Saturday, December 18, 2004

It is the school's fault.

"President Bush believes parents should have the right to move their kids from poor-performing schools to better ones. So why are so many students staying put? "

That is a good question. You could start by asking the parents why they want to leave their kids in a sucky school. You could also ask the parents if they knew their child went to a sucky school. While you are at it, you could ask the parents if they care if their child goes to a sucky school?

"While some parents say it's simply easier and more convenient to send children to schools closer to home, some parents and educators say reasons for the small number transferring is harder to pinpoint."

It says, perhaps, what the system has defined as success and failure isn't what a parent used to define success and failure. That, in fact, they look at the community they support and the location when they make their decisions," said Debora Ernst of the Los Angeles Unified School District "

Changing the definition of success.



Vestigial Fish said...

I think the reasons are probably fairly complex. Sending your kids to a school across town could be very expensive and time consuming, and therefore just not feasible for some families. Some parents may not know how "bad" their school is if their kids bring home an "A." Finally, some parents may just be too damn lazy.

Cubicle said...

life is not easy. If you are in poor urban america it is possibly short and violent. One of the easiest ways out of urban america (or poverty for that matter) is education. It requires work (somtimes hard), scarfices, and discpliine.

You can give people an opptunity on a silver platter, and if they do not take it, what can you do.

Dave Justus said...

Leaving aside Debora Ernst inane comments this does raise some serious concerns with the usefulness of this program.

While you can only help people so much, I have a lot of sympathy for the idea that we make an extra effort where children are involved, including protecting them from their parents foolishness as much as possible.

Certainly nothing can replace parents being fully supportive and involved with their children's education. Even so though, unless we want to just write off these children of uninvolved parents, we have to try and do things to make up for this lack as best we can.

A premise of this program is that the schools were more at fault than the parents and that the parents would at least take minimal effort to improve the education of their kids. The data is putting this premise in doubt.

Even if the kids who do transfer out end up doing very well (something I consider likely) this doesn't add much to the programs worth as these kids (who have involved parents) would probably do fairly well even in the failing schools.

One danger that was pointed out by opponanents of this sort of program is that it could end up being a salve to the conscience of those of us who care about education without in fact doing much to solve the problem. This criticism does in fact seem to have some merit.

I agree that we need to find the answers to you questions. If it turns out that the real problem is that these parents don't care enough about their kids education to take even minimal steps we probably need to look at other solutions.

Another very likely source of this problem though may be disinformation from the failed schools themselves. I could certainly see the motive for a teacher or administrator from a failed school giving plenty of reasons to parents (who may have little education of their own) why their kid shouldn't change schools. This doesn't even require malice on the part of the school staff, simply being a failing of not being an unbiased observer.