Skip to comments.San Diego: Despite more spending, students are failing
Posted on 02/08/2011 9:13:05 AM PST by NormsRevenge
Denial is a powerful impulse. It anchors you to your past and obstructs the path to a better future. It convinces you that your house is in order when all others see it deteriorating around you. Worst of all, it drags the innocent along as you continue to insist that nothing is wrong.
But something is wrong. In the San Diego Unified School District, fully half of elementary and middle school children cannot read or compute math at grade level. Shamefully, 80 percent of minority and English-language learners share this predicament. These problems persist despite a steady increase in per-student spending during a period that saw four superintendents in the past five years.
A reform initiative proposed by San Diegans 4 Great Schools addresses the root causes of these failures: leadership more concerned with protecting the status quo than with the welfare of students and a lack of accountability to parents and taxpayers.
How would our initiative change our schools?
It would make school board members accountable for progress. The initiative would require the school board to adopt improvement plans for student achievement at each school and to annually report to the public, mayor and City Council their progress. It would create a public forum where administrators and elected officials would have to stand before parents and taxpayers and defend the results of their efforts.
The initiative would make school board members more accountable to the people they represent. The antiquated districtwide election system, established in 1931 when the district was one-tenth its current size, robs communities of the ability to hold their representatives accountable. Board members are currently elected by expensive citywide elections, making them beholden to special interests that finance their campaigns. The initiative would establish district-only elections that would lower the cost of campaigning and make board members more accountable to the neighborhoods they represent.
The initiative would encourage fresh perspectives on the board with term limits so that board service is not seen as a lifetime job. Moreover, it would draw on the success of other urban districts by adding four appointed members to the school board. These four would serve because of qualifications, not connections to special interests. Selection would be by parent representatives and the heads of San Diegos colleges and universities. These qualified appointees also would foster stability by insulating the board from the political upheavals that have contributed to constantly changing educational priorities.
Teachers and administrators have suffered because of micromanaging boards that have resisted making hard decisions for fear of angering special-interest supporters. The board didnt even apply for millions of dollars in federal Race to the Top improvement funds because the process required common-sense reforms and increased accountability promoted by President Barack Obama.
Communities across this nation are waking up to the fact that we continue to tolerate a system that fails an astonishing number of our students. Public schools in Boston, New York City and other communities have accomplished similar reform initiatives and show that with stable, accountable leadership, focused on student achievement, not politics, students in urban districts can succeed.
These changes will not be easy. But there is progress because, finally, people across this community are joining the conversation about reform. It will be worth the effort when the next generations of students find themselves better equipped for a successful life.
Accountability in Education. wow.
There is no incentive for students to do well on a test. It is the teacher that is being evaluated for retention.
Step 1: Stop. Educating. Illegals.
I am not sure what this means. If it is arbitrarily deciding that the school board is at fault if x percent of kids don't perform at grade level, that might make some people feel good but will do little to address the situation.
A lot of these kids will never perform at "grade level." Rather than try to turn them into future scientists, it would make more sense to develop a curriculum consistent with their abilities.
The answer is simple but the politically correct establishment will never admit it.
It begins and ends with caring and involved parents who are willing to administer ‘tough love’ on their kids, including behavior modification.
It’s the family, stupid!
Well, at least someone is admitting there is a problem.
Here’s what schools need to do. STOP indoctrinating and starting TEACHING. Start setting standards. Get back to rote memorization of FACTS, not “feel good” coverage of themes and concepts. DEMAND that these kids LEARN the BASICS first — reading, writing, and math and institute traditional phonics based reading approaches.
But you won’t have this as long as the pin-headed “educators” have their way — you see, all of that is just old fashioned nonsense. We have to institute new “progressive” ways to educate — don’t you know?
I know this. I’ve had 3 kids in schools. I pulled my eldest OUT of these so-called “schools” long ago, and she’s now 23 and doing extremely well. Thank God the public schools couldn’t do any damage.
It doesn’t take money, and it doesn’t even take a teacher with a graduate degree to do this in the elementary levels. It doesn’t take fancy buildings, or special programs. It just takes concerned parents and teachers w/ expecations and standards ...but we just don’t get this anymore in America at least not in the public school arena.
You also throw the breakdown in families into the mix, and it’s all just a total disaster.
American public school education is a system of the Teacher's Unions, by Teacher's Unions, for Teacher's Unions.
Until you address the root cause of the self-interests of Teacher's Unions, throwing more money at the system is equivalent to flushing money down the toilet.
Right. And very LIBERAL teacher’s unions, I might add.
It’s easier to give them a pill than to educate them.
I think we ought to replace the $7 billion head start program that serves 1 million students with an automated program.
Instead send every kid a cheap $100-$200 computer preloaded with age appropriate educational programs that are fun and focus on reading and math and a rather locked down operating system.
Allowing $100 per computer for shipping and handling and administration, the total cost of the program would be $300 million.
A savings of $6.7 billion.
I agree. There are those who will never be able to reach above 8th grade level ....academically speaking. Where have all the shop classes and home economic classes gone? We used to have them starting in 7th grade....and they were wonderful.
And in other news, despite spending to buy more heroin, junkies don't feel any better. I thought this was a lesson we learned a long, long, long time ago. Apparently not.
It’s the parents and the teachers. It seems neither is really committed to the kids education. A good comparison is private schools. Look at the teachers and the parents. Both are committed. Also look at the discipline in private schools. There is little give and take regarding discipline. Either a student conforms or leaves. I was in private schools until I hit high school. I convinced my parents to let me go to a public high school that all my friends attended. It was a great school but I skated by for two years because I was that far ahead of them. No unions also in private schools.
In 1940, the average American had an 8th grade education and managed to build the most productive society in the world.
Now, we have doubled our education budgets, have 1/2 the class size, and exponentially increased the number of teachers.
Now, students graduating college still can’t do basic math or write a cogent paragraph.
Throwing money at the problem is not the solution.
Teach crap, get crap
Now that's not hard, is it? Homeschoolers prove it every day and in every way - by being arguably superior.
Very good point! We expend more resources, and get poorer results.
From talking to people who grew up and graduated from high school in the 50’s many kids dropped out and went to work at the local factory. You can't do that anymore. If people do not have a job and are not educated they tend to commit more crimes. Are there enough jobs still out there in the trades i.e. welding, plumbing, etc. to employ the 50% or higher number of kids that are not college material? I don't know.
From what I have heard, more than 90% graduated from high school in the 50’s, not so today.
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