Saturday, March 07, 2009

Message To An Educational Scientist

I will tell you a personal story about a kid who may have described as not bright or whatever you want to call the kid. You see David never said much and was completely unengaged with school. When I met him he was close to 2 years behind grade level. He came from a poor family etc. I met David on a whim when he walked by my classroom and saw that I had a computer in pieces on a desk and was trying to figure out what was wrong. He asked me a couple of probing questions so I asked if he knew how to fix it and he said he could try. I left him there with what was basically trash and when I came back I had a working computer. You see David was a prodigy of sorts, with Credit Retrieval & recovery we got David out of school in 2 years and into college where he is studying computer science. I can go on & on about students who have succeeded at the highest levels of achievement based on tapping into something that caught their interest and using that as a hook to drive them to those high levels of achievement. David might have been written off by some people, but David just needed a reason to see why he needed to get a high school diploma and go to college. He was now motivated.
David sounds wonderful and what you did for him is wonderful as well.

A child as wonderful as David really does deserved a second chance, a real second chance, a second chance that would have involved a real education, not just a rush to collect necessary credits.

If we really want to help kids like David, we need to stop insisting that kids like him graduate high school in four years. Some of them need more time to grow up. Abel, a student in one of my classes is currently going to night school as well as day school. He is not studying or doing homework because he is too tired when he gets home. He will not graduate because he cannot physically do the work. And, if he does manage to somehow get seat time, he still will know next to nothing. June, another student is taking two English classes. Her reading is poor and she cannot read two books at once.

So, Mr. Educational Scientist, while I suspect your heart is in the right place, I believe your thought process is not. If we give the kids the opportunity to stay in high school an extra year, we will be doing kids like David a much great service. I look forward to reading your thoughts.

(Comments on the other parts of the response to follow at some later date.)


Chaz said...


Pissed Off said...

Sorry Educational Scientist, I wanted to share your view and see what others thought.

Anonymous said...

The past two weeks has taken a physical toll on me. I am contemplating my response. Be prepared... it will be long.

You know I love this forum...

Loved your speech! Bravo & kudos to you for speaking your mind. - Not that I agree with you 100% but that is not the point!


Anonymous said...

Point #1:

Yes, I agree, some kids need more time to finish school. In some schools it is called YABC. It is a night school type of program that meets alternate days four days a week. It functioned to some respect as "college" environment. Partnered with SBOs, students has jobs arranged for them. They worked during the day and studied at night. Since I know intimately on how this operated and moved many kids into this program, I must say it really was an excellent program for those students who had fallen behind. The target population is overage and undercredited students and basically students had until they were 21 to graduate. The classes started at 5 PM. Kids who had been very difficult seemed to become more focused. They would do maximum 3 classes a night, 1 1/2 hours and depending on what they can take up to 6 classes a week.

David did not belong in this program. David was the type of kid who was bored with school simply because it did not challenge him. Trust me when I tell you David devoured books, understood complex math, and simply needed someone to point him in a direction. David had we decided to keep him any longer may have just disappeared. People forget how dangerous parts of our city are and what difficult lives our students live because of it. Hence the explosion of Gang culture in NYC. There parts of the city that young people can't walk in if they aren't wearing a specific color of flashing a certain sign.

In addition, I would like to seperate as much as possible, 19 & 20 year olds from 14 & 15 year olds.

So do I agree with your argument for credit recovery, one word - YES!

However, do I believe a student having to retake a class because they failed all over again when they may have misunderstood a few topics. Are the material they were given was not appropriate for their reading level.
(Differentiated Instruction.)

I know I am not putting up a good argument, but I think for every student the prescription for success differs. Every child is different and we must personalize education the best we can to make students appreciate and enjoy learning.

Wheeeeewwwwwww - I must really sound like an administrator and not an Education Scientist. I will give my eyes a rest and if I am up to it I will start point #2.

Anonymous said...

p.s. forgive me for not proofreading what was written above.

Pissed Off said...

I'll be taking some of this apart at a future time. I just got home from my college class and I my brain is not totally functioning.

I'm not great at proof reading either. My son is always correcting what I write--payback from his school days.