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RE: [SACC-L] Make sure students will be ready for college

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  • Deborah Shepherd
    Thanks to Lloyd for the article and to Brian for the thorough comment. Unfortunately (in my view), the goals set for high school teachers by higher
    Message 1 of 9 , Feb 1, 2010
      Thanks to Lloyd for the article and to Brian for the thorough comment.

      Unfortunately (in my view), the goals set for high school teachers by higher administrative powers (i.e., the passing of substandard standardized tests) do not produce the results that college faculty need and hope for.

      From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Lynch, Brian M
      Sent: Monday, February 01, 2010 3:00 PM
      To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: RE: [SACC-L] Make sure students will be ready for college



      Lloyd, thanks for sharing this.

      It puzzles me.

      I don't understand not only the so called "disconnect," but also the
      mystery around how to figure out what the gap is all about. Here in the
      community colleges we receive 75 percent of our incoming students (or
      more) who test in at the level of "developmental reading, writing and
      math." They can't read or write (or do basic math) at the "college
      level." Do colleges have mysterious standards that are invisible to
      those trying to understand things at the high school level? Or do high
      school students somehow "leak" what they know/learn in the months
      between graduating and entering college? Can our curriculum be so
      different from h.s. to college that we can't actually comprehend why
      students graduation from the former are somehow mysteriously lacking
      when they enter the former?

      As I said, it puzzles me.

      Brian

      From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com<mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com<mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>] On Behalf
      Of Lloyd Miller
      Sent: Monday, February 01, 2010 2:50 PM
      To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com<mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
      Subject: [SACC-L] Make sure students will be ready for college

      You have been sent an online news article from Lloyd Miller as a
      courtesy of DesMoinesRegister.com.

      Article Title:
      Make sure students will be ready for college

      To view the contents on www.desmoinesregister.com, go to:
      http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/201002010405
      /OPINION03/2010308

      Message:
      HIgh school teachers think their students are receiving good college
      preparation. College teachers disagree. Wow!

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • mep1mep
      The article is about perceptions.  It doesn t seem particularly surprising that most high school teachers *think* they are doing a good job.  It would be
      Message 2 of 9 , Feb 1, 2010
        The article is about perceptions.  It doesn't seem particularly surprising that most high school teachers *think* they are doing a good job.  It would be rather depressing to continue a job which produced only a 25 percent success rate, even if it were true.  And from my no-doubt biased community college perspective, I *think* they are a big, hairy mess of deficiencies.  No surprise there.

        I find it rather surprising that they are passing these perceptions on as somehow "meaningful".




        ________________________________
        From: "Lynch, Brian M" <blynch@...>
        To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Mon, February 1, 2010 2:59:58 PM
        Subject: RE: [SACC-L] Make sure students will be ready for college

         
        Lloyd, thanks for sharing this.

        It puzzles me.

        I don't understand not only the so called "disconnect, " but also the
        mystery around how to figure out what the gap is all about. Here in the
        community colleges we receive 75 percent of our incoming students (or
        more) who test in at the level of "developmental reading, writing and
        math." They can't read or write (or do basic math) at the "college
        level." Do colleges have mysterious standards that are invisible to
        those trying to understand things at the high school level? Or do high
        school students somehow "leak" what they know/learn in the months
        between graduating and entering college? Can our curriculum be so
        different from h.s. to college that we can't actually comprehend why
        students graduation from the former are somehow mysteriously lacking
        when they enter the former?

        As I said, it puzzles me.

        Brian

        From: SACC-L@yahoogroups. com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups. com] On Behalf
        Of Lloyd Miller
        Sent: Monday, February 01, 2010 2:50 PM
        To: SACC-L@yahoogroups. com
        Subject: [SACC-L] Make sure students will be ready for college

        You have been sent an online news article from Lloyd Miller as a
        courtesy of DesMoinesRegister. com.

        Article Title:
        Make sure students will be ready for college

        To view the contents on www.desmoinesregist er.com, go to:
        http://www.desmoine sregister. com/apps/ pbcs.dll/ article?AID= /201002010405
        /OPINION03/2010308

        Message:
        HIgh school teachers think their students are receiving good college
        preparation. College teachers disagree. Wow!

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]







        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Lloyd Miller
        You make a good point, Pam. If high school teachers obsessed over the realization that they had little control over student learning no matter what they did
        Message 3 of 9 , Feb 2, 2010
          You make a good point, Pam. If high school teachers obsessed over the realization that they had little control over student learning no matter what they did or didn't do, they wouldn't be able to continue in their jobs. So, most of them try to teach as well as they can and hope for the best. I think it's a coping mechanism.

          The Des Moines Register (Iowa's "leading" newspaper) is forever wringing its hands about how to improve education: Pay teachers more? Get tough and fire more of the bad ones? Tie teacher pay to student success? Whatever the topic, it always seems to revolve around teachers. Rarely discussed is that administrators (with a wary eye toward school boards), not teachers, are the "deciders."

          As anthropologists, we recognize that the cultural milieu in which students, teachers, parents and everyone else exist has a profound effect on education, as it does on politics, religion and other aspects of society. Our problem is getting non-anthropologists to understand and deal with this. Several years ago I was able to get a letter on this topic published in the DM Register. I also wrote a commentary in 1995 on the topic for the AAA's Anthropology News (then called "Anthropology Newsletter"). I'll email a copy of it to whomever would like to read it. The letter is reprinted below.

