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Think of the Children: Report shows lackluster school performance

Ol' Mitch just can't seem to make up his mind about schools. Put a camera in front of him, and he can't say enough great things about our system of schools. Put a budgetary or property tax crisis in front of him, and he'll stumble all over himself trying to find the words to describe -- and the ways to slash -- the dastardly spending habits of those wasteful teachers. It can get a bit confusing at times.

Yesterday brought word from the Indiana Department of Education on how state schools are progressing with attempts to boost student achievement, and the results weren't anything to get excited about.

Board member Jo Blacketor said she was happy for the 440 schools rated as "exemplary," but that the 127 schools in the lowest "probation" category must be the board's focus.

When a school is on "probation" for four years, the state must send in a team of experts to intervene. Blacketor pointed out the 39 schools that have been on probation for three years now as needing immediate attention.

"I'm begging . . . that we focus on the bottom," she said. "Next year we're not going to have any choice. I think it's appalling."

Overall, 389 schools improved their rating this year, while 429 got worse. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Suellen Reed called the results "improvement" because those 389 schools represent 21 percent of the state's schools, up from 17 percent improving last year.

Someone might want to explain that there is in fact a difference between "aiming higher" and "lowering the target so that you can hit it." At least there used to be.

Well, nothing will help our struggling schools like widespread funding cuts, don't you think?

Posted by: Thomas


Oh, I am sorry, I did not realize the suggestion that I would like children to aspire to enter professions is dictatorial. I have known people in those jobs who very much like their jobs and feel that they are working to help society. I liked working in telecommunications, installing the equipment and running the cable for it that allows your phone, cell, and internet to work. However, bandsaws and hammer drills are not something that children are regularly exposed to. It is probably some silly safety thing. I am also interesting in History, geography, and literature.

It seems to me that you are the one who wants to steer children in a certain direction. I, for one, am glad that my years of schooling, including those that undergraduate years exposed me to many different areas and allowed me to enjoy a variety of things.

Though I was laid off from telecommunications, because of my other interests and knowledge of other fields, I was able to get another job, in a completely unrelated field, fairly quickly. Thank goodness for education otherwise I would still be holding out for that "dancer" position.

Is it realistic to expect schoolchildren to gravitate toward math, science, and grammar?

You start asking them very early on, just the same as you start exposing them early on to these things. Kids become very interested in a lot of things very early on. They are sponges. Your post hints of steering people to things just because you think we need it. You must ask, rather than dictate. Our current school system, along with nearly every thing else, is pretty dictatorial.

Yep!! Mitch is really good for education isn't he? What a joke!!! The man does not care about education just look at what he has allowed with his blessing to go on in the juvenile corrections facilities where the state is the guardian for the most needy of all youths and who lack education and he allows a maniac to run it in the ground and allow those kids to be abused and suffer and refuses to fund education programs so they can have what they need. Mitch should take all the blame because he hired and backs up that idiot JDD who runs corrections. Mitch does nothing to help the schools and educators in this state. He only bankrupts them. So who suffers? The kids.

First you need to train the trainers - educate the teachers. Then you need to motivate them i.e. pay them decent salaries. Then you need to motivate the children by opening higher education for the not so wealthy.
You could also look at the top countries that ranked in the top in the PISA study, like Finnland.

At what age do you suggest we ask this children what they want to be? Because we could end up with a lot children being educated to become firemen, policemen, baseball players, ballerinas, and princesses. There isn't anything wrong with these professions, but I would like to have some kids learning to be architects, doctors, chemists, physicists, lawyers, and a myriad of "non-glamourous" jobs (carpenters, construction workers, garbage collectors, plumbers).

There may not be any experts in education, but there are experts in how people learn. I have never ceased to be amazed how we twist and turn kids. I vote for an abolition of the entire public school system. They are too large to effectively manage and the only reason for their continued existence is special interest groups like the NEA.

You really want to put this issue on the right track? Ask a kid what he wants to do for a living and then give him schooling directed toward that objective. "Well our kids need to be well rounded in order to be socially acceptable," you say. Prove this statement, I say.

There are no experts in education. Lying about school performance is a long standing legislative practice from our 150 member school board. There are no experts at IDOE, none at all. The academic child abuse that takes place in nearly every school district would be a moral outrage if anyone knew about it. But, they don't. Educators like it that way.

Something to think about.

In the primary and pre-primary grades when a child has any break in the flow of learning at any age, it will affect some part of what comes after. Any information which may be dependent on previous information, not retained or not learned, can become a learning obstruction.”

“As the graduation rates in our state continue to drop, pre testing is a positive measure for improvement. Unfortunately the present representative in the Indiana House District 87 has rejected this solution on the pretext, in her words, “an invasion of privacy.” In truth her stance is an evasion a moral and I believe legal obligation.”

“We would never consider not giving a child without legs a wheel chair or access to a regular classroom education. But then why not consider testing for the invisible challenges on life i.e., learning disabilities and children with emotional problems that can manifest and become more challenging as the child becomes an adult.”

“We can continue burying our heads in the sand or we can recognize learning challenges and proceed in an appropriate learning path.”



"When a school is on "probation" for four years, the state must send in a team of experts to intervene." - Just who are these "experts" that the state will send in? Elected officials? Administrators from other school districts? DOE employees?

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