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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Times Op-Ed on How Diversity Could Be Achieved

This op-ed appeared in today's Times. It offers some good starting points for a tiebreaker for diversity. I don't agree with the writer's idea of essays to get into high school. That could be a nightmare; who would read them? Score them? How to score them to achieve what the district is striving for?

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I kind of like the essay idea. I wonder if it could be made manageable by combining it with program-based assignment rather than school-based assignment?

I might work something like this:
Define a set of programs that are all-city draw. These might include IB, Garfield's band, Roosevelt's Drama program, Biotech at Ballard, APP, and stand-out sports programs. Each program would have its own admission process, which would include the essay. Some would have other requirements, some wouldn't. Students applying to general ed programs wouldn't have the essay. Or, perhaps there could be an optional essay for someone who has a particular reason to apply a particular general ed program.

If it were restricted to magnet programs, some of which would likely have other admission requirements anyway, maybe the number of essays would be manageable?

Anonymous said...

I hate the competetive essay writing idea. Not all kids are gifted at writing an engaging, compelling essay. Not all kids are motivated to write an essay to get into a program. Leave the essays for the competetive private school admissions. I like the idea of an audition (for band, drama), tryouts for sports, and I really like the idea of self elected honors/APP/IB offerings. I love the way shoreline offers self elected honors classes, with the only requirement is that a student keep a grade of 75% of higher to stay in the program. I think self electing, motivates kids to suceed. Opposed to essay writing or testing (spectrum/APP) in, and just being placed there.
What if you have a gifted athlete, that couldn't write the best essay??

Anonymous said...

I wasn't thinking that it would be competetive based on the quality of the essay. I agree with anonymous that essay-writing isn't necessarily the best admission criterion for all programs.

I was thinking that it might be competetive based on who has the most compelling reason for wanting that program, as expressed in the essay.

Anonymous said...

What planet are you people living on?

There are plenty of kids who can't or won't write an essay. How many parents are going to write the essays for the kids? If they write the essays in an 8th grade class, that's more work for teachers and more time away from regular work.

This is a public high school we are talking about, not private school or college. This essay business sounds very elitist.

Who is going to pay for the District personnel to read the essays, let alone judge them.

I have an idea, how about getting the District to put good academics, good teachers and a strong principal in every high school and then let kids go to their neighborhood high school. Yes, let them choose to go to another high school if they want to. Chances are they won't want to, if there is a good school nearby.

Whatever happened to common sense.
I guess it isn't politically correct.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anomynous at 11:57 pm

I think essays are subjective and not right for a public high school admissions process anyway. I think the number one priority should be making all schools good schools and allow kids to go to their neighborhood school.

Charlie Mas said...

Anonymous at 11:59, what planet are YOU living on? You wrote "how about getting the District to put good academics, good teachers and a strong principal in every high school" as if that were an easy thing to do. It isn't. The District has not been able to do it, and I have no reason to believe that anyone else could have done any better.

In the absence of that ideal state, in other words, on THIS planet, how then should we provide equitable access to quality programs?

I'm not crazy about the essay thing, but let's not pretend that there is some simple solution (just make all of the schools good schools) waiting for us.