Failing Schools
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Public School Failed My Kid So We Switched To Private

Public School Failed My Kid So We Switched To Private | Failing Schools | Scoop.it
This school year we ended up doing something we said we would never do – we switched from a public school to a private one.
Katie Figgie's insight:

This blog post from a parenting website discusses how a mother felt like the public school her daughter attended had failed them. This post, like the article Over Half of Schools Failing in RE shows a different perspective on what a failing school is. Failing schools are not just schools that have low test scores and not enough budget but they are schools that are not successfully catering to the needs of their students. This issue should be discussed just as much as schools that aren’t getting the correct grades on standardized tests because schools should be concerned with their students happiness just as much as their tests. The mother who wrote the blog post discusses how her daughter was getting bullied and when she tried to reach out to the school they were less than helpful, she says that she “got the feeling a lot of teachers and administrators at this school (with the exception of her wonderful teacher last year) felt my older daughter had somehow brought the bullying on herself for not being stronger or standing up for herself more.” This is terrible and definitely a way a school can fail. I believe a school’s responsibility is to make sure their students are happy and feel safe within the community and if they cannot do that then I absolutely agree with this mother’s decision to leave the school that is not adequately supporting her daughter.

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The Lottery

Four children enter a high-stakes lottery. If they win, they can attend one of the best schools in New York. A look at the crisis in public education, The Lottery makes the case than any child can succeed.
Katie Figgie's insight:

This documentary is about the education system in Harlem, New York. It follows four families who desperately hope to be picked in the lottery for the Harlem Success Academy a charter school which has shown amazing success compared to some of the public schools in the community. The movie debates the issue of charter schools by showing the difference of opinions on whether or not charter schools have a right to come into a community and take away resources from the other schools. The documentary shows a community meeting discussing the idea of building a second Harlem Success Academy, but it would be in the building of a neighborhood “failing school”. Obviously feelings are very mixed and I really think that scene best shows the opposite stances on charter schools. I really loved this documentary, but my feelings about charter schools are still very mixed. It is hard to deny that the Harlem Success Academy is doing amazing things for its students, but it is only able to accommodate a certain number of students from the community. It is so sad to see these families have their child’s future almost completely determined by a lottery system. It breaks my heart to see that people have to fight so hard in this country to get an adequate education and it tells me we absolutely have to figure out how to better the public school system in our country. These schools should not be failing children like they are and something must be done to change it. I am definitely more open minded about charter schools than when I was while reading What Is A “Failing School”? but I am still not entirely sure about my opinion on them. 

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'Over half of schools failing in RE'

'Over half of schools failing in RE' | Failing Schools | Scoop.it
More than half of schools in England are failing pupils on religious education, says watchdog Ofsted.
Katie Figgie's insight:

This is an interesting and different viewpoint to look at what would label a school as "failing". In the United Kingdom religious education has not been focused on as much as other subjects such as math or science. When speaking of religious education in this article it is important to note that the author means education about different religions where students explore Islam, Buddism, and many other different types of religions in the world. A representation from the National Association of Head Teachers stated that "...as a head teacher... we are concentrating more - as we've been told to do by consecutive governments - on core subjects and subjects that can be measured." The government has told schools that religious education is not as important of a subject. Because of this, schools have to focus on the core subjects because they are controlled by the government. Consequently students are given the impression that only certain subjects are important and if they are not good at these subjects they are failing not only themselves but also their schools. Personally I do not agree with a stronger focus on more testable subjects, just because they are easy to test doesn't mean they are more useful. I think learning about other cultures is something schools should absolutely focus more on because ultimately it has the most application in the real world. I think that this is an example of a school failing its students which is just as big of an issue as a school with failing grades. 

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What Is a 'Failing' School?

What Is a 'Failing' School? | Failing Schools | Scoop.it

"Closing schools does not make them better. Nor does closing schools help students. It's way past time to stop blaming the people who work in troubled schools and start helping them by providing the tools they need and the support their students need."

Katie Figgie's insight:

This article by Diane Ravitch discusses the debate of how to handle low performing schools, also known as "failing schools". She explains the term failing schools by saying, “But these days, any school with low test scores is called a "failing school," without any inquiry into the circumstances of the school.” There are many different opinions on how to help schools in need. One idea proposed in the article by the New York Governor was that these schools “should be taken over by the state, given to private charter corporations, or put under mayoral control.” I strongly disagree with the idea that failing schools should be shut down, I feel like that does nothing to help the students, the teachers, the community and the whole school district. I do not think that states should give up on their schools but look into how to improve the school. I also completely disagree with the classification of failing schools. The author makes a wonderful point by saying the government just labels a school as “failing” without looking at the special circumstances like how many students' first language is not English, how many have special needs, etc. All these reasons would lend to a school not necessarily doing well in standardized tests but it doesn’t mean this school is a failure. Standardized testing is not a fair representation of the smarts and ability of the students within the school and it is not a proper representation of the teachers’ abilities to work with the students. I have held this belief for a while and this article confirms and strengthens my opinion on how closing schools is not the correct way to remedy a school that may be struggling.

