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Old 12-17-2010, 10:26 AM
 
Location: Land of debt and Corruption
7,529 posts, read 7,550,810 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philbert View Post
I don't have a problem with eliminating the "automatic honors credit" for those scoring well on the 8th grade placement test and requiring that they "earn" credit through assessments made in class.
The kids who get tracked into Honors English based on their 8th grade standardized test scores still have to take and pass Honors English to earn honors credit. It's not automatically granted to them without having done the coursework; however, if they take Honors English and pass it, they get honors credit. It is earned so to suggest otherwise is disingenuous.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philbert View Post
I also think it's a good thing that they're eliminating the situation where you could earn the same honors credit by doing well in an easier class.
I will agree. That sounds like another (previous) short-sighted attempt to allow honors credit for students who didn't make it into honors English.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philbert View Post
The real issue that's worth debating is the decision to provide the honors-level curriculum to all incoming freshman reading at grade level, and not grouping classrooms, in some fashion, based on 8th grade test results.
And what happens when down the road when we see the same racial make-up reflected in those kids who will go the extra mile to earn the honors credit vs. those who cannot or choose not to? I honestly fail to see how this move will increase the #'s of minority students in the upper echelon simply by having them take more rigorous courses. What if the exact opposite happens and we see large numbers of minorities failing this new Humanities class? What then?

There comes a point in time when the school will need to track kids into differing tracks. In the past, they have used the 8th grade standardized test scores, but now they don't agree with the racial make-up from those test results. With this new proposal, all they are doing is waiting a year to make that decision after having all kids take honors-level courses and seeing which kids actually earn the honors credit. I'm willing to bet it will be the same kids doing the same things and the timing of it all means nothing.

Last edited by AuDiBelle; 12-17-2010 at 10:34 AM..
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Old 12-17-2010, 10:39 AM
 
1,083 posts, read 3,390,812 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whatyousay View Post
I'll ask this because I really do not know... are there any blacks on the school board, and if so, was this new proposal (to eliminate freshmen honors courses) their idea to "level the playing field"? If not, then I don't know who this ubiquitous group of blacks are that you are referring to in the decision to eliminate the honors English course at ETHS. What do the black parents of high achieving students say about this proposal?

I understand that and agree, but you cannot adequately serve the honors students by eliminating courses. The upward push for the lower achievers should not come at the expense of the high achievers.

It is not the responsibility of the high achievers to enrich the experiences of the rest. That's the responsibility of the teachers and the school to provide appropriate education and enrichment for all students.

Again, you cannot bring up the bottom by cutting off the top... especially if no effort is made to investigate WHY minority kids aren't excelling at the same rates. Why does offering honors students appropriate courses affect any other group of students? Why do you think it comes at the expense of anyone else? I suppose an argument could be made that $$ allocated for teaching the high level students takes away money from the rest, but I don't buy that. These kids will be in a class regardless of whether it's an honors English or regular English.
I could not have said this better.
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Old 12-17-2010, 10:47 AM
 
1,083 posts, read 3,390,812 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edsg25 View Post

But this one austencibly had too many bells and whistles to make it through.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a school district in posession of a good fortune must be in seach of a new addition.


NT wanted all the bells and whistles. Frankly, after just paying for the new 30,000 square foot day care center for the teachers kids, I had no interest in funding an underground heated garage.
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Old 12-17-2010, 11:04 AM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
5,522 posts, read 12,713,639 times
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One thing I find weird about Illinois is that elementary/middle schools are usually in different school districts than high schools. It makes for unnecessary bureaucracy/wastes tax dollars, and the diffusion of responsibility makes it hard to fix problems that start in elementary school but don't fully manifest till high school.
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Old 12-17-2010, 11:18 AM
 
66 posts, read 138,394 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whatyousay View Post
The kids who get tracked into Honors English based on their 8th grade standardized test scores still have to take and pass Honors English to earn honors credit. It's not automatically granted to them without having done the coursework; however, if they take Honors English and pass it, they get honors credit. It is earned so to suggest otherwise is disingenuous.
Under the old system, those tracked into Honors English based on 8th grade test scores could get a D in the class, but still received honors credit. Now, that won't be possible. However, I do take your point that the majority of previously tracked students were "earning" honors credit by doing the coursework. It sounds as though the new assessment based approach to granting honors credit will be different from how grades are earned though.

