January 2, 2011

"Setting high expectations for Madison’s often-struggling minority students is the driving force behind an all-male charter school Caire is proposing for the district."

Madison Urban League President Kaleem Caire is one of the 5 Madisonians "to watch in 2012," according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
The school, to be called the Madison Preparatory Academy, would have longer school days, offer a college preparatory curriculum — and require students to wear uniforms.

As the proposal heads for preliminary approval from the School Board early this year and possible final approval in the fall, it already faces opposition from the teachers union, which opposes non-unionized charter schools, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, which opposes single-gender schools.
Why does the State Journal use the term "single-gender" instead of "single-sex" in this context? Anyway, I think the problem is making a special school for males and not having an equivalent one for females. But this isn't a case of training males for elite achievement (as it was in the Supreme Court case dealing with the Virginia Military Institute). Caire seems to be saying that males have a special problem that needs remediation. Actually, he seems to be saying black males have a special problem needing remediation:
Caire views the school as a key step toward building a stronger black middle class in Madison....

An underdeveloped black middle class in Madison means fewer positive role models for youth, Caire said, which partly explains why the city has disproportionately lower graduation rates and higher incarceration rates among minorities. 
But it's not racial discrimination that's being proposed. It's sex discrimination. In equal protection law, race discrimination must be justified — at least theoretically — meeting a higher standard than sex discrimination. But if the government interest to be served by sex discrimination is characterized as racial, does that make the argument for sex discrimination weaker or stronger?

Please discuss. I'll say more later.

104 comments:

Fred4Pres said...

I am surprised you did not save this question for your students. It would be a good exam question.

G Joubert said...

It's hard to argue, with a straight face anyway, that females do not have equal educational opportunity in this day and age.

Lisa said...

There is a problem for AA males in schools. They are much more likely to not do their work, to not attend to lecture and discussion, to socialize instead of learn, and to have disruptive behavior.

In education, there is a movement that believes that if you say the problem is with the kids and it is almost all AA boys, then you must be a racist. Since it would be racist to believe it is the kids, then clearly it must be that something is wrong with the system.

I think that is bull. Clearly there is something wrong with the kids and their families because my AA kids from middle class homes don't have these problems. They perform and behave well.

Would a charter school with longer hours, a dress code and a strict behavior system mitigate this? Perhaps, especially since they can kick out anyone who fails to meet their standards.

But what about the girls? AA girls are much more likely to get pregnant young, to have academic and behavioral problems as well. Why isn't there a school for them? In my experience their needs are just as great.

Lincolntf said...

The prediliction to human classification that informs the social engineers is not a noble, or particularly enlightened, trait.

shoutingthomas said...

After 60 years of set-asides and quotas handed over to women, Althouse wants to bitch now about a single set-aside and quota for men.

Figures.

Althouse's sense of entitlement is off the wall.

She's are always trying to jigger the system to maximize her self-interest.

The army has to make its first priority recruiting homosexuals because Althouse has a gay son. It's a civil rights emergency, just like Jim Crow. Predictable.

Now, after 60 years of set-asides and quotas for women, Althouse wants to discuss the importance of even handedness.

Men, you really have to learn from observing Althouse's wretchedly obvious self-interest. I know that most of you are incapable of learning from it.

Put aside your chivalrous feelings for a moment and observe the bitching and scamming for what it is. Try.

Althouse is in favor of even handed legalism when it comes to others. She's in favor of the entire world being turned upside down on principle when it comes to getting what she wants.

Ralph L said...

With the high black and Hispanic male dropout rate, a successful all male school will make the regular high school even more predominantly female. Perhaps they can use that as a fig leaf, but a big school district should offer single-sex schools for both sexes. Does it add costs (besides plumbing changes)?

I attended two boys' schools (now both co-ed) for 1&2 and 8-12. They do have some value, but more important to success are: a father in the home, and parental expectations. I suspect kids in special schools do better because of those two factors, not just the quality of the teaching.

AJ Lynch said...

Re single gender. The newest PC affliction is gender identity where a person, born a male, believes he is a female or vice versa. So the term gender identity is used because one theoretically picks their gender according to this new affliction being pushed by victimologists in the PC legal-diversity complex.

My township recently passed a law protecting people who choose a gender identity that is different from their born gender.

I think lawyers and large expenditures to law firms may have also been part of this important civil rights "reform".

AJ Lynch said...

My niece teaches in a charter school in NYC. I told her teachers, as a group, need to push back against the idea they are the reason so many kids are dumb. I told her teachers should turn it back and blame the parents because that is where the majority of the fault lies. "Garbage in garbage out" is a truism in computer programming and in may other areas including education.

AllenS said...

It's race and gender discrimination. Which is ok, if it benefits blacks or women.

PatCA said...

I think the comments about family structure are getting to the real truth of the matter. A longer school day and more regimentation does not make for a substitute family with a father. In the wrong hands, it could end up like the vision of Louis Farakhan's world.

I will also go all Glenn Reynolds and ask, why does everybody have to go to college? Maybe the dropout rate would fall if kids were given a chance to be *gasp* secretaries or auto mechanics.

Maguro said...

High expectations are great for people who are capable of fulfilling them. But what if these kids just aren't that smart?

Oligonicella said...

The ultimate failure of victim politics is that they have no regard for fixing a problem, only with the distribution of resources favoring their particular perceived victimhood.

former law student said...

"Sex" to refer to one's sexual plumbing became un-PC some thirty years ago. Sex is something you have or you do, not something you are. "Gender" filled the gap.

I support single-sex schools. Girls have a huge advantage in mixed-sex schools. Girls are compliant. They know how to sit still, pay attention, and play along. Most teachers are women, who relate better to girls. Boys acting like boys are apt to be diagnosed with ADHD.

former law student said...

There is a problem for AA males in schools. They are much more likely to not do their work, to not attend to lecture and discussion, to socialize instead of learn, and to have disruptive behavior.

Nice to get confirmation from Lisa that the problem with boys in school is they don't act like girls. Although by ascribing male characteristics only to AA males, Lisa argues that white boys are sufficiently feminized to succeed in school.

mRed said...

This is a good beginning because there are so many more races we can plan special schools for as well as for girls, boys, gender benders and trans-(fill in the blank)and don't forget philosophies and political stands. I look forward to the day, as an example, when every town can have a left-handed multicultural lesbian school of excellence with scholarships for softball and bull riding. So much to do, so little time and so many fewer taxpayers. Get to work folks. Somebody's future depends on you.

former law student said...

High expectations are great for people who are capable of fulfilling them. But what if these kids just aren't that smart?

They may be smart enough to reject the bullshit that school represents. But why not take the Asian approach that hard work is more important than innate ability?

c3 said...

Haven't we been down this road before?

mesquito said...

This school will most likely be staffed entirely by persons of the woman gender.

peter hoh said...

St. Paul has a single-sex charter school, Laura Jeffrey Academy.

I can't recall that there was organized opposition to the school as it was forming and lining up state approval. (If there was opposition, I didn't notice it, and I tend to pay attention to these things.)

Charter school law varies from state to state. In Minnesota, a charter school can be -- but does not need to be -- sponsored by a school district. I'm guessing that most school districts would have balked at the idea of sponsoring a single-sex school.

An editorial in the Minnesota Daily concluded with these lines:

We applaud the new charter school's initiative that aims to realize the full potential of Minnesotan girls. Having the option of single-sex classrooms will provide further insight into its effectiveness. The only way to fully understand the effects of single-sex education is to test the waters, and then take the path that proves most effective in educating our youth.

Despite the enthusiasm for single-sex education in the Minnesota Daily and the Minnesota Women's Press, I am unaware of any attempt to develop a single-sex school for boys in Minnesota.

And what if a boy wanted to attend Laura Jeffrey? I was not able to find this on the LJA website, but the Minnesota Women's Press article included these lines:

. . . the school follows Minnesota anti-discrimination laws and will not reject boys who wish to attend. "We'll take anyone," she stated firmly. "If a boy applies, we will have a discussion with him and his family to ensure that this is a good fit. If he wants to come, he will enroll. We do not discriminate."

former law student said...

To return to a previous theme here: American schools have become too chickified. I don't think this school needs to be all black however. I think boys should be selected if they score high on the traits Lisa identified:

Much more likely to

1. Not do their work
2. Not attend to lecture and discussion
3. Socialize instead of learn
4. Disrupt class

shoutingthomas said...

By the way, I'm against it.

Best to read Thomas Sowell.

Do you know that, before the Civil Rights era and the expansion of welfare, black kids were more likely to live in a traditional nuclear family than white kids?

The destruction of the black family was a product of liberal social engineering.

So, now that we're living with the results of that social engineering, why does anybody think that the government can or should solve the problem with more social engineering?

Might you not call this "throwing gasoline on a fire?"

Black people will have to solve this problem on their own. The answer which they will come up with, I think, is church, traditional family and hard work. That is, they might come up with that answer if their liberal benefactors buzz off.

DADvocate said...

Caire seems to be saying that males have a special problem that needs remediation. Actually, he seems to be saying black males have a special problem needing remediation:

Males and, more so, black males do have a special problem that needs remediation. Look at the drop out rates, numbers in college, law school, medical school, etc. Only in a few of the scientific and technical fields do males outnumber or equal females and feminists are howling about that.

School staff at all levels are generally more hostile to males. The middle school where my daughter went last year had a wooden apple on the front counter in the main office that had the quote from Margaret Thatcher, “If you want something said, ask a man...if you want something done, ask a woman.” Every male who entered that office received an insult.

The one thing i disagree with is the longer school days. I, and you, come from the generation that is often used as the standard for school performance. We had longer summer breaks and the same length school days as now. I have seen no evidence that the problem in schools and education is that students aren't in school long enough.

PatCA said...

I agree with you, shoutingthomas. As I said, I saw Hoop Dreams this week and it was remarkable that the inner city kids still had some fathers around and nobody was fat. Nobody.

First the government wrecked their families by usurping fatherhood, then they destroyed their health by usurping motherhood/nurturing skills.

mRed said...

Shouting Thomas - Good point. Also, read Walter Williams to explore what was done to the minority family, business and neighborhood in the name of civil rights. In short, they were destroyed.

AJ Lynch said...

Btw- don't get me wrong. Charter schools combined with discipline are great and will save more kids than our misguided public schools.

And re single-sex, only dumb, obstinate liberals would argue that there is no difference between boys and girls.

edutcher said...

Having gone to an all-boys school K - 12 (VI Form, we called it), I can say it wasn't a bad thing. The whole male-female soap opera was one less thing we had to put up with. (The Blonde's favorite nephew's best bud says girls in school "add drama")

I seem to recall, during the 70s a lot of traditionally men's colleges had to accept women, but several all-women ones - Mills College sticks in the memory - didn't have to because student body and faculty threw a collective hissy fit so shout is maybe 40% right in his objections.

