To improve education outcomes, advocates urge school choice for all students.

Rich Thompson, an Atlanta parent, is executive director of the Georgia Parent Teacher Organization. Allen West, a former Florida congressman and Atlanta native, is CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis.

The pair co-wrote this essay to mark the 2015 National School Choice Week, which begins Sunday.

Does Georgia need to expand school choice options for parents and kids? (AJC Photo)

Does Georgia need to expand school choice options for parents and kids? (AJC Photo)

By Allen West and Rich Thompson

This is the story of two young black students who attended challenging Georgia public schools not long after the civil rights movement. They both share ties to a small Georgia town.

One attended a public school in the Old Fourth Ward of Atlanta. At length, his parents saved enough money to transfer the older boy to a parochial school and, eventually, to Atlanta’s Marist School. He spent a lot of time at his granddad’s house in Cuthbert in southwest Georgia, where his father grew up.

The other young man attended public school in Cuthbert. His parents had few choices for his education other than the county’s one-and-only elementary, middle and high school. Instead, it was cradle-to-college mentoring by family members and a few dedicated teachers who set boundless expectations and devoted years of selfless service to help turn several rural geographical obstacles into our stepping-stones of success — graduating from a major four-year college or university.

Our two stories are no different from what young boys and girls experience in Georgia public schools today. One of us got the opportunity for school choice because our family could afford to leave; the other did not. By the grace of God, we both turned out successful and now have careers trying to help others.

But Georgia – like most states – still restricts the future of too many students because of family income. It happens because pupils are assigned to a public school based on their address. If we truly believe in freedom, we will provide educational access to all children. That opportunity will come only when this state embraces free-market competition to improve education. That means school choice for all students.

This week is National School Choice Week. Throughout the nation, there will be more than 10,000 events – including here in Georgia – celebrating the strides made in offering parents options for their children other than the school assigned to them by their local address.

rich

Rich Thompson

School Choice Week notes all forms of choice parents desire, from charter schools to online learning, private school options, home schooling, magnet schools and public school choice. Moms and dads should be able to choose whatever educational setting works for their children.

School choice does produce results. Since 2010, there have been at least 16 academic studies on charter school performance. Fifteen studies found students in charter schools perform better than their peers in traditional public schools. Of the 12 empirical studies on private programs, 11 found school choice improves student outcomes.

Allen West

Allen West

Georgia opened the door toward school choice in recent years, but it is not enough. Voters adopted a charter school amendment in 2012 to help expand the number of charter schools, but the bureaucracy has once again resisted creating many new charters. There are lotteries and waiting lists.

We have a limited tax-credit scholarship program and a special-needs voucher program; both have more pupils wanting scholarships than there are scholarships available.

There are 1.7 million Georgia students attending public school. Only about 5 percent of the student population has school choice. About 42,000 pupils attend the state’s 80 independent charter schools, with 13,000 pupils on waiting lists. About 15,000 students use tax-credit scholarships for private schools. Another 3,416 students with disabilities utilize the state’s special-needs scholarship to attend a private school.

Demand will continue to exceed supply as parents seek more choice. A Luntz Global study in 2013 found 73 percent of Americans support school choice, and 64 percent of parents said that “if given the financial opportunity,” they would send one or all of their children to a different school.

Parents know what the political class has yet to recognize: Incremental change will not work. Give parents all forms of school choice, and let them decide what works for their child. School choice promotes better economic growth and increased opportunity and is in keeping with the promise of the American dream. It’s time for Georgia to take the lead and do more for all students.

Reader Comments 0

182 comments
DR. PHILIP COOPER
DR. PHILIP COOPER

One of the Achilles heels of public education is that it focuses on outcomes rather than the process that brings them about.Students learning abilities are not being strengthened nor are we stewarding the health of our children’s learning.If we want to improve the outcomes such as test scores, graduation rates, teacher quality and low performing schools, we must improve the process that generates these outcomes.Education reform must be inclusive of the "why" students are not progressing in the formal education environment.The education of children begins long before they enter the formal education environment.Current research presents multiple factors that impact the ability of children to "learn".This Commissions charge should be inclusive of assessing those factors, from health care disparities and social economic factors, that impact a child's ability to learn. For children, learning is inside out and teaching is outside in.Children who begin the formal education process sans the neuro-cognative framework and skill set for academic success, without early intervention, will always struggle.Educators that understand the process of learning for children will be better providers in the learning process.In a Harvard study teachers who received hours of neurological, brain development, information felt better suited to help/assist/ support their struggling students.

