kitchen table math, the sequel: reading workshop

Saturday, April 3, 2010

reading workshop

Headline and subhead in the March 31, 2010 issue of Education Week:

Added H.S. Science Courses Said To Yield Mixed Effect in Chicago
Policy did not boost college-going or grades, study finds

Critical thinking challenge: In the two lines above, which word seems out of place?*


department of silver linings

Apparently, the term 'mixed' refers to the fact that after Chicago public schools required all students to take 3 science courses in order to graduate, many more students did indeed take 3 science courses prior to graduation.
Many students passed their classes with C’s and D’s, both before and after the policy was implemented, the researchers found. That suggests a low level of learning and engagement in the courses, they said.

Only 15 percent of students, the study says, completed three years of science with a B average or higher in those courses after the policy change. That was a modest 4-percentage-point increase compared with the period before the policy took effect.

Prior research, Mr. Montgomery said, shows that students who are truly gaining knowledge in courses earn grades of A or B.

“Before the policy, most students received C’s and D’s in their classes,” he said. “If they weren’t being successful with one or two years of science, why would we think they would be successful with three years of science, if we don’t pay attention to getting the students engaged?”

[snip]

In addition, the study found that students affected by the coursetaking policy were less likely on the whole to attend a four-year college, compared with their counterparts before the policy change. They were also less likely to remain in college.

“It seems clear to us that this was a first step. They now have students enrolled in these classes,” Mr. Montgomery said, noting the required science courses are the kinds that colleges look for on transcripts.

Effect of Chicago's Tougher Science Policy Mixed
By Dakarai I. Aarons
Education Week
Published in Print: March 31, 2010, as Added H.S. Science Courses Said to Yield Mixed Effect in Chicago

I'm sure college-going and grades will soar once they get students engaged.


* answer: mixed

96 comments:

Bostonian said...

People of below average intelligence will not grasp real high school courses and will therefore not be "engaged".

I've seen studies finding that the IQ needed to get a 4-year college degree is about 115. The average IQ of blacks is about 85. The Chicago Public Schools are mostly black. Americans should stop pretending that everyone is college material. With the average IQ of whites being about 100, most whites are not 4-year-college-degree material either.

One problem is that colleges have become a credentialing mechanism for employers, who cannot use standardized tests to screen applicants for fear of "disparate impact" lawsuits.

Catherine Johnson said...

oh horsefeathers!

Give these kids a coherent sequential curriculum with mucho formative assessment starting at age 5 and watch them master bio, chem, and physics when they're teens.

momof4 said...

I agree with Catherine, as far as most of the kids are concerned. However, I'm not fond of the term "engaged", which I think is a feel-good term that is essentially meaningless. Schools should stress the importance of desirable behaviors like good manners, self-control, concentration and effort from day one of kindergarten. Real learning requires real effort. The idea that learning should be both effortless and entertaining should be consigned to permanent oblivion.

I think there have been several studies that documented far more effort from Asian kids/families, both in terms of expectations (grades=As) and study/homework time, with other ethnic/racial groups descending in the expected order. I also remember reading that when Asians did less well than they expected, they attributed it to a lack of effort, not a lack of ability; other groups assumed the reverse.

There is a post on Joanne Jacob's site about the recent death of Jaime Escalante, with a link in the comments section to an article that describes Escalante's expectations; in school and extensive time before, after and on weekends. Good curriculum, good instruction and that kind of effort will produce great results.

RMD said...

"I've seen studies finding that the IQ needed to get a 4-year college degree is about 115. The average IQ of blacks is about 85."

Wow . . . what bunch of horsepucky!!

Why don't you spend your time looking at other studies that find ways to make everyone succeed? Direct Instruction is a great place to start.

rocky said...

Bostonian, even if there were such a thing as intelligence, it would be some kind of natural ability like strength.

1) Although a strong man can climb a mountain quickly, a weak man can still climb it, with persistence and time. No one would say to the weak man, "Don't go here. You can't climb this mountain." In fact, even the strong man may turn back if does not have the fortitude to keep climbing.

2) Exercise can increase the strength of a weak man. He may never be as strong as one who is naturally strong, but he can improve spectacularly.

3) Some bachelor's degrees are a lot easier to get than others. A simple pattern recognition test is not a good indicator of success.

Anonymous said...

An IQ of 85 is basically special ed, so I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that whatever data you're looking at is wrong.

SusanS

Crimson Wife said...

There was a very interesting discussion about race & IQ in Richard Nisbett's book "Intelligence and How to Get It". The basic points can also be found in this paper.

Dr. Nisbett's conclusion is that the observed difference in IQ between blacks & whites is primarily due to environmental factors (which can be changed) not genetics.

ChemProf said...

If we had good curriculum and well-functioning schools, then we could talk about the effect of IQ. Until then, any discussion of variations in intelligence are just like blaming the whole thing on poverty in the home or dangerous neighborhoods -- just another way to change the topic and justify continuing to do the ineffective things they do.

Bostonian said...

SusanS wrote "An IQ of 85 is basically special ed, so I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that whatever data you're looking at is wrong."

Have you read the literature on the subject? I have. The Wikipedia entry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_intelligence says

"IQ tests show significantly different average scores in different races, with commonly accepted racial averages of 106 for East Asians, 100 for whites and 85 for African Americans."

Books such as "The g Factor" by Jensen and "The Bell Curve" by Herrnstein and Murray have come to similar conclusions.

An IQ of 85 is just 1 standard deviation below average and would not be considered mentally retarded. In a school with average IQ of 100, about 1/6 would have a score below this level. I don't think special ed programs are designed to serve such a large fraction of students, and special ed programming based on criterion other than IQ, such as dyslexia, visual impairment etc. would boost the fraction in special ed even higher.

SteveH said...

"Stupid is as stupid does."

High potential low achievers.

I don't see how IQ and race have any meaning in education. What are you going to allow individual kids to do (or not do) based on that information? What educational assumptions or changes would you make based on that information?


If you want to make an argument that too many kids are being encouraged to go to college, you will have to resort to something other than race or IQ. Then again, it is much easier to make the argument that K-12 education is the problem, not the kids.

It's not clear why you are playing the race card. Why is that important?

Anonymous said...

Bostonian,

I have read more literature than you would ever care to know. I don't need Wikipedia to tell me what that looks like. I have a nearly grown son walking around my house right now who needs trusts, guardianship and SSI to protect him should something happen to his father and me.

See, I've been up close and personal to IQs that low for many years so I know what it really looks like. No, it's not mental retardation, but in many cases, if not most, people with IQs that low need help taking care of themselves in society.

SusanS

Allison said...

--I don't see how IQ and race have any meaning in education.

Steve, what are you talking about?

Every day, education is defined as being about race. Every politician, legislator, administrator, eduwonk, talks about the achievement gap. That gap is a gap measures in terms of race.

You can't stop getting education defined in terms of race by the people defining policy, by the people fighting over rice bowls.

And yet, you can't get anyone to talk about why the achievement gap is so stubborn. IQ is part of the answer.

Educational innovations like DI increased the achievement gap. Look at Englemann's own writings.

Lots of people shout "But the Flynn Effect!", where The Flynn effect shows that IQ gains can be environmental--and that in the last 150 years, every group has IQ gains. But the Flynn Effect doesn't close the achievement gap either. It just scales it up.

The value of talking about IQ and race is the value of talking truthfully about things. If you can't speak about the truth, then you can't start to answer what interventions would really be *valuable* and *what their marginal cost is*.

California Teacher said...

And what is the truth Allison?

I agree with Catherine:
"Give these kids a coherent sequential curriculum with mucho formative assessment starting at age 5 and watch them master bio, chem, and physics when they're teens."

Unfortunately, this, along with high-quality instruction, is usually what's missing in poverty-stricken schools.

Catherine: I thought the outlying word was "college-going", but I guess I was wrong!

lgm said...

>>I don't see how IQ and race have any meaning in education. What are you going to allow individual kids to do (or not do) based on that information? What educational assumptions or changes would you make based on that information?


