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…

  • Auditor Lea caught not telling the truth

    State Auditor Andrea Lea, who began her tenure in statewide office with a degree of competence unseen in some other Republican counterparts (think Treasurer Dennis Milligan particularly), is becoming more deeply mired in a political scandal.
    • Mar 4, 2016
  • Arkansas: Land of .......

    Welcome to Arkansas: Land of cowardly politicians, discriminatory laws, inhumane turkey drops and lots and lots of Trump voters.
    • Oct 8, 2016
  • Another Republican miracle-working governor

    Great piece in Washington Post on the budget crisis in Louisiana. Big tax cuts and corporate welfare will do that to a state, particularly to a state whose previous governor, Republican Bobby Jindal, refused to join the Obamacare-funded Medicaid expansion. There's a lesson there for Arkansas.
    • Mar 4, 2016

Most Shared

  • Lynchings hidden in the history of the Hot Springs Confederate monument

    Hot Springs twice erupted into the kind of violence that has its roots in the issues left unresolved by the Civil War, and both times, it happened right where that monument to Confederate soldiers stands today.
  • Take yourself there: Mavis Staples coming to LR for Central High performance

    Gospel and R&B singer and civil rights activist Mavis Staples, who has been inspiring fans with gospel-inflected freedom songs like "I'll Take You There" and "March Up Freedom's Highway" and the poignant "Oh What a Feeling" will come to Little Rock for the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High.
  • Klan's president

    Everything that Donald Trump does — make that everything that he says — is calculated to thrill his lustiest disciples. But he is discovering that what was brilliant for a politician is a miscalculation for a president, because it deepens the chasm between him and most Americans.
  • On Charlottesville

    Watching the Charlottesville spectacle from halfway across the country, I confess that my first instinct was to raillery. Vanilla ISIS, somebody called this mob of would-be Nazis. A parade of love-deprived nerds marching bravely out of their parents' basements carrying tiki torches from Home Depot.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



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