The issue of family structure is, of course, completely germaine and anything that happens in school has to be supported by the parents, but something to get kids out of the wholly permissive nature of the average high school couldn't hurt.

I say go for it. If it works, all to the good.

Ann Althouse said...

Anyway, I think the problem is making a special school for males and not having an equivalent one for females.

That's the way it used to be in a lot of big city school systems, public and parochial, as well as private. It worked, but the feminists screamed, "Inequality", but what resulted was special privilege. This is the way the Lefties operate. What starts with a stated goal of "equality" always ends with people divided into petty, bickering camps with special constituencies only the Lefties can "protect". This is how they stay in power.

The Drill SGT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AllenS said...

Demand that bathrooms be used by both genders. That will help with the acceptance of an all boys school. No homos in the boys school either.

The Drill SGT said...

The Drill SGT said...
What FLS said at 1041 and DADvocate at 1103.

our schools and colleges are failing boys, because they aren't girls and the Educational Industrial Complex continues to see the problem as one where because women fail to yet dominate every displine, there must be gender bias against girls

Lisa said...

Former law student,

Actually, boys tend to perform at least as well as girls WHEN IT IS EXPECTED OF THEM.

Sitting still is not a gender based trait. Participating in activities, listening, asking and answering questions is not a gender based trait. The ability to avoid hitting a classmate over the head with a ruler is not a gender based trait. The ability to add fractions or solve linear equations or complete a lab write up is not a gender based trait. The ability to close one's mouth and do as one is told is not a gender based trait. The ability to learn is not a gender based trait.

Behaving appropriately is not feminine nor is misbehaving masculine. You made it into law school which means at some point you learned to sit down, shut up and do your work. Are you feminized?

And frankly, it appears your real intention with your comment was to insult women. Using feminized as if it were a bad thing really suggests your problem is you don't like women, not that you believe students should behave out of control in the classroom disrupting their own learning and their fellow classmates.

MadisonMan said...

I was at a meeting about the proposed changes to curriculum at West High, with Dan Nerad and Dr. Pam Nash, and Caire very ably took over the meeting to talk about what he wanted to talk about. He's very very good at that. Very much of what drives him is his own childhood in MMSD schools. And I wonder if that also binds him to a particular path.

My question is usually: How much will it cost, and where will the funds come from? It sounds like a good idea, but if you are going to siphon off money from something more deserving that has a proven track record, then even if it's a good idea, I'll need further persuading.

Lisa said...

Former law student,

If one takes the Asian approach, as you suggest, that puts hard work before innate ability, one must...

Do their work
Attend to lecture and discussion
Learn instead socialize
Not disrupt class

All behaviors you disparaged as being chickified.

In fact, Asian students do even MORE of the above than American students.

You don't know what you are talking about and clearly just want to insult women.

The Drill SGT said...

Lisa,

you are wrong.

our k-12 curriculums have been been tuned to encourage girls and discourage boys. from emphasizing group work and homework to demphasizing competitions and tests, many facets of school life treat being a boy as a birth defect that needs correcting

former law student said...

The ability to learn is not a gender based trait.

One true statement. But different learners learn differently. And at present, boys are trying to learn in a system adapted to girls' strengths.

Left-handers used to be forced to learn to write with their right hands -- that can be done, too. In such a system the people who are disadvantaged are obvious.

cokaygne said...

There is no one best way to educate kids. In an urban school district there should be a number of charter schools with different secular educational philosophies so that parents can confidently send their kids to a school where they have an even chance of learning something. So there should be nothing wrong with a military prep charter school.

Discrimination on the basis of sex or race, however, is against fundamental social values required in an urban society. Sending kids to a segregated school is teaching them anti-social values.

Lisa said...

Drill SGT,

No, sir, you are mistaken. Boys are every bit as successful as girls.

Thriving in competition is not a masculine trait; it is a personality trait that one finds equally present in girls and boys. Thriving with group work is not a feminine trait; it is an ability that one finds equally present with both boys and girls. Given the nature of society, excluding either competition or group work is not beneficial. Both are necessary.

Homework is necessary. Despite the belief of many that one can learn skills or concepts without any practice, it is necessary. And yes, boys can do homework too... quite successfully. Oh and btw, girls can be quite successful test takers.

None of my boys are treated like a 'birth defect'. They do well in my classroom. They keep up with their work.

In any given year, less than 8% of my students are unsuccessful (that would be a grade below a C-). Somehow 92% of my students are able to do group work, compete, take tests, sit still and turn in assignments.

So lets talk about what that 8% looks like. That group includes both males and females. They tend to come from poor homes (often public assisted housing). They tend to be from broken homes, often living with grandma or one parent. They tend to have more absences than their peers. They don't do most of their assignments (my class is heavily weighted towards tests and quizzes so this has a minimal impact on their grade but because they have not done the work, they can't do the tests). They don't read for pleasure. They don't find value in learning. They don't like to compete educationally because they are not competent.

These kids have been behind from the day they entered kindergarten and never really catch up.

It is a parent problem, not a gender problem.

former law student said...

Using feminized as if it were a bad thing really suggests your problem is you don't like women

If I said that the NBA favors tall players would that mean I hate short people?

Lisa said...

Former Law Student,

In the school I teach at 96% of our students meet or excedes the state's standards in reading and math.

Please explain to me how what we are doing is not appropriate to how boys learn because the data suggests otherwise. Clearly they are learning.

