graduation. The school 8 miles away is 90% rich, white and 100% college bound. Yet, at the end of the year, teachers in our building will be slammed for scores, while the other school will be praised.

Combine that with our governor trying his best to eliminate job security. He thinks we should reapply yearly. Under those conditions, how could any teacher with a family to provide for and student loans to pay off afford to teach at a school like mine?

News flash crassholes: kids who live in a homeless shelter, have gaps in their education or who are new immigrants with developing English skills will simply not score as well, on average, as the kid who has a laptop, got a new car on their 16th birthday and gets enrichment activities.

Also: some kids simply can't perform up to someone's arbitrary standards no matter what they do. Now we make them feel like failures.

Gah!

Sorry. I went off topic.

Charter schools: I'm not sure what to think. Some get great results. Many are crepe for profit institutions with poor teacher morale and high turnover. There is a new charter school opening soon here. It will be partially run and funded by the county all staffed by people independent but affiliated, however I've heard a lot of grumbling about the enrollment process.

I'm also not sure what the solution is for resegregation issues. This happens a lot just because of neighborhood lines. We are fed into by a rich white school and a poor black school. (funding is consistent since its all the same wealthy district) I feel that smaller schools work best for elementary and middle schools, but then the demographic issues can be detrimental. This is why I love the huge high schools--we get everybody and everybody learns to get along and everybody makes positive contributions to the school culture.

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 Post subject: Re: Charter Schools and Resegregation
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 9:59 pm 
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Eta: I'm not convinced that schools need more funding. Most schools and state waste vast sums of money. We get new math books every 2 years. Why? When was the last time algebra changed? You can use modern teaching best practices with examples and problems from a 10yr old book. You cannot teach science using a 10 your old book. We "need funding" for books. No, we don't! Replace both math and science every 4.roblem solved, I'm a genius!

The other district I would in is in serious budget problems. When I was teaching GED, I accidentally wound up in the school board office copy room. They have five new full featured color copiers that cost a fortune to run. 50 people work in that building, all admin. teachers in the attached elementary school have to ration copies like they are gold. Teachers have pay freezes going back 5 years.

We have to order our supplies from a contractor that charges 20-30% over what Staples would charge PLUS shipping. Then we wait 3 months for the order to wind its way through.

Fix all THAT kind of crepe, redo the budgets, and then figure out what is needed.

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 Post subject: Re: Charter Schools and Resegregation
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 10:11 pm 
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I love you LW. I totally want to hear more of your thoughts.

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 Post subject: Re: Charter Schools and Resegregation
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 10:12 pm 
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I forgot to finish my point:

The test score evaluation thing is going to drive math and science teachers away from the neediest districts. These teachers typically have more choice of position and these subjects typically have lower pass rates. If you teach physics and have your pick of districts are you going to teach in a cushy school with high scores guaranteed as long as you show up and do a reasonable job or are you going to teach at the struggling school with kids who don't have access to lots of math and science mentors and whose scores may put your job in jeopardy each year? Also keep in mind that if you are let go from a teaching job, it permanently blemishes your license and can potentially permanently end your teaching career.

I am convinced that in 10 years, the US is going to see a drastic reduction in our science literacy due to the current educational policies and politics, even without the attacks on teaching critical thinking and real science.

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 Post subject: Re: Charter Schools and Resegregation
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 10:13 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
I love you LW. I totally want to hear more of your thoughts.


I dare say you just got enough for now!

One last thing. I HATE the term "underperforming schools." Sure there are actually some crepe schools. But in a lot of lower achieving schools, everybody is doing stuff right with what they have to work with. My first job, 100% of my seniors graduated. It was expected. Last year, I'd say I lost more than the state average. Did my class underperform? Hell no! I had even more kids struggle through and I saw them walk across that stage to get their diploma. I would say that we are a challenged school, not underperforming.

Okay. Off the soapbox.

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 Post subject: Re: Charter Schools and Resegregation
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 10:19 pm 
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I really enjoyed your posts! Write more thoughts!

