Thursday, October 12, 2006

Shocking Math Scores

What a shock? The results of a new set of New York State math exams show about two-thirds of students performing at grade level, with striking disparaties between rich and poor school district. Shocking that the number of students on grade level of in wealthy areas was more than twice the number as in impoverished urban area. The courts have ordered at least $4.7 billion more a year for city schools to help close the gap, but good old Richard Mills insists that money is not enough. Of course, why would the city schools need money? For tutoring? For smaller classes? Mills wants schools to review their programs. I think he is the one that created some of the new standards that teachers are being forced to teach to. He wants better teacher training. I vote for more staff development days being lead by the 20 something teachers, just out of college.

Aside from the issues of money, Mills fails to realize that there are major differences in students living in poor areas as opposed to living in wealthier ones. An affluent parent will easily pluck down $100+ an hour to provide their child with a tutor. There are kids in some parts of Long Island that have tutors in every subject, just as a precaution, in case they need help. No amount of state aid will ever be able to bridge this difference. And, although politically incorrect, I have to talk about differences between people in poor areas vs. affluent ones. Aren't poor neighborhoods often filled with recent immigrants? Can their childern't progress be compared to that of the doctor or lawyer's child? Although I hate to generalize, it true that people move away from the poor areas as their incomes increase. People left behind are struggling. Even if they are just as bright, parents are often working multiple jobs at long hours and are just not around to provide needed help.

If Klein is really serious about NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND he must provide smaller classes for city students. No one can expect him to do anything about socio-economic conditions, but he can at least make it feasible for children to get a good education and to get help in areas where they have deficits.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Post reports today that charters have a slightly higher passing rate than public schools. It seems to me that with 100% proactive parents they ought to be passing just about as many kids.

mrc said...

As a teacher in a charter, I can tell you that there are a lot of different reasons parents put their kids in charter schools. For some, it's just safer. For others, it's because their kid was kicked out of another school. And of course there are those who are looking to push their kids harder academically. But on the balance, we don't really get a student population that's any easier to get high scores from. At least not in the poor, urban area in California where I work. Poverty often affects the proactive parent just as much as the inactive or overwhelmed ones.

Anonymous said...

In my experience, a proactive parent is the single best predictor of student success (or failure).

The second best shot kids have is quality teachers. And frankly, if charters can only perform marginally better with such advantages (assuming they have good teachers), they're not the panacea some say they are.

If you removed the kids I have with uninvolved parents, you'd see far better than a 10% increase in passing test scores.

Chaz said...

Let me be even more politically incorrect. How about single-parent households (usually mothers) that are poor educational role models and don't have the time or the ability to help their children.

nyc educator:

Remember the Charter Schools suffer from a lack of quality teachers. Once a teacher is certified, they want the benefits that the public school teachers have, without the extra workload that the Charters demand of them.

Jonathan said...

New York State's commitment to shortchanging NYC's kids exceeds its commitment to raising acheivement. There is really nothing else to say about the current situation.

There should be plenty to say about what needs to be changed, starting with, but certainly not ending with, Richard Mills.

Pissed Off said...

Mills told a friend of mine years ago that the reason my firend didn't want to teach new Math A was because my friend was too lazy to write new lessons. How anti teacher can he get?