Oakland charter school for poor kids a spectacular success teaching hard work, discipline, capitalism

posted at 5:27 pm on May 30, 2009 by Allahpundit

Via Ace, the L.A. Times explains why everything you thought you knew about education is wrong absolutely correct.

Seriously, this must be one of the top five reddest red-meat items we’ve ever posted.

Not many schools in California recruit teachers with language like this: “We are looking for hard working people who believe in free market capitalism. . . . Multi-cultural specialists, ultra liberal zealots, and college-tainted oppression liberators need not apply.”…

School administrators take pride in their record of frequently firing teachers they consider to be underperforming. Unions are embraced with the same warmth accorded “self-esteem experts, panhandlers, drug dealers and those snapping turtles who refuse to put forth their best effort,” to quote the school’s website…

Among the thousands of public schools in California, only four middle schools and three high schools score higher. None of them serve mostly underprivileged children.

At American Indian, the largest ethnic group is Asian, followed by Latinos and African Americans. Some of the schools’ critics contend that high-scoring Asian Americans are driving the high test scores, but blacks and Latinos do roughly as well — in fact, better on some tests…

The short answer is that American Indian attracts academically motivated students, relentlessly (and unapologetically) teaches to the test, wrings more seat time out of every school day, hires smart young teachers, demands near-perfect attendance, piles on the homework, refuses to promote struggling students to the next grade, and keeps discipline so tight that there are no distractions or disruptions. Summer school is required.

Follow the link for a compulsively readable report on their methods, replete with the principal disciplining a student for stealing by shaving his head in front of the student body. It’s unclear how many kids are naturally gifted versus how many are being turned into academic powerhouses by the school’s approach, but given how stratospheric their scores are, they’d have to be enrolling the creme de la creme of brainy Californians to be coasting on talent alone. Obama is, of course, a lost cause when it comes to national reform along these lines — if he’s so subservient to unions that he’d kill the D.C. vouchers program, imagine his reaction to demanding rigorous performance standards for teachers — but why the GOP isn’t all over this, I have no idea. Not only would it give them traction on a key domestic issue, the fact that the school’s run by and for minorities would give them a shot of credibility with black and Latino voters. How about it, boys?


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Seriously, this must be one of the top five reddest red-meat items we’ve ever posted.

Eh…

FloatingRock on May 30, 2009 at 5:29 PM

…Seriously, though:

Multi-cultural specialists, ultra liberal zealots, and college-tainted oppression liberators need not apply.

Wow, that’s unbelievably fantastic!

FloatingRock on May 30, 2009 at 5:30 PM

Multi-cultural specialists, ultra liberal zealots, and college-tainted oppression liberators need not apply.

Tolerance.

Seriously though this is great. And there is no reason to see it as a victory for conservatism. Liberals believe in capitalism and hard work as well.

crr6 on May 30, 2009 at 5:33 PM

Some of the schools’ critics contend that high-scoring Asian Americans are driving the high test scores

And it’s almost certain they’re liberals. Yet another example of the soft bigotry of low expectations exhibited by the left.

FloatingRock on May 30, 2009 at 5:34 PM

“Outing” schools that have rigorous discipline and academic rules usually comes at the price of the administration. The media, egged on by their union overloads, will destroy the people involved.

Cindy Munford on May 30, 2009 at 5:35 PM

Seriously though this is great. And there is no reason to see it as a victory for conservatism. Liberals believe in capitalism and hard work as well.

crr6 on May 30, 2009 at 5:33 PM

Not enough of them. Just look at our President.

BetseyRoss on May 30, 2009 at 5:36 PM

Great post, Allah.

tneloms on May 30, 2009 at 5:36 PM

crr6 on May 30, 2009 at 5:33 PM

Name names.

Cindy Munford on May 30, 2009 at 5:36 PM

This reminds me of the school my brothers and sisters attended, St. Vitus School. The nuns made sure we had a good great education. Well done American Indian. Nice catch Allah.

Zorro on May 30, 2009 at 5:37 PM

And there is no reason to see it as a victory for conservatism. Liberals believe in capitalism and hard work as well.

crr6 on May 30, 2009 at 5:33 PM

/scoff

Some of them do, but what about the, “Multi-cultural specialists, ultra liberal zealots, and college-tainted oppression liberators need not apply.” part?

Absolutely this is a “victory for conservatism”!