I think you are spouting off from an ideological point, not from experience or observation. That's a shame.

former law student said...

These kids have been behind from the day they entered kindergarten and never really catch up.

It is a parent problem, not a gender problem.


Somehow the Marine Corps can turn teen males into responsible adults in just a few weeks of boot camp, without having their parents handy. One advantage they have is they cater to the male traits of their recruits.

former law student said...

In the school I teach at 96% of our students meet or excedes the state's standards in reading and math.

So they can meet a grade norm. But can they utilize this learning?

Can they write a persuasive essay?

Can they deliver a persuasive speech?

Can they keep books for a small business?

All these used to be requirements for Eighth Grade graduation.

The Drill SGT said...

Somehow the Marine Corps can turn teen males into responsible adults in just a few weeks of boot camp, without having their parents handy. One advantage they have is they cater to the male traits of their recruits.

I'd likw ro think to Army does a decent job as well. after all, we do it in half the time it takes thoaw DI's :)

but you are correct. That education system has fewer Doctors of Ed worried about maintaining high levels of self-esteem.

Lisa said...

former law student,

The Marine Corps has discipline options available that schools don't. They can lock you up if you cause enough of a problem. But even in the Marin Corps, you have to sit down, shut up, listen and do your homework... all traits you said were feminized.


Further, the kids I am talking about are unlikely be going into the Marines or any military service unless it is their only option to avoid jail.

Oh and women can be successful in the Marines as well.

edutcher said...

former law student said...

These kids have been behind from the day they entered kindergarten and never really catch up.

It is a parent problem, not a gender problem.



Somehow the Marine Corps can turn teen males into responsible adults in just a few weeks of boot camp, without having their parents handy. One advantage they have is they cater to the male traits of their recruits.


There are plenty of washouts in all branches. A lot of kids who ordinarily would make it aren't. Partly it's the couch potato culture, partly it's the war on men.

What Sarge says about the Educational Industrial Complex is true. Education is run by people like The Zero's patron, William Ayers, and his friends from the Columbia University School of Education, backed up by the Demos' best friends, the teacher unions. They teach PC and PC is that men are EEEEEvil.

Maguro said...

Somehow the Marine Corps can turn teen males into responsible adults in just a few weeks of boot camp, without having their parents handy.

Selection bias. By definition, the teens who join the Marines WANT to change their lives. Compulsory public education is a whole different ballgame. Hard to help those who don't want to help themselves.

peter hoh said...

Laura Jeffrey Academy, a single-sex charter school for girls in St. Paul was launched without controversy. They do not explicitly prohibit boys from attending. I don't know if any have enrolled, however.

A charter school in Minneapolis offers single-sex classes for it's middle school students. I can't recall much fuss about this, either.

I used to think I knew a lot about how to fix schools. These days, I know enough to say that schooling is a complicated issue, and that one approach won't solve all the problems.

Lisa said...

Former law student

Yes, they can apply their learning. They can give speeches and write essays. They are not taught how to 'balance the books of a small business' but have the ability to do all the math required to do so. They can write research papers and lab reports. They can solve linear equations and even quadratics. They can explain evolution and the changes the Earth has undergone as well as basic Mechanics. And much more.

By the time they leave my school at the end of 8th grade.

The Drill SGT said...

Maguro said...
Selection bias. By definition, the teens who join the Marines WANT to change their lives.


absolutely true

but in fairness the methods worked well on draftees and it worked on folks that Lisa would write off.

Further, the kids I am talking about are unlikely be going into the Marines or any military service unless it is their only option to avoid jail.

Lot's of soldiers were taught to be a success in the military and later as civilians because a Judge said. "Jail or the Army"

but back to selection bias, the same sorts of dropout kids who would be successful as Marines if given a chance, will self select, (aor their mother will) for a more structured HS.

some will succeed. far more than in their current school

Maguro said...

Come to think of it, I can see value in a scheme like this if it separates the kids who want to learn from the kids who don't. I don't think such a school would need to be single-sex, though, as long as it retained the ability to kick out disruptive students.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I have seen no evidence that the problem in schools and education is that students aren't in school long enough.



The problem is that they are in school long enough BUT with out quality ciriculum.

It doesn't matter how many hours you spend in school if the quality of the educational experience is a politically correct watered down time wasting classes.

Education without accountablility. Education where we're more concerned about making the students 'feel good about themselves' than we are in results and learning progress.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Oh....and...school group project suck. All they do is let the slackers ride on the backs of the hard workers.

After my daughter pulled several late evening sessions to finish a group project...ALL BY HERSELF so that she could get a good grade and thus qualify for college scholarships, (the other kids could care less) I told the teacher and Administration....no more group projects.

Group projects are just another symptom of how ridiculous and broken our school system is. One or two motivated kids work like dogs and the rest are freeloading.

On the otherhand, maybe it is a good lesson for life where we have 50% of the population freeloading on those who work and pay taxes.

Lisa said...

Dust Bunny,

True. There is a problem with the curriculum in some schools. I know students who are new to our district often struggle to catch up.

The problem is that schools have local control. We need a national curriculum with very high standards.

I suspect that one of the reasons we as a nation test so poorly compared to others is that we do NOT have national standards curriculum and even within the same states, different schools and districts have different curriculae. When we give these international tests, schools are chosen at random and not all students within the school are tested, just a random sample. Most nations have one set of standards and some have only one curriculum.

