My attention was drawn to several comments by a KSN&C reader who said:
Richard Innes posted a very interesting (and very critical critique) of Superintendent Stu Silberman's "progress" in the Herald-Leader...yesterday. I urge all to read it under the commentary section of the latest Silberman complaint about No Child Left Behind.I had read Innes’ pieces at BIPPS but had not checked out the commentary at H-L’ s Bluegrass Moms blog.
Now, finding “very critical critique[s]” of anything related to the public schools is what Innes is hired to do. It’s like finding sand on a beach. Finding something positive about the public schools is much harder to do at the Bluegrass Institute, which hopes to funnel public funds into private hands. So I don’t look for balance from BIPPS.
But let’s give the devil his due.
Richard_Innes wrote on 11/09/2010 07:34:52 PM: It's sad when the superintendent of Kentucky's second largest school district doesn't get it. The name of the act is *NO* Child Left Behind. The 2010 NCLB report for Fayette County shows the district failed African-Americans and learning disabled students in both reading and math. The district also failed poor kids in the federal school lunch program for reading. Hispanics would have failed for reading, as well, except for an NCLB loophole. The district's overall average proficiency only looks good because whites left the rest behind.Catchy title, isn't it? No Child Left Behind sounds great. It's aspirational, which Americans seem to prefer to the actually doable. No sooner was the bill passed than the funding meant to accomplish it was cut. But the accountability model survived.
As it is presently structured, NCLB locates shortcomings that can be faulted. When that leads to improvements within the system, it is arguably a good thing. But NCLB lacks a growth model, so it is completely unresponsive to the kinds of instructional improvements Silberman can document. When NCLB is used to destroy, it is a cynical and damaging approach that will ultimately harm children - and mostly, it will harm poor children who are least able to afford a good education on their own. Until it is fixed, NCLB will continue to allow public school critics to "prove" that the schools are a failure, whether they are or not.
Are such critics really looking out for disadvantaged students? For me the "sincerity test" is to look at the rest of what someone supports. Outrage from BIPPS that poor black children have been left behind is unconvincing – while they work tirelessly to deny basic healthcare to the very same individuals. …but I digress.
Other commenters also made interesting points.
Consider Twiggysmiff, who smacks Silberman in much the same way Silberman has smacked others.
twiggysmiff wrote on 11/09/2010 09:51:53 PM: I just find it amusing that when a teacher's classroom or an entire school's scores are low, there are NO EXCUSES. Teachers are laid off, principals are threatened. It's not a "well, we made gains here,
now where should we focus?" mentality. It's you failed, you get consequences, reprimands, and threats. When it's HIS district and his name attached, it's excuses and "the data doesn't really show what the data shows", and "it's really just those subgroups". If a teacher or principal said this to him about THEIR scores, it would not be tolerated and their jobs would be on the line. Funny how the excuses fly when the tables are turned.
NCLBsucks wrote on 11/10/2010 07:58:01 AM: Tiggy, you are absolutely correct. As a former administrator in Fayette County, I can attest that what you stated is absolutely true. Administrators and teachers are threatened if gains aren't made despite the circumstances. I was an administrator of a school that had a very transient population, meaning we didn't end with the same population of students we began with, yet we were held responsible for their low gains. Often times, the realSuch reactions are very typical of what we hear from Fayette County folks who perceive a double standard when it comes to Silberman’s rhetoric: Do as I say not as I do. Silberman is not wrong, so far as it goes. There are significant (and unfair) aspects to NCLB’s accountability model. But one gets the sense that FCPS teachers (and administrators) would like to see Silberman held to the same standard.
story isn't told about whey schools are failing. It certainly isn't because teachers and administrators are working their tails off.
On the other hand,
jim9289 wrote on 11/09/2010 08:35:07 PM: Why is it assumed that the school district, or any school district carries all of the blame for the failure of a few? This makes sense? What about the responsibility of the student to do his or her best? What responsibility does the family have, any? The school is expected to overcome in six hours a day the damage that others create in the other 18 hours. Some people must think that teachers are all miracle workers. I wish that people thought I was that wonderful. Do we really expect a child who has little or no support at home to achieve at the same level as the child who has full support, a full belly and a quiet comfortable place to live and learn? No that is unbelieveable. It is time that we use a little common sense.
And in response
misleader wrote on 11/09/2010 11:25:29 PM: NCLB is good legislation from the idealist standpoint, but it is not realistic. There is no way that someone with aSo, what do you think?
learning disability will ever reach proficiency. They can learn at a higher level, giving the correct support and motivation. I agree with Jim 9289 that school personnel can't undo in 6 hrs. what parents and society is doing the other 18 hrs./day. That's the real world and many people aren't living in that world because they see colors and want to blame someone other than those responsible for their failures. But, I do believe that Stu is extremely self-serving and he wouldn't tolerate excuses from principals and teachers.