As someone who isn't in education, but looking at sending my kidlet to school, I really want to know why we are throwing so much money in the system and getting such crappy results. Or maybe more honestly, how to get my kid through the system so that she can do math and science and get to choose what she wants from her life, not have those decisions made for her because she isn't able to understand certain fields because she got a subpar education.

I went to private school from k through 12, but I don't think we can do that for Leela.

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 Post subject: Re: Charter Schools and Resegregation
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 10:28 pm 
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Support her at home. Expose her to books, and museums, and fun things. No school can do it all, but if kids come to us full of curiosity and love for learning, we can achieve so much more. With these things, she can succeed anywhere. Schools are simply not set up to instill lifelong love of learning in kids. I wish it could be different.

Money gets crappy results because lack of money is not the real problem, at least not in most places. It's like how I buy myself a $30 bottle of nail polish because my back hurts and I feel like crepe. I have pretty nails, and feel a bit less crappy, but my back still hurts and that was the real problem, not unpretty nails. Great short term fix, but abysmal beyond that.

All the testing costs a metric fuckton of money. Google that if you want to get really depressed. And then go buy stock in Pearson or somebody.

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 Post subject: Re: Charter Schools and Resegregation
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 10:44 pm 
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lavawitch wrote:

I am convinced that in 10 years, the US is going to see a drastic reduction in our science literacy due to the current educational policies and politics, even without the attacks on teaching critical thinking and real science.

China doesn't even have to try to beat us. For a developed country, our education stats are beyond abysmal. We need to fix something, but segregation sure as hell won't help.

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 Post subject: Re: Charter Schools and Resegregation
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 2:19 am 
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More thoughts, LW! I like hearing what you (and others in education) have to say, and I don't even have a kidlet.

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 Post subject: Re: Charter Schools and Resegregation
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 6:27 am 
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Having grown up and attended public school in the south, in a city where schools were federally mandated to desegregate, I was shocked how segregated schools in north are (personal experience in Chicago and NYC). In my hometown they use busing to mix up the population at public schools. I had an hour bus ride to school everyday, but it was worth it in my opinion to be in a diverse school. As an educator in NYC, I don't even hear anyone discussing desegregation as a goal. It's just fallen off the table of issues that are important to policy makers. It seems to me that everyone is busy vilifying teachers and ignoring poverty and institutional racism.

But on the other hand, I work in a neighborhood school and I see the value in that, too. Kids walk to school and parents are able to visit, volunteer, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Charter Schools and Resegregation
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 6:45 am 
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Butternut wrote:
Having grown up and attended public school in the south, in a city where schools were federally mandated to desegregate, I was shocked how segregated schools in north are (personal experience in Chicago and NYC). In my hometown they use busing to mix up the population at public schools. I had an hour bus ride to school everyday, but it was worth it in my opinion to be in a diverse school. As an educator in NYC, I don't even hear anyone discussing desegregation as a goal. It's just fallen off the table of issues that are important to policy makers. It seems to me that everyone is busy vilifying teachers and ignoring poverty and institutional racism.

But on the other hand, I work in a neighborhood school and I see the value in that, too. Kids walk to school and parents are able to visit, volunteer, etc.


Thanks for your thoughts Butternut! I thought it was fascinating to see what a difference integrated education made for black children.

Quote:
To the current reformers, integration is at best an irrelevance and at worst an excuse to shift attention away from shoddy teaching. But a spate of research says otherwise. The experience of an integrated education made all the difference in the lives of black children — and in the lives of their children as well. These economists’ studies consistently conclude that African-American students who attended integrated schools fared better academically than those left behind in segregated schools. They were more likely to graduate from high school and attend and graduate from college; and, the longer they spent attending integrated schools, the better they did. What’s more, the fear that white children would suffer, voiced by opponents of integration, proved groundless. Between 1970 and 1990, the black-white gap in educational attainment shrank — not because white youngsters did worse but because black youngsters did better.

Not only were they more successful in school, they were more successful in life as well. A 2011 study by the Berkeley public policy professor Rucker C. Johnson concludes that black youths who spent five years in desegregated schools have earned 25 percent more than those who never had that opportunity. Now in their 30s and 40s, they’re also healthier — the equivalent of being seven years younger.

