Thursday, February 26, 2009

I'm A Mule


I have to say the last words in any argument I am in. That is one of my big faults. Here goes my latest argument on why credit recovery and late afternoon school should be done away with.

A few years ago there was a big move to get a large group of seniors who had only passed one term of math in the past to graduate. Because of my track record with difficult kids, I was assigned this task. (I actually volunteered for it. I love a challenge.)

My class consisted of 28 seniors, kids who had not only failed math, but had failed multiple subjects. In addition to my double period of math, they were going to Saturday school and late afternoon school. They were also doing independent study in various subjects.

These kids, not the hardest workers to begin with, were overwhelmed with work. Now, they could never get into class on time to begin work. First, they had to walk around and say hi to all their friends and make sure everyone got the little kiss on the cheek. Then, as they did the math, they also did their history homework and worked on their art projects. When I asked for math homework, sometimes I got it, and sometimes I got "Ms, I had evening school yesterday. I had no time to do it." One day Charlie told me he couldn't do any homework because he had to wait on line all night so he could be the first to purchase a pair of sneakers that was going to be available that day. He did no work for any classes that day or the next. He was too tired from being up all night.

While I don't believe in credit recovery and programs like these, I believe in doing my best for my kids and through lots of hard work, 27 out of 28 of them passed the regents and got their back credits. Some graduated, some fell short in other areas and had to graduate in August or the following January. I felt good and bad at the same time. I got them to graduate but I did not teach them any math. I taught them how to get over. I told them "I only work here. I have to do the job my supervisors ask me to do."

All semester, I told these seniors that I was teaching them to get over. And, while I tried to teach the math and the concepts, I mostly concentrated on test preparation. I sometimes meet some of those students at the community college I work at and feel sad about their lack of preparation. I wonder if they would have been better off spending the extra year in high school, really learning something, and then going on to college. Maybe then their college years would be more successful.

Enough said, I might not get the last word but I made sure I got the longest one.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

this is your blog and you should get the last word! However, over a couple of red stripes I am sure I could convince of my way of thinking about this situation.

Ready....

KIDS ARE KIDS! yes they do have to do the work... but again KIDS ARE KIDS! They are children, young adults, minors, in need of guidance supervision and compassion.

Somewhere, the educational ball was dropped by the community of people paid ( principals, a.p.s, guidance, teachers, secretaries and whoever else gets a paycheck to work in schools... heck the custodial staff throw them in there to!) and the unpaid, parents, aunts, uncles, brothers,sisters, etc.

It is our job of the village to help kids succeed. I see credit recovery as a way of saying we care about you and want to see you suceed.

Unfortunately, the idea of credit recovery involves many things... and I agree with many points that have been made regarding the topic. Including just giving kids what they need to graduate - who cares whether they learned anything.

But... this goes beyond credit recovery! It is the one of the reasons why our educational system lags tremendously behind those of other nations. Why our dropout rate nationally is abysmal. Why we export so many engineering jobs overseas.

Start a post as to what is wrong with our education system. I am curious to see the responses there.

Ok... I have to go, but remember,
KIDS Are KIDS!

On that note, reply so that you can have the last word.

Pissed Off said...

I have written many posts on what is wrong with our educational system. My letter to Obama included a few of them.

Credit recovery is one of the biggest problems with our system.

Nobody says kids don't need compassion, supervision and guidance. I think every commenter on this blogs knows they need it and wants them to receive it. We just disagree with the way it is being done.

Kids need to learn responsibility for their actions. Allowing them to do 2 years worth of work in such a short time does not teach them that. Real life means owning up to what you have done and doing what is necessary to repair it. They have to learn to face consequences and that might be summer school or an extra term in high school. Not graduating with their friends might be the most important life lesson they learn in high school. Credit recovery is stripping them of this learning.

Pissed Off said...

I forgot to add--anonymous-you are probably an administrator. No teacher would write what you did.

I could never have become an administrator because I could neve buy into that load of doo doo.

Anonymous said...

I am first & foremost an educator of children and a concerned citizen of nyc schools and education in this country as a whole.

Pissed Off said...

But, you do sound like an administrator or a city official.

Pissed Off said...

But, you do sound like an administrator or a city official.

Robert said...

Credit recovery does nothing but give students the impression that an entire semesters work can be crammed into a week or less. If this is really the case why do we have them go to school. The problem IMO is there aren't other good options, students aren't willing to put in a semesters worth of work especially if homework is involved. These are the same students we say ought to go to college yet have no study skills and no work ethic.

Sonja said...

I am hearing that my school system is going to implement a credit recovery program this summer which will take place of regular summer school which used to be about 8 weeks long, and you could only earn 1 credit during that time.

The new program will be computer driven. The student takes a placement test of the afflicted credit/curriculum, spend 2 weeks on the computer learning the material, retake test at end of 2 weeks - pass - *poof* credit is awarded.

This pisses me off because now you have just replaced the teacher and like you said above, teaches the student that they can screw around all year and "fix it" in 2 weeks.

This is being implemented in the name of "budget crunches" because obviously it's cheaper to higher one adult as a proctor for 2 weeks than several professionals to TEACH the curriculum for 8 weeks. All in the name of money.

Makes me sick.

NYC HS History Teacher said...

We have credit recovery at our school. For instance, during Regents week, a number of students who had a 55 average or below, were allowed to come in for two days, and take DBQs. Now, they had to do six hours work for a whole semester. The list was short, as it was only students we chose who felt "deserved" it. One of the four students I picked showed for two days, another for half of the second, though she didn't get any credit.

I don't mind so much doing this for freshmen, IF, and it's a big IF, if it maybe makes them realize what they did wrong, and hopefully pushes them in the right direction for the next four years. But to throw this at seniors is repugnant. The idea that one can just sail by and make everything up in a few weeks really destroys what the education system is all about. What college is going to want one of these "geniuses" anyway?