The student's result from a group IQ test, such as the COGAT, is used in grouping and gatekeeping decisions. A child with a B average and high COGAT will be admitted to honors and accel courses while a child with an A average and average COGAT will be denied entrance. A low COGAT score will indicate that intervention is needed and the kid is stuck in a double period class, whether his performance says he needs it or not. No one ever considers that the COGAT is inaccurate. They just take the score, fit the kid in a formula, and maybe the student's placement is appropriate, maybe it's not.

High quality instruction is missing most everywhere, not just in high poverty schools. Teaching in public school resembles the rest of the nonelite world ..out of stock intermittently and a whole lot of DIY necessary.

lgm said...

>>And yet, you can't get anyone to talk about why the achievement gap is so stubborn. IQ is part of the answer.

IMHO, it is not IQ, it is the development of IQ that's the problem. To me it seems to go back to culture and class as well as low effort expected in many classrooms and homes.

IQ has two components -crystallized and fluid. Crystallized is heavily dependent on environment. The less he knows, the harder it is to read since a higher percentage of the words will be new in meaning to him. Fluid depends on the adults in the child's life. If he's not taught or allowed to improve his reasoning skills or habits of observation, it will take longer to increase reasoning ability than it will for a child who comes from a home or school where reasoning is actively developed and knowledge is deemed useful.

IMHO, the public schools have absconded on their duty to develop thinking skills as well as transmit a body of knowledge. Look in a 'basic skills classroom' or a 'concrete learning team' and grab a few tests. Compare them with honors. Who has straight recall expectations? Who has the expectation of thinking?

SteveH said...

"The value of talking about IQ and race is the value of talking truthfully about things."

What is that truth, exacty, and what does it tell you about defining educational policy?

Are schools not using DI because they think it will increase the academic gap? How would this IQ covnersation go and what would be the policy results?


"And yet, you can't get anyone to talk about why the achievement gap is so stubborn. IQ is part of the answer."

What "part" or percentage of the gap is due to IQ and what percentage is due to bad education? As far as I can tell, the academic gap is defined in terms of state test numbers. How many of those questions reflect IQ and how many reflect competent teaching? What do you expect will happen when you bring IQ into the discussion?

"...what interventions would really be *valuable* and *what their marginal cost is*."

You will first have to determine the exact truth to the IQ "part", otherwise you won't have a basis for any sort of marginal cost discussion.

Even if you could quantify the IQ "part" exactly, how would it be applied to individual students. How do you translate statistics to individuals; by marginal cost?

Barry Garelick said...

IMHO, it is not IQ, it is the development of IQ that's the problem. To me it seems to go back to culture and class as well as low effort expected in many classrooms and homes.

E.D. Hirsch talks about this in "The Schools we Need..." in the opening chapter. IQ tests given to Army recruits in the 20's I believe showed that those coming from NY State had the highest IQ's. NY State had a curriculum that was very content-focused. Hirsch uses this as his main thesis in the book.

SteveH said...

"...while a child with an A average and average COGAT will be denied entrance."

This is an unfortunate example of how statistics get translated to individuals. Apparently, IQ was part of someone's marginal cost analysis.

Allison said...

CaTeacher,

I don't disagree with you or Catherine that everyone needs a coherent, sequential, content rich curriculum. But that curriculum will not close the achievement gap. It will increase it. To me, that's a feature, not a bug: it is better to give everyone possible a floor of knowledge that is reasonably high, and allow those who can to accelerate far far behind that.

The truth is there is no such thing as a free lunch.

You cannot educate even the students on the endpoints of the middle quintile of IQ to the same point for the same dollar with the same amount of time.

The lower IQ will need more intervention, and they will need it maintained over time. (Because the bulk of the data says that while environmental pressure can increase IQ, remove it and the gains are lost.) As a society that chooses to have public schools, society needs to agree on this concept: do we want to provide more services for the bottom two quintiles? At what cost? Should we provide different services? At what cost? Should we instead provide more services to the top two quintiles? At what cost? Is it better to create schooling mechanisms that lead the bottom two quintiles away from a liberal arts degree or toward it?

Since IQ is affected by environment, is the state going to intervene more in families that aren't providing a rich IQ-developing environment? To what degree? Should society encourage family organizations that improve the development of IQ or not? At what cost?

Hirsch's focus on NY in the 20s is a great example of not wanting to talk about the race. What was the racial makeup of NY in the 20s? What is it now? Did anyone control for those variables?

Allison said...

Steve,
You've got a lot of questions, and they've gone really far from your original claim that race and IQ had no meaning in education.

I don't have to determine the EXACT truth of the IQ part to have a basis for a discussion. Society just has to start addressing the lack of a free lunch. G&T kids are put in G&T programs on the basis of IQ without knowing the EXACT truth of the relationship between g-factor and IQ. But the having of G&T programs is still a question for society--Is that something we want in public education at the expense of intervention for the bottom two quintiles? To what extent? Why? Is a society better off for massively educating the top 5%?

Are you suggesting that the IQ test for G&T are somehow terrible because they are applied to individual students?

Allison said...

--it is not IQ, it is the development of IQ that's the problem.To me it seems to go back to culture and class as well as low effort expected in many classrooms and homes.


This is a distinction without a difference. Yes, IQ can be developed. Then when it is, you have a higher IQ. Applied to a large portion of the population, interventions which develop IQ do so unevenly: those with higher IQs at the beginning see even greater gains. Again, the achievement gap increases.

A low IQ home is synoymous with a low-developing IQ home. If your culture and class don't encourage effort, don't encourage thinking, don't encourage engaging in the world, etc. then again, IQs are going to be distributed widely, because we know some cultures and classes do. And in our nation, the
cultures and actions that put people in the underclass are populated by some races more than others.

SteveH said...

"they've gone really far from your original claim that race and IQ had no meaning in education."

No they haven't. I'm trying to find out how this discussion would progress and what you think you would accomplish, especially when you can't begin to quantify what part of the academic gap is due to IQ and what part is due to poor teaching. How can you have any sort of meaningful discussion?

"Society just has to start addressing the lack of a free lunch."

How is this related to IQ? Do you think this is a question of money? Do you think there is not enough money in the educational system? Is that a limiting resource factor here?


"Are you suggesting that the IQ test for G&T are somehow terrible because they are applied to individual students?"

Yes, of course, but I do think kids should be separated by results or willingness to learn. It has more to do with the IQ test itself. Why would you give priority to students with a high IQ, but low grades?

I also don't believe in G&T programs. They imply that there is some magic cutoff point for different types of teaching or content or opportunities. All kids should have access to as much challenge and quality teaching as possible at all levels. Any solution should be part of a larger continuum, not some sort of fancy pull-out based on IQ or limited resource arguments.

Barry Garelick said...

My copy of "The Schools We Need.." is at home, but I found this from a blog by Diane Ravitch.


One of my intellectual heroes, William Chandler Bagley of Teachers College, punched holes in the theories of the IQ testers. He was literally the only prominent psychologist who took on the leaders of his field. Bagley wrote critical articles and a book ("Determinism in Education") in which he said that the IQ tests were a threat to democracy because they were being used to close the doors of educational opportunity to large numbers of people. Bagley showed that the groups that had the highest scores on the Army tests were those who had had the greatest educational opportunities. In a coup de grace, he pointed out that the IQ scores of literate northern blacks were higher than those of literate whites in Kentucky, Mississippi, and Arkansas. Since southern whites were the purest “Nordic stock” in the country, Bagley said that Brigham would have to acknowledge that the test scores were the result of education, not racial inheritance.

Crimson Wife said...

IQ tests are just a tool. They are not a threat to democracy unless they are misused by people with an agenda.

I found it very illuminating that there was a 2 standard deviation gap between my son's verbal and non-verbal IQ when he was tested at age 3 1/2. I knew the reason for his delayed speech development was not an overall low IQ but now I had the data to prove it to outsiders.

Allison said...

Steve,

We don't agree on facts. I mean, I don't understand what your words even mean here:

--Any solution should be part of a larger continuum, not some sort of fancy pull-out based on IQ or limited resource arguments.