FloatingRock on May 30, 2009 at 5:37 PM

And after all of their hard work, fear of a ‘Disparate Impact’ law suit by those who put in no effort at all……..

…………. resulted in the closing of the school.

Seven Percent Solution on May 30, 2009 at 5:38 PM

Charter schools are a good start, like a crutch for a broken leg, but here is the healing.

jgapinoy on May 30, 2009 at 5:39 PM

“snapping turtles who refuse to put forth their best effort” – LOL

KS Rex on May 30, 2009 at 5:39 PM

Liberals believe in capitalism and hard work as well.

crr6 on May 30, 2009 at 5:33 PM

Sure, for their own kids. But not for “those people”.

BuzzCrutcher on May 30, 2009 at 5:42 PM

Actually, I read that Obama was keeping stimulus funds from states which DID NOT have charter school programs… I read that somewhere where some lefty was bitching at Obama…

ninjapirate on May 30, 2009 at 5:46 PM

Actually, I read that Obama was keeping stimulus funds from states which DID NOT have charter school programs… I read that somewhere where some lefty was graping at Obama…

ninjapirate on May 30, 2009 at 5:46 PM

Great story. I’ll be waiting for Hollywood making a story about this. /sarc

promachus on May 30, 2009 at 5:48 PM

Do want!

I wish there was a school like that around here… I would promote it tirelessly to everyone. /dream

Too bad it won’t happen unless we can get a STRONG repub as president that’s willing to make the changes we need to the public school system. *sigh*

Christina D on May 30, 2009 at 5:48 PM

This does not bode well for the teacher’s union, considering CA’s current budget situation.

Disturb the Universe on May 30, 2009 at 5:48 PM

Some of the schools’ critics contend that high-scoring Asian Americans are driving the high test scores,

Yep, you know those Asians, walking calculators, the lot of them.

James Taranto nailed it. It’s Archie Bunker Liberalism.

Techie on May 30, 2009 at 5:50 PM

Name names.

Cindy Munford on May 30, 2009 at 5:36 PM

Here are a couple. Ted Turner and John(effin’)Kerry. Yeah, I know,.. I know,…….:)

a capella on May 30, 2009 at 5:50 PM

Also, from the story, if I had children, I’d be putting their names on the waiting list after I finished inspecting the birth certificates.

Techie on May 30, 2009 at 5:51 PM

but why the GOP isn’t all over this, I have no idea.

Because they’re cowards. Not universally, of course, but as a general rule.

apollyonbob on May 30, 2009 at 5:51 PM

What happens if leaner, mean charter schools pop up all over, offering a more effective system (both financially and academically)?

How can we make that happen?

Disturb the Universe on May 30, 2009 at 5:52 PM

The 9th Circuit orders American Indian closed for child abuse in 5…..4…..3….2…..

Limerick on May 30, 2009 at 5:52 PM

Liberals believe in capitalism and hard work as well.

crr6 on May 30, 2009 at 5:33 PM

Thanks for the laugh.

Cody1991 on May 30, 2009 at 5:53 PM

And if public school teachers really cared as much about their students as they keep telling us they do, they’d fight for more schools like this.

I’m not holding my breath.

29Victor on May 30, 2009 at 5:53 PM

Gee, hold kids to high standards and they….MEET AND EXCEED THEM? Kids of all races? You mean, you can take just about any kid at an age where he still somewhat respects authority, let him know authority expects high standards of performance and behavior from him, and he actually performs to those standards…..?

…..The damndest thing is, this is supposedly news to some folks.

Sekhmet on May 30, 2009 at 5:54 PM

love it.

blatantblue on May 30, 2009 at 5:56 PM

I have always thought to myself that If I was a billionairte I would start a network of private schools with an emphasis on Free Market Capitalism very similar to this school. I wouldn’t have it be quite as strict but my ideas for the schools were very similar to what they are doing here at American Indian. I would call it The Enterpriser Institute where actual skills are taught and standards are applied.

Daemonocracy on May 30, 2009 at 5:57 PM

This should not be red meat material. It should be the norm.

Ugly on May 30, 2009 at 5:57 PM

How about it, boys?

Palin, Collins, Bailey-Hutchinson, Brewer, your boss, as well as many other leading GOP ladies wouldn’t appreciate that noun, sir.

jgapinoy on May 30, 2009 at 5:58 PM

Daemonocracy on May 30, 2009 at 5:57 PM

I’ve always wondered why some billionaire hasn’t.

