When older students Simply. Can't. Read.

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Backroads, Apr 14, 2017.

  1. a2z

    a2z Phenom

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    Could you please explain what "additions to the instructional day" means if you are not advocating increasing the length of the school day?

    It is sad that you feel there is no hope for these kids.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2017
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  2. Backroads

    Backroads Connoisseur

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    Apr 15, 2017


    It's hard to have the state pick up the slack for ineffective parents without resulting in the state giving this to all kids. I don't know what the answer is, either.
     
  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Early grades tend to see literacy skills as developmental and give kids the 'gift of time' however students who aren't reading on grade level by grade 3 have been slippimg behind bit by bit and it's very difficult to overcome their deficit. If kids have NO paperwork trail by the time they get to me it's very frustrating. I must first go to our interventions team who suggest strategies. I can put a kid in 'basic skills ' and eventually we child study for learning disabilities at which point the sweetie is in grade 4. The other option is getting a p as rent to ask in writing for testimg.
     
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  4. otterpop

    otterpop Fanatic

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    This is really the only way testing happens at our school. Sadly, the ones who need this the most don't often have a parent who will do this.
     
  5. a2z

    a2z Phenom

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    I would guess if the assumption is the problem is the home life not a disability, why would teachers go through the hassle to get a child evaluated? If it is not the thinking of the teacher but the "team" at the school or the administrator, the same goes.

    One thing I have found interesting, the idea of what a bad home life differs on each economic rung, but the idea of a bad home life is used for so many students who struggle even if that same student would be seen as having a very supportive home if they were in a school that had a different economic level. I am in no way saying there aren't kids at every level that have some horrific home-lives, but it seems to be a very easy reason to point to when a student struggles.
     
  6. otterpop

    otterpop Fanatic

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    I don't think any of our students have a truly bad home life in the way that kids do in an inner city or high poverty location. We have families who struggle, sure, but I think the main difference here is that some kids can have a parent who is truly an advocate and willing to fight for services if needed, and some kids do not. You can find those parent types in any socioeconomic level. It just shouldn't take an overly involved parent to allow a child to access services. A teacher's input and test scores should be enough to get a child extra help.
     
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  7. a2z

    a2z Phenom

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    I didn't mean to imply that you or czacza felt that it is the fault of the family. I just know others believe that these kids won't be helped because families are not doing their jobs. I've just know too many good and involved families have to fight tooth and nail to get scraps for kids and if they didn't k now what to fight for, the kids got nothing. This is across districts and states where I have seen this happen.
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Home life is rarely the issue in my district. Parents are uber involved and kids still fall thru the cracks of believing it's developmental or fear of laying ones pedagogy open for speculation. Sad.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2017
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  9. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    The main issue in my school is poverty. Most of the parents I've met at my school are working several part time jobs and are scraping by (I'm terrified for many of them if Medicaid expansion is pulled in Ohio, but that's another story). They often don't have the time, energy, or resources to fully support their children in the way they want to. We've had to conduct IEP meetings with parents over the phone because McDonald's or Dollar Tree wouldn't give Mom the time off to come in person. My biggest hope is to give these kiddos a chance to break the poverty cycle, but I know I'm working against the current.
     
  10. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Companion

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    Apr 16, 2017

    If you taught in a living nightmare as I do, you would understand quite clearly why we suspect family structure first. You can tack on a host of concomitant issues, such as malnutrition, lack of prenatal care, and environmental hazards, but every one of these are intertwining symptoms stemming from the same vile source.

    Remember, inadequate family structure is itself indicative of a larger, growing social crisis in America, which is then indicative of institutionalized greed and corruption in the political system.

    Overwhelmingly, the root cause of illiterate children can be traced back to our political system by anyone who thinks to look.

    As long as our children are smart enough to hold a gun and shoot in a general direction, that's good enough for the power elite. Given too much education, our children become problematic for the establishment.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2017
  11. a2z

    a2z Phenom

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    I understand why you might blame family structure first, but the majority of students in the United States aren't in environments like the one you explain yet those graduating or finding themselves in middle school and high school years and years behind is unacceptable. It is true that there are times the family will step in with tutors or hours and hours (like another school day) of extra help to ensure that their children aren't left behind, but all of that just points to a weak school system in many cases. It ends up hiding a weak system because the parents are able to help eliminate the ineffectiveness in the schools. You may want to point and say that means that family structure makes learning possible, but that is only because the family ends up doing the job the school isn't doing.

