Monday, December 31, 2007

Homo


I read an interesting article in the Economist recently. They were comparing school systems in different countries. One of the criteria they used was the differences between the highest and lowest functioning schools. Countries such as Germany and Japan have the highest difference. Poland had one of the lowest. ( This is the link to the Economist article, good reading.)It turned out that Poland has done one of the best jobs in increasing the educational levels of their lowest students without hurting their top students. Homogeneous (I meant to say heterogeneous,an unforgivable error for a science teacher) schools seem to raise the bottom without hurting the top.

This is a hard thing to deal with in NYC and probably most other places. We are in many ways an elitist country. Not as bad as the Japanese but not that far away. I think that the principal of my old school and her security general were of the elite is good school of thinking. My feeling is that it is really hard to figure out who is elite. Kids come to us with many different attitudes and problems. It is our job to believe in all of them.

I was talking to a student the other day. He said he wanted out of the class he was in because the teacher was disrespectful of him. I never saw it, though I think the teacher is frustrated that the class is not learning fast enough. I was thinking about a teacher I supervised she had a large number of complaints from kids who felt that she put them down. So I said to a kid who was complaining about her, "I'm always calling you dumb." and the kid responded to me that that was true, but I didn't mean it. And the truth is I never did mean it. Even the kids the farthest behind had something to offer.

The rumor is that my old school is going to be broken up and the current principal will become principal of one of the small schools. I'm sure she will want to take the elite academy. It will be great to see what happens with that. She used to run this academy on the basis of throwing kids out if they did not perform, and forcing kids to stay who did not want to do the work they were being asked to do. This will not be an option as an autonomous school. Of course if she ends up with the elite kids she won't have to worry about the lower third, unless no one wants to go to her schools and she has to take kids that are not that great.

As I've said in the past, you need to have a certain percentage of overachieving kids to provide a leadership in a school. But a school should teach compassion and concern for others. In this way you encourage kids to help each other. There is nothing more powerful than this.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

check out the site for a doc on the NYC rubber rooms:
rubberroommovie.com

Anonymous said...

She is going to take whatever they offer her because she is a principal of an F school and she is lucky they are not throwing her ass out. She will not be able to start up a new school because she is so stupid she doesn't listen to anyone who has a different thought than she has. She has blamed everyone in the building for the F but has not taken an ounce of the blame for herself. She is hated and laughed at by any staff member who has an ounce of brains. She sucks.

Anonymous said...

You wrote:
> One of the criteria they used was the
> differences between the highest
> and lowest functioning schools.

What does this mean?
How is "functioning" defined?
How was the data gathered?
Who were the authors?

Anonymous said...

You wrote:
> Homogeneous schools seem to raise
> the bottom without hurting the top.

Doesn't homogeneous mean of the same or similar kind? If you accept this definition then the result is predictable.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous #2: Such intelligent discourse, such insightful analysis of your principal and the school. If you're a teacher at that school, perhaps you should share some credit in the "F". You don't, however, sound like you're into personal introspection and accountability.

Anonymous said...

Take that principal and then toss in a UFT rep that thinks copying machines and teachers drinking coffee while they teach is the way to save a school and teaching positions, and you have the recipe for the failure.

Anonymous said...

anonymous on Jan. 18 at 11:53am wrote:

> Take that principal and then toss in a UFT
> rep that thinks copying
> machines and teachers drinking coffee while
> they teach is the way to save
> a school and teaching positions, and you
> have the recipe for the failure.

Who *elected* that UFT Rep?
The staff is not blameless in a school labeled an F.

Anonymous said...

That UFT rep was elected because he was the lesser of two dopes running for the position. His opponent was/is a loose cannon, big mouthed fool, who destroyed the career of another teacher. She forgot how many times she was saved from the rubber room and now that other teacher sits in the rubber room awaiting his fate. This all went on under the current principal's watch. Nothing but crap has fallen on that school since she became principal. But this is something else she will not take any blame for. She blames the past principal(RIP) and the math AP.

Anonymous said...

anonymous on January 21, 2008 11:05 AM wrote:
> That UFT rep was elected because
> he was the lesser of two dopes
> running for the position.

Then it still remains a responsibility of the teachers to either put up another candidate (yourself?) or suffer the results. There is no one to blame for this except yourself and the other teachers.

Anonymous said...

Also, his article does not claim that drinking coffee will help grades, it merely refutes the idea that teachers drinking coffee is the big cause of poor student performance. As for copies, let's face it teaching is easier with materials.

Anonymous said...

To get to the rubber room it takes three U ratings. To get to be principal of a failed school and then get to be principal of a new school it takes one F. Shouldn't one F be treated at least the same as three U's? Why is she not going into a rubber room? Why is she getting rewarded with another school? WHEN ARE PEOPLE AT THE DOE GOING TO TAKE NOTICE OF JUST HOW WRONG AND HOW BAD SHE IS? WHY ARE WE GOING TO HAVE HER RUNNING ANOTHER SCHOOL INTO THE GROUND?
WHOSE D#CK IS SHE SUCKING?

Anonymous said...

Now that's why NYC Educator is so rewarding; they monitor the discourse and shoot for intelligent dialogue. Too many on this blog use it for egocentric needs and a place to point fingers and trash without any self-reflection.