Thought I’d share my response to Nancy Flanagan’s post in Teacher in a Strange Land. I recommend you read her post, Katrina Nation: Driving Past Public Schools. You can find it here: http://bit.ly/cKiDS3
Here’s what I wrote in reply to her request that we need suggestions from committed people who are working in our most challenging poor schools – long term….
Excellent points, Nancy.
I work in a Title I school that is labeled as a “failing school”. We are working hard and working very long days to bring up the scores of our students. There is only so much we can do without killing ourselves with stress and overwork (which is how some charter schools approach it -by working teachers ridiculous hours and burning them out under the “no excuses” work motto). Here are 10 ideas that are needed in my public school and many like it…
1. We need more tutors/interventions teachers for small group & one-on-one help for our struggling students (before, during and after school).
2. We need to stop wasting money on curriculum. We are curriculum rich at my school, but labor poor. (Someone’s making money)
3. We need parent involvement and volunteers. (costs nothing)
4. We need wrap around services for our students. (costs money, but policy makers need to step up.)
5. We need improved teacher training & coaching. (Our Reading Coach is bogged down now with data crunching)
6. We need a full-time parent liaison to go pull kids out of bed and bring them to school. (-and to help parents)
7. We need books for our kids to take home and place in their homes – lots of books.
8. We need more early childhood/preschool education with improved quality. (Prenatal education would be good, too)
9. We need food scarcity to be addressed in our community because parents/children don’t have access to fresh food.
10. We need parents to attend the parenting classes we offer.
11. We need a billionaire to help our school, just like I see with many charters.
These are 10 suggestions off the top of my head and are specific for my school. The 11th idea is just a pipe dream for public schools.(I can dream, can’t I?)
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