THIRD GRADE FLUNK LAWS
States (and schools…and teachers) continue to retain children in third grade (and in other grades) simply because they can’t read at an arbitrarily determined “level.”
Retention in grade doesn’t help children “catch up.” It doesn’t give kids “another year to grow.” It doesn’t help and often hurts
This post by Nancy Flanagan discusses the unintended consequences of using an “intervention” strategy that doesn’t work.
[For more information on Retention in Grade, click HERE.]
Now we are witnessing the other consequences of the Third Grade Threat—pushing inappropriate instruction down to kindergarten, as anxious districts fear that students who are not reading at grade level (a murky goal, to begin with) will embarrass the district when letters go out to parents of third graders who are supposed to be retained. Because it’s the law.
Who’s to blame when students lag behind (arbitrary) literacy benchmarks, for whatever reason, from learning in a second language, an identified disability or merely being a late-bloomer? Teachers, of course.
NCLB: DEVELOPMENTALLY INAPPROPRIATE
NCLB gave us Reading First and testing, testing, testing. This was followed by Race to the Top which continued to punish schools for societal failures. Bill Gates jumped in with Common Core, a reverse programmed curriculum forcing developmentally inappropriate instruction on students in the early grades.
This hypervigilant push for children to read before first grade is not working.
Bring back kindergarten! Quit repetitively testing children! Get those play kitchens and sand tables out of the closet!
Don’t only say that kindergarten shouldn’t be the new first grade! Bring back kindergarten! Get rid of NCLB once and for all!
SCHOOL LIBRARIES SUFFER FROM UNDERFUNDING
Here’s one more way that we’re shortchanging our future.
The shortage in public school librarian employment — which saw the most dramatic drop following the Great Recession of 2008 and hasn’t recovered since — has hit districts serving minorities the hardest. Among all the districts that have retained all their librarians since 2005, 75% are white, Education Week reports. On the other end of the scale, student populations in the 20 districts that lost the most librarians in the same time comprised 78% students of color.
In other words, while U.S. employment rates are back up in the wake of the Great Recession, the public school librarian sector has not rebounded, and the nation’s collective failure to rebuild its public information infrastructure is hitting minorities the hardest.
WE CANNOT AFFORD PARALLEL SCHOOL SYSTEMS
When striking Los Angeles teachers won their demand to call for a halt to charter school expansions in California, they set off a domino effect, and now teachers in other large urban districts are making the same demand.
Unchecked charter school growth is also bleeding into 2020 election campaigns. Recently, New York magazine columnist Jonathan Chait berated Democratic Massachusetts Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren for having opposed a ballot initiative in her home state in 2016 that would have raised a cap on the number of charter schools. “There may be no state in America that can more clearly showcase the clear success of charter schools than [Massachusetts],” declared Chait.
But while Chait and other charter school fans claim Massachusetts as a charter school model, the deeper reality is that charters are driving Boston’s public education system to the financial brink.
As the Boston Globe recently reported, the city is experiencing an economic boom, but its schools resemble “an economically depressed industrial center.” The state’s unfair funding formula is part of the problem, but an ever-expanding charter school industry also imposes a huge financial drain.
WHAT KIND OF COUNTRY KILLS ITS OWN CHILDREN…
It’s time for commonsense gun laws. The Second Amendment is no more important than the First Amendment. We freely accept accommodations and exceptions to the First in the form of libel and slander laws. It’s time we tweak the Second Amendment so that our children can grow to adulthood.
1,200 American kids killed by guns
1,200 stories about the lives they led, reported by teen journalists across the country
NON-CHRISTIANS DON’T MATTER TO JUSTICES
…and speaking of the First Amendment, we have some educating to do. We need to teach certain members of the Supreme Court that religious accommodations are not only for Christians. Perhaps they believe that America is a Christian Nation (hint: it’s not). In any case, the five “conservative” justices ruled that a Muslim was not allowed access to his preferred spiritual leader before he was executed. You would think that the First Amendment mattered as much to “conservatives” as the Second…
I’m not asking you to feel sympathy for a man who raped and murdered a child. I’m asking you to be outraged by a Supreme Court blatantly and publicly stating that only Christianity matters. This decision spells disaster for minority religious believers and non-believers alike. Our heartfelt beliefs, our core values, are without value to the majority of this Court. Where exemptions are granted, it will be to Christians. Their beliefs are important enough to the right wing majority that they warrant protection. The equally strongly held moral values of Muslims, or Hindus, or Jews, or atheists are to be dismissed if they cause even the slightest inconvenience to the state.
We knew we were facing a tough battle with this Supreme Court. We had no clue just how hard it would become so quickly.
SEGREGATION IN INDIANA
Blogger Steve Hinnefeld provides an excellent history lesson on segregation in Indiana.
But Indiana schools are still segregated by race, ethnicity and family income, according to a 2017 study and data visualization by the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy at Indiana University. The legacy of the 1920s lives on.
LOSERS ARE AS LOSERS DO
Finally, the President’s eldest son has about as much verbal self-control as his father. Speaking at a Presidential rally against black and brown immigration, the “first son” called teachers “losers” who indoctrinate their students in socialism.
My response to that are the following socialist benefits Americans enjoy: the U.S. Military, oil subsidies, farm subsidies, social security, Medicare, public roadways and waterways, municipal water systems, public libraries, police and fire departments, the postal service, public trash pickup and landfills, congressional health care, veterans’ health care, public parks, the court system, state and city-run beaches, unemployment insurance, the national weather service, and NASA. [For more see HERE.]
Here are two excellent responses to Junior’s idiocy.
We have a trust-fund baby like the president’s son, one not even smart enough to stay away from meetings where people planned lawbreaking, calling other hard-working Americans losers.
That by itself is enough to trigger a gag reflex.
Then there’s the gratuitous nonsense about socialism. Coming from a guy whose family members are soaking up millions of tax dollars as they vacation every third day at one Trump property after another and leave the nation’s citizenry with the bill, that’s so rich it’s gooey.
Finally, there’s the muddle-headed and mean-spirited goofiness of whining about indoctrination at a Donald Trump rally.
Young Trump complained about indoctrination at an event where a Trump supporter assaulted a BBC cameraman and where anyone who doesn’t chant agreement with everything the leader says or shouts is threatened, beat up or kicked out.
But that’s the way it is with folks like Trump Junior.
Principal McBossface held me over a minute after the meeting to let me know that he’s aware I’m running behind on my Socialist Indoctrination and to remind me that it’s super-critical that I get up to speed. I’m really feeling the pressure.