WHAT? EVERYTHING on EARTH is a limited resource. It doesn't matter how big your pie is, you still have to cut it into slices. Money, time, effort, subject matter. It's all limited. You teach one book at the expense of another. You focus on one lesson at the expense of another. You focus on one child at the expense of another. That's how life is.

A continuum solution? You don't want pullouts for the gifted (or the spec ed student, either? why would you?) but you want everyone on a continuum? at the school level? the classroom level? How's differentiated instruction working out? That is what a continuum looks like on the classroom level. They can't all be taught all to their level of skill and mastery in a classroom at the same time.

Separated by results? What does that mean? There will be dispersion in any group. You cannot get rid of the dispersion. You will have to pick how to target the group velocity given the phase velocity. Moving everyone at the same group velocity will not shrink the dispersion.

"all should have access to as much as possible" is EXACTLY the issue: what is POSSIBLE is LIMITED. By definition. How can you possibly provide challenge and quality to all of the gifted kids as possible without a pullout for them? how could you possibly teach the spec ed down syndrome kids to read in a mainstream classroom--shouldn't society be doing its best to intervene and make those kids able to read?

Allison said...

To your comment about the academic gap and poor teaching:

There is about a 1 standard deviation gap between performance of blacks and whites over the last 30 years. Look at the NAEP data explorer yourself.

http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/lttdata/report.aspx

How could that possibly be about only poor teaching? How could it be that only the blacks got poor teaching, and never the whites?

The idea that over the last 30 YEARS, bad teaching affected the blacks differently than whites leads one to ask: WHY. And you can call it "environment" or "g factor", but we've all already agreed that those two are related--that an high-IQ culture develops children into having higher IQs than a low-IQ culture does. The gap has sometimes improved, but it's still significant.

I will address specific IQ gaps in the NLSY cohorts later tonight.

Allison said...

Another comment:

re: would schools punt Direct Instruction for increasing the achievement gap:

We've got a Dept of Justice that is going to investigate schools that have an achievement gap between blacks and whites in AP classes. We've got the Berkeley High killing elective science labs because they need to shrink the achievement gap My school district has said its MAIN GOAL is to shrink the achievement gap. Mpls school district has a board member that calls the best performing school in his district racist because the whites there outperform the blacks everywhere else.

Do you really think that if I presented to the St. Paul district Direct Instruction and said "this will make everyone hit proficient, but the achievement gap will increase" they would sign on? Are you kidding?

Allison said...

Now, to IQ data and race:let's start with all the work Ken DeRosa did a while back, showing that SES is not the cause of the achievement failures for those with low SES. He listed the studies showing how moving them to high SES didn't magically improve their scores. Ken's post was part of a series of posts on poverty and achievement, and this post was about the idea that by improving SES could one improve achievement
outcomes. here's his post:
http://d-edreckoning.blogspot.com/2008/02/improving-socio-economic-status.html
Lots of links in that original.

from his post:
--
What if we had some student achievement data from placing low-SES infants in high-SES households, replete with highly educated parents and lots of lots of earned income, and allowing the high-SES parents to nurture the low-SES children over their childhood? Might that settle the issue?

In fact we do have just this sort data from various adoption studies, for example, the Minnesota Twin Family Study and Brouchard's Reanalysis, the Minnesota Texas Adoption Research Project and Willerman's various analyses, and the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study.

The results have been consistent. About three quarters of the variance in IQ and student achievement is attributable to genetic factors. While the variance attributable to familial factors is about zero.

...
the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study was conducted by researchers well-known for their environmental opinions. The study analyzed White, Black, and Mixed-race adopted children in more than 100 White families in Minnesota. The study was an egalitarian's dream, because the children's adoptive parents had prestigious levels of income and education and were anti-racist enough to adopt a Black child into their own family. The children were first tested in 1975 at age 7. In 1985, 196 of the original 265 children were retested at age 17. The parents were also tested along with the children and had a measured of IQ of 115 and 120 (depending on the test used), a standard deviation above the mean. Here are the results.

for Nonadopted, with two White biological parents

Age 7 IQ Age 17 IQ Age 17 GPA
117 109 3.0

Adopted, with two White biological parents

112 106 2.8

Adopted, with one White and one Black biological parent

109 99 2.2

Adopted, with two Black biological parents

97 89 2.1

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

This is consistent with the NLSY data on IQ. Again, it's a standard deviation difference. And again: if the Minnesota families couldn't get their adopted black children to make the strides their offspring had, it wasn't because of different schooling, it wasn't because of the environment.

So, how does this mean that race and IQ have a lot of meaning in education? If your average IQ in high school is 89, you are on average, not going to do as well in AP calculus as the student whose IQ is 109. Your chances of succeeding at getting a Bachelor's degree? Far less as well.

Should therefore, we be using taxpayer dollars to incentivize the weakest students to move on to college by subsidizing their student loans? Why? They will not be better off for a several year stint in college that doesn't result in a degree, will they? Was our marginal dollar well spent?

Should intensive schooling be done to raise everyone whose IQ is 90-100 by 10 points? Would that money be better spent raising the students whose range is 120-140 IQ by 20 points instead? Which is better for our society? These are questions that deserve to be asked, and we can't even begin to ask right now without being called racists.

SteveH said...

OK. I'll keep it very simple. How do you define IQ (what test would you use and when would you give it), and how would you use that information either statistically or individually?

SteveH said...

"Should therefore, we be using taxpayer dollars to incentivize the weakest students to move on to college by subsidizing their student loans?"

Why does this have to be based on IQ and not grades?

Allison said...

It doesn't matter much how you define IQ. Use the WISC, the Matrices, the NAEP math and reading scores, the old SAT--all of them showed the same gap.

The IQ tests aren't perfect g-factor tests. But g factor accounts for, it seems about 50% of the individual differences in intelligence.

So what would I do with this general information? I'd STOP TRYING TO CLOSE THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP.

I'd create race-blind admissions to college. I'd stop caring about whether or not my AP calc class was racially balanced. I'd stop funding 7.1 billion dollars to Head Start.

I'd set a goal of a floor of information that all 5th graders should master. I'd set a state goal of raising average performance for every cohort by half a standard deviation.

Allison said...

Steve, you and I are still not connecting on concepts.

I am saying that individuals are to be treated as individuals. I've not ONCE in this thread advocated giving a test to a person as a criteria for entrance to something.

My concept is to STOP having government interventions on individuals to raise their IQ/achievement test score/however you want to measure it. There's no evidence that such interventions work. STOP caring about the group averages. STOP caring about someone's race rather than their performance. Let the institutions at issue treat the people as individuals based on their ability to PERFORM the work.

You want grades to be the proxy? Why does that matter? Either the grades are correlated to how much you know and how well you think or they aren't. If they are, they correlate to IQ/g factor/achievement scores. If they aren't correlated to that, then what do they mean? But fine, for whatever mythical point of entry you're envisioning, pick any method you want, as long as it is about achievement.

But then create societal pressures by which those who won't achieve as much can still be productive members of society, rather than dependent on the government.

VickyS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
VickyS said...

I'm in agreement with Allison. You don't need to measure anyone's IQ to make use of the MN transracial adoption study data. If you accept the premise that higher IQ correlates with higher achievement, then these data suggest, for example, that there may not be anything sinister going on in the AP class that shows an achievement gap between blacks and whites.

Years ago the focus was on equal opportunity. What a person did, or didn't do, with the opportunity was up to them. You could say that this was a focus on inputs, not outcomes. Wouldn't that be more fair? Provide equal inputs, equal opportunities. Some individuals will go farther than others; outcomes will vary and that's okay, even if there are racial disparities.

So why might there be disparities, among individuals or classes of individuals? Well if we really truly equalized inputs/opportunities, then possible answers could be lack of effort, lack of ability, lack of interest, or lack of a willingness to do the work to take advantage of the opportunities. And therein lies the "no free lunch" idea--you have earn the outcome.

Pushing more black kids into AP classes just to have more black kids in AP classes is not my idea of equalizing opportunity. You have to be prepared for an AP class, and some may not be prepared. Step up the preparation, in earlier grades, and give them the option of taking the AP class. Some still may not take the class (which itself could result in a racial disparity), but in my view, as long as they had the same opportunity, the system is color-blind and fair.