"Choice" works for the few but does not address the needs of the core body of struggling students .

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@DR. PHILIP COOPER


"In a Harvard study teachers who received hours of neurological, brain development, information felt better suited to help/assist/ support their struggling students."

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


I was fortunate to have taken graduate courses in neurological functioning related to the brain development of struggling students. I applied this knowledge not only with individual students in my own classes, but also, as the Student Support Team Chair in two different schools (grades 1 - 12), I educated other teachers regarding how to apply this brain development information with students in their classes.


Moreover, from my 35 years in education and 25 years in educational leadership (grades 1 - 12) before I retired, I can confirm that your following statements held true in practice (and always will hold true in practice, imo):


"The education of children begins long before they enter the formal education environment. Current research presents multiple factors that impact the ability of children to 'learn.' This Commission's charge should be inclusive of assessing those factors, from health care disparities and social economic factors, that impact a child's ability to learn." 

EdUktr
EdUktr

“Many schools are in the grip of one of the most anti-meritocratic forces in America: the teachers’ unions, which resist any hint that good teaching should be rewarded or bad teachers fired.

“Dollars should follow pupils, through a big expansion of voucher schemes or charter schools. In this way, good schools that attract more pupils will grow; bad ones will close or be taken over. Unions and their Democratic Party allies will howl, but experiments in cities such as battered New Orleans have shown that school choice works.

—The Economist magazine, 1/24/15 http://tinyurl.com/o5xasle

EdUktr
EdUktr

@MaryElizabethSings @EdUktr

Perhaps. But only by ending their monopoly status and thereby exposing them to real competition will traditional public schools ever improve.

A half century of failed reforms makes that blatantly obvious. 

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@EdUktr


There will always be public schools of some nature. As a society, we can build them into models of excellence or we can destroy them.  For myself, I have always been a builder.  Balance is the key for success for all students.

honested
honested

@EdUktr @MaryElizabethSings 

There is already myriad 'competition', which is a clear part of the problem.

Every dollar can only be spent once and the dollars for Public Education come from taxes that should be dedicated ONLY to Public Education.

The 'competition' for those dollars has more than enough snake-oil schemes available.

newsphile
newsphile

@EdUktr NOLA school district remains troubled, with many problems.  And, that's after billions of dollars were tossed in following Katrina.  Also, many problem students relocated after Katrina.  Remember the communities with high crime rates weren't rebuilt until most of those residents had settled elsewhere.  NOLA crime rates have gone down since Katrina, yet NOLA is not a school system anyone should desire to mimic!  Strike One:  GA isn't going to get those billions of dollars from outside sources for our education system.  As a volunteer, I can attest to Strike Two:  GA schools have many problem students from all socio-economic levels and of all races.  Strike Three:  NOLA's system is bad.

Having family in both public and private schools, I can tell you that there are good teachers in both systems and there are good administrators in both systems.  There are also some bad ones in both systems.  We need to stop disrespecting our teachers, stop demanding social promotions, and stop demanding that misbehaving goes unpunished.  These three changes would cause some students to mend their ways, but until WE make these changes, disruptive students know they have the upper hand.  WE are also causing the looming teacher shortage because fewer professionals want to work in such conditions.  I can't imagine anyone telling a doctor how to perform surgery, but everyone is a self-appointed expert in education.

We can't just look at our little piece of the pie.  We have to look at the big picture and rescue GA's public school districts or our state will continue with high unemployment rates.  (Yeah, I hear all the new corporation announcements, but they still don't offset the number of GA layoffs.)  We are currently beginning down a path that will benefit wealthy parents of students who attend private schools, for-profit management of charter and on-line schools, and politicians who will get even more kickbacks and campaign dollars. 