    That is almost like saying that a mechanic who lives in an area that has a lot of people who are handy can send cars back to people not quite working right and if those people end up fixing them at home there is no problem with the garage. If that same garage was in a place where people couldn't do that follow up fixing work (which I equate instruction with fixing), the garage owner claims he is doing a great job and the problem is the people won't get under that hood and finish hooking up all of the right hoses. (I'd equate putting gas in the car to monitoring that the child is doing the homework and taking the car in if a light comes on.)

    I'm not saying there aren't intelligent, dedicated, and hard working teachers in the system. Heck, some of the administrators that are hated and make poor choices are hard working and dedicated. It is just that the school system does bear a lot of burden for having so many students so far behind since students are required to be at the school for so long in order to be educated. Schools choose how they educate. Schools choose the programs, the methods, and how they address issues within the school. Yes, parents may complain, but ultimately, they decide if they will back down or stand up for what they believe in.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2017
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  12. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Companion

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    Apr 17, 2017

    Even moderate estimates have the working poor at a third of the population. And the number is growing, as a desperate labor force is easily manipulated and highly desirable.

    As you like cars, I'll expand upon your analogy. If the owners beat the car with a sledgehammer, put water in the gas tank, never changed the oil, and generally abused and neglected the car in every conceivable way, then continued blaming the mechanic for the condition of the car, well that would more accurately parallel what I see in education. But it makes for great sound bites when blaming teachers for all this mess, does it not?

    Easy to miss, but I've said many times that the failed family structure is symptomatic of far larger social issues. Are schools to blame for everything? Can we end hunger with a lesson plan?

    Schools reflect local neighborhoods. They don't define them.
     
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  13. Obadiah

    Obadiah Cohort

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    Apr 17, 2017

    Perhaps the more flexibility and authority given to the individual school itself to make decisions might result in more adequate implementation of alternative instruction for students of various needs. The students who are learning adequately are already learning; the students with differences in achievement are the ones who need different approaches.

    Although in many cases changes are needed outside of school, I'd be fearfully wary of forcing various structures and compliances upon families. Instead, workshops or PTA meetings could inform about the benefits of exercise and play, better nutrition, visiting libraries, and the dangers of excessive TV, texting, Internet and video games. Are all parents even aware of the content of some of these video games? Perhaps school breakfasts and lunches could receive the same priority as textbooks and classroom computers; meals that are free, nutritious, and tasty (still allowing for parental choice if some choose to pack lunches).

    The other avenue of change could come from businesses. The video game market is actually selling themselves out of business; by deteriorating the physical brain structure of its clients, less clients will have jobs that allow them enough money to afford to buy the games in the future. Commercial TV gains an immediate profit from juvenile viewers, but again, viewers who grow up to lack a job won't be able to buy the products. The same thing with cell phones and computers--technology will advance ahead of its consumers. If advertising sells all these products, perhaps advertising could sell books and reading.
     
  14. a2z

    a2z Phenom

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    I not once said schools are completely to blame. I even supported the fact that in your neighborhood families may play a big part. From my reading of your posts you seem to indicate they are the sole reason or very close. I disagree because I have seen schools turn around. I saw a population of people being blamed for the poor performance of students in a school. I saw that school bring its performance up to or higher than the nearby high-SES schools. What changed? School instruction, policy, and staff. Administration chsnged and then those teachers who would not get on board were made to transfer or resign. The students and families didn't change. The school changed how it worked with the students and the families to enact academic growth rather than claim as it did for years that the problem wasn't the school it was the "population". Those before believed the school reflected the population and wrote those families off for years. Thank goodness those families and students now have a chance because there were those who didn't write them off anymore.

    .
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017
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  15. a2z

    a2z Phenom

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    Apr 17, 2017

    Amy,
    Several of us are still waiting for you to explain what you meant by this since you stated you didn't mean a longer school day.
     
  16. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Companion

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    Apr 18, 2017

    LOL. No one cares what I have to say. Let's be honest.

    Extending the school day won't work for three primary reasons: No one will pay for it. Teachers will not work for free. And extending the school day will not resolve the enormous, underlying sociopolitical issues causing this mess—the same issues everyone here misses because they've freaked out so badly when "extending the school day" was wrapped in obvious hyperbole.

