Wednesday, March 16, 2016

This and That

A very wonderful letter from a mom with a special needs child after "social skills" training in her child's school that forgot that there are many types of people in the world that we should all be kind to and show respect for. 

In case you didn't know, as of Feb. 2, 2016, OSPI reports that there are 35, 511 homeless students in Washington State.  That's 3.3% of the P-12 population.  It's an over 9% increase from 2013-2014 and a 62.7% increase from 2009-2010. 

Washington state receives about $950,000 per year from the federal government to help homeless students. That money is given to districts in the form of competitive grants, with money going to districts with the greatest need.

The money can be used for a variety of activities for homeless students, including: helping to defray the excess cost of transportation; tutoring, instruction and enriched educational services; supplies and materials; and early childhood education programs. Districts that do not receive McKinney-Vento grant funding can use Title I or other state or federal funding sources to support the educational needs of homeless students.
 Interesting article from EdWeek on Common Core and teaching grammar.  
In an article published in the January/February issue of The Reading Teacher, the International Literacy Association's journal, two researchers from the University of Virginia make the case for preventing the pendulum from swinging too enthusiastically toward "prescriptive" grammar instruction. They argue that isolated lessons focused on drills and memorization—a relic of early American schooling—should be avoided, and instead, teachers should embed grammar instruction into other language arts work.

"Activities that don't link form and meaning aren't particularly helpful for anyone and may be harmful," Lauren B. Gartland, the lead researcher on the report, said in an interview.
To try to teach grammar solely through indirect methods, "I think that's hard on students," Pimentel said. "You have to do a ton of reading and a ton of writing to figure out what the rules are. So help along the way with practices seems to be the best way go."
Per our conversations on the make-up of the Highly Capable program, a study about race and assignment to gifted programs.
The white-Hispanic assignment gap was significantly decreased when the authors analyzed differences in prior achievement on math and reading scores. In fact, when controlling for math and reading assessments, the gap between white and Hispanic students was statistically indistinguishable 
 from zero, suggesting that differences in test scores can explain the entire white-Hispanic gifted gap.

However, controlling for math and reading scores did not have the same effect for black students. In fact, black students continued to be assigned to gifted programs half as often as their white peers with identical math and reading achievement.

“It is startling that two elementary school students, one black and the other white, with identical math and reading achievement, will have substantially different probabilities of assignment to gifted services,” said Grissom. “This is especially troubling since previous studies have linked participation in gifted programs to improved academic performance, improvements in student motivation and engagement, less overall stress, and other positive outcomes.”
In fact, all else being equal, black students are three times more likely to be assigned to gifted programs when taught by a black teacher than a nonblack teacher. Assignment rates for high-achieving black students with black teachers are similar to those of white students with similar characteristics.
Thoughtful paper on the PISA test and what it tells us (or not) about our students and their ability to compete globally.  Spoiler alert: not much.
Pundits and bureaucrats use the results from international tests, particularly the PISA, to make claims about the quality of the public education system in the United States and make policy recommendations. In this article I argue, with evidence, that the scores and rankings from PISA are not important and that they cannot give policy makers or educators meaningful insights into student preparedness for the global economy.

14 comments:

mirmac1 said...

Melissa, thanks for posting a link to the mother's blog. I found her post about observing her child's classroom, to be very compelling. Many parents feel their opinion is rejected. As Beth says in her post:

"I feel like my input is unwelcome and resented often. I am certainly not an expert(...) But I am the best expert on (my child). It feels like there is a reluctance to depart from the approaches that have been mostly unsuccessful thus far. I feel the lack of success is due to the fact that (her) needs as an individual are disregarded in favor of adhering to rigid practices."

Anonymous said...

Local news is reporting shelter in place at Garfield, Washington, NOVA, and Leschi due some activity in the neighborhood.

-fyi

Anonymous said...

..and just in from SPS:

Lifted: Shelter-in-place at Garfield, Nova & Leschi. Shelter-in-place continues at Washington MS as @seattlepd investigate nearby robbery.

-fyi

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thank you, FYI.

Anonymous said...

Shots fired around Rainier Beach HS! Just got the KOMO alert.

HP

Anonymous said...

The School Reform Landscape: Fraud, Myth, and Lies

Fits right in with the exposing of the PISA test score baloney.

Don Orlich has been at this attempt at honest communication for a long time... but there are no big ed reform dollars to be made by pushing the truth.

Wake up ... Olympia Washington legislators.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

I got a survey from SPS about new graduation requirements and high school. Any insight from those more familiar with this matter? They need more classes in the day, right? I'm sure capacity will be constraining their options...I have a senior, who won't be affected by new requirements but has already felt constrained by scheduling issues, but also a middle schooler who will be affected. Seems like they should be sending this to middle school families as well.

Chris s.

Anonymous said...

In The School Reform Landscape: Fear, Mythologies, and Lies, the authors take an in-depth and controversial look at school reform since the launch of Sputnik. They scrutinize school reform events, proposals, and policies from the last 60 years through the lens of critical social theory and examine the ongoing tensions between the need to keep a vibrant unitary system of public education and the ongoing assault by corporate and elite interests in creating a dual system. Some of events, proposals, and policies critiqued include the Sputnik myth, A Nation At Risk, No Child Left Behind, the lies of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, and other common reform schemes. The authors provide an evidence-based contrarian view of the free-market reform ideas and pierce the veil of the new reform policies to find that they are built not upon empirical evidence, but instead rest solidly on foundations of myth, fear, and lies.

Ideas for a new set of reform policies, based on empirical evidence and supportive of a unitary, democratic system of education are presented.

.... meanwhile the Gov and Legislature fumble with McCleary and Charters.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Chris s,
The survey is also being sent out to middle school families. There is an elementary school option as well when responding, so maybe also to parents with kids in upper elementary? One thing I found odd was that the drop down list of middle school did not include any of the K-8 schools. I also think it would be a lot easier to answer questions about types of schedules if they had provided some examples - I'm not sure the average person has any idea of how some of the alternate schedules they ask about actually work. I had to look it up to get some idea of how it could be done.

Survey is here for anyone interested: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5VG7RJ6

Mom of 4

Anonymous said...

Oh, looks like they have added the K-8s to the survey now. they weren't there a couple of days ago.

Mom of 4

Anonymous said...

I told them that Hale was already having issues with providing all the classes the kids wanted. There were more students for Physics this year than spaces in the class. AP Calculus is stuffed to the gills.

HP

Jet City mom said...

Unfortunately, Wa only requires three credits of math for graduation through 2019.
It can be frustrating when you can't get the electives they want, because that is often incentive to stay in school.
I wish they would have more meaningful arts courses, I would have had a very different experience if I had been able to take pottery or drawing instead of whatever had a seat.

Jet City mom said...

Actually, a third yr of math & science is only a suggestion depending on the " personalized pathway".
In this day & age, that is really harmful, imo.
As most on this site probably know, its critical to get the basics down, and in STEM, it is especially important. Some colleges don't offer math below calculus, so if you don't have at least through pre calc, your path after graduation may be more limited.
But in my experience as a community college & high school advisor, some families and their high school students don't come to the conclusion that they even want/need college as a possibility until jr yr, and playing catch up is difficult.
The state should require & fund at min, four years of high school level English, Mathematics, History and Science - inc THREE yrs of lab science.

Lynn said...

Requiring students to take four years of math, history and science is not dependent on increased funding. The state is already paying for high school classes - schools would just have to decrease the number of electives offered and increase the sections of math, science and history.

Many students struggle to pass the math and science classes we already require. Wouldn't this decrease the graduation rate? Not everyone will be successful at precalc.