"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Friday, May 20, 2011

No Excuses

No excuses.

It doesn't matter what situation you live in, there are no excuses...not poverty...not homelessness, nothing.

Read about poverty in Poverty and Potential, in which David Berliner gives a scholarly review of how six out of school factors which are common among students who live in poverty, affect the students' health and their ability to learn. According to "corporate reformers," though, poverty is no excuse.

And what about homelessness? Children who are uprooted from their homes and moved to less than ideal surroundings as their parents try to cope with the recession...moving from school to school while parents try to find work. If they're lucky they'll get to a place like the school in this article, where they are not alone and are helped to cope with the stresses of being homeless. But that doesn't matter...their test scores are still the main focus. No excuses.

Now...we read this...

Study links lead exposure, low student test scores
Children who ingested even small amounts of lead performed poorly later on school tests compared to students who were never exposed to the substance, according to a new study of Connecticut students.

The Duke University study also found that black children were much more likely to have experienced lead poisoning from paint residue, dust or other sources by age 7 than the state's white children. Educators worry that factor might be among many contributing to Connecticut's status as the state with the largest achievement gap between the races.
Will this be brushed aside, too? Will we hear the "reformers" shouting "No Excuses?" instead of working to do something about the high levels of poverty in the US?
Several other government and university research studies nationwide over the years have found links between lead poisoning and delays in academic and cognitive growth, although the Duke study is Connecticut's first research linking individual students to their test results.
Does Scott Walker (R-WI) think that removing teachers rights to collective bargaining will help? Does Mitch Daniels (R-IN) believe that paying teachers based on the test scores of their students will help? Will Arne Duncan (D-DOE) still cheer when states close schools...will these students somehow magically improve their ability to learn if they are in a different school?

One wonders where the teachers are going to come from to work with children who live in poverty if their livelihood is based on test scores.

It's time to put the focus where it needs to be...on the failure of our leaders to solve society's poverty problem.

----

And another thing...Teachers as Criminals?

Criminalizing Teachers.

The disgraceful interrogation of L.A. school librarians.
~~~


~~~

1 comment:

Ellen said...

Public health officials have known for awhile now that the negative effects of lead poisoning can take years to manifest...if a child has a diagnosis of lead poisoning, they can get an ISP...the issue is that children with levels below the reportable level can have serious issues as well...but without a diagnosis there are less options.
Minority children bear a greater share of the burden for many environmental health issues. This is a serious environmental justice issue. I gave a presentation on it last month. :)