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Still Blaming Teachers

October 28, 2012

The idea that schools receiving an A on their Report Card are better than those receiving other grades is just plain silly. As I noted yesterday, most of the schools receiving high grades serve affluent populations. And most of the schools receiving low grades serve children in severe poverty.

Ask yourself: at which school is teaching harder? At one, you have helicopter parents. You have a waiting list for office and library volunteers. You have direct donation fundraisers rather than door-to-door sales. At the other, you have children who move every 90 days. You have hungry kids. You have students for whom poverty but one of the dysfunctions they face.

There is no doubt in my mind that both types of school have hard-working administrators, teachers, and parents. There is also no doubt that just as all children deserve to be fed, all children deserve to learn from engaging, highly-skilled teachers.

This is why I patently reject the premise of this tweet I received today from former SDE Chief of Staff Jennifer Carter:

I wish people would quit blaming poverty & focus on helping those kids succeed.

The idea that people who have spent their career working in schools are focused on anything other than helping kids succeed is an insult. You might as well be calling us dirtbags again.

You can ignore the numbers. You can believe schools with lower grades are worse schools. You’re welcome to be wrong. It’s never stopped you before.

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  1. Linda Sexton
    October 28, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Someone, if they have them, needs to send the SDE links to the studies explaining the characteristics of children in poverty, that make it harder for them to learn and make progress as easily as do the children from more affluent families. (Numbers of words heard, the brain development that comes from conversing, etc.) It would take me a long time to find them, because I’m not an educator, in the technical sense, so, while I know these things, I don’t have ready knowledge of the researchers.

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  2. Rachel
    October 28, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    I can send a whole list. 🙂 I am a phd student studying educational psychology & policy analysis. I also teach child development to undergraduates. Let me know if you’d like that…I’m staying home tomorrow because of Hurricane Sandy so I have time!

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    • Linda Sexton
      October 28, 2012 at 11:14 pm

      First–glad you’re staying home! Stay safe! And yes, it would be helpful if you’d send some links I can share! Our State Superintendent is intent on destroying public ed in Oklahoma! LLSexton@gmail.com

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  3. Rachel
    October 28, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    That was in reply to Linda’s comment btw…

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