Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dr. Enfield's Message(s)

Dr. Enfield has put forth a message for parents and communities about the district's focus for the future.  Here's most of it:

I promised to listen and engage with the community around what we collectively want our schools to become. I heard four common themes, which will guide our work this year: great principals, great teachers, connected families and a responsive central office.
Great principals highly skilled as instructional leaders. Principals must be in the classroom observing and working with teachers to better help students. Our six regional Executive Directors of Schools will continue to support our principals by providing professional development through regional meetings, one-on-one coaching and by sharing what works.

Great teachers highly skilled in meeting the needs of ALL students. Our students, regardless of what school they attend, deserve to be held to the same high standard. We must provide our teachers and instructional support staff with the tools they need to support all students. Our Professional Growth and Evaluation System does this, by focusing on how our teachers can become even better at what they do, while also honoring them as professionals.

Families and community partners connected to our schools. We cannot do this work alone. We must find ways to engage our families meaningfully. We need to consult them on how to overcome barriers to student success. At the same time, we must ensure our community-based organizations are matched with schools to best maximize student learning.

Central office staff serving and supporting schools and families. We have worked diligently to restructure our central office to have stronger internal controls and departmental leadership. We are creating a new culture — one in which central office staff see themselves directly supporting our core mission. In turn, our schools will have better support and we will be more responsive to families.

While these priorities serve as our framework for the year, we have also adopted a motto to remind ourselves of what we must achieve: AGREE: Attacking Gaps/Raising Expectations Everywhere. It is time for us to work together and attack our gaps. While doing this, we must also raise the quality of instruction for all students, including those who need additional academic challenges. Finally, we must raise expectations for ourselves as the adults in this community and do all we can to model for our young people what it means to be thoughtful, productive citizens who take pride in their community and its commitment to public education.



There was also a Leadership meeting with principals in August and here's link to that PowerPoint which says some other key things:
  • A shared vision that "Every student and every staff member in Seattle Public Schools is: known, cared for and challenged."  When I first skimmed the PP, I thought it said just students and now I see it includes staff.  Frankly, I find it odd because the district's mission is to help students.  That would seem like enough.
  • There is a list of"assets" including staff, families, School Board, community partners and students.
  • "Challenges include: unacceptable achievement gaps and graduation rates, discouraged families, dwindling resources/increasing needs, skeptical community members and disconnect staff."  Refreshingly honest and blunt.
  • "Not initiating new work, just getting better at the work we are already doing."  Yes, to this one.
  • I also liked this one under Central Office - "reorganizing and reculturing each central office department to support these partnerships."  I do think "reculturing" is a funny word, though, and brings to mind a lab with little department cultures growing everywhere.  
Then there was Dr. Enfield's interview on KUOW's Weekday yesterday morning.  I understand that a lot of her role is to be positive, be a cheerleader for the district and even inspire.  But like so many superintendents before her, she also is good at spin, not fully answering questions and not being entirely truthful.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - words have meaning.  When the Superintendent tosses words around like "mandate", "central administration" and "instructional practice," she should make sure everyone is on the same page or understands HER meaning of those words.

Highlights:
  • There was discussion around the budget.  Dr. Enfield said that the paycuts for teachers and principals were "mandated" by the Legislature.  The last time I looked the district operates with collective bargaining and the Legislature's mandate doesn't trump that issue.  In fact, many other districts made budget reductions but did NOT make salary reductions.  
  • She was asked about pay raises and certainly twisted this one around.  She claims that because of "central administration" reductions, that some employees took on additional work.  That's true and I would say they should get a raise.  However she then went on to say there were no "merit" raises. Okay, that's true but there were "market study" raises and she kept mum on that to the interviewer.  She also claims (and this is the first time anyone has said this) that all raises were "cost neutral endeavors."  I'll have to ask Mr. Boesche to show me the data on that one.
  • She also played dumb in a couple of places.  She was asked about cutting elementary counselors and how did some schools get theirs back. She said it was a building level decision.  Well, yes, it was BUT it is based on funding from the district so every building was forced into some Sophie's choice decisions.  In a response to a question about teaching, she said that she would "never mandate instructional practice."  I'm thinking "instructional practice" is teaching but help me out if I'm wrong.  Look, I'm sure teachers have some leeway but I also know that teachers have felt somewhat boxed in by what the district wants taught and the timetable to get through the material.  
  • There was also an interesting question from a North Beach parent who said that a couple of those students had left that school for Lowell.  He was trying to ask why there is a separate school and why they couldn't be served at their neighborhood school.  Again, she played dumb a bit by saying it was a parent's decision.  She clearly did not want to get into the issue of having separate programs at different buildings.  She did say APP kids were way off the scale and "all I can do is provide the best opportunities."  She also said she wants to expand APP geographically.  She didn't address Advanced Learning opportunities in all schools.
  • She was asked about TFA and why SPS would hire a TFA recruit over say, a UW COE grad.  She said there's a conversation across the country about teacher prep.  She said she doesn't have the hiring power, principals do.  She said they are looking for the best people they can find, no matter their path.  She also said there is no guarantee that anyone is fully prepared.  She  said there is no cost to the district for TFA.  (I guess that is going to be her story and she'll stick to it.)   She once again did NOT name the TFA donor even though she said she would once there were TFA hires.  Three people from TFA got hired at the last School Board meeting.  Still waiting.  
  • She was asked about the Source and keeping it updated by teachers.  She was very careful in saying they asked teachers to do this (but it couldn't be expected).
  • Someone asked an interesting question about "eliminating mandatory interventions."  She said she didn't know that phrase but that interventions need to be beefed-up and the current ones were not "robust enough."  Amen to that.  I believe she said there would be a new plan which would be great.  

68 comments:

KG said...

Melissa,

The fact is that Duggan Harman and his 18K raise or Abuse as I like to call it is not warranted in this time of cuts. He is now getting 144K plus benefits.

In his letter to staff it states that "I want to acknowledge the hardship of taking the day without pay-especially when many of you are doing more work with fewer resources. During these challenging economic times, we have had to make many tough choices..."

Yeah, make tough choices about others with no conscience.

I am a district employee and when we were giving the task of ordering the drinking water and stocking it we were doing additional duties and were not paid extra for it.

It is about Central admin. here and not students that is what I have learned.

As you see in the Board meetings Mr. Harman has to ask Bob Boesche to answer questions though Mr. Boesche is new and only interim.

Seems like he wants to take the onus off of his lack of ability to do the job ethically and correctly.


There is no way the District only has 5.98% Central admin. now.

I am not drinking the Kool-Aid.

Anonymous said...

" I heard four common themes, which will guide our work this year: great principals, great teachers, connected families and a responsive central office."