Disturb the Universe on May 30, 2009 at 5:58 PM

“…but why the GOP isn’t all over this, I have no idea.”

Oh, because they’re too consumed with finding new ways to hate on the allegedly backward rubes who make up the party. It’s our fault they lost last fall, ya know.

Yep, I think that’s it, but let’s ask some a–hole like Jeb Bush for clarification. I’m sure he’s not done exorcising his distaste for the middle America dopes going to tea parties. The Republican Party is nearly dead.

Django on May 30, 2009 at 5:59 PM

Liberals believe in capitalism and hard work as well.

The Liberal-in-Chief is destroying capitalism, & the so-called Great Society turned the safety net into a hammock for millions.

jgapinoy on May 30, 2009 at 6:00 PM

The Republican Party is nearly dead.

Django on May 30, 2009 at 5:59 PM

Maybe it’s better that way. Let something better rise from the ashes.

Disturb the Universe on May 30, 2009 at 6:01 PM

This school will be sued next month by at least five federal agencies so don’t get too enthusiastic /sarc

johnsteele on May 30, 2009 at 6:01 PM

but why the GOP isn’t all over this, I have no idea. Not only would it give them traction on a key domestic issue, the fact that the school’s run by and for minorities would give them a shot of credibility with black and Latino voters. How about it, boys?

Yeah, you are right. Education, along with health care, is a family’s biggest concern. The GOP should champion choice and rail against the unions. It is a great issue because it requires markets, merit, achievement and budgets. Also, it puts the Dems in the position of defending the status quo opposed to the GOP’s innovation.

Unfortunately, it seems like the GOP needs to go through another couple of years of in-fighting over symbolic issues rather than appeal to voters on day-to-day concerns.

You are right as can be, though, Allah.

dedalus on May 30, 2009 at 6:03 PM

Daemonocracy on May 30, 2009 at 5:57 PM

The NEA would fight you every step of the way. They’d come up with studies “proving” that the kids in your schools weren’t doing very well, they’d launch campaigns aimed at discrediting you. I kid not.

29Victor on May 30, 2009 at 6:03 PM

Liberals believe in capitalism and hard work as well.

crr6 on May 30, 2009 at 5:33 PM

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

UNREPENTANT CONSERVATIVE CAPITOLIST on May 30, 2009 at 6:06 PM

a capella on May 30, 2009 at 5:50 PM

Notice who didn’t answer? I will assume research is being done.

Cindy Munford on May 30, 2009 at 6:06 PM

Thank you for posting this, Allah.

It seems like an even more hardcore version of the KIPP schools.

myrenovations on May 30, 2009 at 6:11 PM

Tolerance.

Seriously though this is great. And there is no reason to see it as a victory for conservatism. Liberals believe in capitalism and hard work as well.

crr6 on May 30, 2009 at 5:33 PM

Capitalism = You work hard to benefit yourself and yours. (Which most people will do.)
Socialism = You work hard to benefit others. (Which most people will not do.)

Look at liberal’s policies: they believe in socialism, not capitalism.

Theophile on May 30, 2009 at 6:11 PM

This made my day

Conservative Voice on May 30, 2009 at 6:13 PM

Liberals believe in capitalism and hard work as well.

crr6 on May 30, 2009 at 5:33 PM

Thanks, I got snorted coffee up through my nose laughing over that one.

myrenovations on May 30, 2009 at 6:13 PM

Tolerance.

Seriously though this is great. And there is no reason to see it as a victory for conservatism. Liberals believe in capitalism and hard work as well.

crr6 on May 30, 2009 at 5:33 PM

that’s why liberals back the NEA so hard they can set land speed records right CCCP6?

sven10077 on May 30, 2009 at 6:14 PM

Some of the schools’ critics contend that high-scoring Asian Americans are driving the high test scores,

Do they ever wonder why Asian Americans are “high scoring?”

katiejane on May 30, 2009 at 6:17 PM

This proves that union members should be disqualified from teaching, since they do not promote capitalism and getting paid for effectiveness.

Right_of_Attila on May 30, 2009 at 6:17 PM

Some of the schools’ critics contend that high-scoring Asian Americans are driving the high test scores

This is known as “Acceptable Racism,” i.e., racism that serves Marxist agendas.