But, of course, I suspect their students are still required to do things like homework, pay attention, etc.

peter hoh said...

There is a high-achieving middle school in St. Paul with a long school day.

My problem with the school day is that the high school kids start too early and get out to early -- all because it fits the damned bus schedule.

peter hoh said...

I have a teacher friend -- a white woman in her 50s, and in no way afflicted with white guilt -- who thinks that teachers are largely to blame for the low achievement of African American students in the Twin Cities.

I'm not endorsing nor defending her opinion.

AJ Lynch said...

Lisa said:

"The problem is that schools have local control. We need a national curriculum with very high standards. "

I smell a bigtime Moby.

Bob said...

> Actually, he seems to be saying black males have a special problem needing remediation

That has been a central tenet of the education establishment for decades.

Jennifer said...

I would think that longer school days could benefit the types of kids this school is targeting. If, as many have said in this thread, the problem is the parents, keeping them out of the hands of parents or off the street corner for longer periods may be better.

For most kids, though, a shorter school day would be better, if it helped to cut down on the busywork and the bullshit.

Richard Dolan said...

"[I]f the government interest to be served by sex discrimination is characterized as racial, does that make the argument for sex discrimination weaker or stronger?"

It makes it almost incoherent, and along the way creates problems (probably insoluble) of over/under inclusiveness. The governmental interest being served is educational; nothing suggests that the criteria for admission will be racial, even if the end result is a school of (mostly) black males. Self-selection would likely accomplish that result all on its own (assuming that MMan's issue about funding is addressed sufficiently for the project to get that far).

The case the gov't should make is that the educational needs of a particular subset of the population are not currently being met, but can be addressed by this solution. Whether there is a need for an "equivalent" solution for girls depends on whether girls (or some subset of them) have educational needs that are not being met but would be addressed by a similar set-up for them.

The equality principle is not a one-size fits all requirement, nor is the constitutional rule a version of tit-for-tat. Instead the idea is that each student is entitled to an appropriate education, with account being taken of special needs.

ricpic said...

After trillions of other people's money down the drain our best and brightest still don't understand that the talented tenth have no need of their help and the untalented ninetieth are unhelpable.

Trooper York said...

Teachers are the problem. Good students should be on the fast track to college and the rest should learn a trade in an apprenticeship program.

I bet a lot of those ‘at risk” kids would pay attention if they were learning how to fix a car or a washing machine or carpentry or plumbing or electrical work. Boys will flourish at that. Except for the irredeemable losers who will end up incarcerated.

Of course the problem with that is the unions. Not least the most corrupt and despicable of all unions: the teachers union.

peter hoh said...

Trooper, neither teachers or their unions are responsible for setting up an educational system that tries to prepare everyone for college. I agree that we would benefit from changing our approach to high school with a greater emphasis on vocational education, but it will take leadership outside of the school system to make this happen.

Kev said...

The problem is that schools have local control. We need a national curriculum with very high standards.

Absolutely not. A national curriculum would be way too easy to push in whichever direction the political winds are blowing at the moment, and it would results in considerably fewer choices if (when?) that "national curriculum" starts failing even more students.

One size definitely does not fit all.

Kev said...

My problem with the school day is that the high school kids start too early and get out to early -- all because it fits the damned bus schedule.

Agreed. I'm usually skeptical of statement that begin with "studies have shown," but every study that I've ever seen on the subject agrees that high school kids have no business taking any classes before 9:00 a.m. because of natural teenage sleep cycles. Yet our district insists on starting the high schools at 7:30 a.m. so that the kids can have the opportunity to "get out in the workforce" earlier in the day. The number of kids I've taught who sleepwalk through first period over the years (and mind you, I teach them one at a time) would seem to show that this doesn't always work so well.

The Crack Emcee said...

Maguro,

Hard to help those who don't want to help themselves.

Yea, like an 8th grader knows what he wants out of life. Give me a break.

But it is the teachers (sorry, Lisa) the majority of teachers out there suck now, mostly because they're PC. I raised my nephew, and met a lot of them, and they're terrible. They're scared of blacks, no nothing but PC attitudes, and can hardly be considered thinkers themselves.

I'm not for separating anyone, if we don't have to, but see this as a natural outgrowth of a failed system no one is serious about changing.

DADvocate said...

Boys are every bit as successful as girls.

Absolutely wrong in our educational system. Look at drop-out rates, percentages in college, law school, and medical school, as I said before. Look at suicide rates of boys vs. girls and more.

The Crack Emcee said...

Hey, Troop - welcome back - now tell these fools how I did in school!

Trooper York said...

Thanks Crack. I am still getting over your photos of how you rang in the New Year!

The Crack Emcee said...

Here's what the school system looks like in the working world.

It's hardly fair, good, or working.

The Crack Emcee said...

Hee-hee!

Gawd, I love you, man!

The Crack Emcee said...

It's funny, but the best educator I met when raising my nephew was a black gay english teacher. My nephew didn't want to learn from him because he was gay, but the guy never gave up and, when we met, I could tell he gave a damn about the kid.

Together, we sat my nephew down and gave him a critical thinking session like no other, making all kinds of connections that made it obvious to the kid that what sex the man was had no bearing on what he was trying to put in his head regarding english. By the end of the semester, my nephew got a "B" and the teacher and I were very proud of our efforts.

I think teaching critical thinking as a subject would do a world of good out there.

Gahrie said...

I don't think such a school would need to be single-sex, though, as long as it retained the ability to kick out disruptive students.


