Monday, July 8, 2019

Academic Dysfunction

Recently, we were thrilled to witness the academic achievements of children in New York’s Success Academy charter schools.

Today, the Wall Street Journal offers a glimpse into the hellish world of the public school system in Providence, Rhode Island. With the collusion and connivance of teachers’ unions, Democratic politicians and the ACLU… these schools count among the worst in the nation. One thing that is not happening in Providence schools is learning.

The Rhode Island Commissioner of Education asked Johns Hopkins to evaluate the Providence public schools. The Journal editorializes about the conclusions:

Peeling lead paint, brown water, leaking sewage pipes, broken asbestos tiles, rodents, frigid and chaotic classrooms, and student failure were all documented in a 93-page review by the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy. The review was conducted in May at the request of the Rhode Island education commissioner, and it deserves attention nationwide as an example of government failure.

“Very little visible student learning was going on in the majority of classrooms and schools we visited—most especially in the middle and high schools,” the report says. “Our review teams encountered many teachers and students who do not feel safe in school. There is widespread agreement that bullying, demeaning, and even physical violence are occurring within the school walls at very high levels.”

Every child at Success Academies is proficient in math. In Providence, the number is 5%. If the school system were a corporation, the whole lot would have long since been fired. Unfortunately, those leftists who are in power do not care about outcomes. And they abhor corporate standards. They are too good for that.

No surprise, then, that only 5% of Providence eighth graders on average scored proficient in math in the 2015 through 2017 school years. That compares to 21.3% in Newark, N.J., where students have similar socioeconomic backgrounds. Low-income students in Worcester, Mass., not far away, were twice as proficient as those in Providence.

Children are undisciplined. They do as they please. Teachers exercise no authority. No one learns anything:

“Teachers did not press students to become engaged with the mathematics instruction, resulting in a variety of student off-task behavior: chatting with peers, checking phones, staring into space, or, in some cases, taking phone calls and watching YouTube videos,” the report says. Student performance actually drops the longer students spend in Providence schools. Proficiency in English fell from 18.7% of students in fifth grade to only 8.5% in eighth.

The result: children become more stupid as they grow up. Children routinely assault teachers, and suffer no consequences:

One student reported that “my best teacher’s desk was urinated on, and nothing happened.” Another noted a teacher “was choked by a student in front of the whole class. Everybody was traumatized, but nothing happened.” One district leader observed, “the students run the buildings.”

Of course, Democrat politicians and the ACLU have made it impossible to discipline students. Because it would discriminate unfairly against minorities. As for the notion that rendering children stupid is discriminatory… not a peep:

One culprit are policies that discourage student discipline. Rhode Island Democrats in 2016 passed legislation backed by the American Civil Liberties Union that limits school suspensions, which progressives claim discriminate against minorities. Teachers are reluctant to punish students, and violence and misconduct make it harder to retain good teachers.

Teachers unions defend all teachers,no matter their competence:

The reviewers also note that collective-bargaining agreements limit the ability of school principals to fire lousy teachers. “In the case of an abusive teacher, s/he is placed on unpaid administrative leave but then ‘lawyers up’ through the union and ultimately returns to the classroom,” one principal noted.

As always, teachers unions and politicians want to solve it all with more money.

Democrats as ever blame a lack of funding, though the district spent nearly $18,000 per pupil in 2017—about 50% more than the national average. In a system with any accountability, this would all be judged a disgrace and people would be fired. But this is a government failure, underwritten by entrenched union power.

Keep in mind, the results do not matter. What matters is fighting for social justice and really caring about minorities. This is a pathetic scam...the nation will be paying for it long into the future. 


UbuMaccabee said...

More money is always their answer, always; we need more money. It NEVER changes. More money. It's always a funding issue. That these fools can still say that rubbish with a straight face is just as bad as the sub-literate children they are producing.

trigger warning said...

Public school mission: acquire ever-growing inputs, prohibit measurement of outputs (i.e., more money, testing is raaaaciss).

