The Achievement Gap: Coming To A Community Near You!

WaPo ed board weighs-in and praises AP course-taking in tony Montgomery County, MD. But Montgomery County Superintendent Jerry Weast has the right take on this one:

[He] “employs the phrase “a tall tree in a short forest.” That’s an acknowledgment that Montgomery’s gains are impressive only because the national record is still so disappointing.

He’s right, better than Baltimore is not exactly a rallying cry. Fact is, even our nation’s best school districts are not doing especially well with minority kids. Despite having six years, the President has failed to communicate that in terms of No Child Left Behind and address the backlash it has sparked from self-satisfied suburban school districts that don’t want to confront internal inequities in what are thought of as “world class” school systems (with the property values to prove it!).

4 Replies to “The Achievement Gap: Coming To A Community Near You!”

  1. Bringing Education to the 21st Century-A Policy Platform

    Do we really think that by doing what we have been doing for the last 100 years is going to all of sudden change the interest children have in school and stop the alarming dropout rates being experienced throughout the United States? There is something critically wrong with the existing structure that is built around the adult’s perceived needs vs. the needs a child brain has, especially in their early years. The problems with early education can be solved not by blaming teachers and school administration but rather by looking at the structure of the stimuli we offer our children. Let’s look at some facts that point to these issues.
    • America has moved forward throughout our history because we have freedom. We have prepared our youth to think for themselves, and to have the motivation and the willingness to take the risk to follow their own convictions. Today it is the group, not the individual that has the focus.
    • The context of what is offered as curricula is by in large focused on what can be presented in a book and on a blackboard. What is offered today is academic content that is not typically useful to the students outside the classroom.
    • All children are born with 100 billion brain cells and a child can lose as much as 30% of their brain cells if they are not ignited by age 6/7. The brain cells are ignited only by what the child’s brain finds to be necessity for preservation and of interest to the future endeavors of the individual. The brain will not remember what it does not consider to be of interest and use. Each child’s brain is different and fantasy and useless information will not find its way into long term memory.
    • Learning requires that a child must be able to proceed at their own pace and see that they are making progress toward their own goals. Learning requires that a child finds their way into a successful place in the real world. Today this requires more than today’s linear structure of class organization by subjects such as English and Math. Skill development requires integration of many fields of knowledge structured that provides for automated critical thought.

    How are these Issues corrected?
    • First the focus must turn from group learning toward the specific focus on the individual. This can be done by understanding individual’s needs, interests, strengths and weaknesses on a real time basis and then providing the stimuli that can grow the individual, filling the potholes necessary for success.
    • Curricula that are provided to the child must allow the child to see the purpose, value and personal benefit to be realized from learning –not being entertained or discouraged by present curricula.
    • Modern multimedia technology must replace the book as the primary teaching tool used in the classroom. The book requires linear lines of communication with the requirement that the student remember a number of facts, which by in large have limited interest or use to the child. Further 3 out of 4 textbooks found in today’s classrooms are published by foreign owned companies who have no interest in the education change needed in America.
    • Parents must take a more active role in their child’s early education. By the time a child enters school their brain has been 85% wired which represents the thinking abilities and areas of interest a child has. Do not expect a teacher to fill in the blanks it is a neurological impossibility.
    • Washington State has thousands or wonderfully able and committed teachers. They need better tools to do the job they love. Those tools must provide the teacher with real time information, not historical tests, to allow them to help each child with their varying yet individual needs.
    • Teachers need to be paid more as they are able to demonstrate their ability to take their classes to a 100% level of mastery of all subjects.

    Posted by Ryan Whitworth, The document was written by Gary H Andersen- CEO The Reality Works Company
    Currently serving over 10,000 students on line within school districts in Washington& California

  2. Sure–all worthy goals and we should implement them. How will we pay for them? Good luck getting the public to vote for tax increases.

  3. It’s fascinating to watch them scramble, though, isn’t it? I hear the best remedial reading class in the DC area is the 15-person critical-subgroup workshop at the froofy Arlington high school. Maybe they’re better positioned to figure out and share best practices, given that they can isolate one problem at a time.

  4. The solution to the problem is as follows.

    Bringing Education to the 21st Century
    A change in education must take place. The Reality Works Company (RWC) has designed an online program that teaches children how to think and learn in the real world and also within the classroom. The program is intended to reach children from non-challenged to challenged, ELL to non ELL and more. All student performance is collected and provides immediate feedback to the teacher and student, offering motivation for learning new and more complex skills while also providing confidence in what they already know. The program targets the early years in which a child’s brain develops most dramatically and creates a strong foundation for the student’s future educational development. The real world curricula that is offered in the computer program was designed around 3 – 5 year old children; however they have also found notable gains with students up to the age of 12.

    The goals are as follows:
    • Launching a state wide or a county wide program to improve the student’s school readiness with knowledge and to begin bridging the digital divide while inspiring a personal value for technology and the lifelong process of learning.
    • The program should eventually be utilized within communities and classrooms nationwide.
    • To bring back the responsibility of the parent to better prepare their children for the classroom.
    • We will bridge the current gap between pre-school and elementary schools.
    • To develop cognitive thinking and to create the fundamental elements of reading and math while introducing children to computer technology.
    • There is a great value in multimedia, internet delivered curricula and we believe that this form of delivery will become the standard in preschool and elementary education.
    The proposal is a pilot program involving 4 year olds and elementary schools in order for them to be prepared for kindergarten. Children could access programs from day care, home, school, church, community center etc.

    How we begin: (Pre-school)
    • Launch a state wide or a county wide pilot program for all 4 year old children within a given county or area using the program provided by RWC called BeSchoolReady (BSR.)
    • All families register their child by the county they reside in or school district. A list of locations within their community that provide the program will be given.
    • The student performance data for registered children will be available to the pre-school provider and each school district involved so that they know exactly what learning level their new attending students are at.
    • Funding Structure: $340 per enrolled child, per year

    How we begin: (Elementary Schools)
    • All Elementary Schools in the chosen state or county will register with the program provided by RWC called Knowledge First (KF.)
    • Any new kindergarten student registered with BSR will use KF within the school. The activities offered in both of the programs are the same. The student will start right where they left off within the program once they enter Kindergarten.
    • Teachers, Principals, and the district will have access to all of their registered student’s quantifiable data.
    • Funding Structure: Same As Above

    The program is currently being used in 5 schools within a School district in Washington State. They are in the process of developing a community outreach program that’s similar to the proposed state wide/county pilot but on a much smaller scale. The Lynwood School District in California has taken on the program in 9 out of their 12 schools. Mexican American Opportunity Foundation (CA.) is currently using the program with 500 of their pre-school students. The program has found significant success in California. Three years ago, Rosa Parks Elementary (Lynwood District) raised their state test scores by 2 points (Academic Performance Index points.) In 2006, the only change in their curricula was adding the computer based, cognitive learning program and since then their test scores raised 114 points. This was the highest raise in test scores within 5,661 schools that offer k-5/6 in California.
    They currently serve 10,000 children within WA and CA.
    In conclusion, it’s very important that the parents get involved and start preparing their children for life readiness and school. This would be a very efficient and quantifiable way to build a statewide structure for preschool. As well as helping students in school develop real world skills and abilities. There would be many other details to work out involving the state wide pilot program with BeSchoolReady and launching Knowledge First within the elementary schools but it can be done if we put well meaning minds together.

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