This is the essence of the problem. The quickest, easiest way to reform schools is to let them start kicking kids out again.

I am a teacher. The following is the absolute truth.

This year I am teaching English Language Development (ELD) at the high school level in Southern California. The stated purpose of my course is to provide support for new immigrants to our country as they learn English. In reality, over half of my students were born in the United States and over a third have been formally identified as Special Ed. I have students who have taken the exact same class four and five times.

Just before the Christmas break we were preparing to expel one of my students. He attended our school last year until his mother was encouraged to tranfer him to the community day school. (classes of less than ten, kids are searched everyday, etc) He re-enrolled in our school a month late. He was put on an attendence contract. He then preceded to have at least thirty days out of school, most trunacies. He has been suspended for fifteen days, and been caught with drugs on campus three times. He failed almost every class last year, and failed all seven classes last semester. In my class he failed to turn in a single assignment. His expulsion was kicked back.

So, next semester I and my students will be graced with this youth's presecence on those days he feels like hanging out with his buddies.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

neither teachers or their unions are responsible for setting up an educational system that tries to prepare everyone for college

It seemed to change in the late 60's early 70's.

When I was in High School and even elementary school, it was common and accepted that the students would be 'tracked'. Meaning some students were fast tracked, took courses above their grade level or were slated to take a pre college prep track. Other students were tracked for general education. And as Trooper indicated took shop classes, (auto, carpentry) or classes to prepare the students for other occupations (typing, bookkeeping) and even classes to prepare you for life (home-economic)

Now, they try to level the playing field and lump in the advanced students with the students who are not advanced and even with those students who are disruptive and refuse to learn. The result is that the best students are dragged down to a level of frustration and the other students don't learn anything either. All in the name of 'feel good' everyone is the same mentality.

After all, it just isn't FAIR (whiney liberal voice) that some students should get to take advanced chemistry or literature classes when EVERYONE (more whiney liberal voice) can't benefit. So therefore......no one gets to benefit.

Idiocracy. Political correctness is going to be the literal death of this country.

I DO blame the Unions and the Department of Education. Neither of which existed when we had a decent educational system. Coincidence? I think NOT.

Gahrie said...

Yet our district insists on starting the high schools at 7:30 a.m. so that the kids can have the opportunity to "get out in the workforce" earlier in the day.

Don't kid yourself. It is so their parents can get out in the workforce. For far to many families the primary function of schools is free babysitting.

AJ Lynch said...

College for all meant little or no vo-tech career tracks. This trend was started by f-ing boomers [and I am one]who also came up with the idea that is was bad for kid's self-esteem if we kept score in T-ball, etc.

The country will breathe a big collective sigh of relief when we boomers are dead and gone.

TMink said...

The biggest predictor of school problems for children is not race.

It is whether or not mom and dad are married and live together.

Trey

paul a'barge said...

Wait. Is anyone disputing that young, black males have a problem?

Come on. Have you seen the prisons?

John Lynch said...

What gender will the teachers be?

John Lynch said...

I think Ann is perfectly justified in expressing skepticism for all male schools while no provision is made for women.

Only very recently has the educational system begun to produce roughly equal opportunity for boys and girls. All the provisions favoring girls have pushed the balance too far, alienating and even pathologizing boys.

Overcompensating again, this time in favor of boys, would not be a good idea. If same sex instruction is more effective, then why not give everyone the advantage?

Perhaps it's not as effective for girls, and perhaps it's not necessary to produce the same outcome. I doubt it, though.

Also, on an un-PC note, one wonders why such extraordinary measures are necessary to get black male students to parity with everyone else. It seems to me that if such lavish attention works, why not give it to everyone? Of course, that would simply make everyone unequal again...

My final observation is that when people really need something to work, the ideology goes out the window. How "progressive" we've become when we go back to same-sex schools with uniforms.

Penny said...

"After all, it just isn't FAIR (whiney liberal voice) that some students should get to take advanced chemistry or literature classes when EVERYONE (more whiney liberal voice) can't benefit. So therefore......no one gets to benefit."

DBQ's comment reminded me of a story I read about six months ago in my local newspaper. One of the very best public school systems in our area decided to eliminate their advanced classes. Their reasoning was that long term studies had shown that minorities were systematically tracked to the lowest performing "specialized groups", and therefore they would no longer have ANY specialized groups.

This is a staggering display of inept problem resolution that will have a long term impact, and not only to those that attend school there, but to the economics of their sprawling suburban neighborhood. People moved into and continued to stay in this high tax area BECAUSE of how good their schools were. Did the decision makers fail to grasp this too?

John Lynch said...

I don't agree with FLS. The point isn't to make boys learn. You can't. If someone does not want to learn, a school cannot make them.

The point of strict schooling is to separate the boys who want to learn from those that don't. The all-male uniformed school isn't for the hard cases, but for students that want to excell. The rest will do their best to get kicked out. That makes the environment better for a good student. On the margin this produces more good students, but the point remains that it's about excluding the bad students.

Charter schools are really about selectivity. They exclude bad students for the sake of good students. Parents put their children in charter schools as much to get them away from the bad as to take advantage of the good.

Penny said...

"Overcompensating again, this time in favor of boys, would not be a good idea."

Is it overcompensating?

I see it as ONE reasonable attempt to try to eliminate future problems that have been fairly well documented. Some other charter school can make a SECOND reasonable attempt, and use other parameters. And so on and so forth...

Designing charter schools with a public school template seems counter intuitive.

