Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Poor Children Who Excel at Algebra

Some good news for today. All of the students at a Success Academy charter school in the Bronx got the highest score in an eighth grade algebra regents exam this year. The students come from a poor neighborhood.  They qualify for free lunch at school Their parents did not help them do the math. 

And yet, a highly disciplined, rigorous approach to education, led by teacher Karina Mateo produced startling results.

As you know, Democratic politicians, led by the teachers’ unions, want to shut down such charter schools. It takes your breath away.

Anyway, the New York Post reports:

An entire Success Academy charter school class in the nation’s poorest congressional district not only passed the algebra regents exam — but aced it, officials told The Post.
A total of 53 eighth graders at Success Academy Bronx 2 in Concourse Village — where 90 percent of students qualify for free lunch — conquered the test with rankings of 5 out of 5, according to the network.

That mark corresponds to a score of 85 or higher.

School administrators announced the triumph at a graduation celebration last week, sending parents and relatives into a joyous frenzy.

For those who do know the minutiae of New York State education, the Post explains the value of the test:

Taking the test in the eighth grades puts students in a position to tackle advanced math courses like calculus in high school. Passing the exam earns high school credit and scores are reflected in transcripts.

All 467 Success Academy 8th grade students took the test this academic year, and 99 percent passed with a minimum score of 3. Of that group, 56 percent scored at the top level of 5.

New York City has a number of Success Academy schools. We note that nearly all the eighth graders who took the regents test passed. More than half achieved the best score.

Teacher Karina Mateo decided that passing was not enough. She wanted her pupils to aim higher, to excel:

The teacher who orchestrated the Bronx school’s unlikely feat, Karina Mateo, said she conveyed to her students that simply passing the test was not adequate.

The children do not come from a good neighborhood. They have a great deal going against them. And yet, under the right conditions, they could excel at math:

The Bronx school is located in congressional district 15, which has the lowest median income of all 436 districts nationally, according to 2018 census data.

“Most of these kids are first-generation immigrants,” Gentilcore said. “They come from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, West Africa. These are hard working families and their kids work hard as well. All they need is a teacher like Karina to help them.”

Gentilcore said that many parents have forgotten basic algebra by the time their kids tackle the topic in school and are sometimes unable to directly assist them.

“But what they can do is help to establish strong work habits,” he said. “Making sure they are taking the time every night to study. Making sure they do what they have they have to do free of distraction.”

Yes, indeed… a will to excel accompanied by a high level of discipline. Add to it a strong work ethic, and … there you have it… excellence.

Graduating students with teacher Karina Mateo.


trigger warning said...

"Gentilcore said that many [first-generation] parents [from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, West Africa] have forgotten basic algebra by the time their kids tackle the topic in school and are sometimes unable to directly assist them."

I was generally in agreement until I read that sentence. I doubt that kind of cheap benefit-of-the-doubt pandering is any benefit to the parents or the children.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

So inspiring! Amazing what tough LOVE, discipline and desire for achievement will produce.

What ought not be overlooked is the environment these kids are in — one which is actually conducive to learning.

I would love to know what proportion of the world’s top-performing middle schools and high schools have a dress code. Then i’d Like to see it for the United States. Not to mention single-sex schools.

You cannot learn effectively in a zoo, nor in an asylum, nor in an adolescent singles scene.

The talk about excellence in American education reminds me of the something I heard once about teen sex: “Everyone is talking about it, very few are doing it,and those what are aren’t doing it very well.”

Sam L. said...

It's just wrong, Wrong, WRONG!!!111!!!!, to teach these children math and algebra so darn WELL that they actually LEARN!!!111!!! Child abuse, I calls it! No wonder the "education establishment" is so DOWN of Success Academy!!!1111!!!!

Dan Patterson said...

Get your children OUT OF PUBLIC SCHOOL!
Indoctrination centers, all of them.