          Lloyd

          (Published in the Des Moines Register)

          February 14, 2006

          Dear Editor

          In the Register�s recent dialog on teacher pay (2/13/06), both Linda Lantor Fandel and Andie Dominick are right. Iowa teachers deserve better salaries because their pay is abysmal, and no, higher pay probably will not improve student learning.

          Schools are run by adults and thus reflect their values and behavior. High school students are astute observers of adult behavior. They recognize and remember well the contradictions between what adults say and what they do. They�re told that learning is important but they see exceptions made for the best athletes, and they experience social promotion irrespective of academic performance. They�re told to revere their teachers but see that teacher pay is less than that of any profession requiring comparable levels of education. They�re told that such values as honesty, integrity, care and concern for the welfare of fellow human beings and the planet are important. However, what they see are politicians who lie, corporate heads who cheat and people in power who are grossly incompetent. Few are held accountable. Many students decide that personal accountability is just not that important.

          To improve our schools, we must understand that our cultural behavior often has consequences beyond what we intend, and if those consequences are harmful, we need to change the behavior.

          Sincerely,
          Lloyd Miller
          650 48th St.
          Des Moines, IA 50312
          515-255-0975



          On Feb 1, 2010, at 7:50 PM, mep1mep wrote:

          > The article is about perceptions. It doesn't seem particularly surprising that most high school teachers *think* they are doing a good job. It would be rather depressing to continue a job which produced only a 25 percent success rate, even if it were true. And from my no-doubt biased community college perspective, I *think* they are a big, hairy mess of deficiencies. No surprise there.
          >
          > I find it rather surprising that they are passing these perceptions on as somehow "meaningful".
          >
          > ________________________________
          > From: "Lynch, Brian M" <blynch@...>
          > To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
          > Sent: Mon, February 1, 2010 2:59:58 PM
          > Subject: RE: [SACC-L] Make sure students will be ready for college
          >
          >
          > Lloyd, thanks for sharing this.
          >
          > It puzzles me.
          >
          > I don't understand not only the so called "disconnect, " but also the
          > mystery around how to figure out what the gap is all about. Here in the
          > community colleges we receive 75 percent of our incoming students (or
          > more) who test in at the level of "developmental reading, writing and
          > math." They can't read or write (or do basic math) at the "college
          > level." Do colleges have mysterious standards that are invisible to
          > those trying to understand things at the high school level? Or do high
          > school students somehow "leak" what they know/learn in the months
          > between graduating and entering college? Can our curriculum be so
          > different from h.s. to college that we can't actually comprehend why
          > students graduation from the former are somehow mysteriously lacking
          > when they enter the former?
          >
          > As I said, it puzzles me.
          >
          > Brian
          >
          > From: SACC-L@yahoogroups. com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups. com] On Behalf
          > Of Lloyd Miller
          > Sent: Monday, February 01, 2010 2:50 PM
          > To: SACC-L@yahoogroups. com
          > Subject: [SACC-L] Make sure students will be ready for college
          >
          > You have been sent an online news article from Lloyd Miller as a
          > courtesy of DesMoinesRegister. com.
          >
          > Article Title:
          > Make sure students will be ready for college
          >
          > To view the contents on www.desmoinesregist er.com, go to:
          > http://www.desmoine sregister. com/apps/ pbcs.dll/ article?AID= /201002010405
          > /OPINION03/2010308
          >
          > Message:
          > HIgh school teachers think their students are receiving good college
          > preparation. College teachers disagree. Wow!
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Lynch, Brian M
          Lloyd et al. In the past few weeks I have been working with a range of institutional research people as well as teaching faculty and deans, all in different
          Message 4 of 9 , Feb 2, 2010
            Lloyd et al.

            In the past few weeks I have been working with a range of "institutional
            research" people as well as teaching faculty and deans, all in different
            contexts, around teaching, research, and learning assessment. The thing
            that is now becoming painfully obvious is that both nationally and
            locally so much focus is now being put on "student success"... it is
            where our institutional dollars are going, our "IR" (institutional
            research) tasks and hiring are focused, our discussions about "national
            trends" are focused, etc. The problem? Take a look at what is meant
            by "student success." It is defined in terms of things like student
            completion rates, graduation rates, cohort completion rates etc.; all of
            these are based on numbers that, even by their own admission, tell us
            nothing about what students are actually learning (or IF they are
            learning)... only that they are "completing" something, and in someone's
            prescribed period of time.

            Meanwhile, those who are trying to ask the questions about what our
            students are actually learning, how they are learning, how we can
            improve their learning experience etc., are having to do so as
            "independent contractors," usually outside of any institutional
            framework, without institutional support, disconnected from the "student
            success" wave.

            Something more to consider at the systemic level of things.

            Brian


            -----Original Message-----
            From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
            Of Lloyd Miller
            Sent: Tuesday, February 02, 2010 11:36 AM
            To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [SACC-L] Make sure students will be ready for college

            You make a good point, Pam. If high school teachers obsessed over the
            realization that they had little control over student learning no matter
            what they did or didn't do, they wouldn't be able to continue in their
            jobs. So, most of them try to teach as well as they can and hope for
            the best. I think it's a coping mechanism.