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Schools Improve When Leaders Stop Rationalizing Mediocrity : Education Next

"If the superintendents of failing school districts were as adept at fixing schools as they are at making excuses for their poor performance, America would have the best education system in the world."

Katie Figgie's insight:

This article from the Education Next Journal talks about accountability for people who run our public schools. The authors, Eric A. Hanushek and Paul E. Peterson state that school professionals need to take responsibility for their schools. They discuss how superintendents cannot just make excuses on why their school is not performing like it should be and blaming situations like poverty does not adequately explain why so many American schools are falling behind the rest of the world. I think that this article is interesting because it discusses how many people believe that the reason schools are failing is because of gaps in economy or lower standards set in some schools but the authors really try to discredit that idea with showing how other countries like Slovakia, Lithuania, and Hungary have similar economic gaps but are still performing better than American students on standardized tests. I think that this is an interesting point to consider but I am not sure if I completely agree with them. I do not believe that standardized testing can ultimately display how students are learning, especially with the other situations in America to be considered. We have a much higher rate of ESOL students in our classrooms who are expected to take these tests in English, perhaps these students are from Lithuania and if they took it in their natural language they would produce better results. I think that the authors may have over looked some important ideas while just looking at the numbers. I do agree with this article though that in general America should stop making excuses for why our schools are not doing as well as they could be and start thinking about how we can change it. 

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Geoffrey Canada: Our failing schools. Enough is enough! | Video on TED.com

Why, why, why does our education system look so similar to the way it did 50 years ago? Millions of students were failing then, as they are now -- and it’s because we’re clinging to a business model that clearly doesn’t work.
Katie Figgie's insight:

Geoffrey Canada explains why the education system in our country is not helping its students in this completely worthwhile TED talk. He explains that the way schools have been structured hasn’t changed in decades. Times have changed and schools need to change with them. He uses an analogy with banks, banks used to work from 10am-3pm. Bankers did not care that this was inconvenient for its customers because all banks were the same and there was nothing the customers could do about it. Then one bank decided to have longer hours, open on Saturday, and install ATMS and it worked for the customers so other banks followed. He makes this point to show that no one has decided to make the necessary changes that schools need. No one has been that inventive bank yet. I agree with him, at least in the public school system in this country. It does not make sense that schools are not producing what they need to and yet nothing is being changed. The education system seems content with what types of students it is producing even though parents, students, educators are not happy with the education. Another great point brought up in this video is the argument that changing schools will cost the government a lot of money. I absolutely agree with Geoffrey Canada when he discusses that the money needed to be spent on education is a drop in the bucket compared to what America spends on things like war and national security. The education of children in America should be our top concern and yet it is not getting the recognition it needs. If we can invest money into the school system and make some really good changes that help students than the country will absolutely see the benefits and in my personal belief there will be a lot more benefit from a strong education than a strong military. 

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Do American public schools really stink? Maybe not

Do American public schools really stink? Maybe not | Failing Schools | Scoop.it
The drumbeat is hard to miss: Our schools are failing. Public education is in crisis. Our students are falling further and further behind.
Katie Figgie's insight:

This is an interesting article that puts perspective on the idea of failing schools. The author makes a claim that even though America has decided that its schools aren't doing what they should and that they are producing smart enough or qualified enough students that we actually are. An example given says that the United States ranked 32nd on an international math test given, which would predict that America will soon fall behind in math and science. The author of this article says that this is far from true since the United States has scored low on these math tests for the last 50 years and that has not stopped our country from making amazing scientific and mathematical gains. This article shows that perhaps looking at tests and numbers doesn't accurately describe our school systems and maybe the education system in our country is working perfectly well. I do not totally agree with this, I believe that we should not just look at test grades to see if a school is doing well, but we cannot ignore them completely. There are other factors to look at when deciding if a school is doing what it should be. Schools can always be improved and our country shouldn't just stop with a good enough education system. We should always try to strive for better. So maybe our schools are not failing but we should still try to improve them.

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