Monday, April 04, 2011

Doug Tice’s cramped and bony fingers

halloween handsAre all over the editorial in the Strib this morning. Rather than rehash the rehash of the original Strib editorial hash (if you parse that carefully, boys and girls, you will see that it does make sense), I am going to pick out a single sentence.

Research shows that next to family and home environment, effective teaching is the most important factor in helping students learn -- especially disadvantaged students.

And four out of five dentists chew Dentyne gum. It is to laugh.

In other words, after you have enough to eat, a place to sleep, parents who love and support you, have time to read to you and don’t abuse you, and you don’t live someplace in such grinding poverty that you don’t know what to do when you hear gunshots, well then, teachers are important.

So, says Doug (or whoever the author really is; my money is on Tice, however), let’s beat up the teachers to close the achievement gap. This we will do, “for the children,” but at the same time, we’ll tear and rend the already fragile social safety net that is really what these kids need.

My sidekick Rob has written on this subject many, many times, including here.

If you think that the poisonous, black-hearted knave who wrote this editorial cares a whit about minority kids, you’re more delusional than the writer of the editorial.

Meanwhile, if you have kids or grandkids in school, ask them what they’re doing this week (at least in Minnesota). Dollars to doughnuts they’ll tell you they are getting ready to take the MCAs, the annual high stakes test to determine whether a school has made “AYP.”  To do this, the current crop of, say, seventh graders will be compared to last year’s crop of same, even though they are different kids.

And while they’re drilling for the tests in reading and ‘rithmetic, they won’t be studying history, health, civics, art, or any of  the other subjects that make a curriculum rich. Then realize that in lower performing schools teaching to the test consumes huge amounts of time all year.

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