TMK on May 30, 2009 at 6:17 PM

I went to my friend’s daughter’s H.S. graduation Wednesday. I was surprised to hear that it was “the number one public high school” in the state this year!

I said “wow, that’s impressive I didn’t know that.” And my friend said with some scorn… “Well, they started teaching to the test, the education is so much less well rounded than it used to be.”

Oh.

In my experience (my 5th child starts that high school next year) one of the most important skills one can have getting into college and being successful in college is knowing how to take the tests and score well.

Of course reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic, are something you can’t do without… but scoring well on standardized tests opens many doors and proves something that subjective grading just misses.

And it is pretty good for the self-esteem as well.

petunia on May 30, 2009 at 6:21 PM

Some of the schools’ critics contend that high-scoring Asian Americans are driving the high test scores.

If the overall test scores were high at a public school with the usual teacher’s union, this would not even be mentioned, even if it were the reason. If someone did point it out, they would likely be accused of racism.

Wethal on May 30, 2009 at 6:21 PM

Eh…
FloatingRock on May 30, 2009 at 5:29 PM

WHAT are you smoking to be such a downer?

This is great news.
I worked in classrooms in California for a time in the late 70′s (actually in a very upscale, well performing district in So Cal) and personally witnessed the beginning of the dumbing down of California’s schools. The kids were told that they were wonderful, a la Dorothy Briggs who always believed self esteem was more important than achievement, even when they did careless, sub-par work with trifling effort. It was heartbreaking to see.

That this is level of achievement is happening in real time with even some disadvantaged kids is way more than very exciting. Whatever happens politically, this is good news for kids, especially if they include kids that are almost expected to do poorly.

Allah, this isn’t just red meat, it’s USDA Prime.

marybel on May 30, 2009 at 6:23 PM

Three no-frills charter schools in Oakland mock liberal orthodoxy, teach strictly to the test — and produce some of the state’s top scores.

So, they “mock liberal orthodoxy” by teaching kids how to better take state-produced tests? I’ll stick with homeschooling, thanks.

Send_Me on May 30, 2009 at 6:24 PM

I’ll stick with homeschooling, thanks.

Send_Me on May 30, 2009 at 6:24 PM

You suppose these kids’ parents are able to home school them?

Disturb the Universe on May 30, 2009 at 6:31 PM

In the SCOTUS case of Gratz v. Bollinger, they struck down an admissions program in the undergraduate college at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The students were assessed points on various factors (grades, GPA, activities, etc.), so the college could make the first cut in over 10,000 applications based on total points. The points program also had the following added to the final score:

Black – 20 extra points
Hispanic – 20 extra points
Native American – 20 extra poinrs
Asian – no extra points
Caucasian (non-Hispanic)- no extra points

The university tapped danced around the reason for not giving one racial/ethnic minority the extra points explaining Asians were not “under-represented”, so didn’t need the extra points. But basically they were setting up a rough quota system that the Court said was unconstitutional.

Wethal on May 30, 2009 at 6:31 PM

Liberals believe in capitalism and hard work as well.

crr6 on May 30, 2009 at 5:33 PM

They also believe Capitalism of today is still “exploitation”, suffer guilt trips, which they impose on others, believe in Utopian equality for all, no matter the effort, resources, etc., redistribution of wealth, believe in one-world, that equality thing again – they are the looters and the moochers. Sure, there are exceptions, to strengthen the rule.

No crying, though, the country deserves you. In fact, you deserve you.

Schadenfreude on May 30, 2009 at 6:32 PM

And it’s almost certain they’re liberals. Yet another example of the soft bigotry of low expectations exhibited by the left.

FloatingRock on May 30, 2009 at 5:34 PM

“Tolerance” – crr6

Schadenfreude on May 30, 2009 at 6:34 PM

Charter schools are a good start, like a crutch for a broken leg, but here is the healing.

jgapinoy on May 30, 2009 at 5:39 PM

Please no individuality!
/borg :-)

PrincipledPilgrim on May 30, 2009 at 6:35 PM

Perhaps the intellectual discipline involved in knowing what will be on “the test,” even if it state produced, is exactly what the kids need to know to succeed in life. You know, stuff like basic and even more advanced math, history, decent spelling (not the testing crap), english punctuation, how to construct a readable paragraph, reading comprehension….just like the homeschoolers are taught.