Why? For these youngsters, the advent of integration transformed the experience of going to school. By itself, racial mixing didn’t do the trick, but it did mean that the fate of black and white students became intertwined. School systems that had spent a pittance on all-black schools were now obliged to invest considerably more on African-American students’ education after the schools became integrated. Their classes were smaller and better equipped. They included children from better-off families, a factor that the landmark 1966 Equality of Educational Opportunity study had shown to make a significant difference in academic success. What’s more, their teachers and parents held them to higher expectations. That’s what shifted the arc of their lives.


My friend went to school in Harlem, after spending the first 12 years of his life in Ghana and said that the schools in Ghana were so much more rigorous than those in the US, and that he never learned anything academically in the US schools that he hadn't already learned in Ghana. He said he spent those 6 years learning how to survive in the school. He did go to college, but on ROTC because he said he was so poorly set up for scholarship assistance etc. He felt like his school was really a warehouse for young black men. Its just one person's experience, of course, but I thought it was interesting and sad. He is such a smart, kind and funny guy, but he's had to work so hard for every opportunity that I have gotten to take for granted.

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 Post subject: Re: Charter Schools and Resegregation
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 7:44 am 
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Schools in disadvantaged areas definitely have more classroom management and other issues. This is so hard on the kids who are high achievers. You can teach in a school a few miles away and not have to worry about much beyond rich kid drugs. That can be bad enough, of course, but is mostly outside of the classroom. It is easier to teach without worrying about gangs, weapons, absenteeism, total defiance, etc. My school does not have an overt problem with these issues, but they are under the surface. Except absenteeism, which is the single biggest issue for my classes. I can't teach kids who aren't here.

Since I teach at the upper end of the age spectrum, I don't have good perspective on behavior issues. To be honest, there is little I can do to constructively help a kid who is failing. By the time they get to my class, they have already gone down that path, for whatever reasons. (this doesn't mean I give up, but realistically options are more limited for a 17yr old senior with a mess of a transcript than a freshman)

My question is when does this pattern start? Elementary school? Middle school? How can we intervene?

Another issue is school culture. Here, there is a lot of peer pressure among African American students to not succeed academically. Why? It drives me nuts. I've had kids tell me they can't get an A, that they want a B- instead so they dont get on the honor roll. They will do the first 2/3 of a test perfectly and then crepe on the rest. This is something that I admit I don't understand at all. My bio teacher neighbor (she is AA) told me how pervasive it is here, and it explained the behavior of some of my brightest students.

There is so much money available for scholarships, but it's not easy to find and apply. If the students had more advocates for this, tons of money would be available. I know without doubt that any African American student wanting to study anything geo related would have lots of options simply because the field diversity SUCKS. Schools will find the money to get these kids. Problem is, nobody actively tells kids this, especially at younger ages. School counselors are too busy to do this--they have enormous caseloads and might be more concerned with dealing with probation officers than helping a kid pay for college. We need full time scholarship officers in the schools.

I'm NOT saying that college is easy to pay for, but I am saying that there are a lot of untapped resources that kids need specialized advocates to find. Another thing I'd like to see is financially helping kids go to community college for a year or two. This would bridge the gap between poor high schools and colleges. But it is way harder to find funding, and this puts college out of reach for a lot of kids.

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 Post subject: Re: Charter Schools and Resegregation
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 7:57 am 
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Can I say something totally horrible and politically incorrect and not get yelled at? I freely admit that this is horrible, and I don't have a good solution. I am just stating the problem. Please don't think that I do not support helping students with disabilities or don't want them in my class. I requested to work with a co-teacher this year.

But, under current laws, students with disabilities must be mainstreamed as much as possible (good!) however, they must pass the same state exam and must do the same coursework as their peers. (good, but kids fall through the cracks here) The coursework content may not be modified at all, however they do get their IEP mandated accommodations. What this means is that we must ensure that ALL students can achieve minimum mastery of the coursework. In practice this means a lot of watering down of the curriculum. I cannot assign something that makes life hell for 4 of my students because they will be required to struggle with it. I want them to work to the best of their abilities and achieve; I do not want to direct my instruction to them. Differentiation only goes so far, and I can't differentiate the tests.

