Monday, December 15, 2008

Story in Stats!!

It's tradition in the U.S. to objectify students, addressing them as robots with tasks rather than as independent thinkers who can potentially emerge as the next generation of writers and leaders. No Child Left Behind and reignited fears regarding America’s global educational position intensify the problem; schools feel more compelled than even before to rigidly “teach to the tests.” But it's not helping. Says the 2008 English Journal: Kids are churning out mediocre work on autopilot; writing proficiency is in decline, boredom & dropout rates on the rise...

Librarian, board member, and Writopia mom, Peggy Teich, continuously delivers new reports full of findings that inspire us to reach out to more and more kids. Here are short excerpts from a few:

88% of high school dropouts had passing grades, but dropped out due to boredom. (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: “The Silent Epidemic” 3/06)

Up to 20 percent of high school dropouts test in the gifted range. (Handbook for Gifted Education, 2003)

Schools are not paying enough attention to low income smart kids: in 1st grade, 28% of low-income families are in top quarter of their class. By 5th grade less than 14% are in the top quarter of their grade. (Jake Kent Cook Foundation: Achievement Trap: How America is Failing Millions of High-Achieving Students from Low-Income Families)

States have been cutting funding for gifted programs, most harshly affecting low-income families who cannot afford to shift their students to private schools. (WSJ: Brain Drain--Blow to Bright Minority Kids) 29 Dec '03.

"Educators point out that the teaching techniques and aims advocated for gifted students, such as critical thinking, creative writing, and independent research projects, should prevail in all classrooms. However, classroom teachers, faced with ever-increasing classroom size, are not equipped to provide individualized curricula at many different levels simultaneously." (Julia Osborn, Special Educational Needs of Gifted and Talented Children, Youth Mental health Update v8, n4, May-Jun '96

Of students entering high school, 67% are writing below grade level. (Bob Wise, pres. Alliance for Excellent Education)

The 1 change that most needs to happen to make “American education realize its potential as an engine of opportunity and economic growth” is not better math and science instruction but "a writing revolution that puts language and communication in their proper place in the classroom…More out-of-school time should also be used to encourage writing, and specifically, writing workshops for the students” (Natl Commission on Writing in America's Schools & Colleges, “The Neglected ‘R’, ‘03).


Meandu said...

Interesting piece. said...

interesting article. I agree that we seem to be leaving children behind who should not be.

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