Tuesday, March 01, 2005

leaping out

I just got home from our monthly half-day faculty meeting/inservice. Today it was about the LEAP test, which occurs not next week but the week after. Such hopes are hung on this test. Our school is one level away from being in trouble, which could mean being taken over by the state. I understand that this may involve teachers all having to reapply at the school. At Capdau, I think only one of the teachers who had been there before the takeover returned. I have mixed feelings. I don't know that the state is going to know better how to fix us. Maybe it would be good for the attention to be drawn toward us so some of the muckety mucks in high positions could come to our school and find out for real what we're about. Everybody has an opinion about how to fix the school but I don't think any of them get it. I think what we need is a chance for people who are working with the kids, working at the school, to sit together for a whole day or even two, a retreat, to talk about what's really going on. Programs aren't going to fix us. Security guards aren't going to fix us. We need to get together and talk seriously and like compassionate human beings about things.
Such as what? Our school serves the area inside the infamous seven square mile area in which an inordinate majority of the violent acts in the city occur. That's one thing. These children live with gunfire in their lives. For a long time I've believed, but couldn't explain why, our society allows there to be a poor class. Yesterday in the paper, someone said that she understands why. She believes that it's because for the rich to function there has to be a pool of people who are uneducated and willing to work for 5.50 an hour at the grunt jobs, and so our society allows them to stay down. That's not to say, of course, that there isn't the possibility for them to rise out of that. People do. But to say it's hard is a huge understatement. It's assumed that these kids are not smart enough. It's not true, but what on the surface looks like stupidity is rewarded. Also, these kids have been segregated and what they're surrounded with is the same old stuff that is perpetuated generation after generation.
Tomorrow I want to write about my writing classes.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Standardized tests are biased. Sometimes I think they are written this way just so classifications and rank can be "established" as a way make the more advantaged population believe they are really better, smarter, and more worthy of additional opportunities than those who haven't had as much given to them. Cultural circumstances aren't taken into consideration when this test is given and your students have more life important things going on than this test to worry about... so no wonder they aren't blowing the top off of it!

I don't understand how the government can blame the students for not focusing enough on their studies when they have more life threatening issues going on. Having the government take over the school is just a way to blame the students and the teachers for placing their physical life preservation above their education.

The teachers are doing the best they can to work with EVERYTHING that is going on not only in the classroom, but also outside of the classroom. Some of the best teachers work in some of the worst schools too --- and they get punished with the stupid government comes in and takes over. The teachers are the heroes here --- what needs to happen is help for the kids outside of the classroom because in the classroom, they are taken care of (as long as they let them themselves). "Ordinary teachers" don't work in rough schools -- "EXTRAordinary teachers" work in rough schools.

- Cassandra

9:16 PM  

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