MP MN Prepares for ESSA Ray, who I believe is a Retired Teacher, makes some good points. However he like most Ed MN Liberal supporters seems to want to focus on only one cause. If only we could fix that Race and Poverty issue, then everything will get better...
"Words Matter. Education officials and commenters continue to use the phrase "low-performing schools" as if it reflected an obvious reality. It does not. What Minnesota (and many other states) must deal with are low-performing students.
To the degree that inadequately-trained teachers are a part of that inadequate student outcome, they must be properly trained, meet state standards, and be assigned classes in their field of expertise. Administrators charged with evaluation of professional staff ought to be people who themselves have substantial teaching experience.
To the degree that inadequate and/or obsolete physical facilities affect and contribute to inadequate student outcome, those facilities must be upgraded, improved, and/or replaced.
In the unlikely event that schools in Wayzata or Minnetonka find themselves being rated as "low-performing schools," there might be reason to examine the root causes of such a ranking in areas that are normally not part of this picture. Lacking that, the primary reason for low-performing students has been known and pointed out by study after study over the past half-century and more: low-performing students in great disproportion come from families living in poverty, and especially from families living in what are now designated as RCAPs, or Racially Concentrated Areas of Poverty. This is where Minnesota's largely unacknowledged legacy of racial and economic segregation has come home to roost, so to speak.
Unless and until the Met Council, county officials, school district officials, legislators, state government, and the state's education hierarchy address this ongoing segregation, we can make plans to address low student performance 'til the cows come home, and some of them will actually make a difference for some kids, so I don't want to dismiss such plans out of hand, but they won't "cure" the fundamental underlying problem(s).
To make genuinely significant progress among low-performing students requires that the state and the areas directly affected by it address, and begin to overcome, the ongoing racial and economic segregation that characterizes some parts of the Twin Cities metro, and perhaps – especially in an economic context – some of the state's rural areas, as well.
In combination with other programs to directly address the issue of RCAPs, some important gains may finally be made in trying to improve the inadequate intellectual development and knowledge base of "low-performing students."
Without addressing the issues of segregation and concentrated poverty, it's my hunch that there will be plenty of noise and commotion, but relatively little in the way of genuine progress for these children who are currently, and in the future, not developing the knowledge base and intellectual skills necessary to serve as vital, contributing citizens of the area, the state, and the country." RayThoughts?
"I agree with you that there is a root cause in your statement.
"low-performing students in great disproportion come from families living in poverty, and especially from families living in what are now designated as RCAPs, or Racially Concentrated Areas of Poverty"
However when are folks going to stop making this about race and start making it about familial beliefs, single Parent households and and familial actions? Or about the Ed MN policies that allow the high cost Teachers to be employed mostly in the schools with the children who have good family support?
Here are a larger number of issues / causes...
G2A Blame vs Contributions
Just increasing the household incomes via public assistance will not help. Somehow we need to encourage 2 Parent households in these at risk communities, promote Parents who support education, and hopefully smaller families. That is how families get out of poverty and support their children.
Single Parent households with more children than they can afford is a recipe for continuing disaster..." G2A