SL 721

Getting tons done without a kid or a kitchen contractor in the house. I’m in heaven.

Are you watching Roseanne?

Students are less likely to take additional classes in a subject, if their intro class is taught by an adjunct, rather than a full-time professor. Jonah had a horrible adjunct in his writing class last semester who was then fired in the middle of the semester and then replaced by an even worse adjunct. They let him (and his classmates) retake the class this semester with a full time professor. It went much, much better. Huge.

10 areas with the fastest-rising home prices, which includes this area on Lake George. WANT. CAN’T HAVE IT. We’ll probably rent something by a lake by the Delaware Water Gap this year.

Michael Cohen in that plaid jacket with the cigar. Image of the week.

Kids aren’t improving their reading comprehension levels, because they need to know shit in order to understand what they are reading. They can’t understand a reading passage about the civil war, if they know zippo about American history. There’s been some good research on this. I should have written this article. Pissed at myself.

Colleges recruit at richer, whiter high schools. College Fairs are a big business around here.

Advertisements

32 thoughts on “SL 721

  1. Here’s another gripe about K-12 teaching approaches these days.

    My kid is spectrummy and attention-deficited. What is he super good at? Memorizing! What is he bad at? Writing! And he is a slow reader. And he rarely does homework.

    How do schools assess learning these days?

    Not memorization. No, in his 8th grade social studies class, when there was an exam, the teacher allowed students to bring in their homework and use the homework as a study guide while they wrote out answers to the essay questions. Meanwhile, my kid was getting 80s sitting there with no homework to guide him, answering off the top of the head with what he remembered. I made the case at an IEP meeting that he was not being accommodated for his deficits in reading and writing and executive functioning, but all these other kids were being accommodated for their deficits in memorization.

    The members of the IEP team looked at me like I was crazy, except for the school psychologist, who was 2 weeks away from retirement and may have been drunk.OK, I kid, but she was checked out.

    1. As I see it, they’re being “accommodated” in memorizing because memorizing isn’t seen as the important skill that’s being assessed. They’re also not being required to write copperplate with quill pens.

      Laura’s cite is arguing that some knowledge of content is important in comprehending more content, but I’d assess that testing their comprehension of additional content.

      I’m pretty unclear on what you think the accommodation would look like? I understand the general view that if the activity is not the critical being taught (i.e. writing down answers is being used to assess the knowledge of the information, and not the ability to write it down, or to write clearly). Alternatively, I guess there are skills that someone might never learn, for which there might be permanent accommodations, after having realized that they can’t be taught. I, for example, consistently forget to lock my car, currently being resolved because my car sends me a message reminding me that I’ve left it unlocked, and then allows me to lock it with my phone.

      1. “I’m pretty unclear on what you think the accommodation would look like?”

        For E or for the other kids? If the kids all are allowed to have notes to write their essays in class, and what’s being assessed is writing, then all kids should have notes, regardless of their failed executive function skills.

        “Alternatively, I guess there are skills that someone might never learn, for which there might be permanent accommodations, after having realized that they can’t be taught.”

        Well, an example might be blind people, who can’t be taught to see….

    2. Wendy said,

      “I made the case at an IEP meeting that he was not being accommodated for his deficits in reading and writing and executive functioning, but all these other kids were being accommodated for their deficits in memorization.”

      CLAP CLAP CLAP!

  2. I am not watching Roseanne, but then I never watched Roseanne, and disliked the actress even when I knew little of her political views. But, I do think that’s because the people depicted in Roseanne were never my kind of people, even ignoring the politics. I grew up with middle-class white people from the American heartland and I don’t know what all of our political views would have been or are now, but they were all more well-behaved (polite, honorable, moral) than depicted in Roxanne.

    Of course, that’s not unlike every television show — the search for drama means everyone behaves badly in ways I haven’t experienced in real life (shows depicting suburban moms, lawyers, crazy ex girlfriends, . . .) always behave much worse than any real people I know personally.

  3. But there are 1 acre lots for 250K in that Lake George area. I wonder if it’s impossible to build for some reason. I personally want this 10 BR, 14 BA house on this sandy beach with nearly 4 acres of land. And I CAN”T HAVE IT EITHER! But, apparently the prices are dropping in that neighborhood in Oahu.

  4. The article’s point about background knowledge was made eloquently, and at length, by E.D. Hirsch in Cultural Literacy, some thirty (30) years ago. He founded the Core Knowledge movement; there is a Core Knowledge curriculum.

