Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Teaching in Low-Achieving Schools

Question: What’s it like to teach in a low-achieving school?

Answer/Quote: “I teach at a low-achieving school. Well, I don’t see it that way, but the state of Pennsylvania does.

Quote: “Julia deBurgos School, in Kensington, is one of many Philadelphia schools designated as ‘low-achieving’ on a state Department of Education list published last week. The list is based on the 2010-2011 state test scores in reading and math—and nothing else. And even though my school made what’s defined as ‘adequate yearly progress’ on those tests, there we were on the list.

Quote: “Now, under the new Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit, my students will have the ‘opportunity’ to go to ‘better’ schools. The main problem is this: My school is not a bad school. My school is incredible.

Quote: “A staggering 95% of our students come from poor families, nearly 30% are learning English, and at least 16% have special needs. You will never hear me use those numbers as excuses, though. I tell anyone who will listen that my students are some of the most intelligent, engaging, enthusiastic, and resilient children in Pennsylvania.”

 [Comment: The author goes on to cite several examples of children, in spite of handicaps, who were successful in school. RayS. ]

Quote: “It would never cross my mind to call a student ‘bad.’ But now the state is labeling entire schools—and, in turn, communities—‘bad.’ That is distressing not only because I know my colleagues and I are committed to excellence, but also because it will be one more way society is telling our students they are unworthy.”

Note: Hillary Linardopoulos teaches third grade at Julia deBurgos School. She can be reached at MrsL132@comcast.net.

Title: “Dispatches from a ‘Low-Achieving’ School.” Hillary Linardopoulos. The Philadelphia Inquirer (Wednesday August 1, 2012), A21.

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