Even worse, these students feel like stupid crepe all the time because the system sets them up to either fail or require so much scaffolding that they have no confidence. Maybe they don't need hand holding and dumbing down. Maybe they just need to find some success and build up their confidence and then their ability.

Don't even get me started on the poor kids who can't pass the state tests. They work so hard and they try so hard, but they fail test after test after test. Most of them actually know the material pretty well; they just can't do the stupid test.

We are mandating and legislating all students into one box and it doesn't work.

Any special education teachers around to comment on this?

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 Post subject: Re: Charter Schools and Resegregation
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 8:02 am 
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My schools up north were very segregated compared to the schools Toby attends down here. My high school class of about 180 students had about 5 people of color in it.

There is also a shiitake tonne of social issues that accompanies teaching children who live in poverty. Teachers are not really equipped to deal with: family issues (suicide, arrest, addiction, abuse), children who don't get enough to eat, children who change schools 3 or more times per year because the family is transient, children who shuffle between family members as parents rotate in and out of jail, and more. One disturbing trend I've noticed here is an increase of lower-income families deciding to "home school" their children in an attempt to avoid the scrutiny that a family falls under when a child is enrolled in a public school. (Attendance in monitored among other things.) Some of these kids are in the library for hours every day, goofing off.

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 Post subject: Re: Charter Schools and Resegregation
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 8:56 am 
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Yes, we definitely aren't. Also, we don't always know the issues. Many students are very private and good at masking. It's much harder to get to know each individual student and their struggles when you have a full load of high school classes, especially since the most at risk kids typically have limited contact information and high absenteeism.

Helping without prying or offending pride is a fine line. Kids who can afford snacks are more likely to help themselves to my snack box than kids who are used to doing without.

And then there is the fact that I can have all the good intentions in the world, but I can't relate or even imagine what some of my students go through. I try to learn from them and become a better person, but that only goes so far.

I can gripe and whine and bisque about things, but I am a lucky person.

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 Post subject: Re: Charter Schools and Resegregation
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:04 am 
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Keep talking. I don't know what questions to ask, but I love that I can read this thread and see (even a little bit) what teachers have to struggle with. I wish I could already help brainstorm solutions, but even getting a better handle on what the problem is is great (I cringe at that use of "great", but you know what I mean).

How else is the system failing? Or failing to support different populations of kids (like the disabled ones LW mentioned - are they physically or mentally disabled? How much of a difference does that make? etc.), etc.?

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 Post subject: Re: Charter Schools and Resegregation
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:22 am 
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Calvin wrote:
As you can see, I have memorized this utterly useless piece of information long enough to pass a test question. I now intend to forget it forever. You’ve taught me nothing except how to cynically manipulate the system. Congratulations.

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 Post subject: Re: Charter Schools and Resegregation
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:29 am 
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From a parental standpoint... No Child Left Behind... it is leaving them all behind.

In our district all of the charter schools have to be non-profit. And they are part of the district, but separate. Here they are each geared to a specific focus or style of learning. I was so sickened by the administration of our local high school that I pulle dmy daughter out and will be trying the charter school this year.

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 Post subject: Re: Charter Schools and Resegregation
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:05 am 
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i agree with pretty much everything that has been said.

LW- i also agree that mainstreaming, while it has great potential for some children, in some cases is an absolute farce and disgrace. I chalk that up to the fact that in many cases "disabilities/ADA/Special Ed" or whatever name you slap on it is perceived by educators/funders/lawmakers as one thing: a cute white kid in a wheelchair, who has no obstacles to his or her learning other than a relatively minor physical limitation. Once you get to learning disabilities, processing difficulties, etc, in some cases I feel that mainstreaming does a disservice to the parents, the teachers, the school, the district and the kid himself. Every case is different, and I fully respect any parent or learner who disagrees with me, but in most of the cases I've seen the kid was not served. Worse, there was no alternative- if it is, it's often presented as a snakehole "special school" compared to the shining glory of mainstreaming "with the normal kids", and the parents are often bullied into making choices.

