Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Achievement gap and all that crap

"All kids, regardless of color, regardless of district, deserve better than what we have been offering. They deserve so much better without the taxpayers in this state going broke year after year."   

I have addressed this issue many times in the past. There have been numerous studies which support this conclusion. All people, regardless of skin color, are equal in learning ability. The is no "genetic deficit" in any race. ALL are wired the same way in learning. So I am so, so tired of hearing about this so called "achievement gap". It is insulting to people of color. And it is a false narrative.

Today, there was yet another article in the local paper bemoaning the latest academic test results. After pouring all kinds of money and attention into the "achievement gap" over the past five years, there was not been any significant movement in test results. In fact, math scores are a tad lower. Then if all kids are wired to learn the same way, and more money does not fix this, what gives? Seems like pouring money into this issue is barking up the wrong tree.

But there was another story within the story. The test scores in the Minneapolis district were published. And it was shocking. Test scores for both math and reading proficiency are in the low forties. Let that sink in for just a minute. We pour 1/3 of all our tax dollars into education, and in one of the state's largest districts, we have less than 50% of the kids who are up to snuff in both math and reading.

What do I want? I want this stupid box broken. In other words, I don't want us to just think outside the box, I want the box broken. Into a million pieces. It sucks. Our education system screws over kids, year after year. We have bright kids graduating from high school knowing very little. Okay - not all the districts. Some are much, much better than others. Minneapolis however, is in the basement. The lowest of the low. And kids in Minneapolis are the ones who suffer the consequences every year. 

Will we fix it? Na. We will stay in this same stupid box, failing kids, and then blaming Republicans for not spending enough on education. The irony of that argument is this - we could spend 105% of all taxes collected in this state, and this problem would still not be fixed. Why? It has been proven in the past that simply adding more money does not fix education.

What would I do? First, abolish Education Minnesota and make it illegal for teachers to form or join a union. Next, I would expand the school year from 180 days to 210 days. I would also scrap social promotion. If you don't master a grade, you will do it over, with more tutorial help if needed. There would be zero tolerance for behavior issues. Parents would be held accountable for excessive truants and excessive behavioral issues. I could go on and on, but that is good for right now. 

I am sick and tired about all this grousing concerning our education system. Fix it, or shut up. And stop telling kids of color they need more help learning. They don't. They are just as smart as anyone else - maybe smarter. All kids, regardless of color, regardless of district, deserve better than what they have been getting. They deserve so much better without the taxpayers in this state going broke year after year.   

1 comment:

  1. I was lucky enough to be in the Class of '63, the year that had the highest scoring ever in standardized testing, not eclipsed since. Not a matter of smarts, just dedicated teachers, involved parents, small class size, willingness to learn and a safe environment to learn in.

    The causes of current achievement gaps are multiple and complexly interrelated, and they vary from school to school, district to district, and community to community. As a starting point, consider factors that contribute to achievement gaps

    Within Schools' Control

    Low expectations for student achievement;
    Lack of rigor in the curriculum;
    Large class size;
    Tracking groups of students into a less demanding curriculum;
    Unsafe schools;
    Culturally unfriendly environments;
    Poor, or no, instructional leadership.

    Teacher- and Teaching-Related Factors

    Uncertified and inexperienced teachers;
    Insensitivity to different cultures;
    Poor teacher preparation;
    Low expectations of students;
    Inadequate materials, equipment, and resources, including technology-based resources

    Student-Related Factors

    Students' interest in school;
    Students' level of effort;
    Students' feeling that they are, in part, responsible for their learning

    Families' Support of Students' Learning

    Families' participation in school activities;
    Families' skills to support and reinforce learning; and
    Students' TV watching and at-home reading
    Adequate Nutrition

    It is a problem that won't be solved for several generations, if ever.

    Dave Gjerdingen