An educational strategy based on inputs is the opposite of Outcome-Based Education (OBE), the current darling of the education establishment.

lgm said...

>> I'd STOP TRYING TO CLOSE THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP.

I could not do this in good conscious until I knew that EVERY child in the U.S. had the opportunity to acheive and develop his intelligence. Right now, our public school system has drifted away from teaching how to learn (ie developing Iq), and has become a babysitting service & a fact stuffing opportunity, plus sorting machine. Tutors and parents are doing the real teaching in too many cases for elementary and middle schools.

I would fund EC and Head Start more. I know from my experience that EC and HS helps...too many parents don't know how to respond to a baby or what to teach a preschooler - these programs are those children's lifelines and the hope in breaking the cycle. I'd also fund youth groups that enrich the lives of those whose parents cannot.

I cannot in good conscious vote for a ghetto forming in my neighborhood. My neighbors can't either. They've voted IB out, and double period, rTi, and remedial in. Direct instruction is done in those classes. What I want is for the racists to stop the No Child Gets Ahead scenario and agree that Every Child Deserves to Learn and Grow -- at least a year academically for a year's time in school. Time is a resource and time is valuable. Middle class children should not have 5 study halls in high school because the racists don't want to offer them any 'extra' classes so they 'get ahead'.

Bostonian said...

Crimson Wife said:

"There was a very interesting discussion about race & IQ in Richard Nisbett's book "Intelligence and How to Get It". The basic points can also be found in this paper.

Dr. Nisbett's conclusion is that the observed difference in IQ between blacks & whites is primarily due to environmental factors (which can be changed) not genetics."

To what extent racial differences in IQ are innate is still being debated -- Rushton's answer to Nisbett's book is at http://vdare.com/rushton/100125_nisbett.htm . However, the IQ differences, whatever the cause, do result in substantial differences in academic achievement.

lgm said...

>>A low IQ home is synoymous with a low-developing IQ home.

Not necessarily. Free range children can develop on their own much more than those imprisoned in their own homes with a low IQ or controlling caregiver.

Imagine the effect of an internet connection that the child could use to educate himself. I've seen low income kids use this already...most are trapped inside afterschool until a caregiver arrives...leaving them with the internet access to info. The opportunity to use an online school such as K12 to learn at their own pace would draw them right in. Even now, online math programs work well...our low SES school districts use them to supplement for the lack of expertise and the prohibition against acheivement grouping in the classroom.

>> If your culture and class don't encourage effort, don't encourage thinking, don't encourage engaging in the world, etc. then again, IQs are going to be distributed widely, because we know some cultures and classes do.

School used to be the refuge and the delightful place to find scholarship and information for those who had the bent for learning but couldn't find it in their neighborhood. Going to nonscholar teachers, whole class full inclusion and NCGA took that away. Limiting the library hours is a sad fact of this economy also.

Bostonian said...

SteveH said

"I don't see how IQ and race have any meaning in education. What are you going to allow individual kids to do (or not do) based on that information? What educational assumptions or changes would you make based on that information?"

It's bizarre to say that intelligence has no relevance for education. Intelligence determines the complexity of material that students can handle. Do you think people with Down Syndrome can learn calculus? Can an average 1st-grader read a textbook for the Advanced Placement U.S. History exam and then pass the AP test? If not, why not? They cannot because they do not have required "mental age" -- the numerator in the "intelligence quotient". The 1st grader's mental age may grow to the point where he can read a college-level history text, but unfortunately that of the Down's person will not.

An IQ test given to a struggling student can help determine whether the problems are due to specific, correctable problem (a student with poor eyesight not seeing what the teacher writes on the board, for example) or the intractable problem of overall low intelligence.

Catherine Johnson said...

IQ tests are just a tool. They are not a threat to democracy unless they are misused by people with an agenda.

We had an interesting experience here, in our high-SES school district where kids' abilities are routinely underestimated.

Paul Attewell's finding that in 'star schools' high-ability boys in particular take fewer AP math/science courses than lower-ability boys in middle class schools is the relevant study. Attewell used SAT scores as the measure of ability, finding that boys with the same high SAT scores were more likely to take AP math/science in a middle class school than in a 'star school.'

He was talking specifically about very high ability boys: boys who by any measure should be taking AP math/science.

Shortly before we finally took our son out of the district, I realized that the ban on IQ-type testing in public schools disadvantages kids in high-SES, nominally high performing schools. Just as we needed testing to gain services for our autistic kids, we needed testing for our typical child to 'prove' that the problem in math & Earth Science was the school's teaching & curriculum not the child.

I've told this story many times, so those of you who've read this one too many times should skip this.

When we met with the Earth Science teacher & science department chair to discuss why it was that C. had grades in the course ranging from A to F, the teacher told us that C. "can't think inferentially."

Fortunately, we had recently gotten his scores on the ISEE test back (Independent School Entrance Exam) & he'd scored way up in the country on reading comprehension, which is a measure of 'thinking inferentially,' since reading comprehension depends on making inferences.

We said, "He's been tested; we know he thinks inferentially and does so extremely well."

That was the end of that.

Of course, we didn't get anywhere; the teacher & science chair ended up blaming the problems on me instead of C.

I hadn't been signing the interim grade reports in a timely fashion so the teacher didn't know if I knew what grades C. was earning.

We ended with me asking for resources I could use to teach Earth Science at home.

SteveH said...

"I'd STOP TRYING TO CLOSE THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP."

Do you really think this would do anything to fix education? Will this cause a light bulb to go off in their heads and get them to change their fundamental ideas of education?


"I'd set a goal of a floor of information that all 5th graders should master. I'd set a state goal of raising average performance for every cohort by half a standard deviation."

Accepting the truth about IQ will get them to do this?



"Let the institutions at issue treat the people as individuals based on their ability to PERFORM the work."

So why talk about IQ in the first place? Everyone knows that some kids are smarter than others. What truth does it provide?


"If they are, they correlate to IQ/g factor/achievement scores."

Class grades and IQ always correlate on an individual basis? You can use either to limit opportunities for individuals? If you are only talking about a general correlation, then how will you use that information?


"...that there may not be anything sinister going on in the AP class that shows an achievement gap between blacks and whites."

What would it lead you to change in education?

Stop pushing black kids kids into AP classes?

Why single out blacks? You are using statistics to limit opportunities for individuals. Pushing any child into an AP class withhout the proper preparation is an issue that doesn't require a discussion of IQ.


The education world already knows that some kids are smarter than others. I don't like the focus on the academic gap, but even if you take that focus away tomorrow, how will it change anything?

I would argue that minimum cutoff scores on state tests are a much larger driving force than academic gap. The bigger question is how do you get schools to set higher standards for themselves and for the kids? IQ arguments would only push them in the wrong direction.

SteveH said...

What is a more interesting angle is how parents can do their own testing (IQ, SCAT, SSAT, etc.) to make a case for more individual opportunities for their kids. This is quite different than statistical IQ arguments that filter down to limit individual kids.

Allison said...

Steve,

Can you cite a single example where what I said fits your claim that I'm "using statistics to limit opportunities for individuals." ?

A single one?

You, on the other hand, are against G&T courses. That's limiting the opportunities of individuals, but that's okay, because evidently, your claim that "everyone should get a better education" makes it okay not to do things that we could do.

The reason to talk about IQ is because it's the crux. Proper preparation isn't FREE. It's not without cost. Preparing the 120 IQ child for AP calc is less expensive than preparing the 80 IQ child. Which one is worth the cost? What is the best way to equip the 80 IQ child for meaningful work?

By claiming that "they already know some kids are smarter than others" you are pretending. You are saying you know the truth, but let's not really admit that it changes the marginal value of things. Our govt spends billions solving an unsolveable problem. It harangues us to do it. It is about to destroy AP classes for it.

What would stopping the focus on the achievement gap do? Accepting reality could get people to focus on what IS possible, instead of cratering education for a pipe dream.

The DoJ Civil Right division is going after schools whose AP classes aren't racially diverse enough. And they don't mean Asians. Don't tell me I'm the one singleing out blacks and hispanics.