As I've stated before, you must have a child in private school or be affiliated with one of the for-profit management companies mentioned above. If you truly wanted to help, you would volunteer in your elementary school.  That's where many students' study habits and behaviors sadly indicate their educational paths. 


MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@newsphile 


"I can't imagine anyone telling a doctor how to perform surgery, but everyone is a self-appointed expert in education."

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

So true.  The arrogance of the ignorant.

honested
honested

@popacorn @MaryElizabethSings @EdUktr 

Au contraire.

Educators are presented with students who arrive with the tools to learn and apply the professional training to produce an improved product.

They are also presented with those students harboring myriad problems that are undiagnosed or otherwise hidden and the educator is supposed to perform magic within their practice.

At least that is what Parents expect.

When will we expect the parents to provide all the information so that proper stratification of the students will maximize the potential of both those students and the educators with whom they interact?

DrMonicaHenson
DrMonicaHenson

@popacorn @MaryElizabethSings @EdUktr I will believe that teachers are equivalent to physicians when I see them spending similar lengths of time in similar breadths of rigorous professional preparation, then staying current on professional reading on the research in the field, as well as contributing to it. It is an insult to the medical professional for teachers to make such farcical claims. Having said that, I was a National Board Certified Teacher and action researcher, and I hold a terminal degree in my field. My internist's education was far tougher to complete to be able to earn a living in her field as a new doctor than mine as a new teacher. 

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@honested 


 I spent years of my professional life demonstrating the need for the teaching profession to emulate many of the physician's practices, such as accruing an academic developmental history of individual students on computers (which doctors now do for individual patients), which would be updated continuously. These academic developmental histories accrued on computers for all students would allow teachers to see the developmental history of a given student (over several years) in a second.  This is called is a diagnostic/prescriptive approach to instruction. It is very effective in certain areas of instruction when implemented with the same care and precision that a physician would use in diagnosing a patient's ailment and prescribing the correct treatment for it.

EdUktr
EdUktr

@honested @EdUktr @MaryElizabethSings

Fresh from insisting that Jason Carter and Michelle Nunn would win in November, you're bringing your questionable analytical powers to the school reform debate?

DrMonicaHenson
DrMonicaHenson

@MaryElizabethSings @DrMonicaHenson Mary Elizabeth, I have great respect for the years you have given to the public education system. I have no doubt that you were an excellent teacher.


I'd match the student achievement outcomes my kids produced during my eleven years in the classroom against anyone's--and they were on top three years running--in the entire state of Massachusetts--in the late 1990s. Just as importantly, I have the privilege of seeing many of my former students having gone on to establish careers themselves in education--one of the highest accolades any teacher can hope for. 


The fact that my philosophy of education and school improvement is quite different from yours doesn't make me any less knowledgeable than you wish me to be. I have been invited to be a speaker in university classrooms for preservice teachers for several years. I gauge the opinion of professors of education to be a pretty reliable indicator that I know a little bit about what I'm doing. ;)

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@EdUktr 


Educators are more like physicians than they are like businessmen and women.   Physicians are professionals who are trained in the body/mind functions. Their success depends on being able to apply that detailed knowledge well. Teachers are professionals, also, who are trained in academics and how to advance the learning of all kinds of students. Their success, too, depends on being able to apply that detailed knowledge well.


Here was my response to dcdcdc, below, regarding the factor of competition in education: 


"I should add that it was not 'competition' which spurred on the development of this excellent model school with a continuous progress, multiaged groupings, and classrooms- without- walls design.  It was simply an internal desire for excellence in education by educators who were well-educated, themselves, in instructional design and who were committed to the success of every student. Competition had nothing to do with its excellence.  Educators are not business men and women.  Educators, for the vast majority, have an internal desire for excellence that is not contingent upon competition. Teachers and administrators simply need more training in these instructional ways of excellence, as well as the wherewithal to accomplish the goals that are mutually expected by teachers, parents, administrators, and students, working in harmony toward excellence."