Last edited by Philbert; 12-17-2010 at 11:26 AM..
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Old 12-17-2010, 01:41 PM
 
Location: Land of debt and Corruption
7,529 posts, read 7,550,810 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edsg25 View Post
It might not be a responsibility but it is an undeniable asset. Students are enriched by the students that they take classes with. When you skim off the top of the class, you are affecting the quality of learning.

Students learn from each other and the interactions that take place in class. Classrooms in high schools are not lecture rooms; the interaction between students is often as important as the interaction with the teacher.

What an awful English class or social studies class it would be without the insight and shared commentary of the highest achieving students.

Also, schools tend to pull out at the top, not at the bottom. If there are tracks, they are usually two. The upper takes off the cream of the crop. Who suffers? The high average and the middle because the composition of the class is weighed downward.
It may be an undeniable asset, but at what price? Should the high level learners bear the price of enriching the lower level learners? At what point is that fair. You cannot fairly take away the educational opportunities of one student to enrich the educational experience of another. That sounds eerily like wealth redistribution only on the intellectual level. And it's not like the high level learners are segregated from the rest of the student body... we are talking about TWO courses, English and Biology. They are all clumped together for many other classes.

And the composition of the class should not be weighted downward. There are still remedial classes for the lower functioning students who require extra help. All this does is more tightly focus the levels and make the teachers' jobs easier. They are teaching to the middle ~60% on the bell curve instead of the middle and upper ~80% (assuming the bottom 20% are in remedial classes and the upper 10% are in honors).

I still stand by the fact that it isn't the high level learner's responsibility to enrich anyone else's education other than their own. If my school district was attempting to basically steal educational opportunities from my children to enrich the education of others, I would pull my kids out of there immediately. I'm sure many ETHS feel the same way. That in itself is going to downward weight the overall student body moreso than allowing honors courses.
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Old 12-17-2010, 02:52 PM
 
Location: Land of debt and Corruption
7,529 posts, read 7,550,810 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edsg25 View Post
Tough call on this one. One can make an argument on both sides of tracking issues. In you have to remember that if you pull out the top, you are affecting kids who are not in that group. For example, the high average is definitely hurt by the process as the composition of their classes are often worsened...both academically and behaviorally....by who is pulled out.
But the lower quartile is also being pulled out, so there is no IQ shift going on. Do you understand a bell curve? When you remove the top 10% and the bottom 10%, that has essentially no effect on the overall average of the remainder. If you only remove the top (or bottom) and not the other, then you will see an IQ shift.

Quote:
Originally Posted by edsg25 View Post
So when it comes to balancing the "right" anyone has to a quality education, you need to consider the effect that the groupings have on those who are "left behind."
On this, we will not agree. I believe in personal responsibility and merit based placements, whereas you appear to be more for affirmative actions. I respect your opinion, but I don't agree with it one iota for reason too numerous to list and I don't want to hijack the thread.


Quote:
Originally Posted by edsg25 View Post
As noted, I hardly think this is a fair society. So to my way of thinking, many of the white students who get into higher level classes do so because of opportunities that have been brought through socio-economic groupings. the equitities were well in place before the kids entered freshmen level honors level classes.

Again, this would be no place to list those inequities for they are considerable and many have come from prior inequities that may not exist today not being addressed earlier. I may not be getting that across but so many of ill effects of race are lingering.

If this society was doing the right thing on the issue of race, you wouldn't see the disparity between the academic progress of whites and Asians when compared to that of blacks and hispanics.

As noted, I realize you don't agree with me. I'm not trying to convince you. I'm just telling you my spin on it. I realize yours is completely different.
No, society is not fair. Life is not fair. That was one of the first lessons I learned as a child. I see where you're trying to take this and at the outset I do agree. However, I vehemently oppose giving additional "aid" (loosely defined) to one specific group if that aid comes at the price of another group. Evanston has been an ongoing "experiment" of racial equities for years. Evanston has tried and tried and tried to overcome and equalize the differences in the outcomes between different races, and so far, none of their proposals have succeeded in doing that. The white and asian kids keep occupying the upper echelon and the blacks (and increasingly hispanics too) have continued to come out on the bottom in spite of Evanston's best efforts to reverse that trend. Until the root of the problem is discovered and addressed, that won't change with this silly proposal to eliminate Honors English.
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