SteveH said...

"An IQ test given to a struggling student can help determine whether the problems are due to specific, correctable problem (a student with poor eyesight not seeing what the teacher writes on the board, for example) or the intractable problem of overall low intelligence."

"intractable"

That's not a tool. That's a death sentence.

My nephew was tested with a low IQ. The school didn't expect much. My sister worked very hard with him at home, and now he has a degree in computer science.

Allison said...

--I would fund EC and Head Start more. I know from my experience that EC and HS helps...

Yes, why look at the data when you've got a nice anecdote?

The data on HS is clear: it's done NOTHING. It produces no improvements, no gains. And the only confirmed impact was a negative one in math.

http://kitchentablemath.blogspot.com/2010_01_10_archive.html

SteveH said...

"That's limiting the opportunities of individuals, but that's okay, because evidently, your claim that "everyone should get a better education" makes it okay not to do things that we could do."

Now you're getting snide and deliberately not trying to understand my position about G&T.


"What is the best way to equip the 80 IQ child for meaningful work?"

Who gets to decide how this is done, the school or the parent?


"Our govt spends billions solving an unsolveable problem."

Exactly what truth will get them to stop this? The truth that the academic gap can be completely defined by IQ?


"It is about to destroy AP classes for it."

You can deal with this issue without talk of IQ.


"Accepting reality could get people to focus on what IS possible, instead of cratering education for a pipe dream."

Thinking that playing the IQ card will fix education is a pipe dream.


"The DoJ Civil Right division is going after schools whose AP classes aren't racially diverse enough. And they don't mean Asians. Don't tell me I'm the one singleing out blacks and hispanics."

Do you need IQ to argue against that?

lgm said...

>>Yes, why look at the data when you've got a nice anecdote?

There is data to show the HS and EC work..but that continued support is needed to sustain that improvement.

(It is an 8 pt IQ gain for HS: 6. C.T. Ramey, D.M. Bryant, and T.M. Suarez, "Preschool compensatory education and the modifiability of intelligence: A critical review," pp. 247-96 in D. Detterman, ed., Current Topics in Human Intelligence (Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1985). R. McKey, L. Condelli, H. Ganson, et al., "The impact of Head Start on children, families, and communities," Final report of the Head Start Evaluation, Synthesis, and Utilization Project (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1985). K. White and G. Casto, "An integrative review of early intervention efficacy studies with at-risk children: Implications for the handicapped," Analysis and Intervention in Developmental Disabilities 5, 1985, pp. 7-31.

Part of that continued support - development of reasoning ability and acquiring knowledge - is no longer being done in public school. Catherine has already mentioned her child's experience with Earth Science and being kicked out of the college prep boat despite possessing adequate intelligence. My child's experience with 3rd and 5th grade math is similar...were it not for my teaching, he would have been stuck at the special ed level, counting on his fingers and memorizing tricks for multiplication. My child is above average in intelligence, but was placed in a special ed mainstreamed class due to whole class inclusion teaching politics. I spent the time to teach him - unlike his teacher. He scores in the top 15% statewide, because he had the opportunity AT HOME to develop his thinking skills. Had I not given him the opportunity to learn 3rd and 5th grade math , he'd be in double period remedial math with his former classmates whose parents couldnt make up for the school's deliberate decision to kick them off the boat. He would eventually score average in IQ b/c he would never have the opportunity to learn the knowledge and reasoning skills necessary to score as above average for an older child. I will also note there is NO cost to letting a stanine 7 child into algebra...stanine 7 has been shown to be smart enough. Yet we have school districts who deny these children the opportunity. There are too many children being denied an appropriate education in the name of politics. I wish that every child has the opportunity to learn, whether at home or at school. Since we know the many children will never have the opportunity at home, it is inhumane to deny them that opportunity at school as we are doing currently. To not do so means we will have many many more on the dole, whether it's a group home, a prison, or some other social 'service'.




All that are intelligent enough need to be offered college prep, not denied because they were the 31st on the list and the school only wanted to offer it to 30. There is NO cost to opening another section..the child cannot walk around school instead of being in a class. Let us also teach a child that shows up at the K door with no preK skills the preK skills, instead of skipping these necessary developmental pre-reqs. Let us continue to teach children who are giving birth to children the importance of prenatal nutrition, parenting, and speaking and conversing with the child. I don't need a big multi-year study to show me that prenatal nutrition and birth to K development is crucial to the
successful development of the child. I can look at sub-Saharan Africa or I can sit in the nurse's office in my district and see that at a glance. I want to see the leaders of these communitiies to focus on their people's health and development - not on a class or race or IQ war that is really about who has power.

Catherine Johnson said...

Had I not given him the opportunity to learn 3rd and 5th grade math, he'd be in double period remedial math with his former classmates whose parents couldn't make up for the school's deliberate decision to kick them off the boat.

That is EXACTLY what we see here.

I've been meaning to post C's Big Triumph: he just got his first A in a math course. Honors geometry (he's a sophomore).

This is at Hogwarts.

Here in Irvington, we know super-smart kids his age who are now in double-period remedial math.

It is HORRIFYING.

The kids we know who have ended up in double-period remedial math have 'issues' - but their issues aren't about IQ or even about motivation. (One has a psychiatric diagnosis; the other has a family issue).

quick fyi: C. wasn't thrown off the college prep track here. The issue here is always Honors and accelerated placements....

But ***no question*** he was faring worse than he should have been given his (I will say it!) IQ & motivation.

This is the craziness of a high-SES school.

You've got kids with high IQ, high motivation, intact families, parents reteaching at home ---- and the kids are still underachieving compared to their exact-same peers in good parochial, private & homeschools.

Laura said...

If they aren't correlated to that, then what do they mean?

Theoretically, they could mean that the student has mastered (or failed to master, or come somewhat or very close to mastering) the material the teacher set out to teach.

As others have said, a kid with a lower IQ might need two semesters (or more) of being taught the same material to master it, and a kid with a higher IQ might be able to master it in half a semester. But at the end of the day, either you mastered the material, or you haven't.

A fair school system designed to provide everybody with at least a basic education would have a grading system that measured how much students have learned of the material they are expected to learn.

What we decide to expect of students, and whether/how much we allow IQ tests to influence those expectations, is another question, of course.

California Teacher said...

"An IQ test given to a struggling student can help determine whether the problems are due to specific, correctable problem (a student with poor eyesight not seeing what the teacher writes on the board, for example) or the intractable problem of overall low intelligence."

I think an eye exam would be much more telling in this case, and much better at determining poor eyesight. An IQ test doesn't measure vision acuity, after all.

Though as a first grade teacher, I must say that intelligence is like porn... I know it when I see it, and an astute teacher can see when a six year old is smarter than herself! (Brilliant six year olds are really quite amazing.)

And to Igm: here, here!

lgm said...

Catherine, thanks for the correction. I haven't lived in NY long enough to change my belief that Pre-Algebra taken over 2 years is not college prep, but that is what NY considers it.

Congratulations to you both on that Geo grade -- it's nice to see the effort payoff.

The smart (as in the fluid intelligence componenet of IQ) students I know in double period are there for school induced gaps or unwillingness to do homework. They have realized that 9th grade is a retention year here..so they've decided to do enough hw to pass. Unfortunately they weren't told at the outset that they needed an 80 avg to get into Geo, so they won't be going on, despite passing the course, even if they ace the Regents.

Karen W said...

It seems to me that while IQ might place an upper limit on academic achievement, it will more likely be used by public schools/elected officials as an excuse to avoid reforming K-6 education. We don't have to question the use of fuzzy math and balanced literacy--it's just that some kids aren't smart enough (or have the wrong culture or the wrong parents or whatever).

How high an IQ is required to master 6th grade reading and arithmetic with direct instruction? Maria Montessori had tremendous success with kids that were written off as uneducable. How expensive does that really have to be?

Karen W said...