First I read that statement as REDUCED central office, but after rereading it, still came out as "responsive" central office. Tough choices? Maybe not so much.

-Bummer!

mirmac1 said...

I can just read the emails from Lesley Rogers, Exec Dir of Communications gleefully laying out the Talking Points. If the district spent as much time improving itself as it does burnishing its image, we'd all be better off.

someone said...

Dang - I forget she was on today - I was going to have my SPS employed spouse listen and give me the "real" story as she went along ;)

Have to hand it to her on one front - she's got that spin-doctor thing down - man I wish that guy from Fresno was running SPS - what a difference it might make!

Disgusted said...

"Our six regional Executive Directors of Schools will continue to support our principals by providing professional development through regional meetings, one-on-one coaching and by sharing what works".

Even when a particular Executive Director lacks district qualifications?

Anonymous said...

I'll say that there are at least two Exec Dirs of Schools who are in no position to "coach" experienced principals.

Mr. Ed

Anonymous said...

re KUOW interview:

Notice how Enfield starts every (non)answer, with "So..." like a good politician.

She's definitely on "message". I wonder if she has a set of talking points written on her hand yet.

--enough already

mirmac1 said...

Listen to every admin staffer you suspect is slimy. Nearly every sentence starts with "So..." It's like they heard a noise that sounded like a question but they want to deliver that talking point without distraction SO shut up already.

ksjjpalmer said...

I am just wishing the central office would allow my younger sibling daughter in to my son's school. Our school has two programs and we trusted Tracy Libros' advice and put the opposite program as our son is in. Now , out of attendance area non-siblings are getting in to the school while my sibling child languishes on the wait list. The central office does not respond to my letters, e-mails,or phone calls. I will go there in person tomorrow but I would love to remind them that I am the customer!@

Charlie Mas said...

No change in instructional practice is going to close the academic achievement gap. Isn't it time that everyone, particularly Dr. Enfield, stopped pretending that it can?

Anonymous said...

Wow. Comments like that makes you wonder what century we're living in. If that was true, why would we even bother sending some kids to school?

-other

Melissa Westbrook said...

Other, Charlie was a little blunt in that comment. (And by the way, Charlie, the new phrase is "opportunity gap.")

But frankly, education cannot do it all. There are a lot of people out there who, for varying reasons, want to believe it can.

What CAN happen is that we have good quality schools, better teacher preparation and selection, principals who know how to be leaders and know what good teaching looks like and administrators who are minding the store and managing our district and its resources well.

Add to that, adequate supports for high needs students and struggling students (see the Families and Education levy). Add in genuine partnership with Special Ed parents. Finally, make sure there is recognition of meeting the needs of ALL students across the spectrum of learning.

Do all that and you still won't end the opportunity gap but you will have given it your best shot.

I've been wanting to write a thread for a long time about this issue and I hope to soon.

Chris S. said...

Hey, don't those four bolded phrases sound a lot like what "Our Schools (not yours) Coalition" was touting last year? Wasn't Lesley Rogers behind that too?

Anonymous said...

C'mon Other: All Charlie is saying is that you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. Many kids arrive at school with so many non-school related deficits, its impossible for the school to fill in all the blanks. The schools can and should do all they can, but they can't do it all, despite the rhetoric and talking points spewed constantly by reformers. WSDWG

Charlie Mas said...

The academic achievement gap - or the opportunity gap - is not a result of differences in instructional practices and changes in instructional practices will not close it.

Does anyone - anyone - think that Eckstein has a higher pass rate on the 7th grade MSP than Aki Kurose because the teachers at Eckstein use better instructional practices than the teachers at Aki Kurose? Does anyone - anyone - think that Eckstein's pass rate is higher because the Eckstein teachers are more "effective" or higher "quality"?

Just imagine if that were the case. If that were the case then we could swap teaching staffs at these two schools and Aki Kurose would soon get test scores like Eckstein now gets and Eckstein would soon get test scores like Aki Kurose now gets. Is there anyone - anyone - who believes for even a minute that a swap in teaching staffs would have this result?

The academic achievement gap - or the opportunity gap - is created almost exclusively by determinants outside of school. The solution to it is not to change how teachers teach or to change the teachers, but to take three other steps:

1. Provide under-performing students with the supports they need to achieve, the kind of support that their affluent White and Asian peers get from their families. Provide good nutrition. Provide a stable and supported homework space. Provide exposure to the wider world.

2. Create a culture within the schools that values education, learning, and the life of the mind. Make heroes of scholars. Make a bigger fuss over the math team than the basketball team. Lavish praise on students for showing intellectual curiosity. Feed students' motivation.

3. Regard each student as an individual and address each individual student's obstacles. Motivate each individual student.

Improved instructional practices are about doing a better job of teaching page 54. That's not what is holding kids back and that's not what is going to slingshot them forward. To think so is simply moronic.

Agree with Charlie said...

Charlie hits the nail squarely and makes a great case. What is holding back the district from doing these things? Is it a subtle class divison that permeates our society? A belief that the poor must lift themselves up like we did? Enfield personifies traditional liberal values of a somewhat pitiying attitude towards the underclass and a perhaps subconscious belief that if only they worked as hard as she, they could have gone to Cal and Stanford. Lets face it, we have a class based society and the permanent underclass is a component of our country that remains very hard for us to deal with. Part of the solution is admit that there's problem. I like Charlie's straightforward talk. There are voices representing the underclass who see things this way and go beyond seeing the problem as race or culture and cut to the heart of the issue. America is a country built on theft and subjugation and these ideas have needed a rationale which lingers like the stench of a rotting carcass.

Anonymous said...

Until a plan on the order of the
Everett School System is put into place, any talk about gaps should be banned, along with acronyms.

--the school district is not a PR firm

Anonymous said...

I've observed senior admin treat my special-needs child in a pitying, cloying way. He probably wondered what was with the attitude. We need some enculturation in the ivory tower.

disgusted

Disagree with Charlie said...

Nope, we still have a school district where higher-paid, experienced teachers are clustered at the Montlakes while the newer, less experienced teachers are clustered at the Dearborn Parks. Instructional practices do matter. The best schools have teachers who team and support each other for many years. School quality does vary. Otherwise, why would people like Charlie (for example) have always sent their kids out of the neighborhood for schools?

If we had a system to rotate teachers systematically between Aki and Eckstein, you would see a difference in scores.

still don't agree said...

Re "Improved instructional practices are about doing a better job of teaching page 54. That's not what is holding kids back and that's not what is going to slingshot them forward. To think so is simply moronic."

