Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Set up for failure

Another great post from our Summer Intern. Thank you Heidi for your great work!

The New York Times recently published the article "Schools Are Given a Grade on How Graduates Do" which really hit home for me. The article touched on how New York Public School graduates are not ready for college-level classes and why these districts should be informed of their graduates' performance in college. Manhattan Community College student Sharasha Croslen's story mirrored that of mine, she was placed in a remedial math class because she lacked the basic skills necessary to succeed in college-level math. I also took remedial math last year and understand the frustration she felt over not understanding something I should have learned in high school. In fact, I felt embarrassed and scared that I would not even pass these basic classes, so I can deeply sympathize with students like Ms. Croslen. Although the New York school district is graduating high school students, they are not prepared for higher education, which is a problem I gather is common in public school districts. For students who already feel intimidated and out of place in college because of their of class standing, not being able to understand their coursework becomes the final straw leading working-class students to drop out of college. I think it would be incredibly beneficial for these schools to gain information regarding the number of their graduates placed into these remedial classes, and also the percentage that graduate from college. I sincerely hope that maybe if these districts learn how much they are failing their students they will take some steps to solving this problem.

Monday, August 9, 2010

How can educational standards be the same for everyone if we all learn differently?

From our Summer Intern, Heidi:

The daily journal recently published an article "Math standards cheered-with some concern" which really caught my attention. As a person who is less than stellar at mathematics, I felt saddened by what I read. California recently adopted the Common Core Standards "which makes small changes to the English curriculum and introduce[s] algebra to students earlier." Students in the state of California will be required to take algebra 1 in eighth grade, rather than having the option to take it later in high school. I was disheartened by this because I struggled with algebra 1 in high school and even now in college. If it weren't for the basic math class I took in eighth grade, I would have lacked the skills necessary to progress to algebra. Everyone learns at their own pace and we all possess different strengths. I wouldn't have been able to pass an algebra class in middle school; however, that in no way reflects my abilities as a student overall. I am entering my second year of college in a few weeks, and I am proud to say I have received straight A's in all of my college courses. I do not want to see a student be denied access to high school or college because they are not proficient in every subject when they are talented in others.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Quality Education for All!

From our Summer Intern, Heidi:

In the recently published New York Times article "A School District That Takes the Isolation Out of Autism," Garner Moss (a teenage boy with autism) in the Madison school district shows how including disabled children in classes with regular students can yield positive results. Despite experiencing some troubles in his daily life, (such as tying his track shoes) Moss possesses many other talents. Unfortunately, the funding for the Madison school district is being cut, which puts Moss's education in jeopardy. This is because in order to attend regular classes and succeed as an athlete, Moss often needs an aide to assist him. Nonetheless, it would undermine the purpose of public education in America for him to receive less of an education than he deserves. He is attending school in order to become a contributing member of society; however, he can not do so without being socialized around regular students. It is crucial that adolescents with disabilities such as Moss continue to receive the help they need if the United States wants to be not only a socially just nation, but also a globally competitive one.