    I don’t agree with the argument that, More affluent students may not learn much in elementary school, but compared to their disadvantaged peers their parents tend to be more educated and have the money to provide knowledge-boosting perks like tutoring and trips to Europe. As a result, those wealthy children are far more likely to acquire knowledge outside of school. Poorer kids with less-educated parents tend to rely on school to acquire the kind of knowledge that is needed to succeed academically—and because their schools often focus exclusively on reading and math, in an effort to raise low test scores, they’re less likely to acquire it there.

    Vocabulary doesn’t come from tutors and trips to Europe. No one I know took elementary school children to Europe to boost vocabulary.

    They did, however, provide books in the home, and (like us) ignored the teachers’ advice about what was “appropriate” reading material for their children. For one of my children I had to write a permission note for the school, to give her access to all the books in the library, rather than those deemed appropriate for her age.

    1. At my Title 1 elementary school, all students received two free books a year of their choice from the Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) program. I remember it as the most exciting days in the year. Twice a year the library was turned into a book store, and each student got to browse the store and pick the book they wanted. Federal funding for the program was cut in 2011. Once a year, we also took a field-trip to the decommissioned library book bookstore, where we were all given 50 cents to buy what we wanted (kids books were in the 25-75 cent range, with most being 25-50 cents).

      1. I remember the thrill of the book fair each year.

        Our local public school libraries make a great fuss about being “learning commons,” i.e. a space leaning towards electronic media use rather than books.

        I feel something is lost. Books are a remarkable technology.

      2. cranberry said,

        “Our local public school libraries make a great fuss about being “learning commons,” i.e. a space leaning towards electronic media use rather than books.”

        There’s a new school opening here that makes a big whoop-de-doo of the fact that they use a lot of electronics. SO NOT IMPRESSED, especially since this is an elementary school.

    2. Cranberry quoted,

      “More affluent students may not learn much in elementary school, but compared to their disadvantaged peers their parents tend to be more educated and have the money to provide knowledge-boosting perks like tutoring and trips to Europe. As a result, those wealthy children are far more likely to acquire knowledge outside of school. Poorer kids with less-educated parents tend to rely on school to acquire the kind of knowledge that is needed to succeed academically—and because their schools often focus exclusively on reading and math, in an effort to raise low test scores, they’re less likely to acquire it there.”

      Cranberry replied:

      “Vocabulary doesn’t come from tutors and trips to Europe. No one I know took elementary school children to Europe to boost vocabulary.”

      Yeah, show of hands who takes their elementary school children to Europe? My sis does, but that’s because Oma and Opa are in Europe, and I don’t think her kids necessarily have better vocabularies than my kids.

      Vocabulary comes from conversation with parents, books, appropriate media, having a variety of outings and experiences–a lot of these things are associated with affluent families, but not necessarily regular-trips-to-Europe affluent.

      Plus, aren’t tutors for elementary school kids mostly for kids with academic problems?

      1. I’ve been tutoring early readers every week for three years. Helping kids learn to read is fascinating!

        There is a huge comprehension impact on kids whose families don’t have the time/resources to do simple things like go on weekend outings or take the kids to the library. I agree, I doubt it’s missing out on those trips to Europe that makes a difference. Rather, it’s being in a family that’s so stretched to make ends meet that there isn’t time for those extras we take for granted. Some kids go from home to school to home without much else going on.

        A lot of context learning takes place casually/informally in those day-to-day situations. And that’s in addition to the literacy skills learned from infancy by being around books and being read to. Subtle things like knowing that you read English from left to right and top to bottom; that there’s a cover with the title and author’s name; a title page; that you hold onto the book by the cover.

        Like the article notes, you need to have some background knowledge to be able to comprehend something new, an existing framework to add in new facts. But comprehension is more than just what we used to do with those leveled SRA boxes of short passages with questions to answer. It’s also about making personal connections to what you are reading – to be able to imagine what will happen next, what other books this one reminds you of, what you’d do if you were in that character’s situation, etc.

      2. ” ‘Vocabulary doesn’t come from tutors and trips to Europe. No one I know took elementary school children to Europe to boost vocabulary.’

        Yeah, show of hands who takes their elementary school children to Europe?”

        E was 9 and S 12 when we went to London and Paris. But we’d been traveling in the US for a few years and felt they were ready.

