August 11, 2008

Day 17: Still Waiting


Two weeks after I first called for some evidence on the effectiveness of Broader, Bolder, I finally received a (sort-of) response from Big-Labor Fat-Cat Leo Casey.

Leo must have had a few of his underlings poring over the ERIC databases non-stop finding the requested evidence. Here is Leo's evidence. I am leaving in all the internal citations and footnotes.


Classroom teachers recognize immediately the educational value of providing a comprehensive array of services to students living in poverty. They have seen the effects of undiagnosed and untreated eye problems on a student’s ability to learn how to read, and of untreated ear infections on a student’s ability to hear what is being said in the classroom. They know that the lack of proper medical care heightens the severity of childhood illnesses and makes them last longer, leading to more absences from school for students who need every day of school they can get. They have seen asthma reach epidemic proportions among students living in poverty, and they know that the lack of preventive and prophylactic medical care leads to more frequent attacks of a more severe nature, and more absences from school. They understand that screening for lead poisoning happens least among children in poverty, even though their living conditions make them the most likely victims, with all of the negative effects on cognitive functions. They know that the stresses of life in poverty make mental health and social work services for students and their families all that more important, and yet they are least likely to receive them. They see how the transience that marks poverty disrupts the education of students again and again, as the families of students are constantly on the move. In short, teachers know that the students living in poverty lack the health and social services routinely available to middle class and upper class students, despite the fact that they need them even more. And they know that the absence of these services has a detrimental impact on the education, as well as the general well-being, of students living in poverty.


I emphasized Leo's evidentiary citations since they do not conform to the generally accepted norm. Leo's logic goes something like this: Leo knows best because Leo knows best. The circularity of this argument is surpassed only by its arrogance.

There is, of course, little actual research backing up Leo's claims. This is fortunate for Leo since in the few instances where there is research, it proves Leo wrong. Let's take a look at one of those claims.

They have seen asthma reach epidemic proportions among students living in poverty, and they know that the lack of preventive and prophylactic medical care leads to more frequent attacks of a more severe nature, and more absences from school.

As luck would have it, we actually have legitimate research on the efficacy of an asthma intervention. Here are the results.

  • An asthma self-management program incorporating health education and parental involvement increased academic grades for low-income minority children but not standardized test scores. (Evans et al.)

  • A subsequent study of the asthma self-management program was expanded to include health education for asthmatic children and their classmates, orientation for school principals and counselors, briefings for school custodians, school fairs including caretakers, and communication with clinicians demonstrated higher grades for science but not math or reading and fewer absences attributed to asthma as reported by parents but not fewer school-recorded absences. (Clark et al.)

Notice how the subjective measures (teachers' grades and parental reporting of grades) conflict with the objective measures (standardized test results and school-recorded absences).

Apparently, this isn't the sort of evidence that Leo is looking for. Leo isn't looking for any evidence:

Disingenuous calls for “evidence” that community schools work require a willful myopia on the effect on life in poverty on education — a blindness made possible by a complete unfamiliarity with the real world of the classroom.

If you ask Leo to provide support for his (expensive) opinions, you're being disingenuous. If you don't trust Leo that community schools work, you're being willfully myopic to poverty's effects on education. Of course, based on Leo's educational track record, if you're still foolish enough to be taking Leo at his word at this point, you'd have to be priapic.

I'll take disingenuous and myopic over priapic any day. I'm sufficiently hyperopic to know better than to take Leo at his word. Especially when that word calls for yet another bromide that gives more money and power to Leo.

15 comments:

Downes said...

> I'll take disingenuous and myopic...

Such is evident from your words.

Let's examine the asthma first (the Clark et.al. study, at least - the Evans one doesn't show up on Google at all and as usual you provide neither links not dates).

It's clear you quote Clark et.al. from their abstract. One wonders whether you read further. To find this, for example, summarized by Gale Jurasek ( http://www.chestjournal.org/cgi/content/abstract/125/5/1674 ):

"One disappointing result was the failure of the investigators to connect with the children’s primary care clinicians and obtain an asthma action plan. Baseline data indicated that only one quarter of the asthmatic children in the study were receiving adequate treatment..."