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@DrMonicaHenson 


You do not know nearly as much about instruction as you think you do, Monica.  Your posts regarding instruction have confirmed that to me.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@DrMonicaHenson 


I was writing strictly of the area of principles of instruction, not of your "philosophy of education and school improvement."  Your instructional analysis regarding why an underachieving school in California was performing as it had performed was an incomplete and inadequate analysis, imo, based upon the fact that you did not think it necessary to pursue additional instructional data on individual students, including their IQ levels, before suggesting that those teachers in that grade level should have been dismissed because half or more of the students were not performing on grade level for their ages.  The lives of many teachers and students, imo, would have been adversely affected had your assessment actually been carried out there with insufficient data to arrive at what I considered to be necessary for a thoughtful and carefully analyzed decision. My instructional assessment of that California school's test results for a certain grade level was that much more data was needed to assess correctly and adequately the myriad reasons for the poor test results for most of the students in that grade level, based on my instructional training as a Reading Specialist, as an Instructional Lead Teacher, and as a high school Reading Department Chair and as a Student Support Team Chair.  Your assessment and recommendation was too generalized and broad in analysis to have been a just and wise instructional decision where lives are concerned, especially, imo.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@DrMonicaHenson

Addendum: How you reacted to those teachers in that California school indicated to me that you have little understanding of why students, invariably, will be functioning at various points on a curriculum continuum at every grade level. Many students will not be on the same grade instructional level in the same age group.  The reasons why this fact will invariably be true is more complex than simply blaming teachers.  One must have a thorough diagnostic evaluation of every student's developmental history in order to assess correctly if given students have made good progress in a year's time, even if some of those students have not reached their traditional grade level mastery level within that year's time period.

DrMonicaHenson
DrMonicaHenson

@MaryElizabethSings @DrMonicaHenson First, I have a deep knowledge and thorough understanding of the methods you summarize, and in fact practiced the same in my own classroom and continue to do so as a school administrator. Do not presume to lecture me, ma'am. 


Second, your insistence on lecturing the entire readership ad nauseum in an effort to get the last possible word only undermines the strength of any argument you might offer. You will persuade no one other than those who fall lockstep with you politically--and how is that any kind of meaningful "victory"?


Third, let it go. There's no need to keep beating a dead horse for days on end after the rest of us have moved on to new discussions. 



MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@DrMonicaHenson 


Para. #1:  Your posts on that California school did not demonstrate that you had comprehended the knowledge you claim to have.  


Paras. #2 and #3:  Seems to me you are writing about yourself.   I repeat, Monica, that I would never work in a school in which you were the principal or director.  You are not the kind of educator whom I respect.  Please do not respond again.  We have both shared our views.

DrMonicaHenson
DrMonicaHenson

@MaryElizabethSings @DrMonicaHenson My case is now closed, nd by Mary Elizabeth herself. Thanks, ma'am. I don't intend to engage directly with you any further,, as it proves to be the very definition of "fruitless." I wish you well in your retirement.

ScienceTeacher671
ScienceTeacher671

You know, even if this is passed, I don't see there being a lot of choices in Cuthbert, or in a bunch of small counties, especially in southwest Georgia.  For choices to be viable, you need a critical mass of students to participate.

DrMonicaHenson
DrMonicaHenson

@ScienceTeacher671 There's nothing preventing staff and families from a group of contiguous counties from replicating the Pataula Charter Academy model. Families also have online options statewide. That's a pair of good starts.

Starik
Starik

@DrMonicaHenson @ScienceTeacher671 Is there any particular reason we have the same school system structure the State had in 1945?  Areas with small populations need physically larger districts geographically to provide choices. Areas like DeKalb need to be broken up to become manageable.

ScienceTeacher671
ScienceTeacher671

@DrMonicaHenson @ScienceTeacher671


That's true, IF transportation is not an issue. I have students who can't get to school if they miss the bus in the morning.  Unlike Atlanta, we don't have MARTA or city buses as an alternative.

newsphile
newsphile

@Starik @DrMonicaHenson @ScienceTeacher671  Not too many people want their kids to have a two hour bus drive to reach their schools, so enlarging the geography isn't always a solution.  On-line courses are okay for some students, butt it requires a mature student and parental supervision to keep most students on task in such an environment.  Also, social interaction is an important part of physically attending school.  Although field trips and such can be arranged, even for home-schooled students, the parent must be committed, consistent, and somewhat qualified to ensure success. 