@tofulish, teach your kid to be curious. To ask questions. Talk to her like an equal- kids respond to being treated as intelligent beings by being intelligent beings (and respond to being treated like liddle biddy babies by being liddle biddy babies). Read! Let her learn your love of learning, and if you have a book in your hand most of the time, she will learn to.
Obvs, spend lots of time in the library.
I am lucky to have a little scientist so have never had to ask twice for her to find out how something works, what it looks like inside, what happens when we do x. Math, sometimes I've had to hunt for things to do outside school. Khan Academy is awesome, and my kid does Kumon.

I just want to add that my kid spent her last year in the US in a charter school in a pretty crummy impoverished city. This school was amazing, revolutionary, and set amazingly high standards for its students. Some charters are doing amazing things. But the problem with charters is that only so many can be top performers, attracting the best and brightest (both students and teachers). Where do the rest of the students who can't get into the flagships go? What about the teachers teaching the more challenging students, in less appealing settings, getting constantly judged on things that are in many cases really and truly out of their control? Their job is harder, to the point of being thankless. I don't think there's an easy solution but it just seems so ridiculous that the proposed solution is so preposterous to anyone who's spent any time working with real-world learners.

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 Post subject: Re: Charter Schools and Resegregation
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 1:54 pm 
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I just heard Jonathan Kozol (http://saveourschoolsmarch.com/jonathan ... ire-ashes/) who wrote Fire in the Ashes: Twenty-Five Years Among the Poorest Children in America on NPR talking about this and it was pretty amazing.

Listen here (I'm going to be replaying it often).
http://www.wnyc.org/shows/lopate/2012/aug/30/

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 Post subject: Re: Charter Schools and Resegregation
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 5:51 pm 
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lavawitch wrote:

Any special education teachers around to comment on this?

I am not an official special ed teacher yet, but I've been working with mixed groups of special needs students for the past year in internship. I recently did a huge research paper on ways to integrate classrooms without watering down the curriculum too much. One way teachers have found success with is using groupwork. Place the children in groups of mixed ability and have the more successful kids assist their lower achieving peers, presenting both sides with a challenge.

From what I have observed so far, (to me) it seems like one of the issues here is that as soon as a teacher learns that they are going to work with special needs students, they automatically begin looking at the children through their deficits. My belief is that a strengths-based approach is much more successful (and my supervisor shares the same view. He makes no effort to learn a child's disability in fear that knowing such would affect the way he'd treat the child). For example, instead of "Johnny is autistic, he doesn't communicate well," it's more like, "Johnny is fantastic at math and loves to build things. We can work on his communication skills using the things he's already good at (i.e having him show another student how to build something)" And instead of "Sarah is very unpredictable and often throws tantrums, making her difficult to work with," it's "Sarah is an excellent artist, and we can teach her how to manage her emotions by using her art."

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 Post subject: Re: Charter Schools and Resegregation
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 6:46 pm 
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All of that is fine, but if their ability level doesn't allow them to successfully complete the required assessments, there is a problem. Group work, strengths based approaches, and differentiation don't help there.

So you either 1) let the kids with special needs flounder and end up with grades that may not be representative of their efforts, abilities, or mastery or 2) give tests they can better handle and then the expectations are watered down for all students, which leads to less effort and poorer results.

In my class, the biggest example is reading ability. I have a few kids with a 4th grade reading level. Some of the assignments that were beneficial to the class were torturous to those students and took them dozens of hours (or they gave up). That is not fair to them.

Under these conditions, how do you keep student morale up? Basically, what we are doing is telling some kids that because their skill set isn't conducive to passing specific multiple choice tests that they are failures.

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 Post subject: Re: Charter Schools and Resegregation
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 6:46 pm 
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lavawitch wrote:
Any special education teachers around to comment on this?


I'm a special ed teacher in a high performing Chicago suburb district.

You might regret asking for my opinion :) I think I agree with everything lavawitch has said so far. And could rant about the state of education for hours.

