Posts tagged ‘Income achievement gap’

October 20, 2012

CHRY ‘News Now’ Interview with Robert Green on the Problems with Quebec’s 4-Tiered Education System

CHRY is the York University campus/community radio station. To listen to the ‘News Now’ feature interview with Robert Green on the problem’s with Quebec’s 4 tiered education system  click here. (To download as mp3 right-click and select ‘save link as’)

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August 12, 2012

10 Ways School Reformers Get It Wrong

When it comes to education reform, we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel anymore; instead, we’re building square ones.

By Colin Greer, published Aug 5 2012 by Alternet

It’s widely agreed that American education is in trouble.  What is missed in both the response to the crisis and the cacophony of reform efforts is a true understanding of the nature of the problem.

In the early days of public schooling, Horace Mann called the schools the balance wheel of society. It was thought that schools served as a corrective for all kinds of problems ranging from skill gaps that needed to be remedied for the economy to flourish to culture gaps that were created by immigrants that needed to be Americanized. The school never worked in quite that way, but it was part of a web of social institutions that helped build a framework that allowed America to grow both in prosperity and in diversity. We face a lot of social and economic problems; we expect the schools to solve them. When they don’t, we think it’s a school failure. Instead, the schools are in fact a signal of a breakdown. Nowadays, the balance wheel is not working so well; it would be more accurate to think of public schools as the canary in the mine.

Read more:http://www.alternet.org/education/10-ways-school-reformers-get-it-wrong

May 17, 2012

Studies Suggest Economic Inequity Is Built Into, and Worsened by, School Systems

By Paul Thomas, Truthout. Posted Tuesday, 15 May 2012

“‘These studies demonstrate a simple, essential reality which corporate reformers ignore: that socioeconomics don’t somehow magically stop at classroom door,’ explained educator and scholar Adam Bessie. He added, “School reform and social reform are inseparable projects and that schools in economically and racially segregated communities are not crippled by ‘bad teachers’ nor ‘evil unions,’ but rather, by that very segregation itself.”

Bessie also suggested that these studies help challenge the call for “miracle” reform that presents schools as the singular institution to create social change, even though the dynamics of those schools tends to perpetuate the same inequity found in society. Social reform addressing over 20 percent of children living in poverty must accompany reforming school inequity, he maintained.”

Read More: http://truth-out.org/news/item/8993-studies-suggest-economic-inequity-is-built-into-and-worsened-by-school-systems

May 14, 2012

The fantasies driving school reform: A primer for education graduates

This is an excerpt from the commencement speech that Richard Rothstein, a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, gave this past weekend at the Loyola University Chicago School of Education.

“Policymakers, with a preconception that schools must be failing because the public sector and its employees must be corrupt, are not interested in these facts. As a result, we’ve wasted 15 years avoiding incremental improvement, and instead trying to upend a reasonably successful school system.

Of course, not all teachers are competent; some have unacceptably low expectations, some should improve, and others shouldn’t be in the classroom at all. But the data show this is not the most serious problem we face.

Instead of searching for systemic failure where it does not exist, we should have been trying to figure out what we have been doing right, so we can do more of it. That will be one of your challenges, and you will have to do it with little support from elite opinion.

The biggest challenge now facing public education is our fiscal crisis. But it is hard to imagine how you, as educators, can urge the public to provide more money to schools if you fail to challenge, as vociferously as you can, the false charge that schools are failing. Why should the public increase support for a failing institution? If you believe public education deserves greater support, as I do, you will have to boast about your accomplishments, because voters are more likely to aid a successful institution than a collapsing one.

Because education has become so politicized, with policy made by those with preconceptions of failure and little understanding of the educational process, you are entering a field that has become obsessed with evaluating only results that are easy to measure, rather than those that are most important. But as Albert Einstein once said, not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted, counts.

Of course, teaching basic reading and math skills is important, but when policy holds you accountable only for student scores in these skills, it ignores what generations of Americans have known are less-easy-to-measure, but equally important educational goals — citizenship, character, appreciation of the arts and music, physical fitness and health, and knowledge of history, the sciences, and literature.

It should not have to be your responsibility to remind the public about the goals of education, but in this environment, it is another task you will have to take on.”

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/the-fantasies-driving-school-reform-a-primer-for-education-graduates/2012/05/13/gIQA5vwzLU_blog.html

March 28, 2012

Challenging Corporate Ed Reform

And 10 hopeful signs of resistance

By Stan Karp

Published in the Spring 2012 edition of Rethinking Schools

“Corporate school reformers like to call themselves just ‘reformers’ and counterpose themselves to the ‘status quo.’ And there’s no doubt that the corporate/foundation crowd has successfully captured the media label as ‘education reformers.’ If you support testing, charters, merit pay, the elimination of tenure and seniority, and control of school policy by corporate managers, you’re a ‘reformer.’ If you support increased school funding, collective bargaining, less standardized testing, and control of school policy by educators, you’re a ‘defender of the status quo.’ ”

“Standardized tests, which have been disguising class and race privilege as merit for decades, have become the ‘credit default swaps’ of the education world. Few people understand how either really works. Both encourage a focus on short-term gains over long-term goals. And both drive bad behavior on the part of those in charge. These deeply flawed tests have become the primary policy instruments used to shrink public space, impose sanctions on teachers, and close or punish schools. If the corporate reformers have their way, their schemes to evaluate teachers and the schools of education they came from with another generation of tests based on the ‘common core’ standards will dramatically expand the testing plague unleashed by NCLB.