ScienceTeacher671
ScienceTeacher671

@Starik @DrMonicaHenson @ScienceTeacher671


Starik, I'd love to see a reorganization of our county structure.  Georgia is about the same size as Florida, but almost 3 times as many counties, which means more school boards, more county commissions, more courthouses, more sheriffs, more administrative expenses altogether.  So I think with a reorganization, we could have better services with the same tax money, or the same services with lower taxes. 


Supposedly the original idea was to have everyone within a day's horseback ride of the courthouse.  Right now, I could reach at least 7 county courthouses within an hours drive.  But there are students in the smaller systems who are using various ruses to attend schools in the larger, better districts.  These are students whose parents can provide them with transportation or can rent houses to fake residence in those counties.  If we consolidated, the students would be zoned for those areas already.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@DrMonicaHenson @ScienceTeacher671 

Just an FYI about Dr. Monica Henson, who definitely has a dog in this fight.  She is the Executive Director of one of Georgia's online charter high schools, that is backed by the global education service provider, Edisonlearning.

newsphile
newsphile

@Astropig @OriginalProf  @ScienceTeacher671  It's way too early to tell whether or not the school is effective; it's a new school.  With public funding, including Title I dollars, money would be plentiful.  And, it would be a lot cheaper to run a school that has no overhead for real estate, buildings, and maintenance, among other things.  I don't believe Title I or state funding takes that into consideration, so this school already has way more dollars per pupil.  Or, perhaps way more dollars to go to the for-profit company.  With the for-profit management companies and schools lining up in GA, you can bet there is significant financial gain. 

DrMonicaHenson
DrMonicaHenson

@Starik @DrMonicaHenson @ScienceTeacher671 There are many political reasons why the county school district structure remains in place. There's a lot of community resistance to closing schools and consolidating small districts into larger ones. I agree that "monster" districts can prove to be problematic, but at the same time, there are other large school districts that perform quite well. There's no easy answer to this question.

DrMonicaHenson
DrMonicaHenson

@newsphile @Starik @DrMonicaHenson @ScienceTeacher671 Research into the length of bus rides and negative impact on rural children who must travel great distances to school is pretty voluminous. Online schooling full-time is certainly not for every student, but for some students it's a great choice. It's myth that kids who study online are socially deprived simply because of online schoolwork. 


It all goes back to the issue of choice: families should be able to select from a menu of options for what works for their kids. 

DrMonicaHenson
DrMonicaHenson

@newsphile @Starik @DrMonicaHenson @ScienceTeacher671 Actually, there are some experiments going on now in New York and Washington, DC, with boarding charter schools, which theorize that removing the student from a destructive environment (with the family's permission, obviously), will enable at-risk students to thrive. The SEED School is an example. 


I can say this, based on our partnership with the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Academies in Augusta and HInesville. The YCA cadets who enroll in our blended learning are the single fastest-moving cohort, and among the highest achieving, of any of my students in the state. They live on the base for five and a half months without access to electronics, cell phones, television, etc., except for the blended learning lab. This is a 100% dropout population, many of whom have had brushes with the law. Removing them from their neighborhoods and homes, with their familie's support in doing so, to focus completely on their educations, their physical fitness, and development of skills and character is a profoundly effective measure. On our Summer 2014 GA High School Writing retest, our YCA cadets in Fort Stewart had a pass rate of 88%. These are all dropouts who had previously failed the test at least once.

DrMonicaHenson
DrMonicaHenson

@ScienceTeacher671 @Starik @DrMonicaHenson No argument that in theory consolidation is a better idea--but good luck putting an idea like that in the local newspapers and on the local BOE's agenda. "Local control" is an idea that is held extremely dear in Georgia.

