Thursday, September 2, 2010

Thank you, Pedro Noguera

Noguera's article in the Daily News, "Accept it: Poverty hurts learning: Schools matter, but they're not all that matters," pushes policy makers to face the truth. While schools are important, life and conditions beyond schools matter too. When policy makers argue that schools are enough, they validate the notion that some people deserve to live in impoverished, ugly, and unjust conditions.
There has been a fierce, ongoing debate among educational leaders about how to teach poor children: One side has argued that we must address the wide variety of social issues (like poor health and nutrition, mobility, inadequate preparation for school, etc.) that tend to be associated with poverty. The other side has argued that schools serving poor children must focus on education alone and stop making excuses.

For more than 20 years, I've been associated with the first camp - and I remain baffled about why we are still debating such an obvious point. We've long known that family income combined with parental education is the strongest predictor of how well a student will do on most standardized tests. There is abundant evidence that in schools in the poorest communities, achievement is considerably lower than in schools with more socioeconomic diversity.

Too Cute: Baby Baboons

I had to post this because it's just so cute. My classroom visited the Prospect Park Zoo last year and had a great time watching the baboons. The adults are so wise looking! The Zoo has a couple new babies.