Friday, June 23

Baltimore schools

Five Baltimore high schools and one middle school do not have a single student who tested "proficient" in state tests of math and English.

Scores on state tests range from one to five.  A score of 4 or 5 is considered proficient.  At Frederick Douglass High, 89 percent of students got the lowest score.  The top-scoring student scored a three.
Editor’s Note from the TV station that wrote this: "We spoke with the executive director of teaching and learning for Baltimore City Schools about this data. She told us some of those students might be considered proficient, even though they did not score a four or five on the state tests. Baltimore City Schools later told us that was an error in statement.
One scarcely knows where to start.  Are the teachers just awful?  Are the students just not smart enough to hack it?  Is classroom discipline just too non-existent to permit learning--due to teachers not being allowed to expel troublemakers or give them detention?  Are teachers being intimidated by thug students?  Hard to know.

Are students afraid to do well because of the long-demonstrated propensity of certain groups to beat up good students on the grounds that they're "acting white"?  Hard to know.  But one place to start is by firing the "executive director of teaching and learning" for the city school system, whose defense against the woeful performance was to claim that some students scoring below the "proficient" level might actually be proficient--despite the clear failure to score at the proficient level.

I don't know if it's possible to fix systems that have become this bad.  I'm pretty sure giving all the students expensive, hi-tech gear (laptops, for example) will make a difference.  I think what's needed is an attitude change among certain groups, but I don't think that's ever gonna happen.  "Entitlement mentality" is hard to overcome..


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