Dogma at any cost

It is not as if we need more proof that liberals are willing to sacrifice anyone else’s things in the name of compliance, but I just couldn’t pass on this story:

A popular gifted-student program at a New York City elementary school is getting the ax after school officials decided it lacked diversity.

PS 139 Principal Mary McDonald told parents in a letter Jan. 24 that Students of Academic Rigor, or SOAR, would no longer accept applications for incoming kindergartners, the New York Daily Newsreported.

At least one parent described SOAR as largely white, while others disagreed, the report said.

One mother conceded the program did have a lot of white students, but worried gifted students now won’t be challenged enough.

Think that through. That’s “Social Justice” in a nutshell. It’s not a bad decision: its’ the only option that’s left for people that are only concerned with making the world a “fair” place. These collectivist systems can’t change reality to make, in this case, ungifted students more gifted, so the only recourse is to take away the opportunity from the gifted. Who cares about the cost. Fairnes uber alles!

In a follow-up letter sent to parents Monday, Miss McDonald wrote: “At PS 193, we believe that all children can learn and achieve high standards. We also know that we want all children at PS 193 to have equal access to high quality, challenging curriculum, and to have ample opportunities to master complex material and build academic and personal self-confidence. We also want our classes to reflect the diversity of our community. We believe we can have both: classrooms characterized by rigor and diversity.”

Hah! Improve things by denying the gifted a chance to really cultivate and grow their gift. mediority for all is now the new high standards. As the old saying goes: shared misery is the natural state of all collectivist systems, because it is the only thing that the powers that be can deliver consistently. At least, statistically speaking, the people most likely negatively impacted by this insane decision, are other collectivists. That’s based on NYC demographics.

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  1. Seattle Outcast

    More proof that public education is broken to the point that now only destroying it and starting over is the only viable solution.

    1) Eliminate the DOE

    2) Eliminate tenure

    3) Break all the teachers unions

    4) Remove all “educators” and political appointees from positions of authority within the school systems

    5) Job depends upon performance

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  2. hist_ed

    This is part of a fad in education. My district eliminated middle school honors programs a couple of year ago and instituted special ed inclusion policies (all sped students in the regular LA and math classes with additional support). It’s a fucking disaster. Last year, through luck of the draw, I had a class that was about 50% honors material. This year I have a class with 5 honors level kids and a huge crowd of knuckleheads with almost no one in the middle. Most of these kids can’t even bother to read instructions (recent, very easy history assignment was to draw a political cartoon and then write a few sentences about it. Average grade in the class 30% because only six people bothered to do the writing). I have taught low level classes before-it works great when everyone is on the same level. Mixing geniuses with knuckleheads is a bad idea.

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  3. Hal_10000

    Hist_ed, I always love when you post updates from the front lines. They tried this experiment when I was a kid too and it was a fiasco. It’s based on this bizarre idea that everyone is equally capable of academic pursuits. The gifted students spent months educating themselves before they realized how dumb this was.

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  4. hist_ed

    I think part of the reasoning is testing. The high level kids do help the medium to medium low kids: That’s the sweet spot to improving state test scores. You know that a kid who absolutely blew last year’s test isn’t going to pass this year; the kid who missed it by 5 points can be brought up to snuff (my remedial English class is kids who were two to ten points under the 400 point passing threshold-ten of them-the kids who were below these kids are crowded into a multi-grade remedial class with 20 some students. Pro-forma help on kids that the district has given up on). So institutionally we don’t care if the top ten percent doesn’t improve much as long as below average kids do.

    But you are right about the utopian philosophy-my suburban district says it prepares every kid for college-even though we know there are lots who aren’t going. They killed our only high school auto shop program several years ago-it was great for the less academically inclined.

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  5. hist_ed

    And on a front line note, I handed in my resignation last week, effective the end of the school year. Had a boss who decided I was her project for a couple of years. Lawyer wife wants to sue, I am just happy to be done with the shit. Will start looking at job options (both in and out of education) in a week or two after I catch up on sleep.

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  6. AlexInCT *

    And on a front line note, I handed in my resignation last week, effective the end of the school year. Had a boss who decided I was her project for a couple of years. Lawyer wife wants to sue, I am just happy to be done with the shit. Will start looking at job options (both in and out of education) in a week or two after I catch up on sleep.