I spoke to a state rep last week about Iowa's disappointing 2009 NAEP reading results. She told me of a school that has 100% turnover and what could they do to teach in those circumstances. I said, yes but that probably isn't the experience of most schools in Iowa. She told me of a child she knows that has attended ten elementary schools so far, with six months being the longest he had ever attended the same one. Again, yes, a problem but that hardly describes the usual Iowa student and doesn't explain the scores as well as, say, balanced literacy just doesn't get the job done. But she's not willing to go there. Blame the students and the parents who don't spend their evening teaching their children how to read.

Catherine Johnson said...

I haven't lived in NY long enough to change my belief that Pre-Algebra taken over 2 years is not college prep, but that is what NY considers it.

lolll!

Is there a state where kids don't take pre-algebra over two years?

Catherine Johnson said...

My sister-in-law told me that her high school has 4 tracks:

* "college prep"
* advanced
* honors
* advanced honors for a couple of math courses

In reality, "college prep" means "1 year below grade level."

Catherine Johnson said...

Karen - the state rep is a politician?

Allison said...

--"What is the best way to equip the 80 IQ child for meaningful work?"

--Who gets to decide how this is done, the school or the parent?

right now, the federal government and US ed schools are deciding.

How's that working out?

My goal is to STOP that. Let private institutions concentrate on help someone to learn more than they knew before, not quantify how far behind they are relative to someone else.

--"Our govt spends billions solving an unsolveable problem."

-Exactly what truth will get them to stop this?

Say it with me: the achievement gap isn't the issue. The issue is to raise all boats. Raise all boats. Raise all boats.

--The truth that the academic gap can be completely defined by IQ?

Nice straw man. Did I say completely anything? Did I ? Where?

You can have the last word. You clearly have decided that your nephew's experience trumps all data. I can't fix that. You are making these choices on how you feel about them. I can't fix that either.

Catherine Johnson said...

I hope palisadesk will weigh in later...

I don't know enough about IQ tests to have much of an opinion. I have a generalized understanding that children differ dramatically in terms of speed of learning, which poses a major problem in terms of homogeneous grouping.

I think that's what lgm's experience shows (lgm - correct me if I'm wrong).

Allison said...

Oh, one more thing, and then I promise I'll stop.

Your nephew's example is the reason we should be allowed to talk about this.

Assuming the IQ test was right, your sister decided she had the time/money/effort/talent to raise his IQ/improve his scores and give him an education so he could complete a bachelor's.

It costs time, money, effort, and talent to do that. It costs more time, money, effort and talent to do that for your nephew than it would for your son. How should tax dollars be allocated best for the people like your nephew? Should they all be spent to help your nephew at the expense of your son? What if that means no AP courses for him? no community college early entrance? no music class in K-12?

Should your nephew be taught using the same curriculum your son gets? Should there be 8 hour school days for your nephew but not your son so he can shrink the gap? How about an extra year of school for your nephew but not your son? How about a special voucher for your nephew to get tutoring but not for your son?

That is, should the state be spending effort decreasing the performance gap between your nephew and your son, or should it be trying to raise the achievement of your nephew independent on your son?

These are legitimate questions. If you can't understand that it doesn't not mean I'm actually advocating *testing and comparing your nephew to your son* then I think you are lacking in intelligence.

Karen W said...

Catherine--state representative--a politician/legislator but she also just retired after 33 years as an elementary school teacher.

SteveH said...

"The issue is to raise all boats. Raise all boats. Raise all boats."

I disagree. The goal is to maximize individual educational opportunities so kids can fly, not float.


--The truth that the academic gap can be completely defined by IQ?

"Nice straw man. Did I say completely anything? Did I ? Where?"


Exactly. If it isn't ALL, then how will raising the issue of IQ going to change anyone's mind? If part of the achievement gap is due to IQ and part is due to other factors, then what is the split percentage? How will that get them to spend less money on the the academic gap problem? They will still decide to monitor AP classes by race rather than fix the underlying problem. What "truth" will cause the change you want?


In the case of my nephew, my point wasn't about money. It was about using IQ as a factor to not try. It wouldn't cost them much to try. How do you prevent IQ being used to make resource allocation decisions for individual students?


If you think that this is just about allocating money, then how do you propose to use IQ to determine how that money will flow?


"...then I think you are lacking in intelligence."

Sarcasm is a poor argument.

Laura said...

Should they all be spent to help your nephew at the expense of your son? What if that means no AP courses for him? no community college early entrance? no music class in K-12?

Nobody here has suggested that public school funds should be spent making sure all students are ready for college by the time they graduate high school.

What is being suggested, I believe, is that all the factors other than true IQ (which should be able to be measured by something in addition to an IQ test, since these seem to only give us a rough estimate) need to be eliminated through better teaching and related practices.

Right now, we don't know how much of the gap is attributable to things like processing speed, memory, etc. Because the teaching quality is so poor that kids are getting slowed down far in excess of whatever their natural limits might do.

And eliminating those non-true-IQ factors is the only way to provide all U.S. children with their constitutionally guaranteed right to a basic education. What we do with any money is excess of providing that basic education to all is another issue altogether, and would have to be decided on all kinds of levels--local, state, federal, etc.

Anonymous said...

"And eliminating those non-true-IQ factors is the only way to provide all U.S. children with their constitutionally guaranteed right to a basic education."

At the risk of hijacking this incredibly valuable thread on IQ and school performance, which constitutional right did you have in mind that guarantees a basic education?

Catherine Johnson said...

They've voted IB out, and double period, rTi, and remedial in.

How did that happen?

They voted on IB?

Catherine Johnson said...

which constitutional right did you have in mind that guarantees a basic education?

There's an interesting discussion in Why cant U teach me 2 read? arguing (iirc) that at this point a constitutional right has been -- is the word 'created'? -- by the courts as an outcome of IDEA.

I have no way to evaluate that claim but I found it seemed to explain a lot...

State constitutions specify a right to a public education, of course.

lgm said...

IB was lost here as a result of a concerted special interest group. The people that stood up for IB at the budget discussions were branded 'elitist'. The voters went along and voted in the proposed budget -with no IB - rather than forcing the district to put up another budget or go into an austerity budget.

The discussion here is being framed as Allison is suggesting - in terms of allocation of public money and it's proper use. There is a population that feels that no expense should be spared in getting remedial students a high school diploma. They say that it's misuse of public funds to offer any classes or instruction beyond those minimum requirements until all remedial children meet the minimums. The expense of the IB fees was equated to # of teachers that could be used for remedial. It is OK with these civil rights advocates that a nonremedial child sit in 5 study halls senior year. I went representation, teaching for ALL children, and I don't want the tyranny of the racism/classim people.

I feel as if I'm being pulled into a ghetto. Or maybe, it's just the ghetto arriving as people move out of NYC or send their children to their relatives up here to get away from NYC schools.

lgm said...

>>But the having of G&T programs is still a question for society--Is that something we want in public education at the expense of intervention for the bottom two quintiles?

How is a G&T program taking money away from intervention? The G&T children have to be in a classroom somewhere - they are compelled to attend.

Or are you proposing to do what my district would like to do? Offer multiple study halls instead of electives or actual work at their instructional level for the G&T and their classmates who possess a work ethic, while their age-mates are in double period, homebound, ISS or alternative?

Catherine Johnson said...

oh heck - my last comments didn't post

lgm - that is a horrifying story

I have questions about what took place - did the board present a budget that eliminated IB programs?

Was the 'austerity budget' the contingency budget?

How did the whole situation work, exactly?

Catherine Johnson said...

Karen W - I said, yes but that probably isn't the experience of most schools in Iowa.

NO KIDDING.

lgm said...

We've had IB for several years, as it was open admission and viewed to serve more students than the handful of closed admission AP and honors courses. The board chopped IB from the proposed budget, based on the two year long lobbying of a vocal special interest group. Once IB was branded elitist, and a theft of resources from the disadvantaged, public discussion for IB ceased. Those children that wanted to take IB are directed to the Community College at their own expense for tuition, fees, and transportation unless the number is high enough that the course can be offered on campus. CC is free for the disadvantaged.

The austerity budget here is usually no sports, no extracurriculars, and a cutting of teaching positions (usually equal to anticipated retirements). Austerity never includes eliminating the nonmandated extra support staff.

