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Old 04-15-2013, 08:13 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,265 posts, read 26,231,676 times
Reputation: 11726

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Its crazy how complicated the school situation has become. I felt like there were only two types of schools when I was coming up: public and private. Now it seems that every time I turn around there's some former opthamologist, banker, Time Warner high speed internet specialist, etc. who has grown weary of their occupation and decided to open a charter school.

I had to test into my high school. I often wonder why more cities don't designate more schools as "magnet" or "specialty" schools and apply admission criteria.
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Old 04-15-2013, 09:01 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,265 posts, read 26,231,676 times
Reputation: 11726
Here's an argument I often hear against magnet/specialty schools:

Quote:
I agree whole-heartedly that the situation created by magnet schools has undermined the performance of neighborhood schools. The public school was always intended to be the focal point of a community: a place where families came together to support not only their own children but the entire neighborhood. That intrinsic value is lost when the most activist parents, often connected to top-performing students are pulled elsewhere.
http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/200...arm-than-good/

Does anyone on here believe that the high performing students at terrible schools have any impact on the low performing students at those schools?

Or is it more likely that the low-performing students will have an adverse impact on the students who are ready and willing to learn? By, for example, getting them involved in drug trafficking.

Former Student Campbell Testifies Against Copney in Kirkland Shooting Trial | News | The Harvard Crimson
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Old 04-15-2013, 09:15 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,416 posts, read 11,920,328 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
Does anyone on here believe that the high performing students at terrible schools have any impact on the low performing students at those schools?

Or is it more likely that the low-performing students will have an adverse impact on the students who are ready and willing to learn? By, for example, getting them involved in drug trafficking.
My understanding is it cuts both ways.

Generally speaking, if you ensure that a classroom has a mix of high and low performing students, everyone's scores tend to be more towards the median. The smart kids don't do as well, and the low-performers don't do as badly.

In contrast, if you do tracking, you will end up with the smart kids reinforcing each other (trying to out-compete, feeling pressure to study hard to fit in, etc), while the underperformers also reinforce their lack of scholastic ability.

This sets up a pretty crappy tradeoff we need to consider. Do we want a society where the lowest-performing kids do as well as possible? Or do we want one where the smart kids excel as much as they possibly can? We might not be able to have both.
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Old 04-15-2013, 09:37 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,265 posts, read 26,231,676 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
This sets up a pretty crappy tradeoff we need to consider. Do we want a society where the lowest-performing kids do as well as possible? Or do we want one where the smart kids excel as much as they possibly can? We might not be able to have both.
You can't have both. It's the rare occasion that higher-performing students from strong family backgrounds pull lower performing students up. The reverse is typically true especially among black males. And parents know this, which is why they fight tooth and nail to keep their kids as far away from those other kids as possible. A lot of people talk a big game, but rarely do people ever put their children where their mouth is. Unless it's gym class, it's virtually impossible to put a kid from Masterman and a middle of the road student at Martin Luther King together in the same classroom and expect anything more than pure mediocrity at best and unmitigated disaster at worst. So if city schools are to excel, you need some method of separating the wheat from the chaff. I don't see any other way.
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Old 04-15-2013, 09:47 AM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,061 posts, read 16,074,613 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
Here's an argument I often hear against magnet/specialty schools:



Magnet Schools: More Harm Than Good? - NYTimes.com

Does anyone on here believe that the high performing students at terrible schools have any impact on the low performing students at those schools?

Or is it more likely that the low-performing students will have an adverse impact on the students who are ready and willing to learn? By, for example, getting them involved in drug trafficking.

Former Student Campbell Testifies Against Copney in Kirkland Shooting Trial | News | The Harvard Crimson
Activist parents are more likely to demand schools be held accountable and teach to acceptable levels. Just an as example, I took algebra in the 7th grade with a teacher that didn't know how to graph. So we spent the first three months doing diamond problems (pre-algebra) at which point my parents stormed the office. Didn't do much good, lone example, school that had more concerns with teen pregnancy, gang related stabbings/shootings, and artificially boosting its graduation rates via social promotion. I got pulled and went to a semi-magnet/semi-homeschool program for 8th grade, which I wasn't particularly thrilled about but then I didn't like the school I came from either.

High school was more evenly rounded in that you had quite a few parents that regularly stormed the office and complained and showed up at PTA meetings and yelled at people for not doing their jobs. Result was we had a solid AP/Honors even if the overall school was in the 2-3 range on the API score. The bigger issue now is that the emphasis on _average_ test scores means there's really no incentive to put resources towards the bright students. You get far more bang for the buck teaching to the bottom than to the top who are going to do well on the standardized tests regardless. As long as you can't segregate based on merit because that might hurt little Johnny's feelings, geographic segregation is pretty much a necessity.