It's not moronic. To use your example of Aki Kurose, 20% of students there are Transitional Bilingual. One out of every five is learning English as their second language! Careful selection of materials could do a better job of teaching page 54. I remember reading Dan Dempsey's explanation here of why Discovering Math books were more challenging to ESL students because they are so verbose. Better ESL support may improve effectiveness too.

Instructional Practices can not close the achievement gap. But we could and should investigate first, and focus better on bridging it. Please don't "blame the victim" and assume those Aki families don't value education as much as Eckstein families!

Jan said...

Hm. Well, I disagree with "Disagree With Charlie Said." Now that the District is driving teachers OUT of schools where kids test badly, it is hard to get good numbers on teacher retention (but this is a District created problem mind you). But in past years, when I looked, there was plenty of seniority at schools where kids struggle. I think Charlie is spot on.
If I am a teacher at school A, and have 25 kids in an Algebra I class, and 5 are APP qualified kids whose parents don't want to deal with the commute given that school A is such a good school, and another 5 are similarly qualified Specrtum kids, and 5 more have been in Kumon for 4 or 5 years and can factor in their sleep, and 18 come from homes where doing all homework, on time is de rigeur, and 15 of the kids go to three or four camps each summer (some academic, some not), and all of them assume (rightfully) that they will get good grades and go to good colleges (and need to know Algebra so they can take AP Calc before they leave high school), it will be much easier for me to teach, and them to learn, Algebra I well than at School B.

Of the 25 kids in Alg I at school B, 5 are ELL kids who cannot understand much of what is said in class, and have a hard time asking questions (and understanding answers) in English. 5 more are in foster care. 3 live in homes where furniture and cars (and food, and tvs, etc.) come and go, depending on drug or prostitution income; and 5 live in homes where no one has an income at all. 3 live in cars, or are staying with relatives because their families have lost housing. Only 5 came to school with supplies (though 5 more had "donated" supplies from a charity. Only 5 know anyone in their family or neighborhood who ever went to college, and the other 20 are pretty clueless about what it takes to get there, and have no "vision" of their future that puts them there. 10 are 3 or more years behind in math, and another 10 are between a year and 2 years behind. The teacher has asked for volunteers, and gotten virtually no response. Five are truly ready and able to learn Algebra I, and 2 are actually gifted and bored. Five families showed up at curriculum night and teacher conferences. She was able to chase down five more. The other fifteen were unable to, or otherwise failed to, attend any meeting or parent night.

This is not an issue of "instructional methodology." It is not a question of how you teach page 54. The teacher in School B needs access to instructional help and materials so that the kids who are behind get caught up enough that they can even DO algebra. He/she needs help in finding ways that these kids can find the time, place, and structure to get enough homework done so they can master the material.

Until we stop trying to fix the "delivery system" generically, and start seeing each student for who he/she is, where they are ahead or behind, and what they need to move forward -- and then focus our time, staff, and money on meeting those needs, there will be very little progress at School B.

Charlie Mas said...

Wow! I am astonished.

I am dumbstruck.

There actually is someone who thinks that the difference in test scores among schools is attributable to differences in "teacher quality".

I never thought I would see this.

And what data - exactly - does anyone have to support that contention?

For my part, I have a 2001 study by the the UW's Center for the Reinvention of Public Education that that did an attribution analysis on the gap and concluded that the majority of it was attributable to to economic factors and lack of access to enrichment opportunities.

In addition there is a lot of data that shows that half of the academic achievement gap is present before students even start school in kindergarten. Then, over the coming ten years the gap narrows during the school year and expands during the summer. This shows that what is happening in the schools narrows the gap. It would indicate that those teachers at the low income schools are actually MORE effective than the teachers at the schools in middle class and affluent neighborhoods.

What data do YOU have, Disagree with Charlie, that suggests that teacher quality or instructional quality plays a significant role in creating the academic achievement gap?

Charlie Mas said...

Selection of materials is not instructional strategy. It is not a decision made by the teacher; it is a decision made by the Board.

I do not "blame the victim". I do not make assumptions about how much or how little families value education. In the first case, the children are not responsible for their culture and therefore blameless. In the second place, I wouldn't judge a culture as "bad" because it doesn't match the values of my culture. There is no blame to attribute. I'm not that ethno-centric.

But, since this topic has been raised, there are some cultures that place a higher value on education than other cultures. We all know this to be true and we all acknowledge that Jewish, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean cultures value education more than mainstream American culture. No one has any trouble aknowledging that truth. Just as there are some cultures that put a higher value on education, there are some that have other priorities, but we have a very hard time acknowledging that truth. If we are going to tell the truth and face it and address it, then we have to acknowledge it. Get over your squeamishness and ethno-centrism and be able to say that other cultures may not share your values and that doesn't make them bad.

more said...

My post has astounded Charlie Mas! wow :D but doesn't "dumbstruck" mean you'd be at a loss for words? LOL!!! Why get so angry when someone disagrees with you on as complex an issue as the achievement gap? There's no easy answer. How can anyone be so confident from a single study, that Instructional Practices CAN HAVE NO EFFECT? If that were true, then why do some kids learn best in alternative schools? Do you believe every child's educational potential should be automatically limited by their socioeconomic background? That's un-American! If we give up trying everything we can, we may end up with an even more stratified society.

Could we create an alternative school approach that works best for these kids? That's instructional practices! Include all these great ideas suggested here? Find what's working at Maple and South Shore? Stay flexible? Try to bridge the achievement gap, even if we may never close it?

seattle citizen said...

Disagrees with Charlie wrote that "...we still have a school district where higher-paid, experienced teachers are clustered at the Montlakes while the newer, less experienced teachers are clustered at the Dearborn Parks."

Disagree, could you point us to the data that backs up that statement? Last time somebody trotted that out, I went to the district "schools" website and compared a few schools around the district. I didn't see that much difference in how many years teachers had taught, overall. Please tell us where you get the data to back up your assertion.
I just compared the data on the teacher surveys at Dearborn and Montlake. Teachers at Dearborn have been in the district considerably longer than Montlake, but Montlake has a slight edge in how long the teachers have been at the school.
Average years teaching in district:
Dearborn 76% six or more years in district;
Montlake 60% six or more years in district
Average years teaching at the school:
Dearborn 32% six or more years
Montlake 35% six or more years.
Montlake

more said...

"...Just as there are some cultures that put a higher value on education, there are some that have other priorities, but we have a very hard time acknowledging that truth. If we are going to tell the truth and face it and address it, then we have to acknowledge it. Get over your squeamishness and ethno-centrism and be able to say that other cultures may not share your values and that doesn't make them bad..."

