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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

An Alternative Approach to Improve School Performance

An Alternative Approach to Improve School Performance

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There is a major movement in the public educational discipline to privatize the delivery of training to the youth of America. The Charter School approach that is proffered as a reform to the public urban schools could possibly do more harm than good. It is diverting economic resources to the private sector, resulting in the reduction of funds available to the public sector. It is amazing how much support is provided to “high performing schools.” In addition to receiving increased funding, they generally are housed in modern facilities which include that latest in teaching tools, including computers, teleconferencing and other advanced techniques and venues. If districts provided equal amounts of support, funds, resources, and parental counseling to all schools, this would create a balance within the school districts. Therefore, deprived community schools could reform and improve the quality of the deliverance of education. This will reduce educators from being scapegoated for the school district’s failure. Perhaps, society should reassess their perspectives on placing the blame on educators. There are other issues, which contribute to the failure of schools. Namely, the practices in some communities that pass students along that do not master grade level expectations. Most of these students are passed along because standardized testing does not apply to all grades. In the primary grades standardize testing is not required; therefore no standard is established to adequately measure the students’ achievement. As educators, we want all students to succeed. However, there are students that may not be ready to demonstrate mastery based on maturity and other factors. Therefore, our approach requires revision on assessing students. The transition from second to third grade is a difficult time in a child’s life. The education industry prefers students to march to the same beat of the drum knowing students internalize information at different rates. Schools performance is determined by how well students master State standards. Eventually, standardize testing will determine the child’s fate. The consideration that some students are not mature enough to perform like miniature adults is not taking. Rethinking how to assess students, along with a more equitable redistribution of economic resources would indeed be a positive step in the school reform efforts.

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