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One Reply to “PirateWonk! Plus Odds And Ends”
I’m so sorry to hear that James Foreman is a racist. Seriously, Foreman’s program is a no-brainer. The great majority of inner city teachers support win win programs like the “Great WaPO article.”
There is one over-riding reason why we just throw away our most challenging kids – political correctness. As long as we have the Ed Trust/Joel Kelin/Michelle Rhee ideology that “expectations” is all that matters, districts won’t invest in alternative schools.
Let’s be clear though. “Reformers” who are so completely caught up in fighting “the status quo,” like anybody who prefers fighting over cooperation, are doing real harm to juvenile felons as well as their inner city classmates.
We always had an institutional dynamic in education where we keep alternative slots artificially low for fear that teachers will just kick out their most troubled students. And finding the proper balance of creating the right amount of high-quality alternative slots is difficult. But in the past, the lack of money was the prime obstacle. So, the system just took an “out of sight out of mind” approach. Just catch the kids and shove them into the classroom and then the teacher owns the problem.
That’s why the editors of the Washington Post need to read their own education reporters. The article describes the type of programs that teachers, and students, need and want. The article draws a real picture, not the caricature spread by “reformers.” There’s no way that it can be misreprestnted as an effort to resegregate so that teachers can just sit on their rear ends and blame others.
Think of how much good could have come from NCLB if we had funded alternative programs, not throwing billions into bubble testing.
Besides, it is reminder that all students need to get back to a real curriculum, using classes like Public Advocacy to both teach skills and the vales of life-long learning.
Lastly, if we invested enough Stimulus money into programs like these, maybe we wouldn’t have to face the “falling off the cliff” problem. Give schools two years of the resources necessary to address these tragedies in a timely manner before they grow out of control and maybe we could show enough improvements to get us out of this crazy “blame game” cycle. Give teachers a chance to teach, and give these troubled kids the services that they need, and maybe we wouldn’t need to characterize each other as monsters.