Let's see... not Japanese not Chinese not Korean not Jewish Americans... I think you must mean... BLACK PEOPLE? LOL! (who's the squeamish one, Charlie? SAY IT! SAY IT! LOL!)

It's not as simple as faulting family culture. The district has failed kids in Southeast Seattle in so many ways... Southeast Initiative, the new assignment plan, S.T.E.M., excessive staff turnover at Rainier Beach, dropping transportation to alternative schools, standardized testing, math textbooks... I wish our city had the political will for the real changes needed to support all of our public schools.

Charlie Mas said...

Actually, more, I was thinking of South Pacific Islanders, not African-Americans.

And, for what it's worth, I'm not angry. If you find an angry tone in the post it's because you put it there, not me.

Charlie Mas said...

As for the kids who learn best in alternative schools, I think you will find that is a student by student thing, not a culture by culture thing. It's not the sort of thing that could be used to close the gap.

It was tried, however. An alternative school was developed specifically to close the academic achievement gap for African-American students, the AAA. It failed horribly. Do you remember that?

Again... where is there any data or study to suggest that better teachers (however that is measured) can close the gap?

Charlie Mas said...

Here's where we agree. Like more, I wish our city had the political will for the real changes needed to support all of our public school students.

Jan said...

I am starting to feel like the Charlie chorus here. Like Charlie, I DO think instructional practices can matter -- but as he notes, it is very much a "student by student" thing. Not only is the current administration degrading the alt schools, I have understood from others who post that teachers are increasingly required to NOT use their best judgment to alter instructional technique on a kid by kid basis. Instead, they "have" to use whatever instructional method the coaches, principals, executive directors, blah blah ad infinitum, require. I don't think a teacher with a class of 23 kids, all 2 to 3 years behind in math, can suddently say -- screw this EDM stuff. We are going with Singapore and "mastery learning." Unless they have the luck to be at Schmitz Park.

dan dempsey said...

Enfield's messages... WOW .. what a pile of nonsense. Who actually writes this trash?

Fact #1: For years the SPS ignored the promotion / non-promotion policies that required interventions for struggling students.

The Board recently rubber-stamped Holly Ferguson's new "promotion / non-promotion policies", which now completely neglect the mention of interventions.

"Someone asked an interesting question about "eliminating mandatory interventions." She said she didn't know that phrase {{ guess the then CAO Enfield did not read current academic policies or understand them }} but that interventions need to be beefed-up and the current ones were not "robust enough."

So if interventions were not robust enough.... what exactly was the CAO doing about interventions for struggling students? Whose job was that anyway?

NOW WE GET the "differentiated instruction line of thinking" ... note this means that teachers who have many students who have not been provided needed interventions are now magically going to make it all work super-duper. ==>

"Great teachers highly skilled in meeting the needs of ALL students. Our students, regardless of what school they attend, deserve to be held to the same high standard. We must provide our teachers and instructional support staff with the tools they need to support all students. Our Professional Growth and Evaluation System does this, by focusing on how our teachers can become even better at what they do, while also honoring them as professionals."

The above is 100% kaka.... All students deserve to be held to the same high standard... This is total BS.

The 6th graders with 2nd grade math skills deserve to be held to the same standard as those 6th graders above grade level. Dr. Enfield is lost in LaLa land.

It takes time and effort to acquire skills. The students deserve to receive services that will optimize their learning. Because the district has substituted Jargon for Action ... enormous numbers of below grade level students remained seriously neglected ... while MGJ and Enfield prattled on about "Differentiated Instruction" and teachers meeting the needs of all students.

PLEASE Someone Get this Board and this Superintendent to respond to reality in substantive ways. STOP THE MEANINGLESS JARGON.

none1111 said...

Disagree said: "The best schools have teachers who team and support each other for many years. School quality does vary. Otherwise, why would people like Charlie (for example) have always sent their kids out of the neighborhood for schools?"

A comment like this makes me wonder if you even have kids in the district and if you've ever faced issues like this at all, because the answer is obvious, and it's NOT the crap you're spouting.

No matter what school you choose for your kids you don't get to choose your teacher(s). And every school has a mix of good and not-so-good teachers. Parents advocate for their kids by moving to "better" schools because of the students and overall environment.

It makes little difference how skilled a teacher is at teaching a specific concept when half the class is talking and boisterous, a few are walking around the room and won't sit down or obey the teacher at all. If you try to pay attention and learn from the teacher you are ridiculed and sometimes even threatened by your fellow classmates. Kids who don't hang in the right crowds or aren't "tough enough" live in fear every day just walking through the hallways. This is a dreadful learning environment, even for those who do want to learn. THAT is why parents move their kids to "better" schools.

Some teachers may be better at dealing with troubled students than others, but that's a hugely different skill set than a successful teacher at a high performing school. The teacher swap you mentioned would have little effect, and might even have a detrimental effect in some cases.

I didn't like Charlie's "moronic" comment at the end of an otherwise excellent post, but if you really believe what you're saying then you are truly clueless.

Anonymous said...

Is this a blog where we are free to discuss ideas about education, or is it The Charlie Mas Fan Club?

"Like Charlie, I DO think instructional practices can matter" Jan, it was More at 5:41 who said that. Charlie's been arguing that instructional practices can have no effect.

"Spouting crap"? "clueless"? Can't argue with that logic, None1111.

-Bored with your groupthink

Anonymous said...

None1111, are you saying most people move from neighborhood schools because "Kids who don't hang in the right crowds or aren't 'tough enough' live in fear every day just walking through the hallways"?

Those conditions exist but are uncommon. Most of the time parents move them into an alternative or accelerated program that has a TEACHING approach they feel will meet their needs better, even when school culture and student demographics are similar to what they left back home. Alternative schools often use different materials that are not provided by the district (often purchased by the teachers). Accelerated programs have teachers who have special training in gifted education.

-Anonymous at 8:50something

Charlie Mas said...

"Our students, regardless of what school they attend, deserve to be held to the same high standard. "

What does it mean to hold students to a high standard? What happens to the kids who don't meet that high standard?

If there are no consequences for failing to meet the high standard, then how are can anyone say that students are being held accountable?

I keep hearing those words "held accountable" but no one ever tells me what they mean.

Jan said...

Bored with our groupthink: I was replying to Charlie's statement: "As for the kids who learn best in alternative schools, I think you will find that is a student by student thing, not a culture by culture thing. It's not the sort of thing that could be used to close the gap."

I had interpreted that to mean that instructional practices "can" matter, or "do" matter -- but they matter not in terms of taking whole classes or struggling, behind kids and somehow magically making them achieve 3 years of instructional growth in a year. Rather, they matter in that some kids learn better with alternative teaching styles and practices -- but it is really a kid by kid thing. Not something that you can (or should) impose on ALL strudents in the name of raising test scores.

