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School Achievement? Yes We Can!

Posted By: Dick Schutz on June 21, 2008
Dr. Gelberg has half a point. In making relative comparisons in any matter where the determinants are multiple and complex, there will always be "a gap" between the high end and the low end of the normal distribution. But focusing on "the gap" is counter-productive both politically and professionally. Politically, if the “low end” is brought up, the “high end” will scream. Look at the current advocacy for the “gifted.” And professionally, it submits to rather than overcomes the “Matthew Effect.”

Is it feasible to reliably teach poor and minority kids to read and to "do math" to the level of Algebra? Certainly. If a child can speak in complete sentences in English and participate in everyday conversation, the child has the prerequisites to make learning/teaching reading feasible. And math can be taught concurrently. To do this reliably entails cumulative acknowledgment of what individual children are learning/being taught. Prevailing instruction and testing does everything but this.

Schools can and should do more than deliver kids who can read and do math up-to-and-including algebra. As a matter of fact, schools ARE now reliably delivering societal services effectively and economically which are going unnoticed. But parents, employers, post-secondary ed, and citizenry would be satisfied if this "low" expectation were met.

"Turnaround" is needed at the top of the EdChain, not the bottom.

Dick Schutz
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 School Achievement? Yes We Can! by Dick Schutz on June 21, 2008
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