Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Improving School Performance

This is about low performing schools and is a good example of things mentioned and things unmentioned that outrage me and I hope you, too. C-Span covered a conference sponsored by "Aspin Institute" entitled, "Improving School Performance." There were class educators on all levels including political and those in every level of eduction. The best of those speaking barely touched on the real problem and didn't define it. It seems to me that the problem must be defined to be able to solve it. Don't you agree that that is a reasonable approach? It is a scientific approach.
Here is the problem: In low performing schools the product presented to kindergarten is, for the age for kindergarten, intellectually deficient. When such a student is presented the teacher, Principal, the Superintendent of Schools should all shout, "How dare you present an ill prepared student to our school? For shame!" It is not the Teacher's or the Principal's or the Superintendent of School's problem. It is societies problem. In another sense it is a problem with opportunity. If accepted, the ill prepared child may well eventually be athletically superior. Statistically that is probably accurate. How can a teacher discover the intellectual deficiencies in a kindergarten age student? A simple vocabulary, reading and writing test designed for the average of well educated kids of kindergarten age would be easy enough to prepare. To flunk it may be something like Autism or the usual poor exposure to the early education compared to most of the kids in the high performance schools. That poor little kid who seems so bright is bright and if it had been given the opportunity would have adsorbed the information needed for kindergarten that might lead to the student's being a world class scientist. So if that is the problem what is the answer? The answer is for mother and child to start school together at shortly after day one of life. Another attempt might be to establish "Cottages" for which locals are trained by local trained residents to add to the love and affection that is present for most babies, training including vocabulary, music, poetry, letters and words leading to reading and writing at that young age. Imagine all children starting on an equal playing field and perhaps an improved field than many affluent youngsters are brought up in. With such a plan adopted imagine the 45% male high school dropouts would vanish and those who would have been dropouts would have the advantage of an opportunity to reach personal heights. To coin a phrase, I am pissed that we all don't do something about that obvious and correctable situation. Science tells that with birth intellectualism continues and that the early days are of great importance. It all adds up to a question defined and a solution. QED as they used to say in geometry.

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