Becoming well-schooled enough to pass tests may well be a better start in life and more important in the long run than a paltry curriculum that is composed of mostly learning how to “play well with peers.”

marybel on May 30, 2009 at 6:38 PM

You suppose these kids’ parents are able to home school them?

Disturb the Universe on May 30, 2009 at 6:31 PM

I would say the mojority of the student who succeed at this school would make fine teachers of their own children, if they don’t get caught up in Obama’s tax-and-spend chaingang that is.

TMK on May 30, 2009 at 6:40 PM

I bet that they don’t spend time teaching “Ebonics” either……

chromium on May 30, 2009 at 6:40 PM

I have said this before and must again note that I have no school age children, but another great form of protest for conservatives would be mass disenrollment of students from public schools. Send your kids to private schools if you can afford it or get together with like minded people with different schedules and start home schooling. There are fabulous home school curriculums available. It would send a heck of a message, you wouldn’t go to jail like you would if didn’t pay taxes and your kids would probably be better for the change. I am pretty sure it would be temporary.

Cindy Munford on May 30, 2009 at 6:41 PM

Yeah, if you have no other choice, it’s better than going to a failing school and having parents who don’t give a flip about your eduction, but it sounds perfectly awful.

South Koreans ace tests too, but it’s a nightmarish existence, and when they go on to college they struggle. Kids need free time (like summers!) to pursue interests outside of the classroom academics and to be independent, creative, free-thinkers.

Buy Danish on May 30, 2009 at 6:43 PM

My grandchildren are homeschooled and their progress is admirable. I love (and marvel) that my daughter has improved on my model and has chosen to do this.

However, for the many children whose parents are not able to homeschool, for whatever reason, schools like this are a wonderful opportunity that Obama and the Teachers Unions unilaterally oppose.

marybel on May 30, 2009 at 6:45 PM

Cindy Munford on May 30, 2009 at 6:41 PM

Naw, the corrupt school districts would continue to count children in their records to keep the money. When my parents kept receiving ads for graduation photos for my brother in the mail, we checked and found out the district high school had been counting my brother as a student for all four years.

TMK on May 30, 2009 at 6:46 PM

Buy Danish on May 30, 2009 at 6:43 PM

I saw this documentary on Japanese school system and it was amazing. Middle and High School kids bust the hind quarters just for the chance to get to go to college. According to the show it is really brutal with student usually going for extra tutoring before and after regular classes. The suicide rate for that age group is higher than normal. But the really interesting part was that college looked like 24/7 fraternity parties. Apparently in their culture that’s when you “let your hair down” before you start your career.

Cindy Munford on May 30, 2009 at 6:48 PM

Hmmm…

Well, it seems like they’re building polished, durable and well-functioning cogs for the machine. Can’t see many leaders being made, though. That said, maybe they don’t need to, since this is all pre-high school anyways.

NorthernCross on May 30, 2009 at 6:49 PM

I have qualms about the lack of intellectual rigor required by some of the state created tests, but I have no problem with so-called “teaching to the test”. There is a difference between teaching children how to perform on standardized tests and teaching to the test.

There are certain things that all students should know by the time they pass on certain grades or graduate from high school. Sometimes simple (who was the first president) things and sometimes more difficult (the chemical properties of table salt are?). A state test is constructed to follow what students should be learning and there is an expected range.

Teaching to the test means that a classroom teacher has to cover US history in a way that will meet with that which is expected on the test. It helps keep science teachers from talking about global warming all day and skipping over things like the scientific method. If a teacher has to cover so many things related to what is coming on a standardized test, they have less time to lecture about feelings and self-esteem. And that is why so many teachers complain about having to “teach to the test”.

myrenovations on May 30, 2009 at 6:50 PM

but why the GOP isn’t all over this, I have no idea.

…..

Yes you do!

They are incompetent and cowardly.

artist on May 30, 2009 at 6:51 PM

Thank you for this post AP! I mean this in all seriousness…this is one of the most important posts HotAir has ever had. This story does so many things. It busts multiple myths about what is required for students to be successful. It shows that discipline and hard work do more than any amount of money ever could. It shows that poor minorities don’t need to be “stuck” in their situation.

davenp35 on May 30, 2009 at 6:51 PM

TMK on May 30, 2009 at 6:46 PM

That’s disturbing. It really would have to be a mass exodus to be effective. The one thing you could count on though is the local media. That’s the kind of story they love.

