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Discussion: (2 comments)

  1. I just retired after teaching 26 years. Here’s my 2-cents worth:
    The ultimate objective is to increase the student’s understanding. So, first off, you have to know what the student knows about a given subject. At the start of the year, there should be something to indicate just what the student learned previously. Too frequently with poor kids, they bounce around from school to school because their parents keep getting evicted due to inability to pay the rent, so it’s hard to get a handle on them. Anyhow, for those who actually start and finish at the same school, compare what they had learned by the end of the previous year, compare it to what they learned after a year, and take into account whether the student has a history of even bothering to try or not. Also take into account if the student is attending regularly, is actually in class instead of suspended, if they’re sick, and such.
    Still, with math, a student who misses a single week can get far behind and never catch up unless THEY make the effort to do so.

  2. re: kids who get “bounced”.

    yes… kids in poor economic circumstances have very different lives than kids in a more stable economic circumstance – even one with a broken family but the parents still work to support the child.

    Unfortunately a significant number of kids end up in chaotic circumstances and “learning” is not easy nor is “teaching”.

    this is not really a “teacher” problem unless we expect “teachers’ to be able to handle these much more difficult cases and it does much matter how many they have in their class.

    What I’d challenge the “choice” school movement to do – is to take on this challenge in places where there are significant numbers of these kids and the achievement results demonstrate the problem.

    I think we’re going to find that these kids need – not typical teachers and certainly not newbies fresh out of college – but exceptional veterans… that will not be cheap.

    but let’s let the choice schools have at this… why not?

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