Penny said...

"Charter schools are really about selectivity."

So when you hear that charter schools are about "choice", you don't buy that, John Lynch?

Gahrie said...

"Charter schools are really about selectivity."

So when you hear that charter schools are about "choice", you don't buy that, John Lynch?



Charter schools are about choice, the most basic choice of all...the one to just give a shit.

Charter schools allow the parents who actually care about their children's education to get them out of schools full of children whose parents don't give a damn.

And yes, I am a public school teacher, member of a teacher's union, and I strongly support charter schools and school vouchers.

Lisa said...

Penny,

Chosing to leave the public school IS a form of selection.

Charter school kids are selected by the charter school in several ways (please note that this is selected in the Darwinian sense.. that is the school's don't pick individual kids but set up conditions so only a certain type of kid/parent can get in and stay)...

1) Their parents have chosen to leave their current school for something they hope will be better. That shows some initiative and investment in the child's education.

2) The parents have committed to getting their child to their new school. Public school kids can just hop a bus out their door. Charter school parents have to find a way to get their child there. Again, that shows initiative and investment. Only those parents who are willing AND able to do this can get their kids into charter school.

3) Every charter school I have ever read about has a behavioral contract. If a child fails to meet that contract expectation, they are allowed to be removed by their charter.

4) Many charters have parent contracts as well (volunteer hours, parent teacher meeting obligations). Any child whose parent fails to meet their obligation can be removed.

5) Special education. While charter schools are public schools and required by law to serve special ed students, in practice they do a poor job of this. They discourage special education students from attempting to enroll by having limited services. This is a well documented concern with charters.

In comparision, public schools are required to take EVERYONE.

Penny said...

Lisa, it just seems to me that where there is "choice", there is competition...and that's a good thing.

Nothing wrong with public schools competing with religious schools, private schools and charter schools. My guess is that it will make them all stronger, which is much better for the kids, if not for the least competitive among them.

See, that's the advantage for the public school. They will continue to exist, and more than likely at a much higher level of performance than today.

DADvocate said...

And yes, I am a public school teacher, member of a teacher's union, and I strongly support charter schools and school vouchers.

The best words I've read today!

MadisonMan said...

Nothing wrong with public schools competing with religious schools, private schools and charter schools. My guess is that it will make them all stronger, which is much better for the kids, if not for the least competitive among them.

The difficulty is that students with special needs that are required to be covered by law -- required, but not necessarily paid for by law -- will leave religious schools, or private schools, or charter schools. And they go back to the pubic schools that are required to teach them, siphoning off money from kids who are just there to learn.

It's the same thing with a Charter School -- the brightest leave the public school. What happens to those left behind?

DADvocate said...

The difficulty is that students with special needs that are required to be covered by law -- required, but not necessarily paid for by law -- will leave religious schools, or private schools, or charter schools. And they go back to the pubic schools that are required to teach them, siphoning off money from kids who are just there to learn.

It's the same thing with a Charter School -- the brightest leave the public school. What happens to those left behind?


The parochial school my oldest son attended went to great lengths to accommodate a wheel chair bound girl with spinal bifida. (sp?) There are private schools for the mentally retarded adults that are primarily funded via grants, donations, etc that accept anyone regardless of income. Why not the same for minors?

Of course, our public schools did a better job 50 years ago before education became passe and social engineering, political correctness, mainstreaming, and all sorts of other causes became more important than teaching anything.

Lisa said...

Penny,

I don't have a problem with charters; I've taught in a charter.

But they cannot be compared apple to apple with traditional public schools. They have freedoms that regular schools don't.

All I ask is that people are honest when comparing the two.

Too many charter school supporters make grand claims that charter schools are so much better than public schools for the same money. It simply isn't true. There are outstanding charters, mediocre charters and terrible charters. The same is true for public schools... except that public schools don't get to put any restrictions on who they accept.

John Lynch said...

Madison Man has the only critique of school choice that's worth a damn.

The answer to his question is that allowing the best students to leave will reduce the resources available for the rest. No question of that. Libertarians and conservatives routinely ignore this, preferring to dwell on the perfidy of teachers' unions.

It would still be better for the best students to be able to go to a better school. For a poor community, it will be their best and brightest that advance (if everyone could they wouldn't be a poor community.) Poverty is a much fiercer meritocracy than wealth.

Social advancement for members of a community isn't going to happen at all if the schools aren't good enough to educate to the level required to succeed in college or a vocation. What the real "choice" for a poor school district is between some advancing or everyone stagnating. It's easy to do the latter in the name of equality.

The optimal solution, it seems to me, is to have one school per district that is open enrollment based solely on merit. Be highly selective, but allow anyone who can hack the exams to enter. Leave the other schools the same to continue the mission of free public education for everyone.

That at least gives some way out for the intelligent but socially disadvantaged.

If the mission of public schools is to act as a social equalizer by giving opportunity to the poor, it seems to me that the schools are failing if they do not allow the best to rise as far as they can. Other social classes have that opportunity, and denying it to the poor on the basis of equality is bizarre. Allowing the poor to be equally poor isn't much help.

Penny said...

Agreed, Lisa, but the terrible charters will not be around too long. Were that only true for terrible public schools.

former law student said...

If someone does not want to learn, a school cannot make them.

Quite the opposite is true. Schools make kids who want to learn into kids who do not.