Cindy Munford on May 30, 2009 at 6:52 PM

South Koreans ace tests too, but it’s a nightmarish existence, and when they go on to college they struggle. Kids need free time (like summers!) to pursue interests outside of the classroom academics and to be independent, creative, free-thinkers.
Buy Danish on May 30, 2009 at 6:43 PM

I think it’s a giant leap of illogic to automatically assume these American kids are in any way akin to little South Korean automatons with no life outside their studies. I betcha a milkshake that many of these students are well adjusted, happy kids who have great self esteem because they know that their hard work produces positive results. I even bet they enjoy their summer vacations.

What is more empowering than working toward a goal and succeeding?

marybel on May 30, 2009 at 6:53 PM

Dude.

I just sent them my resume.

My cover letter read something like this:

OMG OMG OMG I’m so tired of working with pantywaist liberals and permissive administrators and total loser parents please let me work for you.

Love,
One of CA’s 30,000 soon-to-be-unemployed-teachers

salmonczar on May 30, 2009 at 6:57 PM

myrenovations on May 30, 2009 at 6:50 PM

And you should have questions since those very same states have built their own tests for teacher certification and qualifications. I know because I use to administer a national test and the states could choose the “acceptable” score that the teachers could achieve. And that didn’t even work. And if you saw the people that came in (obviously not all) for these tests it would scare the living daylights out of you. I always gave people the benefit of the doubt because testing in general and employment based specifically is stressful but I wouldn’t have left a goldfish with some of these folks. I am admittedly jaded.

Cindy Munford on May 30, 2009 at 6:58 PM

salmonczar on May 30, 2009 at 6:57 PM

Let us know how it works out for you. I thought it was clever.

Cindy Munford on May 30, 2009 at 6:59 PM

South Koreans ace tests too, but it’s a nightmarish existence, and when they go on to college they struggle. Kids need free time (like summers!) to pursue interests outside of the classroom academics and to be independent, creative, free-thinkers.
Buy Danish on May 30, 2009 at 6:43 PM

They do get ample time off. Struggle?

What evidence do you have?

Top Universities in America are flooded with Korean students. And they dominate in math, engineering and hard-science.

artist on May 30, 2009 at 7:01 PM

You let me run the school where I work and give me free reign to do as I see fit, I guarantee I’ll improve it too.

Bob's Kid on May 30, 2009 at 7:01 PM

Best of luck to you, salmonczar. Teaching in California for many, particularly the dedicated, is a real uphill battle.

marybel on May 30, 2009 at 7:03 PM

And that is why so many teachers complain about having to “teach to the test”.

As a CA teacher…

My current school (which I was laid off from because I just started there this year) has a very strict pacing guide and might as well set up a shrine to the state-adopted curriculum in Language Arts and Math. The idea is that if they teach the curriculum religiously, and cram it all in before the state test in April/May, the students will learn what they are supposed to learn and do well.

The problem is that it doesn’t leave teachers any time to go back and revisit concepts that students might be struggling with, and also that, despite curriculum developers best intentions *cough* the actual test always seems to vary from what we’re supposedly preparing kids for.

The thing is, the district can’t seem to figure out why this approach isn’t working. They are in denial that all the pacing guides in the world can’t make up for the fact that they refuse to suspend/expel troublemakers and hold ALL students to high academic and behavioral standards, that there is a complete lack of parent involvement, and that the administration and the unions are so busy sniping at each other that it’s possible to make any substantive ‘change’.

salmonczar on May 30, 2009 at 7:03 PM

Liberals believe in capitalism and hard work as well.
crr6 on May 30, 2009 at 5:33 PM

Like this?

Apparently in their culture that’s when you “let your hair down” before you start your career.
Cindy Munford on May 30, 2009 at 6:48 PM

Which is another nightmare existence! I have absolutely no desire for my kid or any American kids to emulate the Japanese, or South Koreans. It drives me crazy when I hear “educators” drooling over their system. It is the antitheses of the American way, with our focus on the individual, on liberty, and so on.

Buy Danish on May 30, 2009 at 7:03 PM

which is another [nightmarish] existence. Sorry!

Buy Danish on May 30, 2009 at 7:04 PM

Best of luck to you, salmonczar. Teaching in California for many, particularly the dedicated, is a real uphill battle.

You said it, mary. Thanks :)

salmonczar on May 30, 2009 at 7:05 PM

It is the antitheses of the American way, with our focus on the individual, on liberty, and so on.