SteveH said...

There will always be those who want to shift monies to the low end of the educational spectrum without regard to whether the money is working well or not. They don't think that deeply. I met one involved and caring high SES parent who framed everything in terms of more money = better. It didn't seem to occur to him that they should be getting the existing money to work better. That's because he viewed the schools as caring, sincere, and trying very hard. I guess it was not possible that they could be caring and sincere, but wrong. IQ arguments fail here. They think that the better students will do just fine. They want to shift the monies to the low end because they think that is the major limitation of improvement.


A limiting resources argument assumes that there is not much to be gained with a better use of the money. Not everything need to be framed that way, especially with the dollars per student schools get. Many don't want a G&T program because they think it is elitist. How much more can it cost? You have to educate these kids anyways. (I'll ignore the issue of whether the G&T program is any good.)


For the IB question, I would like to know more details. Do you have AP classes too? Do the AP classes overlap with the IB classes. In my niece's school, there are really very few extra classes required by the IB program. If you took those classes away, the students would have to go somewhere. You would only save money by reducing the number of classes and thereby increasing the number of students in other classes. IB programs suffer because they tend to be all or nothing. You have to commit early in your high school career. With fewer numbers of students, I can imagine that the program would be vulnerable.

SteveH said...

"...and a theft of resources from the disadvantaged,..."

But, can anyone track exactly where that money went?

Laura said...

which constitutional right did you have in mind that guarantees a basic education?

I was thinking both of what Catherine said--IDEA--and about what IDEA is based on, Brown vs. the Board of Ed.

Let me be clear that I in no way consider myself competent to weigh in on the value of Brown or IDEA, just that right now, schools legally have to fulfill those obligations.

If your kid is classified, you have a legal right to demand a basic education, while parents of general ed kids cannot do the same.

But now, I'm wondering if the parents of non-remedial students could make a case, based on Brown, that their kids are not getting a basic education from the school system.

Cranberry said...

Define basic. Is it functioning on grade level, i.e., doing what a 5th grader is expected to do, when you're 10? If that's the definition, then what should one do with children who enter their 5th grade year above grade level? What are systems legally required to do?

Our school system doesn't have G&T, so that's never been an option for us. The school's answer has been, in general, that strong students should tutor weak students. Of course, a kid who's bored out of his gourd may not look like a strong student, because compliance with a rules based system may not make any sense to a bright 10 year old. Why should he pretend to make an effort, when the homework takes no effort? If the class matter is too easy, it will have no value for him -- or as much value as a worksheet requiring adults to name the days of the week would have for adults.

If a basic education means the provision of teachers and academic work, why must it fit the age, not the kid's academic level? Why must a 10 year old functioning at a 7th grade level attend 5th grade classes?

This is vitally important for our society. Just this week I saw an article citing a national shortage of nuclear engineers. [http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2010/04/03/alarm_over_shortage_of_nuclear_experts/]

I submit that the kid who gets As on class tests, but doesn't hand in his homework, needs more interesting subject matter. Every student should have the privilege of being unable to ace tests. If students are passing tests with 100%, they aren't correctly placed, even if they're darned useful to others as tutors. On balance, they're more useful to society, in the long run, as nuclear engineers or lawyers, than as free, untrained tutors.

Laura said...

Define basic. Is it functioning on grade level, i.e., doing what a 5th grader is expected to do, when you're 10?

This is exactly what I'm wondering, from a legal standpoint.

What, as parents and as citizens, might we demand if we were the ones insisting that the schools apply the principles behind Brown to all kids?

Could we insist on schooling instead of babysitting/indoctrination? Could we insist on clear goals for each grade level? What could be done for kids who meet those goals before the end of the year, or those who fail to meet them by the end of the year (even if they are not classified)?

Laura said...

Well, I for one have just placed a bunch of holds through inter-library loan for books on special education law and No Child Left Behind, and plan on looking into this.

SteveH said...

"But now, I'm wondering if the parents of non-remedial students could make a case, based on Brown, that their kids are not getting a basic education from the school system."

I think Catherine talked about that long ago. It would be nice to use that angle, but I don't know how it would work out.

In our area, some have tried to claim that G&T students have "special" needs just like many other kids. The problem with G&T is how to define the low end of the 'T'. Many of the kids in that area are just hard workers. But then what about the kids in the middle, especially those right below that cutoff? Don't they have special needs too? You could probably make a better case for just a gifted program, but I don't think that would go over very well.

Our state says that there will be no money for G&T. Everyone will use full inclusion and somehow get it to work. Of course, this changes in math in 7th grade. Enough kids make it to honors classes in H.S. that they will continue with this model of education for a long time.

Our schools claim that this is more than "basic" because they exceed all state expectations and are improving. They even have our kids develop individual educational plans. It's hard to have any sort of discussion when they're on a completely different planet.

It's interesting that most people would agree that each student has special needs, and that parents know best what those needs are. Then, they expect that all of those needs can be met in a full inclusion environment where everyone is tracked by age. Some of these people are strongly against charter schools where parents might find a better "needs" match for their child.

momof4 said...

I’m beginning to think that the racial/ethnic issue is THE dominant force in public schools, driving pretty much every decision: mainstreaming, full inclusion, heterogeneous classrooms, elimination of tracking and gifted/honors classes, social promotion, focus on left end of Bell curve, refusal of accelerate, curriculum decisions (weak lit, writing, sciences, humanities, Everyday Math), instructional methods (groupwork, discovery, peer tutoring), even AP/IB choices. “All” can “succeed” in English or humanities, so must have more of that, but sciences are “too white and Asian”, so they can be cut (cue recent Berkeley HS decision) etc. etc.

Laura said...

In our area, some have tried to claim that G&T students have "special" needs just like many other kids. The problem with G&T is how to define the low end of the 'T'

There are states that have something called a "gifted IEP," which is supposed to do what you are describing, but I think, for the reason you list, as well as others, it's very hard to enforce.

I'm thinking that the gifted IEP route is the wrong tactic, and unnecessary. Because, again, we need to remember that special education law is actually based on a Supreme Court interpretation of regular education rights.

There's no need to base general ed (whether gifted, average, or "slow," but not classified) rights on special ed law (I think--as I said, I'm going to look into this and ask some friends who are lawyers for help), since the precedent has to do with regular ed law.

As Catherine brought up, No Child Left Behind is based on this idea, but even that is a political work-around, not a judicial challenge of public education's constitutionality. Why not go directly to the judicial route (though I understand that it's not something that should be done lightly)?

I know it's probably unlikely, but I'm wondering if it could potentially be a viable point of entry.

SteveH said...

"gifted IEP route"

As I mentioned, everyone in our schools now has their own IEP. It's completely silly and talks a lot about what the student expects from him/herself. But they proclaim that everyone has an IEP. Everything gets twisted around. Words, meanings, and even math gets twisted around and we are told that what they do provides understanding and critical thinking.

At best, one can work for more school choices and hope that those other schools have a clue.

Cranberry said...

Our local high school is following that route. All students are supposed to create an individual education plan with a teacher. This is a goal for the district. It sounds like the same thing.

It is silly. Due to space constraints, most students don't get the schedule they request. How one is supposed to construct a plan for education when your class schedule is hit-or-miss?

Laura said...

At best, one can work for more school choices and hope that those other schools have a clue.

I respectfully disagree, though I would also love to see more school choice. Or at least, I disagree in the sense that I think it is worth looking into the judicial angle from a general ed point of view. But no need for me to belabor the point--if I'm able to get more info that backs up my gut feeling, I will come back and share that.

rocky said...

a nonremedial child sit in 5 study halls

That's silly. Is there no fast track to graduation?

(not a big fan of International Baccalaureate)

Hainish said...

I’m beginning to think that the racial/ethnic issue is THE dominant force in public schools, driving [...] elimination of tracking and gifted/honors classes

That's certainly not what's happening in my neck of the woods. My district recently decided against a G/T program because it was politically "unsafe"...the school board worried about powerful parents who would scream bloody murder if THEIR child wasn't placed in the program. (And yes, these were politically active white middle and upper-middle class suburban parents.)

Crimson Wife said...