Sam L. said...

Why do they hate the children? Because the ignorant are easier to deceive.

jfmoris said...

There's a certain bias inherent in having all children 'educated ' by unionized govt employees in a public institution. Kids learn horrible lessons even if no political words were spoken:
- more funding is always the answer
- the path to more funding is organized political bullying
- the authorities have a monopoly on all knowledge and certification.
- freedom of association is not allowed - a main advantage of private schools is that they WILL get rid of disruptive students

PTSD said...

I taught for several years, the worst year in a school exactly like this. New, young femle principal warned us all NOT taking kids out of class. Once before the state tests, a young male was was always acting up, was doing it before these important tests.I called the office to get him out and was greeted with, "Oh, ____(using my first name in front of class), before it even starts?" (and I thought, yeah, so they won't be interrupted during testing. geez.)

Another admin person there when I would try to have someone removed for disruption, would poke her head in, repeat my story and ask the KIDS "Is that what happened?"

One day, a kid was so bad that I refused to call another hapless admin. I went to the desk where the cop hangs, by the doorway, and said, "I do not want an admiistrator. I want someone with a uniform and a badge~" And I got it...that time.

I got to be with my sped kids, who needed special curriculum and environment all day, for 1-2 periods. Other periods, I had to'team" with a teacher who had been there for years, who treated me as an aide and let the kids do all the behaviors you listed earlier. I ended up the last few days of school, asking colleages to take those periods for me; the principal sent them out, got me and said I had to go in. I refused to go in the classrroom where I had been bullied for a year because the other teacher and the admin refused to do discipiine. She fired me. I said no way when the main office called and said she didn't have that privilege and pls come back next year. But I had lost all confidence in myself and that was the beginning of the end.

In the room where my husband "teamed," the reg teacher went into her office and gave the class to him. He learned very soon that if you tried to discipline, you would only have parents, admin, and maybe lawyers on you. So he taught 5-7 kids at the front; in the back, the rest of the class played music, danced, and played cards. Think they would have listened if even he, a six-foot male vet, had talked to them? He was wiser and less stubborn than I, so he taught who he could and didn't try to do the impossible, so never got in trouble with admin.

Don't complain about teachers or blame "teachers unions." It's admin (who don't deal with effects of the rules they put upon us), the academics who haven't been in a classroom for decades, but keep demanding on their stupid "resarch-based methods," advocates/activists, and parents.

It's not "the teachers unions" to blame--it is "the teachers union leaders." We gain nothing. Although we had advanced degrees, they were paying us at BA scale at the school I just wrote about. because we were Ed.S, which is usually for admin. That state wouldn't take it for teachers -- they'd only take just masters, which was a step below, and if our transcripts didn't say "masters" but "specialists"--we got BA pay.)

Before that, my husband and I had team-taught in the latte 90s at a trad school where we were allowed to do discipline, and it was nothing like this. We left because they were building new schools and instituting "current" rather than "traditional" methods. (Rewards and consequences are the ony thing that works, but nowdays, not allowed. Just rewards for everybody.)

I could tell so many stories but I won't except---my last school as a teacher, I had 3 superivsors who told me not to do discipline, but call them when something happened. I had my first fight, in all those years, in that room, and it was my last teaching job before getting out. (Until we can end gov schools, we MUST get cons/trad people into teaching! New or it.)

(Sorry so long--I still have nightmares, yelling "Help me, help me," and you touched a nerve.)

vladdy said...

P.S. Forgve the typos (boy, it is full of them! It all came out in a rush, and I hit "send" before I proofed, as I didn't want to lose my nerve.) Thank you for printing.

R Devere said...

Stuart, STOP using the term "Democratic" to describe rotten. corrupt DEMOCRAT politicians.

And its an unnecessary redundancy to use both "teachers'unions" and DEMOCRAT politicians, they are one and the same! At the last Democrat National Convention, teachers' union members constituted more than 25% of the delegates!