Gee, don't you think receiving treatment might be important?

In the study where adequate medical care *was* provided (Halterman JS, Szilagyi PG, Yoos HL, et al.) a positive result was obtained in many cases:

"The children in the intervention group missed a mean of 6.8 days of school, compared with 8.8 days missed in the usual care group...."

Worth noting was that "the intervention was ineffective for children who were exposed to secondhand smoke at home, but it was highly effective for the other children."

It is also worth noting that all studies - including the ones you cite - conclude (to quote the Evans, et.al. study ( http://www.chestjournal.org/cgi/content/abstract/125/5/1674 )):

"Overall, the intervention provided significant benefits, particularly for children with persistent asthma."

So an examination of the research shows that it does support the conclusion you say that it does, and indeed, explicitly states the opposite.

But, of course, your demand for evidence was, as Casey stated, disingenuous. You aren't interested in the conclusions actual researchers in the field draw. Rather, you will map their results against your own idiosyncratic definitions (of, say, 'improvement') and declare, contrary to all the researchers, that the asthma programs are ineffective.

And what - that they should be scrapped?

As for the rest of Casey's argument, why, you leave it untouched. As though there were somehow no evidence for the propositions that:

- eye problems impact the ability to learn how to read (tell me, how do you account for the programs set up for blind children?)

- lack of proper medical care heightens the severity of childhood illnesses and makes them last longer (guess you haven't been following the deaths that result when parents withhold treatment, refuse inoculations, prohibit transfusions, and the like - or the evidence from epidemiology about the spread of untreated disease)

- untreated asthma leads to more absences from school - thisa was clearly stated in the studies cited above. And it's worth noting that casy makes *no claim* about asthma and grades or testing - this is something YOU bring to the table, a straw man set up for the attack

- screening for lead poisoning happens least for children in poverty - why don't you read "The dimensions of poverty among children in the United States" - http://www.servingtheunderserved.org/epilogue.pdf it's the second freaking link in Google (right after this post, bet you're proud)

... and the rest. The points cited by Casey are disputed only by the willfully ignorant, by people who - like the creationists and global warming sceptics - will not allow any body of evidence to change their beliefs.

Anonymous said...

Downes,

As a longtime reader of this blog, I should warn you that your condescending tone makes you look really silly, especially when you are wrong.

Many of us care deeply about children. There is a strong emotional appeal to arguments that children need better health care. But we owe it to those children to be rationale and require substantial evidence when deciding on policy.

Anyway, there are a number of errors in your reasoning. I expect KD will point some of them out shortly. :)

I think you should review some of KD's early posts and you will see why many of your condescending accusations are off base.

And, if you are willing to open your mind a bit, consider the following points:

1) Simply because we can establish that a program is beneficial to the health and welfare of children does not mean it will impact their academic achievement.

It might be worth doing anyway. But you can't justify it on educational grounds.

And, remember, resources are limited. How much should we spend on a program whose only established benefit is preventing students from missing two days of school? It's a legitimate question.

2) Simply because we can establish that a health program is effective in one setting -- or even one school --does not mean that our public schools can successfully implement the program at scale.

The schools can't even teach basic reading and vocabulary skills to low income children at scale, despite clear evidence that it can be done in a single well run school. Why do you assume that they would be able to manage social services?

Most likely huge amounts of money would be spent on programs that require very rigorous implementation to be effective. The schools would botch the implementation and waste the money.

Just like they do with reading instruction and pretty much everything else.

To sum up: KD's points are right on. Just because you think something is self evident does not relieve you of the obligation to make a sound argument that includes convincing evidence.

KDeRosa said...

Stephen, here are your citations:

* Evans D, Clark NM, Feldman CH, et al. A school health education program for children with asthma aged 8-11 years. Health Educ Q. 1987;14(3):267-279

* Clark NM, Brown R, Joseph CL, Anderson EW, Liu M, Valerio MA. Effects of a comprehensive school-based asthma program on symptoms, parent management, grades, and absenteeism. Chest. 2004; 125(5):1674-1679.

