Tag Archives | Education System

Saving Public Education

The old DeWitt Clinton building, now John Jay College, Photo: Americasroof (CC)

I’d like to use the word “justice” – that I felt compelled to tell the story of the school as a matter of justice. That we are so easy to write books and tell stories about great universities, but when it comes to high schools we don’t think that way. And yet if you ask every person on the street about somebody  who influenced them, he always or she always brings up a high school teacher or a high school coach. High schools have had a tremendous influence on who we are as a people, as a nation. And there should be documentation about the high schools, and I believe that DeWitt Clinton is a great school that has had tremendous influence on American life. – Gerard Pelisson, former high school teacher and co-author of  “The Castle on the Parkway,” a history of DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx N.Y.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Many Public Schools Begin Charging Students For Attending Class, Textbook Use, Teachers’ Materials

3235856104_9f5fe8f4c4This is so sad: in school districts across the country, the concept of a free public education is fading into the past. The Wall Street Journal writes:

Public schools across the country, struggling with cuts in state funding, are shifting costs to students and their parents by imposing or boosting fees for everything from enrolling in honors English to riding the bus.

At high schools in several states, it can cost more than $200 just to walk in the door, thanks to registration fees, technology fees and unspecified “instructional fees.”

Though public schools have long charged for extras such as driver’s education and field trips, many are now asking parents to pay for supplies needed to take core classes—from biology-lab safety goggles to algebra workbooks to the printer ink used to run off grammar exercises in language arts. In some schools, each class comes with a price tag, to be paid at registration.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Inside The Sad World Of Standardized Test Essay-Scoring

6008578.28Minneapolis’s City Paper delves into a dark corner of the education system: the ever-growing test-scoring industry. Every day, armies of underpaid, disenchanted, hungover slacker-temps slave away in private essay-grading mills, slapping on arbitrary scores which determine whether schools across the country will receive funding and whether students will graduate:

Eventually, DiMaggio got used to not asking questions. He got used to skimming the essays as fast as possible, glancing over the responses for about two minutes apiece before clicking a score.

Every so often, though, his thoughts would drift to the school in Arkansas or Ohio or Pennsylvania. If they only knew what was going on behind the scenes. “The legitimacy of testing is being taken for granted,” he says. “It’s a farce.”

DiMaggio had good reason to worry. His score could determine whether the school was deemed adequate or failing—whether it received government funding or got shut down.

Though the efficacy of standardized testing has been hotly debated for decades, one thing has become crystal clear: It’s big business.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

When Body Fat Affects Report Cards

If you were an elementary school student, which would upset you more: being picked on as the fat kid in class or having the teacher mention it on your report card? The Chicago Tribune reports:

Elmhurst students have long been checked on how long it takes to run a mile or whether they can do a pushup. But another physical fitness assessment tool has some parents fuming — one that aims at finding out whether their kids are too hefty.

A child’s “body mass index,” a computation of body fat based on height and weight, was one of six tests used at Hawthorne Elementary School to determine the physical fitness grade on a student’s progress report.

But that practice ended abruptly Tuesday after about 25 parents met with school officials to express their displeasure with how the BMI data were being used. One mother broke into tears as she described how it affected her fourth-grade daughter.

Read the rest

Continue Reading