kitchen table math, the sequel: code words

Thursday, March 1, 2007

code words

Hard recovery for failed US schools

The Christian Science monitor has an article up on schools that have to go under administration for failing AYP. One of the examples they use is Sobrante Park Elementary School in Oakland Unified School District. The conclusion is that one reform doesn't work. Successfully transformation of schools has to include several reforms including changing the staff, revamping the curriculum, and other revisions.

They cited Sobrante Park as one school that was able to completely transform itself. Of course in the article, they never do tell us exactly how they managed to make the transformation, but they did give one hint.
The teachers adopted a more scripted and uniform curriculum, making it easier for them to collaborate and for the principal to evaluate them.

Sounds suspiciously like they adopted direct instruction.

The results: The school kicked ass in almost every grade, scoring above average compared to the state scores, despite being predominantly poor and minority.

You think all these media organizations would start to notice the trend.


Catherine Johnson said...

You've got to look at David Brooks' column today if you have a subscription to the TIMES.

The secret to educational reform is teaching disadvantaged mothers how to bond with their babies.

I kid you not.

Brooks, of course, loved the KIPP article, the one that attributed KIPP's success to its character education program.

The KIPP people need to tell journalists they're not going to do any interviews EVER unless the journalist promises not to write a story about poor kids not learning because their family structure is deficient.

Catherine Johnson said...


A Critique of Pure Reason

Anonymous said...

Well, Brooks is the child of hippies.

Barry Garelick said...

Undoubtedly Brooks was one of the millions of kids who was told he's special.

Journalists also need to be instructed on what "balanced writing" really means. It does NOT mean that when writes about the math wars you first characterize the parents' complaint and then make them look ridiculous by quoting teachers, administrators and book publishers who hide behind the "They just don't understand the theory" excuse. That's a tall order and will take some time, but in the meantime, headline writers should stop being so lazy and using the cliched headline "New math program doesn't add up". How about something new like "Another school district lies to parents about the effectiveness of a faulty math program"

BeckyC said...

You think all these media organizations would start to notice the trend.

It doesn't fit their narrative, and so is easily discarded in a world in which we are all busily constructing our own meanings.