Unlike double-standard Downes, I cited these two research studies because they actually met some minimum standards of social-science research. See Coordinated school health programs and academic achievement: a systematic review of the literature, Journal of School Health; Nov 1, 2007; Murray, Nancy G. Low, Barbara J. Hollis, Christine Cross, Alan W. Davis, Sally M.

These two studies were only two of about a half dozen studies related to school health programs that met generally accepted research standards.

"One disappointing result was the failure of the investigators to connect with the children’s primary care clinicians and obtain an asthma action plan. Baseline data indicated that only one quarter of the asthmatic children in the study were receiving adequate treatment..."

Gee, don't you think receiving treatment might be important?


Thanks for unwittingly proving my point once again.

I don't doubt that the school bungled the treatment; that's what schools do -- they bungle. Here's what the study tells us: even under experimental conditions, the school couldn't implement the treatment regime adequately such that it could improve student outcomes.

In the study where adequate medical care *was* provided (Halterman JS, Szilagyi PG, Yoos HL, et al.) a positive result was obtained in many cases

No citation? No determination if it meets minimal standards. It was excluded from the 2007 Murray et al. meta-anlysis cited above. Oh, that's right, it agrees with your world-view so it must be true. The Downes double-standard rears its ugly head again.

Substantively, however, I fail to see how gaining two school days (a 1 % increase) has ever led to an increased student achievement. Maybe you can find a cite for that?

"Overall, the intervention provided significant benefits, particularly for children with persistent asthma."

Benefits which apparently didn't include student achievement.

So an examination of the research shows that it does[n't:sic??] support the conclusion you say that it does, and indeed, explicitly states the opposite.

Only if we count outcomes not related to student achievement--the explicit reason given by Broader, Bolder. If we limit the outcomes to student achievement related measures the benefits, as usual, are elusive.

Rather, you will map their results against your own idiosyncratic definitions (of, say, 'improvement') and declare, contrary to all the researchers, that the asthma programs are ineffective.

I don't remember claiming that these studies didn't show any benefits, just none related to student achievement, a sine qua non for using limited educational resources which might be used more productively on other educational programs. (And let's not discount the infirmities of extrapolating generalized results from these small scale studies which in all likelihood have methodological infirmities)

eye problems impact the ability to learn how to read

lack of proper medical care heightens the severity of childhood illnesses and makes them last longer

untreated asthma leads to more absences from school


Nice Downesian (i.e., dishonest) framing. The question is whether providing a school-based version of these kinds of intervention will show an improvement over what is already being done.

You seem very confident in your opinions here. Surely you can cite specific school-based programs on each point which has been researched and has shown a positive impact on student achievement. Large scale, no doubt, and replicated.

screening for lead poisoning happens least for children in poverty

Current lead exposure levels are soundly in the realm of junkscience. But maybe I'm wrong and really have a study that shows increased achievement due to better school-based screening. Prove me wrong.

If you're going to carry Casey's water, at least do a competent job.

J.D. Fisher said...

Truthiness: The "use of appeal to emotion and the 'gut feeling' as a rhetorical device in contemporary socio-political discourse."

Darn. I want to say more--and I will--but it's late, and I think that quote above says a lot by itself.

Downes said...

> Unlike double-standard Downes, I cited these two research studies because they actually met some minimum standards of social-science research. See Coordinated school health programs and academic achievement...

Unlikely. You found one survey, and then began picking references out of the survey, without bothering to read beyond the abstract.

I can see why you didn't list it among your citations, even though it is your primary source. look what it says:

"The strongest evidence from scientifically rigorous evaluations exists for a positive effect on some academic outcomes from school health programs for asth­matic children that incorporate health education and parental involvement."

Oh, hey, that's the *opposite* of what you are claiming. You are saying there's no academic gain, and yet here is your own metastudy, not even mentioned in the original post, that concludes that there is a *positive* effect.

> These two studies were only two of about a half dozen studies related to school health programs that met generally accepted research standards.

18 studies in all were surveyed, but only two had to do with treatment of asthma (others dealt with nutrition programs, physical fitness, counseling, etc. and found positive benefits for those* interventions as well).

It would be more interesting to discuss what counts as a 'generally accepted research standard'.

> Thanks for unwittingly proving my point once again. I don't doubt that the school bungled the treatment...