If a specific child is behind because he can only learn kinesthetically, then adapting your instructional practices to take that into account for that kid is good. If 70 percent of the kids in algebra are lost and clueless because they still don't understand fractions, division, and basic math rules, and the other 30% are not behind, and 3 are way ahead -- there is not an "instructional practice" fix for that. It requires kid by kid attention to what each child does and does not know, what the barriers are to learning the material, and how best to provide the help.

At any rate, my apologies to bored if I misinterpreted Charlie on this point -- or simply failed to respond in a way that could be easily followed.

dan dempsey said...

Yes ... Enfield said it:
"Our students, regardless of what school they attend, deserve to be held to the same high standard. "

So what does this mean in the real world?

What are these standards?

and how are the students held accountable?

Take a look at MSP scores in reading and/or math in grades 3 through 8.... CHECK out the level 1 scores = far below standard.

Yup the State MSP score says: Far Below Standard.

Here are the actual numbers of students who scored at level 1 in 2010 MSP and 2011 MSP. Take a look and then ask yourself ... "What is the world is Dr. Enfield talking about????"

The results are next.....

dan dempsey said...

Students scoring at Level 1
Well Below Standard

Reading grade 3
2010 => 11.2% = 412
2011 => 6.9% = 261 students

grade 4
2010 => 8.6% = 317
2011 => 8.7% = 318 students

grade 5
2010 => 10.5% = 360
2011 => 9.2% = 336 students

grade 6
2010 => 9.8% = 309
2011 => 7.0% = 227

grade 7
2010 => 9.8% = 290
2011 => 11.3% = 352

grade 8
2010 => 10.3% = 299
2011 => 10.8% = 324
=============

Students scoring at Level 1
Well Below Standard
MATH grade 3
2010 => 14.7% = 543
2011 => 15.6% = 589 students

grade 4
2010 => 21.3% = 783
2011 => 24.7% = 904

grade 5
2010 => 22.1% = 759
2011 => 18.0% = 657

grade 6
2010 => 19.8% = 621
2011 => 19.8% = 645

grade 7
2010 => 20.2% = 600
2011 => 20.0% = 621

grade 8
2010 => 21.5% = 627
2011 => 20.4% = 612

=====================

So how were these students held to the same high standard?

The above students were "Well Below Standard" ... so how were they held to the same high standard?

Enfield appears as a Complete Phony when she writes this crap .... or likely has someone else write it for her.

So what's up Doc?

Watch your mouth said...

I got to agree that Charlie's "culture" statements are stereotypes. WTF is "chinese" culture or "jewish"? Stereotypes label all members of a group the same based on the behavior of some of that group. It's wrong and you should know better, Charlie.

Charlie Mas said...

Watch your mouth, are you saying that there is no such thing as a Jewish culture or a Chinese culture?

Watch Your Mouth 2 said...

Charlie has been very clear in this thread that he attributes race and culture to the acheivement, or lack of such, to student cultre/race. "Not that there's anything wrong with that", he is careful to say, not unlike the old saw, "But some of my friends are black."

His type of thinking is the reason some teachers see a brown child acting out and think "ADD" but a white child acting out is just expressing himself, or needs more challenge in school. It's why the same teacher spends time obsessing on a brown kid's weakensses while nominating the model minority Asian kid for APP, only to have the two of them end up in the same APP class down the road (after a less race-oriented teacher sees the brown kid's gifts FIRST).

It's why the number of black kids in special ed and who are disciplined and suspended are out of proportion to their percentage in ther district, why few of them end up in APP, and why white parents freak out about the "tough" kids "from poverty" when they have to share school space with them (Thurgood Marshall anyone?).

It's not just Charlie and it's not just Seattle and it's not just about schools. Read Jen Graves' story this week in the Stranger for a larger picture. But more importantly, read the comments. There really are people who think that black kids aren't as smart as whites and Asians, that any of them in APP got some kind of deal to be there, that truly, if they found themselves in north Seattle schools they would still fail. Oh wait, that last one is Charlie. Again. But who would tell anyone, I'm sure, that he isn't racist. I call BULLSHIT.

Anonymous said...

I am saying there is no "Jewish" culture. Ashkenazim, Sephardim, Hassidim, Orthodox, Reform, from recent immigrants from Israel to fourth-generation American, mixed-faith families, conservative and liberal, single-parent families, gay or straight, with a range of Jewish family history, faith and customs. One thing they have in common is that most Jewish-American families trace their origins to Europe so they look and act more like the majority kids than their school friends whose families survived slavery and Jim Crow in the USA.

How would you feel if your children had been described in anti-semitic stereotypes by ignorant people on this blog?

-Please don't label my kids!

Charlie Mas said...

Gee Watch Your Mouth, I guess I had better. It's hard for me to talk with all of the words you're putting into my mouth - words I never said or wrote.

"Charlie has been very clear in this thread that he attributes race and culture to the acheivement, or lack of such, to student cultre/race. " Actually, no. That's not what I wrote, but it's pretty clearly what you read. Please go back and see what I wrote.

I wrote that some cultures put a higher value on education than other cultures. Are you going to deny that? Are you going to claim that all cultures around the world value education the same? If so, then please make that claim. Make it plainly so we can all know you for what you are.

Culture, in addition to being language, cuisine, costume, art, music, dance, literature, and etiquette, also includes values. Just as cultures have different foods and songs, they also have different values.

Watch Your Mouth might actually try to deny that because Watch Your Mouth denied the existence of Jewish, Chinese and Korean culture. Kinda makes me wonder if Watch Your Mouth believes in any cultures at all. I have to wonder what Watch Your Mouth thinks of the District's efforts to teach Cultural Competency to teachers. Is that a waste of time, since there is no such thing as culture?

I did not write that some of my friends are black. How much stuff are you going to invent for me to say? Don't I write enough without you having to write more words for me? I'm a big boy now. I buy my own insurance and everything. I can speak for myself. If you want to quote me then quote me, but don't invent quotes for me.

In addition, do not equate my thinking with your frenzied racist hallucinations. There is no reason to associate me with them.

I call bullshit on you, Watch Your Mouth.

Charlie Mas said...

Thank you, Please don't label my kids!, for pointing out the obvious, that there are sub-cultures within cultures.

There are a number of sub-cultures within the Jewish community, as you have listed (and more that you didn't list). And there are sub-cultures within those sub-cultures. Not all Hasidim are alike.

We have, of course, the wonderful example right here in Seattle of Sephardic Bikur Holim and Ashkenazai Bikur Cholim across the street from each other in Seward Park.