            The Des Moines Register (Iowa's "leading" newspaper) is forever wringing
            its hands about how to improve education: Pay teachers more? Get tough
            and fire more of the bad ones? Tie teacher pay to student success?
            Whatever the topic, it always seems to revolve around teachers. Rarely
            discussed is that administrators (with a wary eye toward school boards),
            not teachers, are the "deciders."

            As anthropologists, we recognize that the cultural milieu in which
            students, teachers, parents and everyone else exist has a profound
            effect on education, as it does on politics, religion and other aspects
            of society. Our problem is getting non-anthropologists to understand
            and deal with this. Several years ago I was able to get a letter on
            this topic published in the DM Register. I also wrote a commentary in
            1995 on the topic for the AAA's Anthropology News (then called
            "Anthropology Newsletter"). I'll email a copy of it to whomever would
            like to read it. The letter is reprinted below.

            Lloyd

            (Published in the Des Moines Register)

            February 14, 2006

            Dear Editor

            In the Register's recent dialog on teacher pay (2/13/06), both
            Linda Lantor Fandel and Andie Dominick are right. Iowa teachers deserve
            better salaries because their pay is abysmal, and no, higher pay
            probably will not improve student learning.

            Schools are run by adults and thus reflect their values and
            behavior. High school students are astute observers of adult behavior.
            They recognize and remember well the contradictions between what adults
            say and what they do. They're told that learning is important but they
            see exceptions made for the best athletes, and they experience social
            promotion irrespective of academic performance. They're told to revere
            their teachers but see that teacher pay is less than that of any
            profession requiring comparable levels of education. They're told that
            such values as honesty, integrity, care and concern for the welfare of
            fellow human beings and the planet are important. However, what they
            see are politicians who lie, corporate heads who cheat and people in
            power who are grossly incompetent. Few are held accountable. Many
            students decide that personal accountability is just not that important.

            To improve our schools, we must understand that our cultural
            behavior often has consequences beyond what we intend, and if those
            consequences are harmful, we need to change the behavior.

            Sincerely,
            Lloyd Miller
            650 48th St.
            Des Moines, IA 50312
            515-255-0975



            On Feb 1, 2010, at 7:50 PM, mep1mep wrote:

            > The article is about perceptions. It doesn't seem particularly
            surprising that most high school teachers *think* they are doing a good
            job. It would be rather depressing to continue a job which produced
            only a 25 percent success rate, even if it were true. And from my
            no-doubt biased community college perspective, I *think* they are a big,
            hairy mess of deficiencies. No surprise there.
            >
            > I find it rather surprising that they are passing these perceptions on
            as somehow "meaningful".
            >
            > ________________________________
            > From: "Lynch, Brian M" <blynch@...>
            > To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
            > Sent: Mon, February 1, 2010 2:59:58 PM
            > Subject: RE: [SACC-L] Make sure students will be ready for college
            >
            >
            > Lloyd, thanks for sharing this.
            >
            > It puzzles me.
            >
            > I don't understand not only the so called "disconnect, " but also the
            > mystery around how to figure out what the gap is all about. Here in
            the
            > community colleges we receive 75 percent of our incoming students (or
            > more) who test in at the level of "developmental reading, writing and
            > math." They can't read or write (or do basic math) at the "college
            > level." Do colleges have mysterious standards that are invisible to
            > those trying to understand things at the high school level? Or do high
            > school students somehow "leak" what they know/learn in the months
            > between graduating and entering college? Can our curriculum be so
            > different from h.s. to college that we can't actually comprehend why
            > students graduation from the former are somehow mysteriously lacking
            > when they enter the former?
            >
            > As I said, it puzzles me.
            >
            > Brian
            >
            > From: SACC-L@yahoogroups. com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups. com] On
            Behalf
            > Of Lloyd Miller
            > Sent: Monday, February 01, 2010 2:50 PM
            > To: SACC-L@yahoogroups. com
            > Subject: [SACC-L] Make sure students will be ready for college
            >
            > You have been sent an online news article from Lloyd Miller as a
            > courtesy of DesMoinesRegister. com.
            >
            > Article Title:
            > Make sure students will be ready for college
            >
            > To view the contents on www.desmoinesregist er.com, go to:
            > http://www.desmoine sregister. com/apps/ pbcs.dll/ article?AID=
            /201002010405
            > /OPINION03/2010308
            >
            > Message:
            > HIgh school teachers think their students are receiving good college
            > preparation. College teachers disagree. Wow!
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
            >



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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          • Lloyd Miller
            Brian, As soon as I read your statement, I thought of this essay by Roger Scruton (pasted below). I was going to write a response, but Scruton says it more
            Message 5 of 9 , Feb 2, 2010
              Brian,

              As soon as I read your statement, I thought of this essay by Roger Scruton (pasted below). I was going to write a response, but Scruton says it more eloquently than I can. I think you'll like this.

