Friday, January 28, 2011

The Black Family: 40 Years of Lies by Kay S. Hymowitz, City Journal Summer 2005

Moynihan and baby mama are a strange pair. But, the report below makes a case all of us should at least thoughtfully consider. While I am still urging breaking the gravitational pull of race, economics and class to achieve, I also believe, without reservation, in a strong nuclear family.
And, it would have to be my personal testimony that I owe my own modest success in a huge measure to mom and dad.

It is a bit long, but worth the read. Click on the link below:

The Black Family: 40 Years of Lies by Kay S. Hymowitz, City Journal Summer 2005

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Caddo Parish School Board Finance Department (Budget Information)

The link below is take you to the Caddo Parish School Board's Finance department. There you will find budget information.

Revenue Allocation (Revenue and Expenditure Data) Louisiana Department of Education

The link below will take you to the revenue and expenditure data page for the Louisiana Department of Education.

Diane Ravitch On Fixing The Countrys Broken Education System - Bing Videos

 It is always helpful to listen to a variety of points of view. That is certainly the case in the current volatile debate on education reform.  Here, celebrated education historian Diane Ravitch is interviewed by Andrea Mitchell on the overall subject of education reform.

Now, you must remember, Diane Ravitch was for No Child Left Behind before now being against it. I am OK with positions evolving over time as circumstances change. However, I am also much more cautious about the new position.

Listen to this interview and how Dr. Ravitch, who is obviously highly skilled at communicating (and debating), now frames the conversation.  Obama's plan is characterized as "close, fire, punish." You mean there is no middle ground here?

Also, there seems to be a defense of poor performing schools based on the fact that they often serve poor children. I call that the "Poverty Defense."

Here is what I see happening. First, I am not against teachers. I am, however, for students. This debate ,in my opinion, depends on what perspective or through what lens you are filtering expected education outputs.

If you focus on student "outputs" (how well a student can read or do math), then it will obviously mean looking at all of the "inputs" (teachers, principals, curriculum) as a way of examining the means for improving "outputs."

Of course, the other way of looking at "outputs" is to accept no responsibility for them or otherwise blame parents, poverty and stupid reformers.

I also want to make it clear that I don't feel Dr. Ravitch or teachers overall are uncaring about students and the impact an education or lack thereof has on their lives. To the contrary, I happen to believe they care deeply.

I also believe that what is commonly called a "special interest" or perhaps more correctly called "self-preservation" is at play here.. Teachers probably do feel under seize, but my advice would be to hang in there and lets all agree that unless and until "outputs" improve to acceptable levels, the climate is not and should not change. Only ACCEPTABLE RESULTS should change the conversation or the tension.  

Click on the link below to view the interview.Your comments are of course welcome.

Diane Ravitch On Fixing The Countrys Broken Education System - Bing Videos

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Leadership Summit Presentations and Documents

A leadership summit was held in Baton Rouge, La on January 12, 2011 for new school board members. It is reported that ninety new board members attended. (Pictured: Paul Pastorek, State Superintendent of Education)

The Louisiana Department of Education generated a press release on Jan 21, 2011 concerning the event. I have listed the link to that press release below for your easy access.

I strongly urge those interested in education for this state and parish to review the release and take a moment to check out the wealth of other information that is available.

I strongly recommend you review, download and study the document titled District At-A-Glance for Caddo Parish. Again, if you have an interest in local educational issues, you will certainly find this document helpful.


Press Release Archives - Louisiana Department of Education

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Return on Educational Investment(District by District Comparison)

This is a report by the Center for American Progress that attempts to measure school district productivity. The analysis is based on spending per pupil and compared with achievement levels. A special interactive map allows you to look up a particular state and compare all the districts within the state to each other.

Productivity is a business concept. This exercise may or may not be useful in the field of education. The decision to close a school has far more implications than is reflected in a dollar and cents analysis. Surely some facilities are being underutilized. And, of course closure and/or consolidation may ultimately be indicated.

But, that decision must be based on more than a simple calculation.

In any event, it is wise to study this data. I am sure it will hit the national, state and local educational conversation like thunder.

Return on Educational Investment

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Neither Fair Nor Accurate

Teachers fight High Stakes Test results from being a part of their performance evaluation system but, ok to impose High Stakes Tests on students (meaning students either passes or fails a grade based on the results of one test).

This site has opposed High Stakes Tests (as defined above) period. No student should be retained based on the results of one test.

I am ok with standardized testing as a diagnostic tool and I want our students to take such tests seriously and make every effort to do well on them.

Perhaps I missed it, but where was the teacher protest and outrage at retaining based on these High Stakes Tests? I welcome comments and further enlightenment on this question.

Click the link below to gain perspective on the teacher evaluation system issue.

Neither Fair Nor Accurate

Friday, January 7, 2011

Education Week: Early-College High Schools: 'Why Not Do It for All the Kids?'

This is an example of why I will not accept POVERTY as the catchall excuse for poor kids not learning.

Click on the link below for a rewarding view at what success looks like in a economically depressed community.

Education Week: Early-College High Schools: 'Why Not Do It for All the Kids?'

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Building a Grad Nation_FullReport_FINAL 11-30-10.ashx (application/pdf Object)

"Together we can-and we will-prepare children and youth for college,work and life." General Colin Powell

America's Promise Alliance is a national effort to improve the lives of children and youth through education. Founded by General Colin Powell, it reflects the hope of our entire nation for our children.

The link below is to a recent report for this group. The report should be considered by all with an interest in this subject. Click the link below to view the report online.

Building a Grad Nation_FullReport_FINAL 11-30-10.ashx (application/pdf Object)

Monday, January 3, 2011

The way we speak now - Science, News - The Independent

Depending on the point you wish to make, some argue that the vocabulary gap between affluent children and children of poverty is huge. Diane Ravitch in a tweet on December 31, 2010 said "Read Ristley and Hart studies of vocabulary gap between children of affluent and of poverty. Gap is there in first year of school."

This of course refers to the so called 30 Million word gap.

I am posting this link to establish a baseline as to just how many words are estimated to be in the entire English language. Looks like they came up with just over 1 million. And, that most folks know some 75,000 words and only actively use about 50,000.

There is no consensus as to how many words a child should know when starting school. You can do your own research to confirm this statement, if you wish.

My concern is that Ristley/Hart in the tweet above is more of the poor kids vs. teacher expectation debate.

While I am squarely in the "poverty is not an excuse or destiny" camp when it comes to learning, I believe it works both ways. That is, poverty is not an excuse for the child nor the teacher. Both have a responsibility in the education equation.

The child is there to put forth an effort to learn and the teacher is there to adopt strategies that meet students where they are developmentally. Both are accountable.

Click on the link below to read the article.

The way we speak now - Science, News - The Independent

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