"What if we had some student achievement data from placing low-SES infants in high-SES households, replete with highly educated parents and lots of lots of earned income, and allowing the high-SES parents to nurture the low-SES children over their childhood? Might that settle the issue? In fact we do have just this sort data from various adoption studies, for example...the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study."

You do realize that this is a really OLD study? When these black children were adopted by white families there was a LOT more racial discrimination than there is today. A black child growing up in the late 1960's in an white neighborhood had a very different experience than a black child growing up in today's more diverse suburbs will have.

Unfortunately we don't have any more recent data because it's too much of a political hot potato for researchers.

Catherine Johnson said...

Once IB was branded elitist, and a theft of resources from the disadvantaged, public discussion for IB ceased.

I am HORRIFIED.

This is another 'always worse than you think' moment for me; I've never heard of one group of parents/citizens going after another group in this way.

Catherine Johnson said...

Crimson Wife - actually, I think there is a new study - isn't there?? I was looking at it just the other day.

All I remember was that everything was genetic EXCEPT .... junk food consumption, I think! If your adoptive parents were overweight & your biological parents were thin, you're overweight.

sheesh

I should go look it up, if I can remember where I saw it & what it was.

What I remember at the moment was thinking that diet-and-weight-loss in our contemporary environment is impossible.

Catherine Johnson said...

Rocky - what are your thoughts on IB?

I'm leery of the program; I worry it's been or in the process of being captured by constructivists.

Who writes the curriculum?

Do we know?

I've looked through their website...

When I looked at the middle school IB program a few years ago I didn't like it at all.

Plus the calculus course isn't good. I know that from David Klein & also from an engineering student I met who took IB calculus. He was contemptuous; said he had to write a paper & then teach himself a bunch of content the course didn't cover.

SteveH said...

"Once IB was branded elitist..."

I would be interested to know if they feel the same way about AP classes. In my niece's school in MI, a number of IB classes use AP classes. They might adjust a few things for each type of student, however. She loved IB, but I haven't asked her for details.

I don't like the all or nothing nature of the program, but then again, my neice's school has either 2 or 3 levels of commitment. And, if you cross-list the AP and IB classes (I don't know if the IB people like that), there shouldn't be much of an additional cost. But, if these other IB classes have few students, then they would be easy targets for cutting. If the program has full classes, then I don't know what they would save by cutting them. The students don't disappear.

Catherine Johnson said...

grr...just lost a comment

Catherine Johnson said...

Turns out I was wrong - obesity is connected to your biological parents. It's drinking and smoking you get from your adoptive parents.

I kind of love it that adoptive parents (apparently) have Total Power to transmit bad habits to their kids.

I use a new data set of Korean-American adoptees who, as infants, were randomly assigned to families in the U.S. I examine the treatment effects from being assigned to a high income family, a high education family or a family with four or more children. I calculate the transmission of income, education and health characteristics from adoptive parents to adoptees. I then compare these coefficients of transmission to the analogous coefficients for biological children in the same families, and to children raised by their biological parents in other data sets. Having a college educated mother increases an adoptee's probability of graduating from college by 7 percentage points, but raises a biological child's probability of graduating from college by 26 percentage points. In contrast, transmission of drinking and smoking behavior from parents to children is as strong for adoptees as for non-adoptees. For height, obesity, and income, transmission coefficients are significantly higher for non-adoptees than for adoptees. In this sample, sibling gender composition does not appear to affect adoptee outcomes nor does the mix of adoptee siblings versus biological siblings.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE RANDOMLY ASSIGN CHILDREN TO FAMILIES?
Bruce Sacerdote
October 22, 2004

SteveH said...

Blogger has been behaving strangely lately. Sometimes it seems like my comments don't post. I can find them in one spot and not another. After a while I see it no matter how I get to it. I've been saving my comments lately.

Crimson Wife said...

Catherine- I should've clarified that it was the IQ portion of the transracial adoption study that is too much of a political hot potato. And specifically looking at blacks adopted into white families.

I wouldn't touch that with a 10 foot pole if I were a social science researcher. Too hard to secure funding, too great a risk of not being able to publish the results if they wound up similar to the previous study. Not saying that I think they would, but I wouldn't stake my academic reputation on the issue.

Allison said...

CW,

First, I was quoting Ken DeRosa.

Second, yes, the study is "old", but it's still consistent with every other study out there but one that shows a standard deviation of difference in achievement scores, no matter how you measure them. The "but one" is even older--and it's the only study Flynn's got. It's from post WWII black GIs in Germany, who married German women. Not exactly "new". Yet people trot that out all the time, and don't cite the selection criteria there that might make it nonrepresentative (the black GIs having higher IQs than other black on average; the blacks marrying German women being a significantly different group, the women who found such men attractive being nonrepresentative in Germany such a short time after Nazism, etc.)

Third, you don't know much about Minnesota. There's no racial diversity in the suburbs here even now. The racial diversity is in the cities, but it's "diverse", a euphemism for "not integrated". The cities, which are overwhelmingly liberal have white high SES and black and hispanic and southeast asian low SES populations. It's still the high SES whites doing the adoption, and the neighborhoods they are adopted into are still white.

Yes, attitudes have changed. The IQ studies done are still consistent with all of the other ones done. You can keep trying to find loopholes against this uncomfortable truth, but reality keeps being uncomfortable.

Catherine Johnson said...

off-topic, but I'm curious how a group of babies came to be randomly assigned to adoptive families.

I didn't see an explanation early in the paper & don't have the patience to search for it right now.

CassyT said...

Random IB thoughts from a parent of a freshman...

I've been told that the MYP (Middle Years Program) is a "philosophy" whereas 11th & 12th grade program (DP for Diploma Program) is an actual curriculum. Here's the school's IB Mission Statement. My freshman rarely has homework. He's a bright kid, a bit of a slacker, but I'm not worried too much about his future college choices. His goal is a good engineering school like CSU or the School of Mines.

My understanding is that IB gets more challenging as you age through the program.

The things that the IB juniors and seniors have been doing can be amazing. My husband and I both advise 11th grade IB students reflecting on their outside activities that meet requirements for Creativity, Action, and Service (CAS). This is that mandatory, outside schoolwork stuff like sports, volunteer work, etc...that IB requires. Of course, that's all on top of schoolwork and a personal project that requires 100+ hours of work. How students fit in Eagle Scout projects, 2 or three plays a year, tutoring elementary kids, cross-country, mountain climbing and working with handicapped equestrians is beyond me. It's a lot of work being a well-rounded citizen.

Back to my son... After six years of Core Knowledge and two years of a Classical Education, he is, for the first time in his post-elementary education, getting something other than Greek & Roman history. They're studying African history & literature.

If you look at the IB MYP website, it seems to be 180 degrees away from a classical education:

The overall philosophy of the programme is expressed through three fundamental concepts that support and strengthen all areas of the curriculum. These concepts are based on:

* intercultural awareness
* holistic learning
* communication.


He has 7 classes; all except Geo Space are IB courses:

World Geography & History
Classical/World literature
Spanish 1
Geo Space Science
Biology 1
Algebra 2

He's also taking a class that I would call "shop" but the school refers to as "Engineering Design Technology I". Basically, my son has designed a 3-D object in a CAD program & printed it with a 3D printer, worked a metal lathe, a plasma cutter and will be welding soon. This fulfills the art requirement. He.loves.it.

Is the coursework as rigorous as I would like? I'm not really sure. Because most work is done at school, I don't see much of it. I'm not really sure what the school does to make Algebra 2 from a regular textbook IB friendly. The IB website lists minimal requirements:

Mathematics in the Middle Years Programme aims to provide students with an appreciation of the usefulness, power and beauty of the subject.

One aspect of this is the awareness that mathematics is a universal language with diverse applications. The Middle Years Programme promotes an understanding of how cultural, societal and historical influences from a variety of cultures have shaped mathematical thought.

Schools are required to develop schemes of work according to a framework that includes five branches of mathematics:

* number
* algebra
* geometry and trigonometry
* statistics and probability
* discrete mathematics.

Catherine Johnson said...

Thanks, Cassy!