Wisconsin Wednesday

As you may know, the State’s school “report cards” were released yesterday. I found some of the information really interesting. For example, did you know that almost 20% of Madison’s school kids have only limited English, but that number drops almost in half if you move to Milwaukee? Also, did you know that Madison Metro’s student population is 48.6% economically disadvantaged? That’s crazy. And more than 82% of Milwaukee’s school population is economically disadvantaged? 82%!? That’s crazy! I mean: that’s CRAZY. Geez Louise do we have some work to do.

Anyway, so I’ve been scanning the interwebs for other Sconnie education news and came upon this. I don’t really have too much of an opinion on it right now, but I think it’s interesting. Any thoughts, friends?


4 Responses to “Wisconsin Wednesday”

  1. 1 Jane Roe September 19, 2013 at 7:29 am

    I have mixed emotions. On the one hand I like the idea of having the grade/points reflect the student’s actual mastery.

    Where I get hung up is the seeming lack of any responsibility on the student’s part. As a high school teacher, we were supposed to prepare students not only for college but also for the workplace. We were constantly being berated for not having prepared students with a work ethic and the skills needed to be a good employee. I keep asking myself how many times will an employee be allowed to submit a project until he/she gets it right, be allowed to submit a project late, be allowed to be absent from work?

    I truly do understand the motivation behind this, and I do hope that it works. But in my 39+ years as an educator I saw a lot of “innovations” come and go and come back again and go. In education everyone keeps looking for the magic wand that will fix everything when in reality, what’s needed is to fix families and poverty. I always said that instead of “No Child Left Behind” it should have been “No Family Left Behind”. And given the the seeming hatred of the poor coming from Congress, I don’t see much hope of what is really needed to improve education ever happening. So instead schools come up with new gimmicks to “fix” education. At least they are trying.

  2. 2 kateandgracie September 19, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Yeah, I’m not sure what difference it’ll make, either. Do you think, though, that it’s significant that it’s 1st through 8th grade and not high school? Although I still see a deadline as being kinda paramount to life. I like the idea of giving kids additional time to master something, as opposed to just moving on, but I don’t like not having consequences for lateness. It reminds me of this student I had last semester. After she failed to turn in her assignment on time, she told me she would get it to me soon. After a week went by, she told me she thought she worked better with deadlines. I told her, “You had a deadline. It was a week ago.” She said, “Oh.” And that was a 30-year-old woman.

  3. 3 Sara September 20, 2013 at 9:00 am

    YIKES, really, in law school? That is a great example of why this might be the wrong direction. Oregon did this recently – it’s also hard for the parents to understand (what’s a rubric?). And I agree with Jane on several points – middle-skill employers CONSTANTLY complain that the hirees don’t have the “soft” skills needed (like knowing to come to work on time), and this sort of grading system doesn’t focus on that. I get that we need content mastery, but it won’t do you any good if you have no work ethic. Families and poverty – agree.

  4. 4 kateandgracie September 20, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Oh my goodness, yes! In law school. That last semester was so awful. There were a couple of gems, but there were so many more duds. I think I had the people that go to law school because people always told them they were good at arguing. I’d never seen anything like it. It made me feel terrible for the teachers that came before me. “I work better with a deadline.” Yeah, don’t we all?

    I really do think that if we could cure poverty, we could cure most of the ills in the schools. A different grading system doesn’t seem like the answer to me.

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September 2013

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