The existence of sub-cultures does not negate the existence of cultures. And, of course, each member is an individual who participates in the culture to whatever degree.

Acknowledging the existence of cultures is not stereotyping. It is not racism. It is a truth that is present whether it fits your model of the world or not. I don't make any judgement about one culture being better than another. I wouldn't do that. I don't suggest that one culture is right and another is wrong. I don't presume that every member of a culture participates in that culture to the same degree. I recognize sub-cultures within cultures that can vary from each other, sometimes dramatically. I don't presume that culture dictates anything about any individual.

But what's the alternative to acknowledging the existence of cultures? To deny it? That's unsupportable.

Charlie Mas said...

What is it that makes people fear discussions of culture?

Watch Your Mouth 2 said...

Wow, Charlie,

First of all, I am "Watch Your Mouth *2*", I would hate for the FIRST "Watch Your Mouth" to take flak meant for me.

You're really great at making assumptions and derailing. You're good, I will give you that. You do, in a post above, say that there are cultures which do not value education as much as others (the various model minorities vs. "others" you trot out) but that "doesn't make them bad". I was not putting any words into your mouth in saying that you did this. And I never said you said "some of my friends are black" but called it an old saw not unlike "not that there's anything wrong with that". But you know that.

Attacking me instead of addressing my point-that attributing the traits of SOME to an entire culture, is part of the reason we HAVE an achievement gap-is a nice attempt at sidestepping the discussion.

And you go further, just in case that doesn't work. You go on to say that perhaps I don't believe in ANY culture, which is pure crap, of course.

For good measure, you end with calling me crazy, that what I had to say is "pure frenzied racist hallucinations". You operate like you've read the playbook of "Stuff White People Do".

But what you never do is address the overpopulation of black boys in special ed, who are suspended, and expelled in disproportionate numbers; the under-representation of kids of color in advanced programs, and the problem of teachers sometimes buying into the stereotypes that some kids' "culture" covers all of their behaviors instead of looking at them individually.

But your hysterical rebuttal WAS a good effort in derailing. And you helped me get really, really clear on where you're coming from.

Watch your mouth 1 said...

The problem was implying that the value people put on education is part of their culture. Culture consists of many things, but that is not one of them. It's akin to saying some cultures value personal hygiene more than others or that there are cultures which can't see their own failings.

Watch Your Mouth 2 said...

WYM 1-it's more than that, even. I'm Italian. My mother was 100% Italian-both sides of her family were from northern Italy. To say her culture was Italian would mean-what, exactly? Her ancestors' culture included some prety good food, but it WASN'T heavy on the seafood, which southern Italian culture prizes. If she were to meet a cousin from southern Italy, chances are that their food cultures would be very different.

So to say that some cultures, Charlie used Chinese as one example, prize education, WHICH Chinese "culture" does he mean? Those from northern China? Southern China? Western China? Or does he mean rural China or urban China? Of course you can't say an entire country's population or ancestry share a culture, and he knows that. And that's before one even gets to the topic of which values, arts, food, etc. any one alleged "culture" has.

But don't call him on it-he'll run circles around your actual charge and call you names. I'm becoming ever more grateful that Betty Patu beat the pants off him in the school board race.

Anonymous said...

"Thank you, Please don't label my kids!, for pointing out the obvious, that there are sub-cultures within cultures."

I must have answered your question, then? You're welcome, Charlie.

May I ask, does your family value education more than minority families do? (I'm guessing more than South Pacific Islanders but less than Chinese?) Because you seem to spend more time blogging your opinions and calling people names, than helping your kids with their math homework. It's ok, they probably know enough English to get by.

-Please don't label my kids!

Anonymous said...

OK...Charlie oversimplified things to be sure. But the reality is that POVERTY combined with cultural biases, lack of hope and good role models DOES create schools where a disproportionate number of children and their families do not regard education as a priority.

Do you understand that there are kids in high-poverty schools who have parents in jail, in gangs, selling drugs, walking the streets? In Seattle, many, but not all, of these children are of color. In rural towns there will be more Caucasians—children whose parents run meth labs, live a life of crime, etc. POVERTY creates desperate people of all stripes—everywhere.

This is a city. There ARE people who engage in criminal practice as a way of life. There ARE gangs with kids as members—there was another shoot 'em up Sunday night at Othello and MLK. It's been going on all summer long in the southend, as well as dozens of home break-ins (just in my neighborhood).

Believe me, making sure all the teachers are on page 56 of any given book at the same time is NOT going to help these kids. We need jobs and social services for their parents and families. We need mentors and role models from their own culture and ethnic background to help them believe that they CAN work toward a better way of life. We need everything that Jan and Charlie have suggested. I know many teachers who teach in SE schools, and they care very much about their students and work hard to try to reach them.

As for why some families (my own included) opt for other schools—we know that the teachers in high-poverty schools can only do so much, and a disproportionate amount of their time ends up being spent on the kids who need it most. Most of us try to do what's best for our own child first.

Those of us who were lucky to be born into stable families without the despair of poverty can focus on our children and their education. If we went to college and have living wage jobs, then our kids understand that they should probably strive for college too, or some trade that will earn them a living wage—and hopefully health insurance.

I know a number of middle-class families of color in SE Seattle. Most opted for other schools for their children as well; many went private. Their kids do well in school. I know many immigrant families whose children do well despite poverty because their home lives are stable and education is valued.

Ignoring the effects of poverty and the culture of families who knew nothing but poverty for multiple generations is just foolhardy. When crime brings respect and riches, it's hard to break the cycle. I doubt many of the teachers from Eckstein would hold up to the task.

My 2 Cents

Charlie Mas said...

Watch Your Mouth 2 wrote: "You're really great at making assumptions and derailing. You're good, I will give you that." Ah, but I'm not nearly as good at it as you are. I suppose that I should be gratified to get such a compliment from a master, but it isn't flattering at all.

What assumptions did I make? Please list them. Here's a list of yours:

1. That I attribute academic achievement to culture. Not true.

2. That I attribute academic achievement to race. Not true.

3. That my reference to culture makes me equivalent to racist mis-understandings of student behavior by teachers. Heinous and false.

4. That I am somehow responsible for the over-representation of black students in special education or that I am content with it. Not true on either count.

5. That I am somehow responsible for the under-representation of black students in advanced learning programs or that I am content with it. Not true on either count.

6. That I think that black kids aren't as smart as whites and Asians. Not true.

7. That any black student in APP got there as part of some "deal". Not true.

8. That student achievement is unlikely to be significantly altered by moving from one neighborhood school to another. Actually, that is something that I would say. The student is still the student and the bulk of the determinants of academic achievement are not school-based. Only if there was something really different about the schools would I expect it to make much of a difference.