    You don’t sound afraid of doing hard work, intelligent, and capable to me hist_ed. My bet is you end up better off anyway. My personal experience has been that as long as you are willing to do work and are not just content getting bye, you are going to do good at any job you take.

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  7. InsipiD

    I believe that it was Tom Lehrer who once said in jest that it was no longer legal to discriminate on the basis of ability. Sometimes it’s sad when a joke comes true.

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  8. Starving Writer

    Speaking as a teacher who works in the special education field, I gotta say that separating students by their intellectual levels makes a tremendous difference in how easy it is to teach the class and how easy it is to differentiate the materials.

    During my first year as a teacher I got stuck teaching a Geography class with two students. One was ultra-gifted while the other one was borderline “cognitively impaired.” That class was an absolute disaster for me. It didn’t help that I was hired to teach science, and the Geography class was a “left over” class that got dumped to me.

    However, at my current placement, I teach high school English, and the students are separated into groups based on their reading levels. It makes classroom management and lesson plans so much easier, and the students benefit from it. I have a bunch of kids who read at the 2nd and 3rd grade level memorizing the Star-Spangled Banner, making poems that rhyme correctly (even if they don’t necessarily make sense otherwise) , discussing the symbolism and imagery in Grapes of Wrath, and doing Shakespeare monologues. That wouldn’t be at all possible of the classroom was “mixed.”

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  9. AlexInCT *

    Speaking as a teacher who works in the special education field, I gotta say that separating students by their intellectual levels makes a tremendous difference in how easy it is to teach the class and how easy it is to differentiate the materials.

    Having attended most of high school in a couple of the European systems, where they split people by not just aptitude, but also by psychological profile, with everyone having the opportunity to go through the entire system, at the their pace, or stopping when they have reached as far as they can, I can not stress how true this is. Not only is this easier for the teachers, but it makes a world of difference for students.

    This need to put everyone in the same classroom, regardless of aptitude and ability, be it to stress equality or simply to push this self esteem bullshit that permeates the educational medium these days, is insane. Too many of the gifted students will be bored and start acting up, while the low performers will never, ever catch on. The one’s in the middle get no education anyway, as things constantly get dumbed down. In the end we push kids out that are not prepared to deal with the real world but think they can immediately command top dollars and should all be CEOs.

    In the name of that dogma that demands everyone cross the finish line at the same time with the same shit, we have destroyed generations of kids’ futures by pretending that we are giving them a decent education while leaving them woefully unprepared. If anything, this exacerbates the problem of inequality even more. The gifted people will find a way to overcome the handicap that school has become, and they will sooner than later thrive. Those unfortunate to not be gifted, and those that are seriously lacking, unfortunately, will be screwed. They join the real world with their heads filled with bullshit, only to fall flat -if they are lucky and things don’t unravel and go even worse – on their face.

    The universe is not fair. And the more we ignore that or tamper with it to force it to be, the worse the outcome. The road to hell “IS paved with good intentions (that is if you are not one of these cynical people like me that believes things are broken today on purpose, by the very people pretending to have good intentions).

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  10. hist_ed

    Alex, thanks, I think I will be all right. Hard work has never been a problem for me as long as the bullshit busy work to real stuff ratio doesn’t approach 1 to 1. Because of my bosses, ummm, interest, in me, I have been putting in around 15 to 20 hours extra a week for the past year and a half. Can’t say it was 100% wasted time, probably more like 75%. I have some good recommendations (from prior to the hell bitch) so I think I will be fine.

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  11. hist_ed

    Yeah Starving, I am ability grouping. We started Mockingbird a couple of weeks ago. I’ve taught it many times and this is going to be the toughest. I have three groups. Groups one and two are struggling to understand the basic plot. Groups three just started work on the symbolism behind the characters’ names and what we might expect because of them. What it means is that for the novel I am going to have to plan two or three separate lessons for each chapter (and my 8th grade LA colleagues are all doing the same).

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  12. Nexus

    Equality 7-2521 has evil in his bones. He makes his brothers feel bad about themselves. Equality 7-2521 must not be allowed to rise above his brothers…

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