              Lloyd


              July 13, 2007
              Culture Counts: Faith and Feeling in a World Besieged
              By Roger Scruton
              RECOMMEND? (6)
              It is one of the most deeply rooted superstitions of our age that the purpose of education is to benefit those who receive it. What we teach in school, what subjects we encourage in universities and the methods of instruction are all subject to the one overarching test: what do the kids get out of it? And this test soon gives way to another, yet more pernicious in its effect, but no less persuasive in the thinking of educationists: is it relevant? And by �relevant� is invariably meant �relevant to the interests of the kids themselves�.
              From these superstitions have arisen all the recipes for failure that have dominated our educational systems: the proliferation of ephemeral subjects, the avoidance of difficulties, methods of teaching that strive to maintain interest at all costs � even at the cost of knowledge. Whether we put the blame on Rousseau, whose preposterous book Emile began the habit of sentimentalising the process whereby knowledge is transferred from one brain to another, on John Dewey, whose hostility to �rote learning� and old-fashioned discipline led to the fashion for �child- centred learning�, or simply on the egalitarian ideas which were bound to sweep through our schools when teachers were no longer properly remunerated � in whatever way we apportion blame, it is clear that we have entered a period of rapid educational decline, in which some people learn masses, but the masses learn little or nothing at all.
              True teachers do not provide knowledge as a benefit to their pupils; they treat their pupils as a benefit to knowledge. Of course they love their pupils, but they love knowledge more. And their overriding concern is to pass on that knowledge by lodging it in brains that will last longer than their own. Their methods are not �child-centred� but �knowledge-centred�, and the focus of their interest is the subject, rather than the things that might make that subject for the time being �relevant� to matters of no intellectual concern. Any attempt to make education relevant risks reducing it to those parts that are of relevance to the uneducated � which are invariably the parts with the shortest life span. A relevant curriculum is one from which the difficult core of knowledge has been excised, and while it may be relevant now, it will be futile in a few years� time. Conversely, irrelevant-seeming knowledge, when properly acquired, is not merely a discipline that can be adapted and applied; it is likely to be exactly what is needed in
              circumstances that nobody foresaw. The �irrelevant� sciences of Boolean algebra and Fregean logic gave birth, in time, to the digital computer; the �irrelevant� studies of Greek, Latin and ancient history enabled a tiny number of British graduates to govern an empire that stretched around the world; while the �irrelevant� paradoxes of Kant�s Critique of Pure Reason caused the theory of relativity to dawn in the mind of Albert Einstein.
              It is worth saying all that, not only because the superstitions to which I refer are so deeply rooted in our modern ways of thinking, but also because those who adopt them will never see the educational value of culture, and will never have a clue as to how it might be taught. What does it benefit ordinary children that they should know the works of Shakespeare, acquire a taste for Bach or develop an interest in medieval Latin? All such attainments merely isolate a child from his peers, place a veil between his thinking and the only world where he can apply it, and are at best an eccentricity, at worst a handicap. My reply is simple: it may not benefit the child � not yet, at least. But it will benefit culture. And because culture is a form of knowledge, it is the business of the teacher to look for the pupil who will pass it on.




              On Feb 2, 2010, at 11:06 AM, Lynch, Brian M wrote:

              > Lloyd et al.
              >
              > In the past few weeks I have been working with a range of "institutional
              > research" people as well as teaching faculty and deans, all in different
              > contexts, around teaching, research, and learning assessment. The thing
              > that is now becoming painfully obvious is that both nationally and
              > locally so much focus is now being put on "student success"... it is
              > where our institutional dollars are going, our "IR" (institutional
              > research) tasks and hiring are focused, our discussions about "national
              > trends" are focused, etc. The problem? Take a look at what is meant
              > by "student success." It is defined in terms of things like student
              > completion rates, graduation rates, cohort completion rates etc.; all of
              > these are based on numbers that, even by their own admission, tell us
              > nothing about what students are actually learning (or IF they are
              > learning)... only that they are "completing" something, and in someone's
              > prescribed period of time.
              >
              > Meanwhile, those who are trying to ask the questions about what our
              > students are actually learning, how they are learning, how we can
              > improve their learning experience etc., are having to do so as
              > "independent contractors," usually outside of any institutional
              > framework, without institutional support, disconnected from the "student
              > success" wave.
              >
              > Something more to consider at the systemic level of things.
              >
              > Brian
              >
              > -----Original Message-----
              > From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
              > Of Lloyd Miller
              > Sent: Tuesday, February 02, 2010 11:36 AM
              > To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
              > Subject: Re: [SACC-L] Make sure students will be ready for college
              >
              > You make a good point, Pam. If high school teachers obsessed over the
              > realization that they had little control over student learning no matter
              > what they did or didn't do, they wouldn't be able to continue in their
              > jobs. So, most of them try to teach as well as they can and hope for
              > the best. I think it's a coping mechanism.
              >
              > The Des Moines Register (Iowa's "leading" newspaper) is forever wringing
              > its hands about how to improve education: Pay teachers more? Get tough
              > and fire more of the bad ones? Tie teacher pay to student success?
              > Whatever the topic, it always seems to revolve around teachers. Rarely
              > discussed is that administrators (with a wary eye toward school boards),
              > not teachers, are the "deciders."
              >
              > As anthropologists, we recognize that the cultural milieu in which
              > students, teachers, parents and everyone else exist has a profound
              > effect on education, as it does on politics, religion and other aspects
              > of society. Our problem is getting non-anthropologists to understand
              > and deal with this. Several years ago I was able to get a letter on
              > this topic published in the DM Register. I also wrote a commentary in
              > 1995 on the topic for the AAA's Anthropology News (then called
              > "Anthropology Newsletter"). I'll email a copy of it to whomever would
              > like to read it. The letter is reprinted below.
              >
              > Lloyd
              >
              > (Published in the Des Moines Register)
              >
              > February 14, 2006
              >
              > Dear Editor
              >
              > In the Register's recent dialog on teacher pay (2/13/06), both
              > Linda Lantor Fandel and Andie Dominick are right. Iowa teachers deserve
              > better salaries because their pay is abysmal, and no, higher pay
              > probably will not improve student learning.
              >
              > Schools are run by adults and thus reflect their values and
              > behavior. High school students are astute observers of adult behavior.
              > They recognize and remember well the contradictions between what adults
              > say and what they do. They're told that learning is important but they
              > see exceptions made for the best athletes, and they experience social
              > promotion irrespective of academic performance. They're told to revere
              > their teachers but see that teacher pay is less than that of any
              > profession requiring comparable levels of education. They're told that
              > such values as honesty, integrity, care and concern for the welfare of
              > fellow human beings and the planet are important. However, what they
              > see are politicians who lie, corporate heads who cheat and people in
              > power who are grossly incompetent. Few are held accountable. Many
              > students decide that personal accountability is just not that important.
              >
              > To improve our schools, we must understand that our cultural
              > behavior often has consequences beyond what we intend, and if those
              > consequences are harmful, we need to change the behavior.
              >
              > Sincerely,
              > Lloyd Miller
              > 650 48th St.
              > Des Moines, IA 50312
              > 515-255-0975
              >
              > On Feb 1, 2010, at 7:50 PM, mep1mep wrote:
              >
              > > The article is about perceptions. It doesn't seem particularly
              > surprising that most high school teachers *think* they are doing a good
              > job. It would be rather depressing to continue a job which produced
              > only a 25 percent success rate, even if it were true. And from my
              > no-doubt biased community college perspective, I *think* they are a big,
              > hairy mess of deficiencies. No surprise there.
              > >
              > > I find it rather surprising that they are passing these perceptions on
              > as somehow "meaningful".
              > >
              > > ________________________________
              > > From: "Lynch, Brian M" <blynch@...>
              > > To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
              > > Sent: Mon, February 1, 2010 2:59:58 PM
              > > Subject: RE: [SACC-L] Make sure students will be ready for college
              > >
              > >
              > > Lloyd, thanks for sharing this.
              > >
              > > It puzzles me.
              > >
              > > I don't understand not only the so called "disconnect, " but also the
              > > mystery around how to figure out what the gap is all about. Here in
              > the
              > > community colleges we receive 75 percent of our incoming students (or
              > > more) who test in at the level of "developmental reading, writing and
              > > math." They can't read or write (or do basic math) at the "college
              > > level." Do colleges have mysterious standards that are invisible to
              > > those trying to understand things at the high school level? Or do high
              > > school students somehow "leak" what they know/learn in the months
              > > between graduating and entering college? Can our curriculum be so
              > > different from h.s. to college that we can't actually comprehend why
              > > students graduation from the former are somehow mysteriously lacking
              > > when they enter the former?
              > >
              > > As I said, it puzzles me.
              > >
              > > Brian
              > >
              > > From: SACC-L@yahoogroups. com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups. com] On
              > Behalf
              > > Of Lloyd Miller
              > > Sent: Monday, February 01, 2010 2:50 PM
              > > To: SACC-L@yahoogroups. com
              > > Subject: [SACC-L] Make sure students will be ready for college
              > >
              > > You have been sent an online news article from Lloyd Miller as a
              > > courtesy of DesMoinesRegister. com.
              > >
              > > Article Title:
              > > Make sure students will be ready for college
              > >
              > > To view the contents on www.desmoinesregist er.com, go to:
              > > http://www.desmoine sregister. com/apps/ pbcs.dll/ article?AID=
              > /201002010405
              > > /OPINION03/2010308
              > >
              > > Message:
              > > HIgh school teachers think their students are receiving good college
              > > preparation. College teachers disagree. Wow!
              > >
              > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              > >
              > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              > >
              > >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
              > ------------------------------------
              >
              > Find out more at our web page :http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/sacc/Yahoo!
              > Groups Links
              >
              >



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • mep1mep
              That is a beautiful response, Lloyd. And thank you for the big picture reminder of the ultimate goal.  Sometimes I forget, myself. Pam
              Message 6 of 9 , Feb 7, 2010
                That is a beautiful response, Lloyd. And thank you for the "big picture"reminder of the ultimate goal.  Sometimes I forget, myself.

                Pam




                ________________________________
                From: Lloyd Miller <lloyd.miller@...>
                To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Tue, February 2, 2010 10:36:23 AM
                Subject: Re: [SACC-L] Make sure students will be ready for college

                You make a good point, Pam.  If high school teachers obsessed over the realization that they had little control over student learning no matter what they did or didn't do, they wouldn't be able to continue in their jobs.  So, most of them try to teach as well as they can and hope for the best.  I think it's a coping mechanism.

                The Des Moines Register (Iowa's "leading" newspaper) is forever wringing its hands about how to improve education: Pay teachers more?  Get tough and fire more of the bad ones?  Tie teacher pay to student success?  Whatever the topic, it always seems to revolve around teachers.  Rarely discussed is that administrators (with a wary eye toward school boards), not teachers, are the "deciders."

                As anthropologists, we recognize that the cultural milieu in which students, teachers, parents and everyone else exist has a profound effect on education, as it does on politics, religion and other aspects of society.  Our problem is getting non-anthropologists to understand and deal with this.  Several years ago I was able to get a letter on this topic published in the DM Register.  I also wrote a commentary in 1995 on the topic for the AAA's Anthropology News (then called "Anthropology Newsletter").  I'll email a copy of it to whomever would like to read it.  The letter is reprinted below.