I haven't proven your point at all. This study is evidence that *you* have found that you say supports *your* point. The fact that it contains a serious flaw undermines your position.

Indeed - what I would really like to know is how your citation such research can count as falling under 'generally accepted research standards'. It certainly doesn't evaluate the result of treatment of asthma, even though you cite it as though it does.

> that's what schools do -- they bungle.

There's a sweeping generalization for you, one more interesting for the bias it reveals than for any information it contains.

> Here's what the study tells us: even under experimental conditions, the school couldn't implement the treatment regime adequately such that it could improve student outcomes.

No, it says the school *did* not implement a program, not that it *could* not.

No citation?

Halterman JS, Szilagyi PG, Yoos HL, et al. Benefits of a school-based asthma treatment program in the absence of secondhand smoke exposure. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2004;158:460-467.

Foolishly I assumed that you had read the one-page summary in the link that I provided.

> No determination if it meets minimal standards.

Why should I do your work for you?

> It was excluded from the 2007 Murray et al. meta-anlysis cited above.

I have no idea why it was excluded. The article only provides a generalized list of criteria, not a specific criticism of individual papers. For all I know, their research assistants couldn't find it.

> Oh, that's right, it agrees with your world-view so it must be true. The Downes double-standard rears its ugly head again.

Actually, pretty much everything I read on the subject 'agrees with my world view'. That's how I form my 'world view' - I read the literature, and come to an unbiased conclusion based on that reading.

You are the only person in this conversation cherry-picking and misinterpreting the texts. Accusing me of this is a case of what Freud used to call 'projection' - a phenomenon very common among political commentators.

> Substantively, however, I fail to see how gaining two school days (a 1 % increase) has ever led to an increased student achievement. Maybe you can find a cite for that?

That's not relevant. You said there was no evidence that showed an increase in attendance. Yet here is clearly evince - in a source *you* cite and say shows otherwise - evidence for an increase in attendance.

Perhaps you can see how a series of measures, each adding 1 percent to attendance rates, might have an effect on outcome. It would be ridiculous to attempt to survey one of these measures in isolation, since the contribution of each is marginal.

> "Overall, the intervention provided significant benefits, particularly for children with persistent asthma." Benefits which apparently didn't include student achievement.

Benefits that - according to the metastudy you omitted to mention in your original post, *do* include increases in student achievement.

That you would claim the research says what it clearly doesn't is absolutely shameless.

> "So an examination of the research shows that it does[n't:sic??] support the conclusion you say that it does, and indeed, explicitly states the opposite." Only if we count outcomes not related to student achievement

And yet - I find explicit evidence in the survey paper you cite for gains in academic achievement.

> --the explicit reason given by Broader, Bolder. If we limit the outcomes to student achievement related measures the benefits, as usual, are elusive.

Actually, Broader, Bolder could cite the papers in this discussion as evidence for their position.

> I don't remember claiming that these studies didn't show any benefits, just none related to student achievement

Oh, let's quote that study again:

"evidence from scientifically rigorous evaluations exists for
a positive effect on some academic outcomes from school health programs for asth­matic children"

This would be exactly the result you say wasn't obtained.

Look at the Evans, et.al. study:

"Significant improvements noted among health education compared with controls: for academic grades (4% vs 0%; p = .05), mathematics
(8% vs 3%; p = .03), science (5% vs 4%; p = .005), and oral expression (6% vs 1%; p = .04)."

The 'academic grades' refer to the marks given by teachers, but 'mathematics ' and 'science', which are listed separately, refer to standardized tests.

Looks like this study says *exactly* what you say it doesn't. Got an explanation for that?

> a sine qua non for using limited educational resources which might be used more productively on other educational programs. (And let's not discount the infirmities of extrapolating generalized results from these small scale studies which in all likelihood have methodological infirmities)

The justification for re-allocating resources must be based, not merely on a narrow description of improvement as 'higher grades on standardized tests' (which would be ridiculous) but rather on a wide ranging assessment of *all* benefits realized from the spending, including (say) health and social benefits.

