Friday, December 09, 2005

Great expectations for student achievement

In pursuit of academic victories

Few victories are more important than raising expectations. Sadly, we still have some educators, parents, and community leaders who don't believe that poor youngsters and children of color can learn as well as their white privileged peers. For those schools, it can be difficult to convince students that education offers their best opportunity for a better life.

"It doesn't take much effort to learn to have low expectations of poor people and people of color," says Martin Haberman. "All you have to do is grow up in American society, and you've built them in."

As Robin Flanigan writes, if school leaders don't believe in students, then students won't believe in themselves. Flanigan's report appears in the December American School Board Journal.


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7 comments:

Malik said...

Instead of complaining about kids making excuses for failing, we should be taking ourselves to task for making excuses for why we fail our kids. The article shows that generally, all it takes is having a problem-solving attitude and the willingness to invest the necessary time and resources. But I guess that's not as entertaining as bashing kids and their parents.

DCS said...

Malik: I agree. It is my belief that no child goes to school to fail. Nor do parents send their children to school to fail.

Everyone has to take responsibility in the education of our kids. There are many examples of where low-performing school districts turned into high-performing ones. These districts have committed leadership at the top, ongoing professional development, and greater use of research-based teaching models. In these districts, principals and teachers make themselves available to parents. This has led to more parent involvement. Studies reveal that students with involved parents perform better at school.

I must say, however, there are some parents who don't understand that they are their children's first teachers. They believe that education is best left within the confines of the classroom. Many parents don't feel confident in talking with teachers or administrators.

In these situations, it is helpful for schools and/or community organizations to offer parent training - workshops that teach parents their rights and responsibilities in their children's education. I worked for a Parent Information and Resource Center, and we made great strides in parent education. The center also served as a parent advocate to 25 urban and suburban school districts.

Resources with tips for improving student achievement and parent involvement can be found on many websites. Parents and teachers can check out the following sites for starters: U.S. Department of Education, Education Trust, National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education, National Education Association, and Parent Information and Resource Centers. Links to the above sites can be found on this blog's side bar under Google News. Parents of pre-kindergarten children should check out Parents as Teachers. Many school districts also provide resources on their websites.

DCS said...

By the way, school report cards (annual reports) are now available at many districts nationwide. Parents, check with your school or state board of education to see the results.

Len said...

Excellent article!

Because I’ve seen this in action I could get deeply involved in this topic, but time will not permit.

Suffice to say, there is nothing sadder (for me anyway) than to look into the tearful eyes of a hurting youth who is over-whelmed by the bigotry of low expectations. Everyone in his or her environment, seemingly, in terms of performance expects very little or sometimes the worst from the child.

Be it an educator, community leader, or Joe and Judy Doe, our attitudes, suspicions and conclusions about others determine how we relate to people. Unfortunately, because of low expectations, our kids are getting treatment they do not deserve.

I agree with Malik each of us who work with our youth need to do some self-evaluation.

DCS I wonder if you and Malik’s personalities can be packaged and given away as a love offering, as your knowledge, and insight is delightfully refreshing.

DCS said...

Len: What a kind thing to say! There is no question that Malik is a deep thinker. :-)

I offer another proposal - that Malik and Len's personalities be packaged and given away as a love offering. Len, I am impressed with your broad knowledge base. Your passion for kids, their parents, and public education screams off the page!

Your knowlege, skills and passion: I immediately evident when I read posts on your respective sites and in your well-informed comments here. Don't underestimate your roles as change agents.

Len said...

Thanks. I suspected you would respond graciously. Please know had you not responded in kind my perception would still be the same. :)

DCS you might already have this link, but just in case, I forgot to mention it in the other thread.

Community Programs

If any of your readers are interested in information, regarding youth programs, and other non-profit community organizations. This site evaluates programs, provides a mission statement, and a link to the program’s website along with other pertinent information.

Have a great day!

DCS said...

Len: This is a GREAT resource. I will add it to my links. Thanks so much!