DrMonicaHenson
DrMonicaHenson

@OriginalProf @DrMonicaHenson @ScienceTeacher671 I totally have a dog in this fight--I have dedicated my career, most of which has been spent in traditional public school districts, to working with the neediest, hardest to educate kids. I'm tired of watching the system bleed kids into the prisons, the welfare system, and the street.


My title is actually Superintendent & CEO, not Executive Director. "Backed by EdisonLearning" = my Board has a contract with EL to purchase online curriculum & instruction, and EL maintains a technology service desk for staff and students who need assistance in the portal. We are not employed by EL, and we manage all of our own school administration, discipline, human resources, etc., like any other local educational agency. Our LEA number is 782, and we are a statewide public, single-school district authorized by the State Charter Schools Commission. There are no EL personnel on our Board of Directors or employed by the school.


My staff and I are all public employees, members of GA Teachers Retirement System, and all certified staff are GaPSC-certificated. The senior leadership team is made up of Georgia-experienced public school veterans. Most of our GA-based teachers have taught in Georgia public school districts and/or charter schools previously.


Our mission is to work with historically underserved student populations and provide them with a flexible, virtual school experience. We now serve more than 2,000 kids in more than 75% of Georgia's counties. Our demographics are more than 70% free and reduced lunch-eligible, more than 60% minority, and about 12% special education. 


Our most recent CCRPI score was 37, placing us among the top of alternative high schools in metropolitan Atlanta and throughout the state. We struggle mightily with math performance, but our students consistently score better than 80% proficient in reading and writing as measured by the EOCTs.

DrMonicaHenson
DrMonicaHenson

@OriginalProf @Astropig @DrMonicaHenson @ScienceTeacher671 My board has a very limited contract with EdisonLearning, which is indeed a for-profit company. None of what we purchase from EL involves any management of the school. That's my job as a Georgia public school administrator licensed by the Professional Standards Commission.


We also have a contract for office supplies with Office Depot, which happens to be a for-profit company. :)

DrMonicaHenson
DrMonicaHenson

@newsphile @Astropig @OriginalProf @ScienceTeacher671 We average about $5,800 per pupil, including both state & federal funds. There is definitely some overhead, as we operate 11 campuses throughout the state, which does entail real estate and maintenance expenses, but nowhere near what a traditional brick and mortar school district spends. I definitely wouldn't say that we have "way more dollars per pupil," but what we do have, we spend on curriculum, teachers, tutors, technology, and, of necessity, administration. We spend a substantial amount of money buying laptop computers to loan to students who don't have home computers. We also subsidize internet access for families who meet income qualification guidelines. 


Our budget is a public document, just like any other public school district's. We have to submit an annual audit to the state, and our Board is required to abide by the same purchasing and contract policies and procedures that is expected of any other public school district.

ScienceTeacher671
ScienceTeacher671

@DrMonicaHenson @newsphile @Starik @ScienceTeacher671


If they're taking the retest, yes, they've failed the test at least once, but I don't think all your students have failed the test before entering Youth Challenge. 


I've had a number of former students who did quite well at YCA, mostly students with poor situations at home who needed more discipline than the school could, or their parents would, provide.  Many of them were quite bright, but needed a lot more structure in their lives.  


I think it's a fantastic program for some students; too bad there is a waiting list.

DrMonicaHenson
DrMonicaHenson

@ScienceTeacher671 @DrMonicaHenson @newsphile @Starik I think the YCA program is one of the best-kept secrets in public education. Another wonderful thing about our partnership is that high schools who send kids to YCA, if the student enrolls in our campus there, can code the student as a transfer to another public high school instead of as a dropout , which is required if the student goes into a GED program. There will be a new YCA in middle Georgia soon, and we'll be working with them as well.

DrMonicaHenson
DrMonicaHenson

@OriginalProf @DrMonicaHenson @ScienceTeacher671 Not trying to advertise, simply fully disclose. I haven't attempted to present myself as "neutral," but as an advocate for school choice and for kids. I imagine that I'll owe the AJC as much for my "free advertising" as the NEA owes you for yours on their behalf. ;)

class80olddog
class80olddog

Real case - school has student with "behavioral disorder" - teacher slaps student (yes, the teacher should be fired - and was).  Parents decide school could not be trusted and files lawsuit.  School pays a lot of money to fight lawsuit, and loses.  Judge requires school to send student to special school in Florida that costs the school system $20,000 per year.  Is that the right thing to do?