Who has seen an incurious toddler? Who has not been pestered with questions by a three or four year old -- black or white or yellow --about how the world works? How can a child who has mastered listening and speaking skills suddenly founder when faced with symbols on paper for the same language he speaks and comprehends with fluency?

The problem is not lack of desire to learn but lack of compliance with the educational system.

Boys rebel at every level. Which teacher has not heard "Will this be on the test?"? Their natural curiosity, surgically removed by their teachers, has been replaced by mere compliance, going along to get along.

Troop as usual has put his finger on it. When boys see the point of what's to be learned, they learn it eagerly and well.

Trooper York said...

Resources for schools should be cut. They take way too much out of the economy and make the real estate tax burden destructive to the maintenance of middle class life. The bennies and income teachers get are way out of line with their effectiveness. Christie has shown the way.

The answer is to smash the teachers union and blow up the education establishment. Test the kids. School the smart ones and teach a trade to the dummies. Incarcerate the ones who cause trouble. Go old school on their ass. We need to Air Traffic Controller their asses.

Trooper York said...

When I was a kid, some of my buddies went to Aviation High School and got jobs as aircraft mechanics. Some of them went to Automotive High and ended up opening successful garages.

We can do the same thing with such varied and diverse careers as computer repairs, culinary skills, plumbing and even fashion. Kids will be interested and engaged.

Don't listen to those lazy ass teachers. They just want more and more and more money.

John Lynch said...

FLS-

I was one of the rebellious souls you are talking about.

My problem wasn't the teachers, it was the students.

You can create a better learning environment in many different ways, but the best way to do it is to be selective.

Most public school turnaround success stories include an element of exclusion- the bad actors were given the choice of reforming or being expelled. Most were expelled.

We're not really talking about toddlers so much as teenagers. It's amazing that they are the same species.

PaulV said...

Moses Malone was able to do anything connected to basketball, including getting a 4.0 average his last semister in HS to improve his over all average to 2.0. Signed to MD letter of intent by Lefty he went straight to ABA to make his mom's life easier

AJ Lynch said...

I'd agree with you Trooper but only if you could prove at least 60 cents of every dollar we spend on schools is used to pay the techers. But I suspect it is much less than that- my point is much of the school spending never even gets to the classroom.

Also, how much has the English language or mathematics changed in the last 100 years? Not much I'd guess so WTF do we even need curriculum specalists to teach those two subjects? The syllabus could be the same one that was used to educate a young future rocket scientist in the 1940's and a young future Pulitzer prize winning author.

Re dummies Trooper, today everyone is afraid to say some kid is not cut out for math or science or college.

Trooper York said...

AJ it is political correctness that stops the truth. And it's not a race thing. Not really. It's trying to fit a round peg in a square hole. Not everyone is cut out for college. Some need a helping hand to learn a trade. If we turned our attention to that we would be a lot better off.

DADvocate said...

The answer to his question is that allowing the best students to leave will reduce the resources available for the rest.

Will it? With fewer kids in the school there should be more resources per student. Or, at least, the same funding per student available.

And, what about the school systems where thousands of students go to private schools but their parents still pay the taxes to support public schools? (Cincinnati Public Schools is one such system.) Do those schools have a surplus of resources? Are they performing better than schools that serve a much higher percentage of the available students in their district? Not in my observation.

peter hoh said...

A couple hours ago, Lisa wrote:

"except that public schools don't get to put any restrictions on who they accept."

Got any citations that back the claim that charters can put restrictions on whom they accept?

Laws governing charter schools vary from state to state. I'm familiar with Minnesota's charter school laws. I'm fairly certain that Minnesota charter schools can't put restrictions on whom they accept.

DADvocate said...

denying it to the poor on the basis of equality is bizarre.

Good point here. We reached this bizarre definition of equality years ago. Remember, everyone in a prison is equal.

peter hoh said...

In the Twin Cities, a large portion of those who choose charter schools are parents of low achieving students who feel their children are not well served by the district schools.

Trooper York said...

peter hoh said...
In the Twin Cities, a large portion of those who choose charter schools are parents of low achieving students who feel their children are not well served by the district schools.

Of course that is true. That's why so many minority and non catholic families scrimp and save to put their kids in parochial school. They know that the public school system is a scam for the teachers union and the administrators and the rest of the useless turds who have wasted untold millions of dollars.

Blow it up and start again. It;s not working. Break the union. There are plenty of well educated people who need a new gig.

It takes a village to be destroyed to save it or something like that there.

roesch-voltaire said...

I will never forget a particularly challenging creative writing class I had while a teacher in a public high school. The tension and posturing between the boys and girls prevented any written creativity so I decided to split the class by gender, alternating teaching one group in the classroom while the other group worked in the library. I adjusted the reading assignments to each person’s expressed interests. The toughest girl, whose brother was up on manslaughter charges in Chicago, begin writing poetry and became an inspiration to the other girls. On the guys’ side, honest narrations about their life emerged, including break ups and drug dealings. When the class finally met as a whole, they respectfully exchange their work. I was lucky my principal looked the other way during this experiment, but that experience taught me that in some cases separate classes for each gender has educational and social advantages. Creating a community that values learning is always a challenge and more so in what is fast becoming our culture of poverty in segments of the African American community. As someone who has been a non-union teacher in an Alternative school for drop outs and gang members, as well as a union teacher in public schools, I support this proposal-- if it can gain a solid dedicated teaching staff.

Trooper York said...

That was a very honest and eloguent post roachy. I have gained a new level os respect for you. Bravo.

(PS you are still a dirty commie but good show there buddy)