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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.

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Education in Crisis; An Incidental Conversation in a Bedouin Tent, Part 6

March 24, 2010 Leave a comment

I was traveling in the 70’s with my husband. He was consulting in the Middle East and I was his sidekick. He was involved in desert irrigation. I was involved in photography. We were guests of the desert Bedouin as he studied ways to bring water into these arid places. One evening as we sat in a large tent drinking tea with our translator, the Sheik joined us. He was interested in America, and we discussed many topics that long, memorable night. His curiosity was insatiable.

He was particularly captivated with our conversation on American families and education. When he completed his questions we stood to say goodbye. He looked straight at me and with a smile in his intense dark eyes, he said, “Uneducated mothers do not raise educated children.”

Setting aside the misunderstandings many Americans have regarding this part of the world, this comment stayed with me as it foreshadowed the insight of his words. I had no children then, when he changed my life and my perception. I am sure you have had an incidental conversation with someone passing through your life. They came and went, and left you with an altered perception. Somehow, nothing was the same after their incidental remark. Growth had occurred.

Let me fast forward 25 years to an article written in the Washington Post by George Will, March 21, 2010. He is writing about Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s vow to unleash upon the public schools, “legions of lawyers wielding Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act…to rectify what he considers violations, such as too many white students in high school Advanced Placement classes. He says his rights enforcers, 600 of them, with a $103 million budget, will remedy discrimination…”

Will goes on to say, “Plainly put, the best indicator of a school’s performance is family performance (emphasis mine)—qualities of the family from which the students come.”

Family is the crucial element in a child’s life. Family means 2 parents. It means both parents living together in full support of their children while fostering emotional security and safety, which encourages the ability of the children to explore their creative and natural curiosities. Parents, who are intensely involved with their children, offer environments and upbringing where AP courses and high SAT scores are often the result of educated parents, with a family income, who live in the same home with their children.

I was surprised at George Will’s statistics. Would it surprise you, as it did me, that 71.6% of African American children and 51.3% of Latino children are born to unmarried mothers? Could these single parent families, with low incomes, no fathers, and sparse discipline be a reason why AP classes are filled with “white students” as Arne Duncan claims? The government cannot hide behind “rights” when the real reason for “disparity” in AP classes is due to the lack of family structures within the minority communities. The government camouflages the breakdown of family structures within these communities as a “civil rights issue” when it is a family structure issue.

Family, 2 parents in the same home, is the blood that fills the veins of the children. Mothers are the child’s first influence. It is she who teaches values, compassion, and respect. It is she who puts their little feet on the road to education and fulfillment. It is the father who brings balance.

“Uneducated mothers do not raise educated children.”

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