Buy Danish on May 30, 2009 at 7:03 PM

And how has that worked out for us?

Meanwhile, they are DOMINATING.

artist on May 30, 2009 at 7:05 PM

And you should have questions since those very same states have built their own tests for teacher certification and qualifications. I know because I use to administer a national test and the states could choose the “acceptable” score that the teachers could achieve. And that didn’t even work. And if you saw the people that came in (obviously not all) for these tests it would scare the living daylights out of you. I always gave people the benefit of the doubt because testing in general and employment based specifically is stressful but I wouldn’t have left a goldfish with some of these folks. I am admittedly jaded.

Cindy Munford on May 30, 2009 at 6:58 PM

I’m married to a teacher. A teacher that got a special award for getting the highest possible score on all four of the required tests. It seems like it would be an honor, but those tests are just foolish. The teacher math content knowledge questions were little more difficult than 7+7 and yet that test has a high fail rate. The teacher licensing tests are a complete joke (in most states).

A few years ago I took the Florida graduation test that had been linked to by Joanne Jacobs and it was also a complete joke. I do not understand how Florida students are failing to pass it.

myrenovations on May 30, 2009 at 7:06 PM

OMG OMG OMG I’m so tired of working with pantywaist liberals and permissive administrators and total loser parents please let me work for you.

salmonczar on May 30, 2009 at 6:57 PM

Some anecdotes, please!

Kensington on May 30, 2009 at 7:06 PM

Education’s “focus on the individual” has led to a touchy-feely discipline system, the idea that there are dozens of ways of ‘being smart’ and that they are all equally valid, and basically lots of excuses for why students can’t cope in classrooms today (and then surprise when those grown-up kids can’t cope in today’s workforce).

salmonczar on May 30, 2009 at 7:07 PM

Quick! Shut these schools down before somebody’s feelings get hurt!

Kensington on May 30, 2009 at 7:07 PM

They are in denial that all the pacing guides in the world can’t make up for the fact that they refuse to suspend/expel troublemakers and hold ALL students to high academic and behavioral standards, that there is a complete lack of parent involvement, and that the administration and the unions are so busy sniping at each other that it’s possible to make any substantive ‘change’.

salmonczar on May 30, 2009 at 7:03 PM

That sounds much like how it is here in Ohio. Though I haven’t heard much complaining about not having the time to go back and revisit concepts. Spot on, though, about the not expecting all students to excell and the lack of parental involvement.

myrenovations on May 30, 2009 at 7:10 PM

Buy Danish on May 30, 2009 at 7:03 PM

Most conservatives that I trust seem to prefer the system used in a (you’ll like this)a Scandinavia country. I am not sure which, but they assign an amount of money to each student and the parents can decide where to send their child since obviously different schools cater to different needs of the students. It appears to be very successful. The fact remains that we have working too much on self-esteem and social justice in our schools and not enough on academics.

Cindy Munford on May 30, 2009 at 7:11 PM

Some anecdotes, please!

Oh, nothing particularly amusing. Let’s see, though.

I have a kid who has been caught stealing from multiple teachers, including myself, as well as the yearly book fair. He’s been suspended a few times but always comes back and it starts over again. I’ve never so much as spoken with any member of his family.

Another student I work with is constantly butting heads with his teacher and was told by the VP that, if he found himself getting angry, he could LEAVE THE ROOM without the teacher’s permission and walk down to the VP’s office to ‘cool down’.

And then last week two 2nd grade girls saw one boy throw a rock at another. When the teacher went to the principal with this, the focus was on why the two girls were out of class when they shouldn’t have been, not on the assault.

There have been two instances I know of where a student informed a teacher that another student had brought a weapon to school, the teacher informed the administration, and nothing was done. Not even checking the students’ backpack.

And so it goes.

salmonczar on May 30, 2009 at 7:14 PM

myrenovations on May 30, 2009 at 7:06 PM

You and I are in the same state. I administered computer based tests to all sorts of folks. I am having a brain freeze over the name of the test for recertification, it was given in three parts, Reading/Math/Writing. The teachers see the scores immediately for the reading and math but writing was obviously subjective and had to be sent off to be scored. In the early part of my employment Georgia had the lowest required score but the raised it and made it part of new teacher requirements. Florida went to lowest score. I also gave a national test that was for the cream of the crop teachers, it took them a year to do a portfolio then take the computer tests. Different world. Although Art teachers sure are “artsy” (reads dippy).

