Friday, September 14, 2007

Attendance (Learning to Finish)

We currently have 8 days worth of attendance data as published in The Times. Some trends are already apparent. For example, for the 11 high schools, the best in class is Magnet High with an average absentee score of 2.2%. Caddo Parish has an average absentee score of 4.8%.

It would be good to check your neighborhood school against these benchmarks. Remember, the child can not perform if he or she is not in school.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Education Week Open House

The popular publication Education Week is currently running an open house special. You may use and access all the features of this great resource free. I strongly recommend that you give this a test drive. Take a look at and you will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

From Crisis to Contradiction

The Sacramento Bee recently reported on an educational conference that took as its theme "Is Bill Cosby Right." The article opened with the following statement: "The educational crisis facing black children in the United States is well-documented. Disproportionately, they attend the poorest schools, with the least experienced teachers, the lowest test scores and the highest dropout rates."

As you might imagine, conference participants did a lot of talking. In fact the article goes on to say "We're all doing a lot of talking," said Sacramento City Councilwoman Louren Hammond. "That's what we're best at."

On that point, I could not agree more.

Then there are developments in Maryland as reported by Gina Davis and Liz Bowie of the Baltimore Sun. This article was titled "Blacks in suburbs failing Md. exams (Poor results at some high schools called surprising).

The article further states "An alarming pattern of failure is surfacing: Minority students, especially African-Americans, are struggling to pass the exams in the suburban classrooms their families had hoped would provide a better education."

"It is a wake-up call to African-Americans in Maryland.," said Dunbar Brooks, president of the state school board and former president of the Baltimore County School board. "For many African-Americans, the mere fact that your child attends a suburban school district does not make academic achievement automatic."

Here is my take. Black children are being abandoned. First by parents and second by once very strong community support systems (church, clubs, organizations). They are abandoned to poor urban schools that operate without the essentials for a successful educational experience.

They are abandoned to suburban schools with the thought that by just being there, success is all but assured.

The truth is children must have supportive and involved parents to succeed. This is not a blame game but a statement of what I believe to be a fact. As a Christian, my belief system confirms our Creator set it up that way. Children are a blessing from God and require the care and nurture of loving and supportive parents.

No amount of talk, money or legislation will ever change that fact. Please see earlier posts on culture and parental involvement for my recommendations.

What do you think?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Learning to Finish (a national effort)

"...the learning to Finish Campaign , a national community-based effort established to respond to one of our most urgent public problems-the high school dropout crisis.
Despite repeated assertions on the part of leaders in all sectors about the importance of addressing the dropout situation, the problem today is more acute than ever. Recent reports indicate that nationally about one-third of all students who enter high school do not graduate on time if ever. Some 2,500 students leave high school every day." This quote is by Suzanne W. Morse, President of the Pew Partnership for Civic Change. Pew has teamed with local civic organizations to help the Shreveport-Bossier area reverse this trend.

I support this effort without reservation. It seeks to bring together collective local resources to focus on the drop out problem

The Times is running local attendance information on a school by school basis for the month of September. Clearly, if a child is not in school, there is no way to be successful.

I urge readers of this blog to pay close attention to the issue of attendance for this entire year. No matter who you are, you can talk up the idea of going to school each day, on time and ready to learn.

My plans are to post frequently regarding the local Learning to Finish effort.

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