                Lloyd

                (Published in the Des Moines Register)

                February 14, 2006

                Dear Editor

                      In the Register’s recent dialog on teacher pay (2/13/06), both Linda Lantor Fandel and Andie Dominick are right.  Iowa teachers deserve better salaries because their pay is abysmal, and no, higher pay probably will not improve student learning.

                      Schools are run by adults and thus reflect their values and behavior.  High school students are astute observers of adult behavior.  They recognize and remember well the contradictions between what adults say and what they do.  They’re told that learning is important but they see exceptions made for the best athletes, and they experience social promotion irrespective of academic performance.  They’re told to revere their teachers but see that teacher pay is less than that of any profession requiring comparable levels of education.  They’re told that such values as honesty, integrity, care and concern for the welfare of fellow human beings and the planet are important.  However, what they see are politicians who lie, corporate heads who cheat and people in power who are grossly incompetent.  Few are held accountable.  Many students decide that personal accountability is just not that important.

                      To improve our schools, we must understand that our cultural behavior often has consequences beyond what we intend, and if those consequences are harmful, we need to change the behavior.

                Sincerely,
                Lloyd Miller
                650 48th St.
                Des Moines, IA 50312
                515-255-0975



                On Feb 1, 2010, at 7:50 PM, mep1mep wrote:

                > The article is about perceptions.  It doesn't seem particularly surprising that most high school teachers *think* they are doing a good job.  It would be rather depressing to continue a job which produced only a 25 percent success rate, even if it were true.  And from my no-doubt biased community college perspective, I *think* they are a big, hairy mess of deficiencies.  No surprise there.
                >
                > I find it rather surprising that they are passing these perceptions on as somehow "meaningful".
                >
                > ________________________________
                > From: "Lynch, Brian M" <blynch@...>
                > To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                > Sent: Mon, February 1, 2010 2:59:58 PM
                > Subject: RE: [SACC-L] Make sure students will be ready for college
                >

                > Lloyd, thanks for sharing this.
                >
                > It puzzles me.
                >
                > I don't understand not only the so called "disconnect, " but also the
                > mystery around how to figure out what the gap is all about. Here in the
                > community colleges we receive 75 percent of our incoming students (or
                > more) who test in at the level of "developmental reading, writing and
                > math." They can't read or write (or do basic math) at the "college
                > level." Do colleges have mysterious standards that are invisible to
                > those trying to understand things at the high school level? Or do high
                > school students somehow "leak" what they know/learn in the months
                > between graduating and entering college? Can our curriculum be so
                > different from h.s. to college that we can't actually comprehend why
                > students graduation from the former are somehow mysteriously lacking
                > when they enter the former?
                >
                > As I said, it puzzles me.
                >
                > Brian
                >
                > From: SACC-L@yahoogroups. com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups. com] On Behalf
                > Of Lloyd Miller
                > Sent: Monday, February 01, 2010 2:50 PM
                > To: SACC-L@yahoogroups. com
                > Subject: [SACC-L] Make sure students will be ready for college
                >
                > You have been sent an online news article from Lloyd Miller as a
                > courtesy of DesMoinesRegister. com.
                >
                > Article Title:
                > Make sure students will be ready for college
                >
                > To view the contents on www.desmoinesregist er.com, go to:
                > http://www.desmoine sregister. com/apps/ pbcs.dll/ article?AID= /201002010405
                > /OPINION03/2010308
                >
                > Message:
                > HIgh school teachers think their students are receiving good college
                > preparation. College teachers disagree. Wow!
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
                >



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



                ------------------------------------

                Find out more at our web page :http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/sacc/Yahoo! Groups Links






                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • George Thomas
                Lloyd, Pam, Brian, et al....   (More notes from the field ....)   Naturally, after I read your comments and letters below I was reminded of my current....
                Message 7 of 9 , Feb 16, 2010
                  Lloyd, Pam, Brian, et al....
                   
                  (More notes "from the field"....)
                   
                  Naturally, after I read your comments and letters below I was reminded of my current.... interesting..... college teaching gig. You'll find that I even bold-faced and enlarged the statement below on college teachers disagreeing with HS teachers over whether HS gives graduates good preparation.  "Wow!" says it all.
                   
                  That "cultural milieu" from which most prison inmate students approach their state-supported college education programs, certainly shapes how they approach the challenges.  Your listing of a sample of the many contradictions which teen- and twenty-something students observe around them is magnified in the prison population.  Often a "good grade" seems to have been coaxed through some form of under-handed cheating, but just as often it seems not.  After all else fails, I simply do what the others do here, and remind them that cheating may give them an extra point or two in average, but they will notice consequences if they try to move on academically.  (Many of the lessons learned earlier clearly contradict my naive, well-meaning sermon).
                   
                  But more on the notorious 20-something percent "success-rate": Under their circumstances, and with whatever limitations they have developed individually, it's amazing how well some of them take to college-level learning.  Some of the best students there might go on in life having learned at least as much from their brushes with the Texas Dept. of Corrections and related experiences, as anything they gained from high school.  The genuinely motivated ones seem to really "dig" the archaeology intro class..... (All puns intended).  The students who remained after they learned they would not be learning techniques for digging under the walls, seem to belong in the class.
                   
