Sign the petition for shared responsibility




From: A Broader, BOLDER Approach to Education:


“The Broader, Bolder Approach to Education is the product of deliberation by leaders with diverse religious and political affiliations, and experts in the fields of education, social welfare, health, housing, and civil rights. The statement examines areas that research shows must be addressed if we are to keep our promises to all of America’s children.


More than a half century of research has documented a powerful association between social and economic disadvantage and low student achievement. Weakening that association is the fundamental challenge facing America’s education policymakers.


 The nation’s education policy has typically been crafted around the expectation that schools alone can offset the full impact of low socioeconomic status on learning, a theory embodied in the No Child Left Behind law, which passed with bipartisan support in 2001 and is now up for reauthorization. Schools can ameliorate some of the impact of social and economic disadvantage on achievement. Improving our schools, therefore, continues to be a vitally important strategy for promoting upward mobility and for working toward equal opportunity and overall educational excellence.


Evidence demonstrates, however, that achievement gaps based on socioeconomic status are present before children even begin formal schooling. Despite impressive academic gains registered by some schools serving disadvantaged students, there is no evidence that school improvement strategies by themselves can substantially, consistently, and sustainably close these gaps.


Nevertheless, there is solid evidence that policies aimed directly at education-related social and economic disadvantages can improve school performance and student achievement. The persistent failure of policymakers to act on that evidence — in tandem with a schools-only approach — is a major reason why the association between disadvantage and low student achievement remains so strong.”




2 thoughts on “Sign the petition for shared responsibility

  1. There are so many levels presented in the above articles that I’m sure that I will be typing alot.

    The first thing I would like to comment on is classroom management. I’ve been an inner city teacher for 13 years at only 2 schools. I have taught many subjects and grades. There is one thing that teachers have always complained about and have always received this stock answer: you have to have rules and consequences. have the students make the rules and consequences, make sure you call home, make sure you document everything etc., etc, etc. I think, judging by the test scores of my class that I’m a good teacher. But I’m really not into the debate of good teachers vs. bad teachers. As far as I’m concerned every occupation on earth has good employees and bad employees.

    Nobody really talks about the students. Ackerman’s motto is that the children come first. While I truly believe that, I don’t believe she does, I think it’s just a good sound byte as far as she is concerned. She doesn’t think outside the box.

    What has always got to me was the ‘consequences’ part in classroom management. Indeed, all classrooms need rules and consequences. For example, my children go to a school district other than the sdp. My son has always hated the fact that I worked were I did. Why? Because when he visited me at school, he did not like what he saw. In his school, it is hit a teacher and the police are called and depending on the age of the student, that student is either severely disciplined or expelled. For pulling the fire alarm, a student gets arrested for making a false alarm and suffers other severe discipline. If you hit other students, that is an assault charge. This is as it should be. In the sdp, commit such acts and you MIGHT get a 5 day suspension.

    Now the sdp is a whole lot bigger than my children’s school. So what the sdp has historically done is to ‘laterally’ transfer really disruptive students to another school. Does the sdp really think that will work? Bullying of students is also a major consideration. Let’s face it, there aren’t enough faculty and staff in the district to catch all the bullying that occurs among students. I know that when I teach, if a student bullies another student in my class and I catch it, I stop what I’m doing and try to tell my students why the behavior is inappropriate and hurtful. If I’m breaking up a fight (something we are not supposed to do, but hey, it’s a judgement call) and one student says “oh, we are just playing” but the teacher can tell that the other student is being bullied, a teacher can tell the student that when they are playing, both participants are smiling, but when one participant is crying or obviously distressed it is not play. I’ve come to believe that some children just don’t get it.

    This is how the make-up of any class I have ever taught. The majority of the class is fine, just like any classroom is, maybe 3 people are very provacative leaders who have 5 severe followers and maybe 2 who are attracted to the “bad” side. That is not a lot of students in the class, but because of the sdp’s size, add up all those students and it becomes a lot of students.

    Those students though, need intensive support in order for them to learn. Their behaviors in the class prevent other students from learning and make it almost impossible to teach. I really believe that all children want and can learn, but these children are prohibited from learning because of their personal issues. And if you teach inner city, I think we know what those issues are. The issues will not change so we, as teachers and administrators need to think outside the box to help those children.

    Now if you remove those 3 provocative leaders from the class, teaching is a pleasure. So what to do with the disruptive students? They need the services of counselors and programs aimed at their issues before they are returned to the classroom. They do not need punishment, and regular methods of discipline don’t work. They are definitely not stupid, they just need help to focus before they can start learning. But counselors and special programs cost, and the sdp would rather blame the teachers than truly help the children we service. I mean why spend money on salaries and programs of trained individuals to help the students? Why try a totally different method and concentrate on helping these children to resolve their issues. It’s much easier to blame the teachers.

    The new mantra is that ‘teachers have to learn how to teach differently’. I believe that strongly. That thinking also makes a huge difference. Teachers need to know about the cultures that they teach. I hate the term racist, because we are all humans. Some of us are from a different culture, some from a difference socio-ecomic status. Let’s be really frank, I’m talking the African-American culture. I swore, if I heard another teacher, black, white, green, asian, hispanic,say “when i was in school, we didn’t act like this” i’m going to scream! Because my generation acted just like this one, and so did the generation that came before mine, and before theirs. Just times and needs change. Children are children. They didn’t ask for the situation they are born into. The children we teach got the short end of the stick. That is the way it is, I can’t ignore it, but I can understand it. To me, then, question then becomes, how do i change a negative into a positive? To me, that is what a good teacher does, changes negatives into positives.

  2. Ruby, with all due respect, you have only been teaching for 13 years. You’re still a baby. Those of us with 30 + years in the system can attest that students did not act like the “African-American culture” you describe when we were in school. Back in our day, children were raised by their parents. Even working parents demonstrated effective parenting, unlike many parents of today. Children are children, as you say, but in our day, parents set limits and instilled rules and discipline at home. There isn’t enough of that going on today. Some students behave as if they were raised by wolves, and it is left to the teacher to enforce “discipline” when there is none at home. Economics doesn’t have much to do good parenting. Some parents with no money do a hell of a lot better at raising their kids than their money-making counterparts. Education begins at home, and until parents are held accountable, as they should be, for providing “home training”, nothing will change. As teachers, we cannot “teach” proper behavior, including the use of tact and good manners, if it is not re-enforced at home.

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