28 August 2006

Intents and Purposes

The rah-rah back to school speaker this morning was not the most dynamic person, but had many important thoughts to share. I was grateful for her words because they are a perfect lead-in to the major topic of my morning session with high school science teachers tomorrow morning: equity.
  • Why do students of all backgrounds take advanced courses in junior high...but not in high school? How come mainly white or asian males are found in the most rigorous of science courses at tenth grade?
  • If we say that we have high expectations for all students, why are children of poverty at our high schools nowhere to be found in upper level courses?
  • Since we are ostensibly working toward college readiness for every student, why are we seeing such a dramatic dropoff in the number of kids taking the SAT?
I'm guessing that these conversations aren't going to be pretty. I will need to keep telling teachers that none of these things implies that they are treating any of these subgroups differently...but that really isn't the point. The point is that every kid who walks through our doors has a unique background that we have to connect with. And we're not getting the job done right now.

It will be all too easy to let teachers slip into the blame game. It's true, there are lots of outside forces at work. We don't have any control over what happens outside of our classrooms. But again, that's not the point. The point is, what are teachers prepared to do with the time and resources that they do manage?

For all intents and purposes, we're in the business of educating every child, every day. Maybe tomorrow we can take a step toward really walking that talk.

1 comment:

Stephen said...

How's this for a theory. By high school, it's apparent that there is no way to afford college, so despair kicks in. My own education was expensive. over $50,000. That hardly covers one year now, What happened? We can not, as a society, afford to get this wrong.