        We did not try to teach them any English vocabulary *but* we did have a French phrase book in Paris for the kids, and we had a German phrase book for when we were in Germany. The kids mainly looked up weird phrases and became experts on the German word for diarrhea (durchfall, FTR).

        I miss traveling. We will probably never travel like that as a family again. 😦

      3. Yeah, show of hands who takes their elementary school children to Europe?

        Me, me, me!

        Oh wait, we’re here already. Hm.

        Vocabulary comes from conversation with parents, books, appropriate media, having a variety of outings and experiences

        And then there’s the vocabulary that comes from inappropriate media…

      4. Doug said,

        “Me, me, me! Oh wait, we’re here already. Hm.”

        Yeah.

        Also, you’re not rich enough.

        “And then there’s the vocabulary that comes from inappropriate media…”

        I was thinking mainly in terms of the difference between actual quality children’s programming and some sort of frenzied-pace, badly drawn, cartoon channel filler.

      5. Wendy said,

        “I miss traveling. We will probably never travel like that as a family again. 😦”

        WAAAAAAAH!

        I appreciate the German word for diarrhea.

      6. The reason the kids learned the word for diarrhea in German is because I always tell the story about how E got a stomach virus when we were in Paris, and I had to go to the pharmacie and ask for medicine for diarrhea, and I didn’t know the word even though my knowledge of French is pretty good (doesn’t mean I can speak it or understand it spoken to me, but I can read it decently). In the end, the pharmacist knew English and got me what we needed. But I really prepped for that visit. 😀

      7. I also went to Europe as a kid, but it was to visit friends and family. We spent a month with my godmother in Germany, and then a month in Sweden and Norway staying with various relatives. I spent my days fully immersed with monolingual kids my own age and picked up very basic conversational German & Norwegian, all of which I’ve forgotten. (The Norwegian I retain a bit more of in terms of listening comprehension because my grandparents would speak to me in the US in Norwegian sometimes, but I’d always respond in English.)

        I also agree that there’s a ton of ways to make your kids academically successful that aren’t that expensive, but do rely on having the time and energy to spend on kids. I had a SAHM until age 10, so she had lots of time to spend with us, even if most of what we did was free or inexpensive. We’d go to the library, the park, she’d play games with us, read to us, and we had family memberships to the zoo and science museum (not free, but cheaper then relative to what it costs today, and back then they were also right next to each other).

    3. I read lots of age-inappropriate books when I was young, as I’m sure most people here did. It can be funny to reread one of those books and realize how much you missed as a child. A few years ago I reread “Ivanhoe,” which I had read in third grade. There are, as you may recall, endless purple passages in which Rebecca encounters Ivanhoe–her face feels flushed, she is confused and stammers and doesn’t know what to say or where to look, etc. I had no memory of those passages: apparently in third grade I just kept turning pages waiting for the knights to start fighting again.

  5. To me, adjuncting is possibly the epitome of short-sighted “penny-wise pound foolish” corporatization happening at universities. Again, you get what you pay for, and if you want to pay McDonald’s wages for a skilled task that is supposedly integral to the functioning of the institution, then you’ll get people who put minimum-wage effort into the class. If I don’t get paid for prep time, then I don’t prep. If I don’t get paid to grade, then I don’t grade. That’s how it works. I know people who adjunct at schools that pay poorly, and they don’t assign reading and they don’t assign papers. Students are paying for 3 hours a week of minimally directed babysitting.

    But thinking about VC ruining places, right now our administration is trying to shut down an iconic student-run coffee shop on our campus and replace it with a Starbucks. This coffee shop has its own product line and is part of campus tours (my mom still wears her t-shirt she bought there on my sister’s college tour there). As someone who studied branding and marketing, I find it absolutely gobsmacking that an administration would be trying to kill its brand “mystique” in an age when universities are doing everything they can to cultivate it. If you realize the people running the university don’t care if they run it into the ground as long as they can extract as much value from it as possible, it makes a lot of sense.

    1. I didn’t like everything about it back in the 1980s, but I feel like I could probably get through a marathon of 1980s Roseanne better than, say a marathon of Full House or Family Ties or whatever. You have to consider the comparison class.

      Dan was adorable!

      1. MH said,

        “If you watch “Fuller House”, you’ll be cured of that.”

        I accidentally wound up seeing part of a rerun of Full House a couple years ago and the 1980s style crib was horrifying: thick crib bumpers AND drop side, of course. And probably some blankets and pillows, too. *shudder*

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s