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New York Gifted Kindergarten vs. New York Academic Progress

August 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Don’t take away my chance to succeed.

Now this takes the cake in light of the previous post on “Gifted Kindergarten” testing in New York.

Here are these New York parents vying for placement for their 4 year old children in the “Gifted Kindergarten” program and a report comes out in the July 29 edition of the Wall Street Journal, which says, “Erasing years of academic progress, state education officials (New York) on Wednesday acknowledged that hundreds of thousands of children had been misled into believing they were proficient in English and math, when in fact they were not.”

Now where does this leave these gifted 4 year olds who have worked hard in weekend “boot camps”, while giving up their childhood, so they could gain entrance into these New York public schools. This leaves them, with their childhood in ruin, attending a public school system that fails to educate them to acceptable standards. It is a system specializing in fantasy.

The Journal states, “The huge drops across the state raised questions about how much of the academic gains touted in the past several years were an illusion.” State officials were careful “…not to assign blame for the previously low standards, saying that the tests had become too predictable and tested too narrow a range of knowledge, thus becoming increasingly easier year after year.”

Isn’t this nice, State Officials, the Mayor, the Chancellor of the State Board of Regents, and all associated officials are careful not to offend or to place blame. If no one is to blame for the loss of proficiency in English or math in grades three through eight, Who Done It?  Maybe it’s the kids? Maybe they are too dumb to learn? Maybe it’s the parents? Who Done It?

The real tragedy is the social class who suffers from these deficiencies. It is always the defenseless, innocent children. They have no champions! According to these latest revelations, “The losses were also more pronounced for minority children. The number of black children proficient in English in third grade through eighth grade was cut nearly in half, to 34% from 64%. Among Hispanic children, 65% proficiency in English turned into 37%.” Who speaks for these children who are doomed to poverty without a proper education?

WHO SPEAKS FOR THEM? Is it the Mayor? Is it the Chancellor? Is it the teacher’s union? Is it the State officials? Is it the parents? How about the teachers, what do they have to say? Where are the champions for the children?Dear Lord - be good to me...Dear Lord, be good to me…

As a last statement on this pathetic situation in our educational system, I was told that most of the kids in the “Gifted Kindergarten” program attend private schools. They can afford it. They want a good education for their sons and daughters, not a public education.

Education in Crisis; the Governor, the Sky, and Me, Part 7

I was sitting here yesterday thinking about my next post when my email account gave a little beep. I looked at it and there was a name I did not recognize, Steve from SkyU. I hardly ever open an email if the sender is not recognizable. But something nudged within me and I read his words, “I’m proud to be on the Board of SKY U, a company that empowers kids to fulfill their highest potential in school and in life like no other you’ve ever seen.”

I was stunned! It was as if something in the universe knew I was searching for a happy ending to a long story. Imagine an organization that said they were “…empowering kids to fulfill their highest potential in school and life…” I went to their web site and spent the next hour reading everything they offered. I encourage the reader to go to SkyU as I did and see how “things are a changin” (as we say in Tennessee).

Ellie Dylan, the founder, is from Tennessee and I am from Tennessee. What a coincidence, I thought. Her organization SkyU works with elementary school children and I am passionate about Pre-K children. We have a lot in common so I emailed her and she responded enthusiastically. Ellie and I have connected and we will be making a plan. We are passionate about children and we want to alter parenting and education (I wanted to say ‘change’ instead of ‘alter’, but that word CHANGE threatens people). We have our work cut out for us because it is really hard to make people move when they are ensconced and comfortable.

Governor Bredesen of the Great State of Tennessee, the state teacher unions, and the state lawmakers came together as collaborators and won on behalf of the children and parents of Tennessee a $500 million grant for their plan to “Race to the Top”. They participated with 38 other states for the funds. Delaware came in second with $100 million. New York came in 37 out of 38; their teacher unions would not agree to the stipulations. So they are the losers, we Tennesseans are the winners! Kudos for our teachers, their unions, the Governor, and the legislature for putting our children ahead of their political differences. What an achievement in a time when people see only what’s in it for them!

Change is in the air and Governor Bredesen is on his way to making educational history. Guess what? Ellie Dylan and I are too. I am excited and confident that people with vision will prevail because they don’t know how to give up. They don’t see hurdles – they go through them, around them, and over them.

So here you have it, a story of the Governor who won $500 million for the children of his state; the Media maverick who teaches children to reach for the SKY at SkyU; and little ole’ me who took a life time to write a book about the signals children give parents when they have no other way to communicate their needs other than “signals”.

A happy ending to a long story.

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