                  Self-disclosure time:  I'm writing my courses and developing them within this system, using prison inmates as my own guinea pigs.  (I can sleep at night, knowing I'm doing the best I can).  Once I manage to find a teaching "gig" in some "normal" community college, I might find it refreshing that there are still some students left who learned much of a healthy "cultural milieu" without the "aid" of some prison experience.  I remember those old, old days, and sometimes I think there's been a Rip Van Winkle experience somewhere in my more recent background.
                   
                  Many of them may be smart, but these days it seems nobody has learned how to write!
                  G
                   
                   
                  Re: Make sure students will be ready for college
                      Posted by: "mep1mep" mep1mep@... pmaack
                      Date: Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:33 pm ((PST))

                  That is a beautiful response, Lloyd. And thank you for the "big picture"reminder of the ultimate goal.  Sometimes I forget, myself.

                  Pam

                  ________________________________
                  From: Lloyd Miller <lloyd.miller@...>
                  To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Tue, February 2, 2010 10:36:23 AM
                  Subject: Re: [SACC-L] Make sure students will be ready for college

                  You make a good point, Pam.  If high school teachers obsessed over the realization that they had little control over student learning no matter what they did or didn't do, they wouldn't be able to continue in their jobs.  So, most of them try to teach as well as they can and hope for the best.  I think it's a coping mechanism.

                  The Des Moines Register (Iowa's "leading" newspaper) is forever wringing its hands about how to improve education: Pay teachers more?  Get tough and fire more of the bad ones?  Tie teacher pay to student success?  Whatever the topic, it always seems to revolve around teachers.  Rarely discussed is that administrators (with a wary eye toward school boards), not teachers, are the "deciders."

                  As anthropologists, we recognize that the cultural milieu in which students, teachers, parents and everyone else exist has a profound effect on education, as it does on politics, religion and other aspects of society.  Our problem is getting non-anthropologists to understand and deal with this.  Several years ago I was able to get a letter on this topic published in the DM Register.  I also wrote a commentary in 1995 on the topic for the AAA's Anthropology News (then called "Anthropology Newsletter").  I'll email a copy of it to whomever would like to read it.  The letter is reprinted below.

                  Lloyd

                  (Published in the Des Moines Register)

                  February 14, 2006

                  Dear Editor

                        In the Register’s recent dialog on teacher pay (2/13/06), both Linda Lantor Fandel and Andie Dominick are right.  Iowa teachers deserve better salaries because their pay is abysmal, and no, higher pay probably will not improve student learning.

                        Schools are run by adults and thus reflect their values and behavior.  High school students are astute observers of adult behavior.  They recognize and remember well the contradictions between what adults say and what they do.  They’re told that learning is important but they see exceptions made for the best athletes, and they experience social promotion irrespective of academic performance.  They’re told to revere their teachers but see that teacher pay is less than that of any profession requiring comparable levels of education.  They’re told that such values as honesty, integrity, care and concern for the welfare of fellow human beings and the planet are important.  However, what they see are politicians who lie, corporate heads who cheat and people in power who are grossly incompetent.  Few are held accountable.  Many students decide that personal accountability is just not that important.

                        To improve our schools, we must understand that our cultural behavior often has consequences beyond what we intend, and if those consequences are harmful, we need to change the behavior.

                  Sincerely,
                  Lloyd Miller
                  650 48th St.
                  Des Moines, IA 50312
                  515-255-0975



                  On Feb 1, 2010, at 7:50 PM, mep1mep wrote:

                  > The article is about perceptions.  It doesn't seem particularly surprising that most high school teachers *think* they are doing a good job.  It would be rather depressing to continue a job which produced only a 25 percent success rate, even if it were true.  And from my no-doubt biased community college perspective, I *think* they are a big, hairy mess of deficiencies.  No surprise there.
                  >
                  > I find it rather surprising that they are passing these perceptions on as somehow "meaningful".
                  >
                  > ________________________________
                  > From: "Lynch, Brian M" <blynch@...>
                  > To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                  > Sent: Mon, February 1, 2010 2:59:58 PM
                  > Subject: RE: [SACC-L] Make sure students will be ready for college
                  >
                  > 
                  > Lloyd, thanks for sharing this.
                  >
                  > It puzzles me.
                  >
                  > I don't understand not only the so called "disconnect, " but also the
                  > mystery around how to figure out what the gap is all about. Here in the
                  > community colleges we receive 75 percent of our incoming students (or
                  > more) who test in at the level of "developmental reading, writing and
                  > math." They can't read or write (or do basic math) at the "college
                  > level." Do colleges have mysterious standards that are invisible to
                  > those trying to understand things at the high school level? Or do high
                  > school students somehow "leak" what they know/learn in the months
                  > between graduating and entering college? Can our curriculum be so
                  > different from h.s. to college that we can't actually comprehend why
                  > students graduation from the former are somehow mysteriously lacking
                  > when they enter the former?
                  >
                  > As I said, it puzzles me.
                  >
                  > Brian
                  >
                  > From: SACC-L@yahoogroups. com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups. com] On Behalf
                  > Of Lloyd Miller
                  > Sent: Monday, February 01, 2010 2:50 PM
                  > To: SACC-L@yahoogroups. com
                  > Subject: [SACC-L] Make sure students will be ready for college
                  >
                  > You have been sent an online news article from Lloyd Miller as a
                  > courtesy of DesMoinesRegister. com.
                  >
                  > Article Title:
                  > Make sure students will be ready for college
                  >
                  > To view the contents on www.desmoinesregist er.com, go to:
                  > http://www.desmoine sregister. com/apps/ pbcs.dll/ article?AID= /201002010405
                  > /OPINION03/2010308

