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Fw: [LiteracyForAll] A comment on Ravitch's NY Times article: School Miracles, Slow Learners and Access to Books

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  • Eduardo Martinez
    Some info to see the misleading ways of statistics. http://www.eduardomartinez4richmond.net/index.html ... From: Stephen Krashen To:
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 5, 2011
      Some info to see the misleading ways of statistics.
      http://www.eduardomartinez4richmond.net/index.html



      ----- Forwarded Message ----
      From: Stephen Krashen <skrashen@...>
      To: LiteracyForAll@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Fri, June 3, 2011 3:12:06 PM
      Subject: [LiteracyForAll] A comment on Ravitch's NY Times article: School
      Miracles, Slow Learners and Access to Books


      A comment on Ravitch's NY Times article: School Miracles, Slow Learners and
      Access to Books
      First-class investigative reporting by Diane Ravitch revealed that when schools
      seem to have overcome poverty and have achieved "stunning results," it is
      usually "the result of statistical legerdemain," and that "the only miracle at
      these schools was a triumph of public relations." (Waiting for a School Miracle,
      http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/01/opinion/01ravitch.html).
      The media and politicians are slow learners (see eg Jonathan Alter's remarks on
      Ravitch's column. Alter focuses on two small details but ignores the other
      cases, past and present;
      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-03/don-t-believe-critics-education-reform-works-jonathan-alter.html).
      Gerald Bracey regularly reported cases like this years ago, and I contributed
      an analysis as well. We both concluded that there were very very few cases in
      which schools in high-poverty areas achieved high scores on tests.

      Individual cases of overcoming poverty are rare as well. When individuals do
      succeed despite poverty, they often give credit to the fact that they became
      voracious readers: Access to books is rare in high-poverty communities, but
      they found a way to get access to books, and gave reading the credit for their
      school success (I describe some cases, including Geoffrey Canada), in Krashen,
      2011). Oddly, providing access to books through support for school libraries
      and librarians does not seem to be a feature of school "reform" these days.

      Bracey, G. 2007. It's being done. Oh really?
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gerald-bracey/its-being-done-oh-really_b_63067.html

      Krashen, S. 2002. Don’t trust Ed Trust. Substance 27 (6): 3.
      (http://sdkrashen.com/index.php?cat=7)
      Krashen, S. 2011. Protecting students against the effects of poverty: Libraries
      (New England Reading Association Journal) http://sdkrashen.com/




      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Todd Groves
      We get what we incentivize. Kids cheat to get high grades. Administrators cheat to get high scores. Tests are not a great way to measure kids. Heisenberg s
      Message 2 of 2 , Jun 5, 2011
        We get what we incentivize. Kids cheat to get high grades. Administrators cheat to get high scores. Tests are not a great way to measure kids. Heisenberg's lesson, i.e. you can't measure something without changing it, applies astutely to current practice. Do the kids actually know anything? How do we determine whether or not this is so?

        Testing aside, anyone spending time in schools, especially middle and high school, knows that our kids are not learning to their potential. Go ahead and reject formal education, capitalism...it does nothing for these kids. I would suggest a tiny listserve on WCCUSD issues is not the place for future Pol Pots to seed their revolutions. How about a Year Zero list? I hear Bilderberg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bilderberg_Group is gearing up. Maybe they would give a listen.

        For the rest of us, we need to start an urgent dialogue on learning in WCCUSD. Schools as structured are not sufficient to push kids out of poverty. If you read nothing else this summer, do our community a favor and read David Kirp's new book, http://is.gd/rOcIvg . It contains real, implementable solutions geared toward a communal approach to underachievement and breaking cycles of poverty.

        WCCUSD has some of the best teachers I've ever seen. It also has some of the worst. UTR needs to address the issue, as they are seen (rightly or wrongly) as the impediment to progress. Come up with a real performance evaluation system that helps teachers improve the craft. Give teachers the ability to evaluate administration within the evaluation process. Identify critical performance issues systemically, the ones directly effecting the classroom. We need "formative assessment," of administrator performance done from the classroom up. Provenly effective teachers should be designing the curriculum, not crank consultants. If we want to escape the "script with fidelity," we need to offer a plausible, high quality alternative fitting our local needs and strengths. If UTR doesn't take this on, the community will rise up and demand it be done without them.

        Good administration is the key to turning this district around. How are administrators evaluated? Do the evaluations measure key performance issues. Admin can't be a job for life. We need good leaders at every level. A widespread perception exists that WCCUSD promotes leadership primarily based on identity rather than capability. Allowing the perception to linger discourages trust in district judgement. Give us the most talented, energetic and creative leadership possible, irrespective of background.

        Expand community outreach and participation. The district is distrusted by localities, communities and organizations, mostly for communication lapses. Civic engagement needs to change. Most of our families are not likely to participate in the traditional forums of civic structures. Inventing new means of engagement will win more support for the hard stuff.

        The energy and resources are here. How do we get them working in concert? Restoring trust in district decisions must come first. Expanding opportunities for engagement with go along way to achieving this. The community must reject solutions that do not empirically place student interest first.

        Todd Groves


        --- In wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com, Eduardo Martinez <ezedmartin@...> wrote:
        >
        > Some info to see the misleading ways of statistics.
        > http://www.eduardomartinez4richmond.net/index.html
        >
        >
        >
        > ----- Forwarded Message ----
        > From: Stephen Krashen <skrashen@...>
        > To: LiteracyForAll@yahoogroups.com
        > Sent: Fri, June 3, 2011 3:12:06 PM
        > Subject: [LiteracyForAll] A comment on Ravitch's NY Times article: School
        > Miracles, Slow Learners and Access to Books
        >
        >
        > A comment on Ravitch's NY Times article: School Miracles, Slow Learners and
        > Access to Books
        > First-class investigative reporting by Diane Ravitch revealed that when schools
        > seem to have overcome poverty and have achieved "stunning results," it is
        > usually "the result of statistical legerdemain," and that "the only miracle at
        > these schools was a triumph of public relations." (Waiting for a School Miracle,
        > http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/01/opinion/01ravitch.html).
        > The media and politicians are slow learners (see eg Jonathan Alter's remarks on
        > Ravitch's column. Alter focuses on two small details but ignores the other
        > cases, past and present;
        > http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-03/don-t-believe-critics-education-reform-works-jonathan-alter.html).
        > Gerald Bracey regularly reported cases like this years ago, and I contributed
        > an analysis as well. We both concluded that there were very very few cases in
        > which schools in high-poverty areas achieved high scores on tests.
        >
        > Individual cases of overcoming poverty are rare as well. When individuals do
        > succeed despite poverty, they often give credit to the fact that they became
        > voracious readers: Access to books is rare in high-poverty communities, but
        > they found a way to get access to books, and gave reading the credit for their
        > school success (I describe some cases, including Geoffrey Canada), in Krashen,
        > 2011). Oddly, providing access to books through support for school libraries
        > and librarians does not seem to be a feature of school "reform" these days.
        >
        > Bracey, G. 2007. It's being done. Oh really?
        > http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gerald-bracey/its-being-done-oh-really_b_63067.html
        >
        > Krashen, S. 2002. Don’t trust Ed Trust. Substance 27 (6): 3.
        > (http://sdkrashen.com/index.php?cat=7)
        > Krashen, S. 2011. Protecting students against the effects of poverty: Libraries
        > (New England Reading Association Journal) http://sdkrashen.com/
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
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