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Hurricane Katrina "digital divides"?

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  • BBracey@aol.com
    It is a wonder that many children in our country love school at all or want to pursue learning. The current lack of focus to anything but testing takes the joy
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 2, 2006
      It is a wonder that many children in our country love school at all or want
      to pursue learning. The current lack of focus to anything but testing takes the
      joy out of learning,.. there are many kinds of learning but what about the
      children in our country who are having even further difficulty.

      > *
      > Many Katrina children losing interest in school*
      > Hundreds of evacuated Hurricane Katrina children at one Baker, La.,
      > trailer park are skipping school, a disturbing trend that could be
      > occurring in the many communities that accepted displaced students.
      > Experts blame student disengagement on such factors as mental trauma,
      > frequent family moves, friction between newcomers and locals at host
      > campuses and uncertainties about the future.   The New York Times
      > <http://r.smartbrief.com/resp/dKtQjewOqqpDAZBQCs> (free registration)
      > If you read this article all the way through, it mentions the fact that
      > students are being turned away because schools are full and way under
      > funded. Children are left directionless with parents and educators who
      > are unable to move the educational leviathan along. I just wonder if it
      > would be easier (and faster???) to set up computer centers and offer
      > some online courses. While this will not solve the problem right away,
      > it will at least keep the students involved in learning and focused on
      > what they CAN do instead of what they canNOT do.
      > Then when you read an article like this
      > (http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/index_25685.html), you ask
      > yourself, why not here? I am so delighted and pleased for the tsunami
      > affected children and that their educational advantages have increased
      > as a result. Why have our own children's educational advantages decreased?
      > It seems to me we have an educational divide that houses our digital
      > divide in LA.  I ran across this article, dated 4-9-06. Subsequent
      > searches found no information to the contrary in that it had been
      > changed further still. I know the pressure our NOLA students were under
      > to pass the GEE (their standardized test) AND the extra stress and time
      > consumption it put upon teachers, counselors and our testing personnel.
      > To me, this is what is fast becoming one of those times you simply
      > scratch your head in absolute amazement and "wonder what could they be
      > thinking?"
      > http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/265965_focus09.html
      > Katrina blows hole in No Child Left Behind
      > By ELAINE M. GARAN
      > "There should no debate about whether to grant waivers from federal
      > accountability requirements for schools and states
      > affected by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. No Child Left Behind
      > provides for one-year waivers in the event of
      > natural disasters. Section 1111(b)(3)(C)(vii) of the law states:
      > "The Secretary may provide the State 1 additional year if the State
      > demonstrates that exceptional or uncontrollable
      > circumstances, such as a natural disaster or a precipitous and
      > unforeseen decline in the financial resources of the State,
      > prevented full implementation of the academic assessments by that
      > deadline and that the State will complete
      > implementation within the additional 1-year period."
      > Despite this statute language, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings
      > initially expressed unwillingness to grant
      > waivers to schools affected by Katrina. For weeks, schools waited in
      > limbo until she reluctantly agreed to allow
      > automatic one-year waivers from accountability standards -- but only for
      > those Gulf Coast schools that were destroyed
      > or severely damaged. In effect, the secretary's compassionate
      > flexibility amounted to this: Schools that no longer exist
      > and have no students to teach, much less test, will not be punished
      > failure to meet their "adequate yearly progress"
      > targets.
      > In spite of the exemptions for some Gulf Coast schools, Spellings
      > insists students who are victims of Katrina -- no
      > matter where they are, no matter how disrupted their lives may be, and
      > regardless of how they have suffered -- will still
      > be forced to take standardized tests.
      > Moreover, those schools that have taken in student evacuees, thereby
      > straining their fiscal resources and jeopardizing
      > their adequate yearly progress ratings, will not receive automatic
      > exemptions from federal punishment.
      > Rather, Spellings has said she will decide on a case-by-case basis
      > whether to waive requirements. It is yet another
      > empty concession, because there are nearly 389,000 student evacuees, in
      > hundreds or even thousands of schools,
      > scattered across all 50 states."
      > Can anyone add anything positive to this? I don't understand months
      > later, areas of life, such as education, are still left so undeniably
      > and painfully ignored.
      > Thanks for listening,
      > Linda Newell
      > Crowley HS
      > Texas

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