Laurie Fox, Holly Hacker & Terrence Stutz:
More schools from North Texas and across the state improved their annual performance ratings this year helped by higher student test scores and, in many cases, special exceptions from the state.
A Texas Education Agency report Friday showed a slight decline in the number of school districts and campuses that were rated academically unacceptable, the state equivalent of an F.
Most of those were tripped up by poor showings in science and math on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, state officials said.
The number of schools getting the highest marks jumped from a year ago. Statewide, 996 out of more than 7,500 campuses – a record number – were rated exemplary, which is equal to an A. In North Texas, 260 schools hit that mark, up from 184 last year.
Three area districts – Highland Park, Carroll and Lovejoy – were named exemplary overall.
Via a Johnny Winston, Jr. email:
The Johnny Winston, Jr. 2008 Streetball and Block Party will be held on Saturday August 9th from 12 noon to 7:00 p.m. at Penn Park (South Madison – Corner of Fisher and Buick Street). “Streetball” is a full court, “5 on 5” Adult Men’s Basketball tournament featuring some of the best basketball players in the City of Madison, Milwaukee, Beloit, Rockford and other cities. The rain date for basketball games only is Sunday August 10th.
The “block party” activities for youth and families include: old and new school music by D.J. Double D and Speakerboxx DJ’s; funk and soul music by the Rick Flowers Band, youth drill and dance team competition, free bingo sponsored by DeJope Gaming; face painting and youth activities sponsored by Madison School and Community Recreation, YMCA of Dane County, Dane County Neighborhood Intervention Program; The Boys & Girls Club of Dane County, the Madison Children’s Museum, pony rides by “Big Bill and Little Joe” and more. This event includes information booths and vendors selling a variety of foods and other items.
This is a safe, family event that has taken the place of the “South Madison Block Party.” The Madison Police Department and other neighborhood groups are supporting this as a positive activity for the South Madison community. Over the past seven years, $10,000 has been donated to charitable programs that benefit South Madison and support education such as the Boys & Girls Club and the Southside Raiders Youth Football and Cheerleading Teams.
In all, this event will provide a wonderful organized activity for neighborhood residents to enjoy this summer. If you have any questions, would like to volunteer or discuss any further details, please feel free to call (608) 347-9715; e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org or www.madisonstreetball.com. Hope to see you there!
Please feel free to forward this information to other interested persons or organizations.
Many teachers believe that a “few bad apples” can spoil a whole classroom, reducing the learning of everyone in the room. While this is part of the folk wisdom of teaching, it has been surprisingly difficult to find these effects in the data.
But a very convincing new paper, by Scott Carrell of U.C. Davis and Mark Hoekstra of U.Pitt, “Externalities in the Classroom: How Children Exposed to Domestic Violence Affect Everyone’s Kids” (available here), suggests that these effects can be pretty big.
The real difficulty in this style of research is to find a useful proxy for whether or not a classroom is affected by a disruptive student. Previously researchers have used indicators like whether a student has low standardized test scores, but as any teacher knows, the under-performing kids may not be the disruptive ones. And if you analyze only a weak statistical proxy for classroom disruption, you get weak estimates, even when the true effects are large.
The truly innovative part of the Carrell and Hoekstra study begins with their search for potentially disruptive kids: they looked for those coming from particularly difficult family situations. In particular, they combed through court records and linked every domestic violence charge in Alachua County, Florida to the county schooling records of kids living in those households.
It’s a sad story: nearly 5 percent of the kids in their sample could be linked to a household with a reported domestic violence incident. (And given under-reporting, the true number may be much larger.)
The costs of this dysfunction are even more profound. Kids exposed to domestic violence definitely do have lower reading and math scores and greater disciplinary problems. But the effects of this dysfunction are not limited to the direct victims of this violence: kids exposed to kids exposed to domestic violence also have lower test scores and more disciplinary infractions.
Continue reading Externalities in the Classroom: How Children Exposed to Domestic Violence Affect Everyone’s Kids
A response to last week’s NYT story on summer camps by Judy Warner.
I’m sure we all read, with equal parts disgust and delectation, The Times’ story last week on affluent parents who just can’t let go when their children abandon them for sleep-away camp.
In case you missed it, the article presented fathers and mothers so used to instant service that they call camp directors at all hours of the day and night to sound the alarm if they suspect Junior isn’t using sunscreen. It showcased “high-end” sleep-away camps that employ full-time “parent liaisons” just to handle such phone calls and e-mail traffic, “almost like a hotel concierge listening to a client’s needs,” as a camp consultant put it.
Continue reading Camp Codependence