“We Must Show Every Child The Light”

Reaction to Joel Rubin and Nancy Cleeland’s “The Vanishing Class“:

So Much Damage
Perhaps these fiascos could be avoided if public officials first tested proposed policy changes on a small scale (instead of blindly applying them to tens of millions of students with no insight on the potential impact). At this point, so much damage has been done to so many people, I’m uncertain how the situation can be rectified (except perhaps to save future generations of students).
Learning … Is Work
Get rid of calculators … [and get rid of the] false belief that learning should be fun! Learning, the repeated cycles of drill and mastery, is WORK!
Squeaky Wheel
Parents need to be more involved, and this involvement has to originate from the schools. With the large numbers of students whose parents do not speak English, the schools must do a better job of bringing these parents into the school community and getting them involved in their child’s education. Many a night I sat frustrated and nearly on the verge of tears because I couldn’t help my son. My son was lucky, though, I was the proverbial squeaky wheel that ensured he was not passed over, but most students aren’t that lucky.
Individual Attention
As a member of a school board in Ventura County (not the rich part), I can say that I think there are two reasons that LAUSD is failing its students. First, the system is simply too large. How can a school of 4,000 do everything well? Our kids need individual attention, and I just don’t see how any massive organization like LAUSD can succeed. Second, I believe that because politics are involved in such an intimate way in these large districts, the kids get left in the dust. The unions are fighting for ever more of the financial pie (most districts spend 85% to 90% of their total [budget] on personnel and benefits); the administration is beholden to the myriad rules and regulations coming at them from both the state and federal level; and less and less control is at the local level. The politicians don’t want to pay for raises for employees or lower student-staff ratios, so the existing dollars must be stretched. That means more students per class, more students per counselor, more students per custodian, maintenance person, etc. And we wonder why the kids feel like no one cares about them?

These links include many more words and are well worth reading.