Cindy Munford on May 30, 2009 at 7:21 PM

Education’s “focus on the individual” has led to a touchy-feely discipline system, the idea that there are dozens of ways of ‘being smart’ and that they are all equally valid, and basically lots of excuses for why students can’t cope in classrooms today (and then surprise when those grown-up kids can’t cope in today’s workforce).
salmonczar on May 30, 2009 at 7:07 PM

While there are actually indeed “dozens of ways of being smart,” school isn’t the place for validation without achievement. Beint “smart” about playing the piano, is great, but it’s not schooling. Being “smart” about playing sports is also wonderful, but it isn’t schooling. Learning is about applying intellectual discipline, cooperation, curiosity, and hard work to actually learn the skills of reading, writing, and doing math. While it is often coupled with fun, creativity, and friendly competition, that is not the main objective.

California has forgotten that, in the end, these kids have to learn a lot more than that they, like Stuart Smiley, are “good, worthwhile people.” That’s what parents are for. They need a skill-set that will eventually help them make an independent decent life in a very complicated world.

marybel on May 30, 2009 at 7:26 PM

You suppose these kids’ parents are able to home school them?
Disturb the Universe on May 30, 2009 at 6:31 PM

Sure, why not? Desire and ability are two different things. Most, if offered a great job they weren’t qualified to do, would do whatever it takes to learn what they needed to know in order to succeed. Why then do most folks not apply this same thinking when faced with the prospect of raising their own children?

Send_Me on May 30, 2009 at 7:28 PM

Send_Me on May 30, 2009 at 7:28 PM

I wouldn’t think desire and ability would get in the way as much as making a living. Although teaching your own child is hard, when they don’t understand something you can take it personally, like it is a reflection on your own intelligence or ability. I think the help the home school community has to offer is invaluable.

Cindy Munford on May 30, 2009 at 7:32 PM

Here are a couple. Ted Turner and John(effin’)Kerry. a capella

I grant you Turner, despite the fact that he is the south end of a north bound horse. And, yes, John Kerry believes that if a man works hard enough, he should be able to marry a rich heiress and realize his dream of running for president.

mchristian on May 30, 2009 at 7:35 PM

If we could get the entire school system to adopt his curriculum, and discipline, we would be the envy of the world. Lay off a little bit the liberal-baiting, it’s self-defeating. But have and hold high standards of academics and citizenship – ABSOLUTELY!

JeffWeimer on May 30, 2009 at 7:37 PM

California has forgotten that, in the end, these kids have to learn a lot more than that they, like Stuart Smiley, are “good, worthwhile people.” That’s what parents are for. They need a skill-set that will eventually help them make an independent decent life in a very complicated world.

Hit the nail on the head, you did.

salmonczar on May 30, 2009 at 7:40 PM

Follow the link for a compulsively readable report on their methods

One kid’s parents took him out of the school on Jan. 20 because they wouldn’t excuse his absence on Obama’s inauguration day. The kid misses it a lot!

danheyden on May 30, 2009 at 7:41 PM

Meanwhile, they are DOMINATING.
artist on May 30, 2009 at 7:05 PM

Really? The Asians who go to American schools are dominating, but you’re going to have to provide some evidence that South Korea and Japan are beating us. At least until Obama came along…

The fact remains that we have working too much on self-esteem and social justice in our schools and not enough on academics.
Cindy Munford on May 30, 2009 at 7:11 PM

Agreed. I like the Northeastern prep school model (or did, until they began to embrace political-correctness, which does a great job of balancing rigorous academics with extra-curricular activities, but of course very few people can get in to those schools, never mind afford the tuition.

Among other things which caused me to recoil at this school is the idea that it has calisthenics but “no games”. What’s up with that? Sports are “games” and they teach children (and adults!) all sorts of life skills.

Buy Danish on May 30, 2009 at 7:41 PM

I think the help the home school community has to offer is invaluable.
Cindy Munford on May 30, 2009 at 7:32 PM

Some of my daughter’s friends are hesitant because they at least initially lack confidence in their own ability to homeschool. The home schooling community, and it is huge here in CT/NY, is indeed indispensable. This large group often gets together for varied activities and outings, which provides much of the “socialization” that is often touted by critics as a negative of homeschooling.

marybel on May 30, 2009 at 7:41 PM

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