As for de-railing, this whole discussion of culture - whether there is such a thing, whether it is negated by the presence of sub-cultures, the extent to which individuals participate in it, and more - is ALL a derailment.

I did not "attack" you. I spoke only to your ideas - the ideas that you personally had expressed. You really should learn to distinguish between a rejection of your ideas and assumptions and a personal assault. Calling someone racist - that's a personal assault. Assigning thoughts and attitudes to another person - that a personal assault. Aligning a person with evil - that's an assault. I'm sure you can see the difference and you can see that I committed no personal attack. That must have been someone else.

I did not say that EVERY member of a culture does EVERYTHING the same as EVERY other member of the culture. What an absurd idea. That is your straw man that you would prefer to oppose rather than the much more nuanced statements that I made about broad cultures, sub-cultures, and individuals.

It is true that I did not, here, address the overpopulation of black boys in special ed, or the disproportionate rate at which they are suspended, and expelled, or the their under-representation in advanced programs. Nor did I, here, address the problem of teachers sometimes buying into stereotypes. I did not take that up because I don't disagree with you about that. I didn't take it up here because it was an effort to derail the conversation. I didn't take it up because it has been discussed any number of times before. Do you want to address those issues? I will be only too happy to start a new thread so you can discuss them.

As for reaching the conclusion that Watch Your Mouth2 doesn't believe in culture, that was my mistake. It was Watch Your Mouth 1 who asked "WTF is 'chinese' culture or 'jewish'?" My comments are labeled with my name. I wrongly jumped to the conclusion that Watch Your Mouth and Watch Your Mouth 2 were the same person.

Charlie is human too said...

2 Cents
You make the point well. Charlie surely knows that drugs and crime and gangs are not cultural values. I think all cultures value education. It's a racist stereotype to say Chinese do so more than others.

Charlie Mas said...

Watch Your Mouth 1 wrote that values are not part of culture.

What is your authoritative source for that statement?

What authoritative source would you accept as a rebuttal?

I doubt that you would accept Wikipedia, but what would you accept?

Watch Your Mouth 2 said...

Okay, okay. You're right; I'm wrong. I've just been a troll. Nevermind

Anonymous said...

There are people of all cultures that value education, and people of all cultures that do not. I am a second-generation American of European descent. My parents did not graduate from high school, but they were determined that my sister and I would both go to college; we did.

Both of my sister's boys went to college. My child is on the college track. We read, a lot! We discuss weighty topics around the dinner table. My child wants to b an artist, but "not a starving artist." We understand what it takes to succeed in life and are prepared to do the work to get there. We were blessed, and fortunate. Many people are not.

It is the children of the people who were neither blessed nor fortunate (and have children they do) who are at risk. It is up to our society to find a way to break the cycle. The current trends in ed-reform will not do it. Standardized curriculum and metered teaching will not create hope—the necessary ingredient for success.

My 2 Cents

Watch your mouth (1) said...

How about this Charlie; list the various cultures of the world going from most valuing education to least valuing education.

Watch(1) said...

My point was that it is ridiculous to say that one billion Chinese or any nation, for that matter, share the same values. Yes they have a common cultural heritage, but some Chinese let their kids work in factories making Iphones and others make them study and others teach their kids how to entrepeneur or how to get to Canada. Just like the American black community. Some are all about education and some aren't. Same with white families. You say I don't believe in culture, nonsense. I don't believe in stereotyping a group of people based on national origin, religion, skin color or economic status. I don't think you do either but you have an aversion to critisism. Must be your culture.

Anonymous said...

My take on the culture and value discussion with the watch1 and watch 2, etc. comments is that it introduced flashpoints topics about race and culture not to make a point about race or culture, but to use the hot button topics to criticize people or a person. All you need to do is separate out the sentences line by line and you can see where the incendiary flashpoint starts and who saids it.

-we are not THAT stupid

seattle citizen said...

of course, when we say "values education" we have to be more specific: What KIND of education, and to what end?
Some people (or families/communities/cultures/economies/towns/states/nations that pass these things down generationally) value learning that perpetuates old ways; some value modernity, some value animistic cohesiveness, some rugged individualism...
So not only is there difference between individuals within a grouping, there are differences of opinion about what education IS.

Anonymous said...

At Watch (1):
Yes they have a common cultural heritage, but some Chinese let their kids work in factories making Iphones and others make them study and others teach their kids how to entrepeneur or how to get to Canada. Just like the American black community. Some are all about education and some aren't. Same with white families.

Well yes, but the common denomination often comes down to level of prosperity and social status. I doubt many middle-class and educated Chinese (in China) let their kids work in factories making Iphones . Same goes for middle-class Americans—most want their children to have some sort of career and expect them to get some sort of education to get it.

As noted by Seattle Citizen, that education can be a variety of things from ivy league schooling to technical school, or from voice lessons to elite sports. But the point is, the expectation comes from the parents/family and the child often builds on that expectation based on their interests and talents. The child is raised with the expectation of achievement, and the family works to make that expectation come true.

Obviously families living in poverty can have high expectations, and many do...but the reality is that often these families do not have the resources or abilities to act on those expectations. In the worse cases, there are no expectations and sometimes negative views of traditional schooling.

In many corners of America, the educated individual is increasingly considered elite in a derisive way. Until, as Charlie noted, we value knowledge as a broad-based American culture and start celebrating the people who use their brains, we will continue to have a large percentage of our country who believe that luck and notoriety are the means of success (ie fame and fortune).

My 2 Cens

Watch Your Mouth 2 said...

Uh, My 2 cents, yes, of COURSE I understand that poverty, drugs, gangs, etc. exist, in South Seattle (where I live) and elsewhere in this city and others. But as you youself note, not ALL people who live here or of any one culture or race have families involved in those things.

I think that was particularly my point-that there is absolutely no hold any one race or culture has on values, good or bad. The other "Watch's" seem to agree with me.

Charlie says he didn't mean it that way, but that's how it came out-that he feels Chinese and Jews, among others value education more than others.

For the record, I've had my kids in S. Seattle schools, and they've managed to do well "despite" the kids who don't value education and teachers who supposedly can't give achieving ones enough attention. But we're a mixed family so I'm not sure which "culture" Charlie would place us in.

And I know families of color who have as well. I know some who have gone private and others who have LEFT private because some teachers in private schools have the same biases against kids of color that some in public school do.

It's all very complex-as has been stated before. I just wanted to make the point that no one "culture" can be painted any one way.

BTW--I am NOT the person who said I was a troll at noonish today-but kudos to whoever did!

seattle citizen said...