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@popacorn 

I have heard that the rural parts of Georgia also have "kids like this" who are white or Latino. Only a rumor?

popacorn
popacorn

@OriginalProf @popacorn Nope. Read carefully. 'Mostly Black' means, that like crime statistics, disciplinary/remediation statistics are heavily weighted in one direction. Of course there are exceptions, 'Professor'. Ask any teacher/principal about the reality of being able to send a black kid to 'time out'. And this is sad on several levels. One, kids that could really benefit are denied this ‘racist’ approach. And two, it has been said that schools are full of educators with low reading comprehension and faulty logic. Only a rumor?

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@popacorn @OriginalProf 

You're still focused on remedial treatment for the one minority, and ways in which it won't work. But there are many Latino and white young men with the same educational problems in rural Georgia. What about the alternative approach for them?

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@dcdcdc 


"Interesting actual solution - create a school focused on kids (primarily young male) who can't seem to sit in class listening to lectures.  Hire staff who are trained on alternative ways to reach kids like this. . ."

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


There are many misconceptions by the general public about what has been attempted in public education.  During the 1970s and 1980s, the school in which I functioned as an ILT was composed of 4 pods of 5 classrooms each, without walls between the classrooms in the 4 pods.  The pods involved structuring multiaged instructional groups. Part of the instructional design was to better be able to serve elementary and middle school boys who needed more movement and physical activity to be able to focus better.  Each pod was a very large area in which movement was easily accommodated between areas, and within the general area of each pod which contained a sink with running water.


Also, as the ILT and Reading Specialist, I had developed learning centers in the Media Center for use by students throughout the school (1 - 7).  I trained the "model" oldest students in each pod weekly in how to lead the younger students to the Media Center for work in the three ongoing hands-on learning centers.  I built the schedule weekly based on students' needs throughout the school as to the time each group would be able to use each center for 30 minutes each.  The Media Center learning centers were in use for most of the school's day every day of the week.  Movement to and from the learning centers was appreciated especially by the boys.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@dcdcdc 


I should add that it was not "competition" which spurred on the development of this excellent model school with a continuous progress, multiaged groupings, and classrooms- without- walls design.  It was simply an internal desire for excellence in education by educators who were well-educated, themselves, in instructional design and who were committed to the success of every student. Competition had nothing to do with its excellence.  Educators are not business men and women.  Educators, for the vast majority, have an internal desire for excellence that is not contingent upon competition. Teachers and administrators simply need more training in these instructional ways of excellence, as well as the wherewithal to accomplish the goals that are mutually expected by teachers, parents, administrators, and students, working in harmony toward excellence.

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

@class80olddog Interesting actual solution - create a school focused on kids (primarily young male) who can't seem to sit in class listening to lectures.  Hire staff who are trained on alternative ways to reach kids like this.  Set up transparent "classroom discipline" approach, that is enforced as consistently as possible - and staff Admin with folks who are adept at dealing with "discipline issues".  Perhaps have 1 learning session, then 1 "active session" (running, lifting, music, whatever works), rinse, repeat - throughout the day.


But key is, take the funding for these kids, and move it to fund the new school.  And try out approaches that are more suited to engaging such kids - video games, immersion, hands on shop work - whatever seems to actually work.


Of course, to way too many folks in the eduacracy, this is wrong, because it might "leave someone behind".  So they prefer to just keep these kids in the "1950s classroom approach" environment - where they are destined to fail.  And force teachers to deal with them - to the detriment of actually teaching.


Seriously sad.  Until competition, leading to innovation, is funded, we will never provide an environment for "at risk" kids to succeed.  Meanwhile we'll hear how it is "systemic racism" that is causing their failure - not an unwillingness to reach them in innovative ways that enable them to see value in performing under.

popacorn
popacorn

Once it becomes apparent that the 'kids like this' are mostly black, you can forget this alternative approach. You will be a racist.