NCLB sounded good on paper to politicians. Anyone that has ever taught, or even taken a statistics class will quickly realize the policy is asinine.

1. All schools have to make Adequate Yearly Progress "AYP", for every subgroup, low income, special ed, minorities. My school district is high achieving. We already have 95% of our kids meeting or exceeding state standards. In three years, the NCLB wants us to be at 100%. ?? Yes 100% of the kids have to be average or above average. Guess they missed the day in stats class where the word "average" was defined. You can't have everyone above average.

2. All this talk about making "progress" isn't even valid. They compare certain grade levels each year. For instance, they compare the 3rd grade scores. But the third graders this year are not the same kids that were in 3rd grade last year. So you are actually measuring how well this year's group of 3rd graders did compared to last year's group of 3rd graders. They spend all this time analyzing data that isn't able to tell you what you are claiming it can tell you.

3. We have 2 schools in our district that met AYP and 2 that didn't. The kids at the schools that didn't are allowed to transfer to the schools that did. Let's see which kids are going to switch... probably the highest achieving kids at those lower schools because those are the parents that are on top of things and are most invested in their kids' education (broad statement I know). How many parents that don't speak English, are working 3 jobs etc are going to have the time and knowledge to apply for the waiver to attend a different school. This same principal applies to many charter schools and areas with voucher systems.

4. To qualify for special education, I have to show a kid is discrepant from their peers. I use scores on standardized tests to show they can't read as well as their same aged classmates. The term "discrepant" is highly open to interpretation so different schools use very different measures of this. The other way you qualify for Special Ed is to show that a kid has been getting a lot of help and it is only that amount of help that is enabling the kid to somewhat keep up with their classmates. Then magically this kid that I had to jump through hoops to show wasn't able to read as well as his/her classmates, is suddenly supposed to read as well as his classmates on the NCLB test. HUH? If they could meet state standards they wouldn't be in special ed!!! I have a 6th grader reading at a 2nd grade level, yet I have to give her a week's worth of tests every spring at the 6th grade level and then our school can get penalized that she isn't on par. Really fun once my paycheck depends on her progress. Believe me, I'll be putting in to switch to being a gifted teacher if they base our pay on our kids' test scores.

As for mainstreaming / inclusion. There is a big difference in what it is called and what it looks like. Some kids are "included" for certain classes just for some exposure to their peers. Often time we send kids to science and SS just for them to see their friends and socialize, and for a little exposure to curriculum, but not really expected to learn the material. Reading and Math are more often done in pull-out settings partly because that is what the NCLB tests measure and put high stakes on. Other schools do true co-teaching where you couldn't pick out which kids have a learning disability and which don't because both teachers work in tandem to help everyone. The law states you have to start with the least restrictive environment and explain why you pull the kids away from that if you need to. What I sometimes struggle with, is what is least restrictive for the rest of the kids in that classroom. Several years ago we had a kids with serious behavior issues that ended up needing to be physically restrained a dozen times a day. Since he didn't have many academic issues, they wanted him in the regular classroom because it was least restrictive. That is all well and good, but what about the other 25 first graders that are terrified of this child and are scared that if they misbehave, they'll be restrained too. It is a fine line.

Okay I rambled on and don't even remember the original question you wanted comment on. Sorry. It's frustrating working in such a broken system, especially when politicians think the broken system they've created is great and it's the lazy teachers that are the problem.


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 Post subject: Re: Charter Schools and Resegregation
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 7:00 pm 
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Yes, lazy teachers. Lets get rid of them and all will be peachy keen. Only problem is, I don't really know any. Maybe one or two who are burned out and near retirement (out of a staff of 150).

How's this for fun? My first district only lets kids who get B in bio to take chem. consequently, they had a 99% pass rate the year before I worked there. Then my year, they dropped to 98%. They were reprimanded for failure to maintain or improve. I'm not kidding. They had multiple meetings where they analyzed data and discussed how to improve. The icing? It was only 1 or two kids who made the difference. I sat in one one of the meetings because they wanted all of science to see how they were collaborating on an improvement plan. I had trouble sitting there with a straight face. It felt like the Twilight Zone.

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