Re: Bracey strikes again
- Subject: Re: Bracey strikes again
- From: gerald bracey <gbracey@EROLS.COM>
- Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2002 05:50:02 -0500
- Reply-to: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
- Sender: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
That's a wonderful Freudian slip, or are you just being clever?
----- Original Message -----
From: "kber" <kber@EARTHLINK.NET>
Sent: Wednesday, January 16, 2002 6:04 AM
Subject: Bracey strikes again
> Our good pal Jerry Bracey has an op-ed piece on the top of the op ed
> page of Toady's Washington Post. I thought I'd send it along (imbedded
> in this e-mail) just to make sure eveyrone got the day off to a postivie
> tart, knowing the other side of the testing issue got some play today.
> Ken Bernstein
> What They Did on Vacation
> It's not schools that are failing poor kids.
> By Gerald Bracey
> Wednesday, January 16, 2002; Page A19
> Op-ed writers, politicians and reporters are fond of the phrase "failing
> schools." They sometimes illustrate the failure with test scores. They
> observe that poor or minority kids' test scores fall farther and farther
> behind those of middle-class students the longer they stay in school.
> "No Child Left Behind," President Bush's education program, is supposed
> to eliminate these schools.
> But what if those schools are not "failing"? What if their actual
> progress is just obscured by the way test scores are usually reported,
> undercut by events not under the control of the schools?
> Evidence from a number of studies suggests that even city schools
> serving disadvantaged youth are preventing failure, not causing it. The
> recent of these studies, though by no means the only one, looked at five
> years of test scores for elementary students of low, middle and high
> socioeconomic status.
> To no one's surprise, the low-status kids started school well behind
> their middle- and upper-status peers on tests of reading and math,
> something the schools cannot be held accountable for.
> To no one's surprise, they fell farther and farther behind over the next
> five years. We can hold these failing schools accountable for that,
> Maybe not. During the school year, the students in all three status
> categories gained the same amount on the tests. The difference between
> three groups is what happened during summer vacation. When the kids came
> back in the fall, the tests showed that over the summer months the
> poor kids lost ground in reading the first two summers, then held their
> own, but sank in math. The middle-class kids gained in reading and held
> their own in math. The rich kids gained in both reading and math, but a
> lot more in reading.
> The results should not surprise us. Many commentators have observed that
> between birth and age 18, American children spend 9 percent of
> their time in school, 91 percent out of it. (So why not hold families
> accountable?) And while the study shows that students learn more and
> more efficiently in school than out, 9 percent is not a lot of time.
> The reading-math differences over summer also make sense. Few children,
> rich or poor, practice their multiplication tables during the summer.
> Many do read books and go to the library. An earlier study found that
> any of three activities independently predicted summer gains in reading:
> the number of books read, the amount of time spent reading or the
> regularity of library visits.
> The researchers, Karl Alexander, Doris Entwisle and Linda Olson of the
> Johns Hopkins University, are quick to point out that what poor kids
> need is not necessarily more school: "We found that better off children
> in the [study] more often went to city and state parks, fairs, or
> and took day or overnight trips. They also took swimming, dance, and
> music lessons; visited local parks, museums, science centers and zoos;
> and more often went to the library in summer." They also were more
> likely to participate in organized sports and in more types of sports.
> Computation drills and work sheets in August are probably not the
> No doubt, the "savage inequalities" between what children receive in
> affluent schools and poor schools affect achievement, but those
> differences may not show up on test score differences in the early
> grades -- and test scores are all that count in Bush's program. Affluent
> students have much deeper early literacy experiences than poor children.
> Kids in low-income schools with science books predicting that man
> might one day walk on the moon can't learn science, nor can kids learn
> chemistry in labs that have no chemicals. One student in a poor
> California school said recently, "We sit around in computer class and
> talk about what we would do if we had computers."
> But the social class differences in what kids do in the summer months
> cannot be ignored, either. The notion of "adequate yearly progress,"
> already a difficult, some would say nutty, concept, just got a bit more
> The writer is a research psychologist.
> © 2002 The Washington Post
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