No Excuses, Please

Today, in an emailed response to my post on the ETS report that reaffirms our understanding that the schools cannot control all the variables that contribute to a quality education for all children, one of our most able administrators reminded me that although some elements of the educational equation are indeed out of our control,we must do our best with those elements that are still within our control. I concur one hundred percent.

This was an informative article and thank you for sending it. A concern I have about the article is that some educators use poverty (or ethnicity or ???) as excuses for not teaching all children or for lowering expectations for some children. Marzano’s research shows incredible student achievement gains for all students including those from poverty, single parent homes, etc. when effective instruction is consistently in place. There was no reference to his 35 years of research in the ETS article. While we all want families to be more responsible, in the absence of stable homes and strong parenting practices, our best efforts in the classroom need to come into play.

The above reference to “35 years of research” refers to a quote from Robert Marzano, and at least one other well-known educator, that we are the beneficiaries of 35 years of education research that consistently points to the fact that we do know what to do to educate our kids — we just have to have the fortitude to implement the reforms and cough up the necessary bucks. — Hugh


3 thoughts on “No Excuses, Please

  1. It’s interesting how we regard people who don’t necessarily have the advantages that upper class children have as a lost cause. What I mean by that is that people would rather opt to not help someone simply because there are factors that they can [not] control, even though there are factors that they can. You hear a lot of talk from different people, teachers included, saying “Well this person’s not going to be a functioning member of society anyways. Look at his home life. Why teach him?”

    But we know that starts from the top. If the government changed the things in a positive direction rather than letting these third-party non-profit asswipes come in and swindle public education for all its worth, then we might see real change. But at the same time, it’s important to keep the poor as poor as possible so it maintains the status quo. G_d forbid if no child is really left behind. Done.

    I hear you, Jose. Let’s keep the pedal to the metal with all we can do, and seek to influence positively what we don’t control directly, i.e., governmental institutions working at cross-purposes. Imagine if we could help actualize all the potential of all our kids… — Hugh

  2. The scary thing is that lowering standards is often a very unconscious process. Language barriers, lack of funding and lack of support of the parents create a negative spiral and it’s very hard to get out of it. Part of the solution is the independent teacher’s mind and motivation, but without support of the administration it’s really hard to move out of it.

    Quite true, FT.

    Our district is committed not only to student achievement, but to continuing professional development for everyone involved with education our children. That costs money, but the investment pays big dividends according to recent research on teacher effectiveness.

    Thanks for bringing that up. — Hugh

  3. It’s unconscionable to me that any person, and particularly any educator, teacher or administrator, would lower expectations of or for any child. To say that this child has more value because he or she has more money, and that one is of lessor value because he or she is poor, is an attitude that is unacceptable.

    If anyone cannot understand this basic human moral principle then they should be kept away from all aspects of the education of our children.

    As you say, Hugh, in the last paragraph of your post: we do know what to do to educate our kids…

    Thanks for your time in bringing these ideas before us, Hugh.

    Tom Brandt

    You’re welcome, Tom, and thanks for visiting and commenting. I look forward to hearing your voice in Hillsboro. — Hugh

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