Archive for the ‘Guilford County Schools’ Category

2010 Elections Page Updates

I’ve made some updates to the 2010 elections page (and hope to be able to add some more soon).  The updates include some information about the soil and water conservation district candidates which is definitely lacking.  Yes! Weekly did little profiles of all of them and two of them responded to the UNC-TV questionnaire so links to those are on there to help you make up your mind.  It’s definitely a tricky one.  I am assuming that they are all using their real names this time around.  Additionally, I’ve added  a link to the Carolina Journal Online Voting Guide to the 13-candidate NC Court of Appeals race which opened up in August with the appointment of Jim Wynn to the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.  NC is going to be the first state to use an instant runoff in a general election so we’ll see how that goes.

Absentee ballots went out a week or so ago and early voting starts this Thursday so there’s no time like the present to get informed!

Eliminating the “Achievement Gap”

George Will’s got the answer in his column.  Last paragraph at the bottom:

“He [Paul E. Barton] has estimated that about 90 percent of the difference in schools’ proficiencies can be explained by five factors: the number of days students are absent from school, the number of hours students spend watching television, the number of pages read for homework, the quantity and quality of reading material in the students’ homes — and, much the most important, the presence of two parents in the home. Public policies can have little purchase on these five, and least of all on the fifth.”

Something that should be obvious to someone with the most basic observation skills but, in any case, sadly, GCS can implement all the policies it wants to try and close the achievement gap but the real way to do that begins at home. Or they could just push all of the high achievers out of the public school system and then the gap would close itself!

What’s on Your Kid’s School Supply List?

The N&R has a whiny blog post asking if GCS will hire any new teachers with the latest round of porkulus funds.  Which doesn’t make sense because I am pretty sure they have managed to stave off any cuts to teachers anyway.  So is the N&R suggesting that we need more teachers than we  currently have?  In any case, right after reading that, I stumbled upon this post at Big Government pointing out that while Congress has passed a $10 billion bail out to the teachers unions (and union-like organizations, as the case may be), parents all across the country and being asked to send their kids back to school with toilet paper, cleaning supplies and other things that have absolutely nothing to do with the classroom.

At my local school, for instance, each child is asked to bring in an entire package of assorted color sharpies (what kind of idiot gives permanent markers to the kids? must be for the teachers!), dry erase markers, paper towels, wipes, tissues, two pairs of scissors (perhaps the expectation is that not all children are going to bring in the suggested supplies?) and on and on.  Aren’t dry erase markers, sharpies and paper towels (at a minimum) supposed to be provided by the school?  If the Feds are going to steal yet more money from taxpayers, can’t they at least cause it to be spent on something that will actually help our bottom line?

Guilford County Schools — Institutionalizing Racism and Promoting a Color-Focused Society

**Apparently the school board may vote on this issue as soon as Thursday, June 10th —contact your school board representative and let him/her know how you feel about the dumbing down of standards to enter the gifted program!**

With the new “GCS Local Academically or Intellectually Gifted (AIG) plan,” Guilford County Schools is heading further and further away from Martin Luther King’s dream of a society where people are not “judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”.  That’s because the school system, in its infinite wisdom has decided that entry to advanced classes should not be based on a child’s ability to do advanced work  (unless that child is white, “middle-class” and therefore inherently somehow more “privileged” than other children) but rather on the income level of his parents (as stated on the notoriously easily fakeable application for free lunches), the color of his skin, if he is “exceptional” (what I think used to be called learning disabled??) or if he is part of a group that is somehow or other “underrepresented” in the AIG program.

There are so many problems with this whole idea that it is almost impossible to know where to start critiquing it.

But, first, and, perhaps most importantly, what message is this sending the children who currently are ineligible for the AIG (now Advanced Learner) program but suddenly become so?  Doesn’t anyone think those children will understand that the bar was lowered for them?  The message that sends is that those children aren’t good enough to make it on their own and need lower standards to compete with the “advantaged” white, middle-class children.  I’m about to throw up.  That sets these kids up for a lifetime of questioning their own abilities which certainly isn’t going to lead to the self-motivation necessary to do well in school and later in life.  Also, they will constantly be expecting that standards will be lowered for them.  Wonderful.

Secondly, if the idea behind “diversity” in the classroom is to make people more comfortable with those of different backgrounds than themselves, well, a lowering of standards will cause that to backfire completely.  How do you expect white children to gain an appreciation and respect for minority and otherwise “disadvantaged” children when they feel know they are getting special dispensation and, quite possibly, taking resources away from other, more qualified children.  This breeds resentment, not respect and admiration.

Third, it has been shown that people who are placed in classes for which they are not prepared do worse than if they were placed appropriately.*

Guilford County Schools would like you to send comments to this email address: gcscomments@gcsnc.com or you can just contact your school board representative directly.

Does anyone remember the phrase “the soft bigotry of low expectations”?  That’s what you’ve got right here.

*(A Systemic Analysis of Affirmative Action in American Law Schools, Richard Sander, 2004, although I know there are others)

A Book Everyone Should Read

It’s called He Talk Like a White Boy by Joseph C. Phillips and I don’t think I can say enough good things about it.  In it, he discusses some of the ways in which the black community is setting it’s children up for failure.  Why would speaking like an educated person make him sound white?  Can’t black people be educated and smart?  Why are so many black parents more proud of their children’s achievements on the ball field than in the classroom?  Aren’t the odds of success in life better if you take the more academic route?  But these are questions that I, as a white woman, am prohibited from asking.

Here in Guilford County, we seem to spend an inordinate amount of time discussing race.  Does it really matter what color someone is?  Who cares what color the contractor is who builds our buildings if the work is done properly?  The school board has an entire committee devoted to studying the “Achievement Gap”.  Does anyone else think that implies that we think black children (boys especially) can’t achieve?  Why don’t we just start assuming that all children in school can achieve and stop looking for justifications for why they aren’t?

Anyway, read the book because Mr. Phillips expresses it in a way that I certainly can’t.  It’s laugh-out-loud funny but sad at the same time too and it should really get you thinking.

Guilford County Schools “Parent Academy” Survey

Apparently Guilford County Schools thinks* that if only parents were smarter, then the test scores would improve.  Or something like that.  I guess the school system is looking for (maybe has already gotten?) a grant to open a “Parent Academy”.  I’m not entirely sure what it is all about and I’m not sure the school board knows what it’s all about either!

Here are the minutes from the meeting where they decide to go for the grant.  And here is a summary of what the Parent Academy/University is all about. You can read the entire 10-page Deployment Project if you are really interested.

Become informed, then tell GCS what you think by taking their survey.  You should also consider contacting your school board representative with your comments as well.  It IS an election year!  (Your school board district should be the same number as your county district.)

*Sorry, to Mr. Orson Scott Card, of Rhino Times fame, but “Guilford County Schools” IS, in fact, one entity and should be referred to as such.  “Guilford County schools” would refer to multiple schools.

GCS Wastes Taxpayer $$ on Twitter?!

The N&R is reporting that Guilford County Schools has a new twitter account that they are going to use to provide parents with up-to-date information about what is going on with GCS.  Oh my goodness.  Apparently Facebook and YouTube pages could follow!

Perhaps I would be more supportive of this type of ridiculous endeavor if there were no other, more pressing, issues that GCS need to work on.  Jumping on the “social media” bandwagon is just a stupid waste of taxpayer resources — the redirection of money that should be spent educating our children.  If GCS has enough money in the budget for this kind of non-educational nonsense, then they should give some of it back.