posted on March 08, 2010 14:20
The school houses 800 students, 65 percent are Hispanic and most of them speak English as a second language. Only 48 percent are expected to graduate, and have failing test scores when compared to regional standards.
Will temporarily closing the school by firing all the teachers and administrators suddenly enable the student populace to read and speak English? Will the children suddenly gain some insight into higher math scores because their teachers were fired? Or is this a perfect example how the ‘System’ has again failed to educate, and thus seeking to place the blame on the teachers that are simply a product of the ‘System’ itself?
Central Falls High has seen consistent improvement over the past two years. Last year, the State Commissioner’s team commended the improvements. With more support from the district and the state, this improvement might have continued. Instead, students are left with no educational program.
This is a clear example of higher education focusing on the symptoms (high drop-out rates, poor test scores, etc.) and not the problem – the ‘System’ itself. It’s a classic example of a scapegoat issue. We can begin to transform our failed education ‘System’ if our nation’s education leaders admitted that teachers are not solely responsible for failing test scores. Other influences matter like the student’s demographic and cultural norms, the influence of poverty, how students learn differently, and the basic structure of the ‘System’ itself. Central Falls High has just set the standard that if other schools struggle with low test scores and graduation rates, the only option to fix it is to blame those that have little control over the system.
The message the school district is sending is clear: If the faculty and students can’t succeed in the ‘System’ as it is, then they are worthless and not worth educating. However as every great coach knows, when the team fails it is the coach’s fault not the teams.