    If the state actually wanted children to be more than cannon fodder, they could fund programs that kept at-risk students for an extra hour or two of one-on-one reading instruction. As if that will ever happen. My experience has been that "extending the school day" serves little more than to add a bullet point on some administrator's or "progressive" reformist's resumé. We've gotten after school programs wherein kids fairly run riot and understaffed adults just scramble to keep up. Not effective.

    Again, if the state wanted the children of minorities, the poor, and the working class to be more than cannon fodder, a great many things would need to change. Long-term, extending the school day is a Band-Aid on a sucking chest wound.

    The post about giving individual schools flexibility and authority leaves me bitter ad angry. My school system is so down-and-out that I run a risk telling a child "No" or simply raising my voice. We are so anti-teacher and so afraid of a parent's complaint that we are little more than lilly-livered baby sitters. We don't lead. We don't teach. We just try to get through the day. No one cares about Indiana. No one cares about these kids.

    And now I get to bang my head against the wall for another eight hours.
     
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  17. a2z

    a2z Phenom

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    Apr 18, 2017

    Deflection?

    Disagreeing doesn't mean we don't care. It means we have a different opinion.

    Still waiting for your explanation about what you meant by additions to the school day. You avoided answering what you meant.
     
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  18. otterpop

    otterpop Fanatic

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    I'm fairly sure this is what Amy was meaning by additions to the school day.

    I worked for a program like this once actually. It was primarily an after school program, but the first hour was small group reading and math tutoring. I do think it was beneficial to the kids, many of whom were English language learners.
     
  19. EdEd

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    Apr 18, 2017

    I'd caution us against "either/or" arguments here - it's either the school OR the family OR disabilities. The reality is that it's complex and not just one thing.

    I'd also caution us against the blame game when getting down to seeking solutions. It's helpful on some level to examine how we ended up here, but assigning blame generally isn't helpful moving forward. The bottom line is that teachers do have an opportunity to help, even if they didn't cause the problem initially.

    The better question for us to ask here is "What can we do?" - not from a perspective of despair, but from a perspective of rolling up our sleeves and getting busy. Here are some of my thoughts:

    - Better research to practice: We know a lot of things that work that aren't being used in classrooms. This involves everything from better pre-service teacher education to better curriculum selection by district folk and better in-service training.

    - More intervention, earlier: It's easier to remediate earlier rather than later. The "wait to fail" model is slowly dying, but not as fast as it should.

    - RtI or something between general & special education: Too many kids fall through the cracks and don't qualify for support.

    - Fully resourcing RtI: RtI Tier II can't simply be new ideas - they need to come with additional personnel, time, resources, curricula, etc.

    - Data-based decision-making: Use data to strategically screen & assess kids for specific kinds of reading issues, then deliver targeted interventions.

    - Extra time/extended day: I'm going to go with the folks who say more is better (assuming high quality). I've worked in community youth programs for a while, and yes - kids are tired, but I've done plenty of intensive reading intervention sessions at 4:30p and they've worked fine. This may not work for everyone, but if the issue is kids in poverty who haven't had as much time with the material, extra time is good.

    These are just a few.
     
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  20. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Apr 18, 2017

    I'm really glad that you mentioned phonics. To me this is one of those pendulum-swinging issues that, in my very strong opinion, needs to swing back to the phonics side. I feel like deep instruction in phonics helps so many more kids than it doesn't. I have very specific, clear memories of learning phonics in the first grade or so. It was stuff like the silent E in a vowel-consonant-silent E construction makes the vowel say it's name (long, like the word kite). If there's an L in there, the L is so skinny that the vowel can still see the silent E and can say it's own name (long, like the word table). This made a lot of sense to six-year-old me, and I have been pretty successful with reading and spelling throughout my academic life and beyond.

    While I do appreciate the need for differentiation and innovation, I do believe that sometimes the old ways are the best ways. I do value rote memorization for some things. I don't like many of the newfangled programs that rely heavily on students teaching themselves and each other in small groups without direct, guided instruction from the teacher. So much emphasis these days is on collaboration, which is fine except that many programs seem to severely minimize or eliminate altogether the part where the teacher is actually teaching. This frustrates me. I've been to many trainings where the "sage on a stage" concept is bashed as ineffective, archaic, and not student-centered, and I have to say that I disagree with that view. I think that you can most definitely remain student-centered while making heavy use of the skills of a teacher to provide direct, focused, deliberate instruction.
     
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