Beyond changing the way schools and classrooms function daily, the larger goals of corporate reform are reflected in the attacks on collective bargaining and teachers’ unions, and in the permanent crisis of school funding across the country. These policies undermine public education and facilitate its replacement by a market-based system that would do for schooling what the market has done for health care, housing, and employment: produce fabulous profits and opportunities for a few and unequal outcomes and access for the many.”

Read more: http://rethinkingschools.org/archive/26_03/26_03_karp.shtml

March 20, 2012

In Defense of Facing Educational Reality

by Diane Ravitch

Published on Monday, March 19, 2012 by Huffington Post

“In my reviews, I contrasted the five-year preparation of teachers in Finland with the American hodge-podge approach to the recruitment and training of teachers. In the U.S., states offer many ways to become a teacher, and our non-system has produced low standards for entry and a revolving door, with 40-50 percent leaving in their first five years of teaching. Finnish teachers are highly respected and seldom leave their profession.

Kopp dismisses Finland as a model because less than 4 percent of its children are poor. But that’s part of the story of their success and should not be waved aside as unimportant. Teacher professionalism is also part of Finnish success. In this country, our public school teachers are constantly criticized and disrespected, and few are recognized for their dedication and hard work despite budget cuts, growing class sizes, and a hostile media. So long as the attacks on teachers continue, so long as the politicians continue defunding the schools, and so long as our society continues to tolerate high levels of child poverty and intense racial segregation, we will continue to have low-performing students and “failing” schools.”

Read More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/diane-ravitch/wendy-kopp-teach-for-america_b_1359322.html

March 2, 2012

Diane Ravitch: Is A Public School a Public Good, or a Shoestore?

January 21, 2012

Teachers, Superman and the “anti-Michelle Rhee”

Education historian Diane Ravitch says education reformers are killing the American school system

You’ve seen Waiting for Superman and were thrilled at education-reform superstar and part-time Sacramentan Michelle Rhee roughing up those bad teachers.

Bill Gates too is spreading the gospel of more testing and technology in the classroom. Even President Barack Obama is getting in on the school-reform act. He followed No Child Left Behind reforms with his own Race to the Top initiative, raising the stakes even higher for schools who lag on test scores.

The testing-and-accountability craze has swept the nation—but here and there are pockets of resistance, led by education historian Diane Ravitch. She was assistant secretary of education under Bush I, and was once a believer in testing and charter schools. She now also believes that Rhee and Gates and the other would-be reformers are actually hurting education, as she lays out in her book The Death and Life of the Great American School System.”

Read More: http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/teachers-superman-the-anti-michelle/content?oid=4910832

January 2, 2012

Equity over Excellence: Why Finland’s Education System is So Successful

What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland’s School Success

Published Dec 29 2011 in The Atlantic

“Since the 1980s, the main driver of Finnish education policy has been the idea that every child should have exactly the same opportunity to learn, regardless of family background, income, or geographic location. Education has been seen first and foremost not as a way to produce star performers, but as an instrument to even out social inequality.

In the Finnish view, as Sahlberg describes it, this means that schools should be healthy, safe environments for children. This starts with the basics. Finland offers all pupils free school meals, easy access to health care, psychological counseling, and individualized student guidance.

In fact, since academic excellence wasn’t a particular priority on the Finnish to-do list, when Finland’s students scored so high on the first PISA survey in 2001, many Finns thought the results must be a mistake. But subsequent PISA tests confirmed that Finland — unlike, say, very similar countries such as Norway — was producing academic excellence through its particular policy focus on equity.

That this point is almost always ignored or brushed aside in the U.S. seems especially poignant at the moment, after the financial crisis and Occupy Wall Street movement have brought the problems of inequality in America into such sharp focus. The chasm between those who can afford $35,000 in tuition per child per year — or even just the price of a house in a good public school district — and the other “99 percent” is painfully plain to see.”

Read More: http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/12/what-americans-keep-ignoring-about-finlands-school-success/250564/

December 12, 2011

Dianne Ravitch on Whose Children Have Been ‘Left Behind’ by US Education Reforms

A Nation’s Education Left Behind

“We now know that none of the current carrot-and-stick policies will shrink the [achievement] gap. We know it because they have been tried for 10 years and they haven’t worked. Structural changes like charters and vouchers overall will not make a difference. Merit pay makes no difference. Judging teachers by test scores demoralizes teachers and will lead to narrowing of the curriculum—so that the districts where children have the lowest scores will have more time for test preparation and less time for the arts, less time for history or civics, less time for science, less time for physical education. The children who need a great education the most will get the least.

And many more children will be left behind.”

Read more: http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2011/12/diane-ravitch-december-9-2011.html

 

November 20, 2011

New Research on the Dramatic Growth of the ‘Income Achievement Gap’ in the US

“Income achievement gap” almost double black-white achievement gap

“In a dramatic illustration of the impact of income inequality on how children do in school, the achievement gap between children from high and low income families is far higher than the achievement gap between black and white students, a pathbreaking research report from Stanford University has shown.

The report by Sean Reardon, a Stanford professor of education and sociology, shows that the income achievement gap—the difference in the average standardized scores between children from families at the 10th percentile of income distribution and children at the 90th percentile—is now ‘nearly twice as large as the black-white achievement gap.’

A half century ago, the situation was just the reverse. The black-white gap was one and a half times as large as the income achievement gap as defined in the report, Reardon found.”

Read more: http://www.edsource.org/extra/2011/income-achievement-gap-twice-as-large-as-black-white-achievement-gap/3257