All of this brings us back around to the question: To what use are we to put the categories that state test results are broken out into?
As we know, when a student is enrolled they (or, more likely, their parent) choose categories: Black, Asian, Asian-Pacific Islander, White, etc. Students might also be categories such as Special Ed or Free/Reduced Lunch.
The students take tests. Then we (the public and educators) are given the results. The public usually only gets the results shown as categories: They can't see individual student scores.
These results are used for all sorts of purposes: NCLB (federal funding) is predicated on the "progress" (not just level) of EACH group: If one group doesn't make progress, the school is dinged, and five years of that COULD lead to "restructuring" (but only Title One schools, evidently, poor schools getting fed money.)
But what do the scores, grouped, TELL us? They ostensibly show us that, for instance, "Black students do less well than White students at School X." But do they tell us WHY? Of course not.
So their purpose is to...tell us that certain "groups" are doing less well than others? What assumptions are we to make from THAT information?
I keep getting stuck on this: What do we DO with these generalized assumptions? I think they're racist, personally; they get people thinking that "Black" people just do less well than "White" people, and unless you attribute this teachers who actively discriminate against Blacks, you are left wondering what's up with Blacks?
What is a teacher to do with this categorized information? Okay, they can be a bit more "multicultural" in some instances, but really, how? There are as many ways of learning as there are birds in the sky, and a teacher just can't teach to all those. Should a teacher look at a student who seems darker than another student and adjust teaching based on that skin color? Should a teacher look at the designation of that particular student on their roster and assume something then?

I'm interested to hear what people think should be done with these categories we put students into, and if others think, like I do, that they might perpetuate racist understandings of individuals, even if they might also help by highlighting general disparities...

Not a Commie said...

Seattle Citizen asks a big question. Should we forget about the racial tagging of students? Many have argued for a post-racial definition of disadvantaged kids which is solely economic. I agree with that approach because it highlights what I see as the real disparity in the US - class. Racism and sex bias and other bigotry is alive and well, for sure, but it can be attacked and defeated by those with means. The poor are the ones who still get taken for a ride no matter their color, nationality or religion. I think doing away with racial breakdowns of scores would be great, but let's face facts.The powers that be love phony racial conflict and fear class awareness more than anything. Remember how WA citizens wouldn't even tax the rich last year? It's a mindset that is hard to work through.

I AM that dumb said...

We aren't THAT Smart,

Give it a rest. This is a real discussion and I don't think Charlie needs any help defending himself. I'd like to hear your opinions on the subject matter, i.e. cultural values regarding education. Are Chinese people culturally inclined to value education more than other groups? What about Tarahumara Indians in Mexico? Boeing engineers vs. assembly line workers? Dog people vs. cat people? I say it's dog people, but I'd like your opinion.

Charlie Mas said...

Okay, so it seems that we have come through some of the more vituperative stages of the discussion to a more meaningful stage.

I'll say it again. There are people who share a cultural heritage. Within that culture there can be a number of sub-cultures which are similar or different from other sub-cultures within the same larger culture. And individuals, of course, reflect the elements of their culture to a greater or lesser extent. Each of us is free to participate in our culture to the extent that we choose and to refrain from it to the extent that we choose.

No thought of the norms of any culture should be the basis of any presumption by a teacher, a principal, or anyone else about the individual traits of any individual student.

Can we get past the mistaken belief that we are on opposite sides of that question?

So, no one is saying that ALL people of any culture share any one thing.

While Chinese or Jewish cultures might value some areas of human endeavor higher than other cultures, that doesn't make them better and it doesn't mean that ALL Chinese people or Jewish people share that value or that people from other cultures might not, as individuals, value that area of endeavor more than some individuals who are Chinese or Jewish.

The transposition of culture to individual is not one I would have made. That is the leap that the Watch's made for me, but they made it without me. I wasn't going there. There is surely more diversity within the cultures than among them.

Members of a culture are not homogeneous and I am VERY sorry if anyone thought that I would suggest such a thing. I'm chilled to discover that someone could think that of me.

The United States is a multi-cultural society. Each of us is multi-cultural. We carry with us one or more heritage cultures either from another place (if we or our ancestors are immigrants) or from native people. In addition, we here in Seattle are all members of the West Coast culture, the Pacific Northwest Culture, and the Seattle culture.

Beyond geographic cultures there are other cultures in which we participate: corporate culture at the workplace, school culture, church culture, play culture, hobby culture, and even the culture of our small circle of friends. We all act differently in different contexts - we tend to adhere to the norms of behavior set by those contexts. That's culture. Kids act differently at home from how they act at church from how they act at the park.

Moreover, no culture's values are either good or bad just because they don't match our values. CULTURES THAT DO NOT PLACE A HIGH VALUE ON EDUCATION ARE NOT BAD AND CULTURES THAT DO PLACE A HIGH VALUE ON EDUCATION ARE NOT GOOD. There is no basis for any such judgement.

So let's come out of this to a more meaningful discussion:

How can schools create a strong culture within the school that places a high value on education so that the teachers, staff, students, and volunteers devote time, effort, energy and resources to education and the students achieve academically?

Anonymous said...

Wow, this posting is "like a box of chocolate, you never know what you are going to bite into"..... or something unmemorable like that. Dr. Enfield's message bitten down to race, culture, value, and education. I wish there was a bit of that in her message instead of the usual code phrase..."achievement gap". But she's too smart to go there.

-off topic

Anonymous said...

"I'll say it again..." so arrogant, do you think you are schooling us? NO, Charlie, we still do not buy your pet theory that student "culture" causes the achievement gap.

-bored by biased bombastic blogger

Charlie Mas said...

Hey, 5B, show me where I said that. Here's a number of places in which I wrote the opposite of that:

9/1/11 11:04am: "Regard each student as an individual and address each individual student's obstacles."

9/1/11 4:53pm: "I do not 'blame the victim'. I do not make assumptions about how much or how little families value education."

9/1/11 7:28pm: "As for the kids who learn best in alternative schools, I think you will find that is a student by student thing, not a culture by culture thing."

9/4/11 8:47pm: "I don't presume that every member of a culture participates in that culture to the same degree. I recognize sub-cultures within cultures that can vary from each other, sometimes dramatically. I don't presume that culture dictates anything about any individual."

9/5/11 12:40pm: "I did not say that EVERY member of a culture does EVERYTHING the same as EVERY other member of the culture. What an absurd idea."

So, apparently, 5B, I do have to say it again, since you are still reading what you want to read instead of reading what I wrote. That is arrogant. To presume that I meant something other than what I wrote and to re-state my position for me - that is arrogant. It's also arrogant because you got it wrong, and obviously so.