Biggest drug use was at the two high schools with a more middle-class background. My high school there was some pot at parties and a few people dabbled in meth although generally not socially. The few times I was around meth, I made my excuses and cleared out. The two more affluent high school districts you saw the cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, PCP at parties a lot more simply as they were the ones that could afford it.
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Old 04-15-2013, 10:10 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,416 posts, read 11,920,328 times
Reputation: 10536
Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
You can't have both. It's the rare occasion that higher-performing students from strong family backgrounds pull lower performing students up. The reverse is typically true especially among black males. And parents know this, which is why they fight tooth and nail to keep their kids as far away from those other kids as possible. A lot of people talk a big game, but rarely do people ever put their children where their mouth is. Unless it's gym class, it's virtually impossible to put a kid from Masterman and a middle of the road student at Martin Luther King together in the same classroom and expect anything more than pure mediocrity at best and unmitigated disaster at worst. So if city schools are to excel, you need some method of separating the wheat from the chaff. I don't see any other way.
I'd tend to agree. In addition, there's a much wider social good to allowing smart kids to excel further (since they're most likely to come up with things like new inventions/ideas which make the world as a whole better), than bringing up the scores of the absolute lowest (as at most, you're helping them move up from abject poverty to a livable lower-middle class lifestyle which will help no one but them and their children).

Really, the problem we face at the bottom of the income spectrum isn't so much that we aren't educating kids well enough, as it is we don't have well-paying jobs which people without high levels of education can get anymore. If we had something like the unionized factory work of the 1950s available in inner-city areas, we wouldn't need to have these debates about scholastic performance, as people could walk onto the factory floor with a high school degree (or less), and do just fine. Instead we try to push absolutely everyone into the peg of a white-collar professional, even though manifestly there are not enough professional jobs in the U.S. for every single student - even if they all had the ability and preparation to get those jobs.
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Old 04-15-2013, 06:53 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,995 posts, read 102,568,112 times
Reputation: 33059
^^
Yes, the problem is that these kids aren't being educated well enough. And the economy is never going to go back to a heavy manufacturing based economy, so it's pointless to discuss that.

If I hear this "everyone isn't college material" one more time I'm going to shoot my computer. I think everyone CAN get a HS diploma. I think it is incredibly condescending to think that there are some people who can't meet the minimum standards of "regular" high schools.

Some educators do think that high performing students bring a classroom up. I confess I don't know if that's true, or not.

I think Malloric had some good points about activist parents.
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Old 04-15-2013, 07:03 PM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
6,473 posts, read 11,099,778 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
^^


If I hear this "everyone isn't college material" one more time I'm going to shoot my computer. I think everyone CAN get a HS diploma. I think it is incredibly condescending to think that there are some people who can't meet the minimum standards of "regular" high schools.
You try to tell that 15 year old in Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, etc ... without anyone at home encouraging him ... that it makes sense to do something hard like get a worthless HS diploma, so they can go work at target - rather than make thousands of dollars standing on a corner.

Some are going to slip through the cracks. It's simple economics.
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Old 04-15-2013, 07:27 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,995 posts, read 102,568,112 times
Reputation: 33059
Quote:
Originally Posted by HandsUpThumbsDown View Post
You try to tell that 15 year old in Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, etc ... without anyone at home encouraging him ... that it makes sense to do something hard like get a worthless HS diploma, so they can go work at target - rather than make thousands of dollars standing on a corner.

Some are going to slip through the cracks. It's simple economics.
I would tell that to a 15 year old in those cities. What makes you think they have no one at home encouraging them, and are they all male? I think most parents want what's best for their kids. (That is the philosophy at the pediatric office where I work, BTW.) I don't think a HS diploma is worthless. Although you can go to community college w/o a diploma, you generally have to have one for some programs at the CCs. Even if you do get a job at Target, you can move up to management. I think we have lowered our expectations too far in some cases. Yes, there are some who'd rather be drug dealers, and some who slip through the cracks, but I think they're in the minority.
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Old 04-15-2013, 07:54 PM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
6,473 posts, read 11,099,778 times
Reputation: 3117
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
I would tell that to a 15 year old in those cities. What makes you think they have no one at home encouraging them, and are they all male? I think most parents want what's best for their kids. (That is the philosophy at the pediatric office where I work, BTW.) I don't think a HS diploma is worthless. .
I know because that's who I see everyday working the corners. Many of their parents are either in jail or in "the game" itself.

I know you are going to say otherwise, but I just don't think you have a grasp on how huge the drug business is here. Former heroin addicts have told me they can't live anywhere near Baltimore or even drive through it - the temptation is too strong.

And how attractive to its barons are hotheadded 15 year old kids who feel trapped, without options, without supervision. I'm not exaggerating when i say that A huge number of the 35% who drop out of school here are male ... And a great many of them are doing so to get into the family business.

To be fair there are some females in the game too - but it is mans world, to be sure.
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