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Re: Is "Grade Level" A Load of Hooey?


If you get invited, I'm heading East. Really. We must meet, talk, have a brew. This includes Nancy, a person who I've followed digitally for years.
Leeila & Clarence A. Bina
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Bismarck, ND 58504
701-527-1608 (cell)
----- Original Message ----- From: "gerald bracey" <gbracey@q.com>
To: <arn-l@interversity.org>
Sent: Wednesday, April 08, 2009 8:35 PM
Subject: Re: [arn-l] Is "Grade Level" A Load of Hooey?

That's the difference Linda talks about, too. Her affluent school is in the
same district (mostly affluent) as the poor school. I don't know if English
Journal is free online to non-subscribers. If not, I'd appreciate a copy of
the article, however sent.

By the way, I haven't spoken at Grand Valley State in years--I always say
they should have me in often because in the 4 or so times I've been there,
the sun has always been out. The Chamber of Commerce should subsidize my


-------Original Message-------

From: Nancy Patterson
Date: 4/8/2009 6:27:27 PM
To: arn-l@interversity.org
Subject: Re: [arn-l] Is "Grade Level" A Load of Hooey?

I hear "structure" a lot, too, but it really means "control." Essentially
it boils down to "I don't know how to control these kids, so I'm going to
make them sit in their seat and be quiet." Classroom management is very
important, and I'm not trying to diminish that importance. What Anyon saw
was mindless drill and kill for the sake of control.

Alfred Tatum has an interesting book out about teaching adolescent black
males to read. He talks about structure, too, but there is meaningfulness
attached to it. The students are in a structured environment and doing
meaningful literacy tasks.

I co-wrote an article that appeared in English Journal. My co-author was a
graduate student of mine who grew up in the local urban district and now
teaches in the district. She talks about going to one neighborhood school
where there were lots of rich literacy activities to do. Her family then
moved and her new school had a large population of students who got free or
reduced lunch. Even though the schools were in the same district, the work
she had to do in the new school was very different from the work she did in
the other. We decided to write the article when I told her about Anyon's
research. She experienced that difference first hand.


Nancy Patterson, PhD
Associate Professor
Literacy Studies Program Chair
College of Education
Grand Valley State University

"gerald bracey" <gbracey@q.com> 4/8/2009 8:45 PM >>>
I don't know. You can get NAEP scores by SES and by ethnicity, but I'm not
sure that you can get them for, say, low SES blacks. NAEP is supposed to
obtain a representative sample. There are "licenses" you can obtain from
USDOE that allow you to probe the data yourself. I've always been too busy
with other projects and I'm not sure what agreements you have to sign about
what you will do with the data.

"Structure" is the word you often here in connection with low income
students and Linda's book indicates a need for it although the teachers
chafe at the imposition of scripted curricula and, once the test is given,
the school changes dramatically. In her chapter, "It feels like a different
school," the kids do things one traditional associates with the elementary
grades, especially third grade which is where the state test hits.



-------Original Message-------

From: Nancy Patterson
Date: 4/8/2009 5:17:33 PM
To: arn-l@interversity.org
Subject: Re: [arn-l] Is "Grade Level" A Load of Hooey?

Jerry, I'd be interested in know how many of those black students came from
lower economic areas.

I think Jean Anyon's research is very interesting. She looked at the kinds
of school tasks students who went to schools that served lower income
students. She found that those students, even though they used the same
textbooks as students who went to schools in more affluent neighborhoods,
did very different tasks. Kids who went to schools that served higher
economic areas did a lot more problem solving, engaged in many more projects
that challenged them to think, etc. Students from lower income areas did
lots of workbook pages and drill and kill types of activities.

I know that when I expressed my alarm about formulaic approaches to writing,
a local curriculum director told me "urban kids are different. They need
more structure." Structure in this case meant lots of drill and kill and
lots of reductive approaches to writing and reading.


Nancy Patterson, PhD
Associate Professor
Literacy Studies Program Chair
College of Education
Grand Valley State University

<QCao009@aol.com> 4/7/2009 7:57 PM >>>

In a message dated 4/7/2009 3:20:52 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
gbracey@q.com writes:

the average black 12th grader scored 267 in 2005 compared to 293 for whites

That's about a 2 1/2 year difference as NAEP goes and slightly below the
271 of white 8th graders. It's hard to think of that as "slightly better"
for whites.

Jerry, very thorough analysis. I can't help thinking of "age appropriate"
and " least restrictive environment" as I read the definitions you cited.

Didn't they say white men can't jump? And then, Chris Rock comes out and
puts together the well concocted myth of a superior race by saying that we
accomplish on the plantations what Hitler could never do with the Aryan
race and
now all our African American sport stars are a result of this "breeding".
always sounds so much more authentic when a representative of the race
up with another Forrest Gump conspiracy theory. Some time, life just
follows art, and fact is a direct descendant of imagination.

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