Blackboard jungle | Arkansas Blog

Monday, January 29, 2007

Blackboard jungle

Posted By on Mon, Jan 29, 2007 at 1:33 PM

The Little Rock School District has spent two weekends in federal court for hearings on how well the district is doing in monitoring programs aimed at improving academic performance of minorities.

Today, I'd like to pass along a letter from a classroom teacher, with some thoughts on testing, monitoring, "embedding" of that monitoring process and an otherwise real-world view of the courtroom abstraction. He's fearful of retirbution, so requests anonymity, but he's known to me. His useful thoughts:

At the end of the first quarter of the fall semester, I got the “letter” from my principal informing me of the large numbers of D’s and F’s I had “given”. The letter instructed me to come up with strategies to reduce those numbers. After I sent a list of proposals, the most effective of which was to reduce the weight given to tests and open-response questions, I requested the most recent standardized test scores for my students. My guess is that most of them read well below grade level. How can we expect students to grasp complicated concepts in science when they can’t read? Our mission statement says we have a rigorous, comprehensive curriculum. However, when we make it rigorous, students don’t make B’s or C’s and everybody is upset. Most parents just want their kids to have B’s or C’s and are not worried about what they actually learn.

I still haven’t received those scores. After reading about the district’s embedded evaluation tools, I had to laugh. Our lawyers are telling a judge that teachers have access to these results. Evidently we have a sophisticated computer system that allows us to get previous grades and test results. We’ve never seen it. Our “instructional coach” could not provide me with the scores I requested.

Superintendent Roy Brooks stated at a faculty meeting last fall that he was going to clear out the dead wood, students who in their junior year had a 1.2 grade average and 13 credits. That would be so great, but where are those students going? He said he was taking that message to the board. Never heard anything about it. Big talk.

From the ArkTimes store


Comments (7)

Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Judge anticipates punishment of lawyers in Fort Smith class action case

    Federal Judge P.K. Holmes of Fort Smith issued a 32-page ruling yesterday indicating he contemplates punishment of 16 lawyers who moved a class action lawsuit against an insurance company out of his court to a state court in Polk County after a settlement had been worked out.
    • Apr 15, 2016
  • Your daily dose of Jason Rapert

    Sen. Jason Rapert really, really didn't like it when a KATV reporter asked him about the hypocrisy of his political arguments.
    • Feb 4, 2017
  • LR speakers blast state board for double standard

    A series of speakers, beginning with Sen. Joyce Elliott, denounced what they saw as a hidden agenda favoring charter schools at the state Department of Education and asked the state Board of Education for return of local control.
    • May 12, 2016

Most Shared

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation