Tracking Anyone?

Ever since tracking was deemed anathema, our schools have been suffering. There my be no causal relationship, or, there my be. I have long advocated for tracking to make a come-back. Teachers cannot possibly differentiate instruction to the extent they are now required, since every single student is on the "college track". Of course, not everyone can/should go to college. But, in order to weed out those who would not make it, we have to sound like elitist assholes. Oh well. I beg your forgiveness. So sorry.

Here is a perspective from Professor X. He fails a lot of students who maybe should have thought to do something other than college.

Money Quote (from Prof. X):

For I, who teach these low-level, must-pass, no-multiple-choice-test classes, am the one who ultimately delivers the news to those unfit for college: that they lack the most-basic skills and have no sense of the volume of work required; that they are in some cases barely literate; that they are so bereft of schemata, so dispossessed of contexts in which to place newly acquired knowledge, that every bit of information simply raises more questions. They are not ready for high school, some of them, much less for college.

Update: Some reaction here and here. Sober reactions, but no mention of tracking....


Educational Research: Is It Real? Do They Know the P Value?

Here is a review of some reading strategies used to improve student comprehension. I think the above chart speaks for itself. Most of the staff development is useless, and school boards, superintendents and principals just keep making us do it. They claim they read the research, but it is clear they either don't, or read it verrrry selectively!


Literacy Begins at Home

As if we didn't know that! The LA Times has a piece you should read.

Money quote:

There is a huge difference in the number of words and the prohibitive or affirmative tone of words heard by young children depending on whether their parents are on welfare, in the working class or professionals.

Ask any teacher and they will tell you the same thing. Kids come to school with whatever they have been given at home. Those who were given less, have less; less of a vocabulary, less experience with stuff, less cognitive stimulation. The public who wants schools and teachers to fix this literacy shortfall, and take the blame for the problem, should realize that schools are not the problem! Never really have been! It is the families that attend the school that are the problem/solution.

No, I am not absolving teachers of their literacy responsibility. I am merely pointing out that teachers are not the fix. Indeed, school is not the fix. Remediation may be helpful, but there are just no funds for that. So, blame schools and teachers!

A Fascinating Development!!

In the faculty meeting on Wednesday we were treated to an explanation of ULSS (an intervention program) as envisioned by the ULSS team, which consists of the principal, resource teachers, some folks who are never there, and a teacher, maybe. The ULSS has been around for 2 years now, and only now are folks trying to figure out its purpose (it has no real purpose other than lip-service).

In another post (gone to the ether), the original written nearly 6 months ago, I mentioned that I was held in contempt, and "written up" for voicing concerns about how ULSS was being used, as it was described by "a teacher". The delineation of who gets intervention (you know, services) then, AS NOW, goes something like this:

-Teachers are the 1st layer of intervention (WTF??? And this layer is for Far Below Basic Kids--they actually get NOTHING!!)

-Teachers partnered with non-existent, unfunded resource specialists make up the 2nd layer

-The 3rd layer is one-on-one instruction with a specialist (the only real intervention so far in this list!)

-The 4th layer is titled "Multi-layered" and is as nebulous as could be.

So, the district has manufactured the notion that teachers are the first layer of intervention. This notion was manufactured for a purpose. What purpose you ask? Let me tell you the purpose of calling teachers the first layer of intervention: So the district can tell parents of the lowest performing kids that they are getting the intervention they need (They have a teacher. Seriously.).

I was pleasantly surprised that many on staff were just as outraged (finally) this time as I was. The principal had a mutiny on her hands. Of course, if she were being evaluated, the evaluation would show that her lesson failed, and her management was a disaster. This is how most meetings go. We are treated like children, and we are led by a principal who is too willing to pay lip-service to the nonsense, causing the faculty cognitive dissonance, and then wondering why we are not on board. Oy vey!

To sum it up, we are intervening to get out of an NCLB predicament, not to help kids. We fucking suck!

Total Pageviews