                  Message:
                  HIgh school teachers think their students are receiving good college preparation. College teachers disagree. Wow!
                  >
                  >________________________________________________________________________
                  1b. Re: Make sure students will be ready for college
                      Posted by: "Lloyd Miller" lloyd.miller@...
                      Date: Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:33 pm ((PST))

                  Brian,

                  As soon as I read your statement, I thought of this essay by Roger Scruton (pasted below).  I was going to write a response, but Scruton says it more eloquently than I can.  I think you'll like this.

                  Lloyd


                  July 13, 2007
                  Culture Counts: Faith and Feeling in a World Besieged
                  By Roger Scruton
                  RECOMMEND? (6)
                  It is one of the most deeply rooted superstitions of our age that the purpose of education is to benefit those who receive it. What we teach in school, what subjects we encourage in universities and the methods of instruction are all subject to the one overarching test: what do the kids get out of it? And this test soon gives way to another, yet more pernicious in its effect, but no less persuasive in the thinking of educationists: is it relevant? And by “relevant” is invariably meant “relevant to the interests of the kids themselves”.
                  From these superstitions have arisen all the recipes for failure that have dominated our educational systems: the proliferation of ephemeral subjects, the avoidance of difficulties, methods of teaching that strive to maintain interest at all costs – even at the cost of knowledge. Whether we put the blame on Rousseau, whose preposterous book Emile began the habit of sentimentalising the process whereby knowledge is transferred from one brain to another, on John Dewey, whose hostility to “rote learning” and old-fashioned discipline led to the fashion for “child- centred learning”, or simply on the egalitarian ideas which were bound to sweep through our schools when teachers were no longer properly remunerated – in whatever way we apportion blame, it is clear that we have entered a period of rapid educational decline, in which some people learn masses, but the masses learn little or nothing at all.
                  True teachers do not provide knowledge as a benefit to their pupils; they treat their pupils as a benefit to knowledge. Of course they love their pupils, but they love knowledge more. And their overriding concern is to pass on that knowledge by lodging it in brains that will last longer than their own. Their methods are not “child-centred” but “knowledge-centred”, and the focus of their interest is the subject, rather than the things that might make that subject for the time being “relevant” to matters of no intellectual concern. Any attempt to make education relevant risks reducing it to those parts that are of relevance to the uneducated – which are invariably the parts with the shortest life span. A relevant curriculum is one from which the difficult core of knowledge has been excised, and while it may be relevant now, it will be futile in a few years’ time. Conversely, irrelevant-seeming knowledge, when properly acquired, is not
                  merely a discipline that can be adapted and applied; it is likely to be exactly what is needed in
                  circumstances that nobody foresaw. The “irrelevant” sciences of Boolean algebra and Fregean logic gave birth, in time, to the digital computer; the “irrelevant” studies of Greek, Latin and ancient history enabled a tiny number of British graduates to govern an empire that stretched around the world; while the “irrelevant” paradoxes of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason caused the theory of relativity to dawn in the mind of Albert Einstein.
                  It is worth saying all that, not only because the superstitions to which I refer are so deeply rooted in our modern ways of thinking, but also because those who adopt them will never see the educational value of culture, and will never have a clue as to how it might be taught. What does it benefit ordinary children that they should know the works of Shakespeare, acquire a taste for Bach or develop an interest in medieval Latin? All such attainments merely isolate a child from his peers, place a veil between his thinking and the only world where he can apply it, and are at best an eccentricity, at worst a handicap. My reply is simple: it may not benefit the child – not yet, at least. But it will benefit culture. And because culture is a form of knowledge, it is the business of the teacher to look for the pupil who will pass it on.




                  On Feb 2, 2010, at 11:06 AM, Lynch, Brian M wrote:

                  > Lloyd et al.
                  >
                  > In the past few weeks I have been working with a range of "institutional
                  > research" people as well as teaching faculty and deans, all in different
                  > contexts, around teaching, research, and learning assessment. The thing
                  > that is now becoming painfully obvious is that both nationally and
                  > locally so much focus is now being put on "student success"... it is
                  > where our institutional dollars are going, our "IR" (institutional
                  > research) tasks and hiring are focused, our discussions about "national
                  > trends" are focused, etc. The problem? Take a look at what is meant
                  > by "student success." It is defined in terms of things like student
                  > completion rates, graduation rates, cohort completion rates etc.; all of
                  > these are based on numbers that, even by their own admission, tell us
                  > nothing about what students are actually learning (or IF they are
                  > learning)... only that they are "completing" something, and in someone's
                  > prescribed period of time.
                  >
                  > Meanwhile, those who are trying to ask the questions about what our
                  > students are actually learning, how they are learning, how we can
                  > improve their learning experience etc., are having to do so as
                  > "independent contractors," usually outside of any institutional
                  > framework, without institutional support, disconnected from the "student
                  > success" wave.
                  >
                  > Something more to consider at the systemic level of things.
                  >
                  > Brian





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