> Nice Downesian (i.e., dishonest) framing. The question is whether providing a school-based version of these kinds of intervention will show an improvement over what is already being done.

You are criticizing Casey. Casey does not make this assertion. All he says is that asthma treatments reduce absences.

The rest of it is you projecting your own agenda onto Casey.

For my own part - when I look at a study of some 835 Detroit students, and find that "one quarter of the asthmatic children in the study were receiving adequate treatment," then it seems to me that "what is already being done" is grossly inadequate.

> Surely you can cite specific school-based programs on each point which has been researched and has shown a positive impact on student achievement. Large scale, no doubt, and replicated.

For many of these, a large-scale study would be pointless and ridiculous. Why do we need more study to determine whether poor vision makes it harder to learn how to read? What genuine doubt is there about this proposition?

> Prove me wrong.

I think we're well beyond the point where we need to prove anything to you. As Casey says, your calls for evidence are disingenuous. You don't really care about what the researchers actually say, and you consistently misquote them to support your own conclusions (I've seen you do this on *numerous* occasions, not just here).

You may have a body of readers who support your position, but those readers should know that *real* researchers - people with some actual qualifications in the field, who have actually done some research themselves - disagree overwhelmingly with the sort of propositions being advanced in this blog.

> If you're going to carry Casey's water, at least do a competent job.

As compared to... you?

Anonymous said...

downes,

i still can't figure out why you go to such great lengths to defend the status quo

it's just not working

and DI does work . . . I've seen it in action, and the kids love it, and it really equips them for life (I know this through both observation, and anecdotal and experimental evidece)

but keep up the good fight . . .

KDeRosa said...

Are you through attacking strawmen yet?

You found one survey, and then began picking references out of the survey, without bothering to read beyond the abstract.

Actually, unlike you I don't like rely on abstracts. I have the entire study. Here is the link (http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-171541228.html). Sign up for free access and learn something.

There was no need to cherry pick references -- there was only four studies that met the Cross study's selection criteria. Here's what they state right up front, you'd do well to heed it: "Few evaluations of school health programs measure academic outcomes. K-12 education needs evidence for academic achievement to implement school programs. This article presents a systematic review of the literature to examine evidence that school health programs aligned with the Coordinated School Health Program (CSHP) model improve academic success."

And what did they find: four studies that met the selection criteria. The two asthma studies and two studies on the benefits of physical education.

Oh, hey, that's the *opposite* of what you are claiming. You are saying there's no academic gain, and yet here is your own metastudy, not even mentioned in the original post, that concludes that there is a *positive* effect.

That blurb refers to the two asthma studies I cited. Read the entire article before jumping to conclusions. The improved "academic outcomes" were the two days decreased absences (not exactly a measure of student achievement) and teacher grades (a subjective measure and confirmation bias issue), but NOT standardized test scores. I indicated all of this in my original post, which you apparently failed to read.

It would be more interesting to discuss what counts as a 'generally accepted research standard'.

Read the study and you'll find out. The Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria are provided.

Only four studies met the standard. The remaining 13 did not, but met a lesser standard.

The fact that it contains a serious flaw undermines your position.

WHat's the serious flaw, the fact that it doesn't support your view.

That's not relevant. You said there was no evidence that showed an increase in attendance. Yet here is clearly evince - in a source *you* cite and say shows otherwise - evidence for an increase in attendance.

No I didn't. ANother strawman.



Perhaps you can see how a series of measures, each adding 1 percent to attendance rates, might have an effect on outcome. It would be ridiculous to attempt to survey one of these measures in isolation, since the contribution of each is marginal.

If that's what you think then you need to provide support. You have failed to do so as of yet. That's what suppport means, it does not include Stephen Downes' biased opinion.

The 'academic grades' refer to the marks given by teachers, but 'mathematics ' and 'science', which are listed separately, refer to standardized tests.

Actually, it refers to grades, as you would know if you read the entire survey. From table 1: "No significant difference between groups on standardized test scores for reading or math, for teacher-rated classroom behavior, or for attendance." I've bolded the important part. You'd feel silly about now if you had any shame.

The justification for re-allocating resources must be based, not merely on a narrow description of improvement as 'higher grades on standardized tests' (which would be ridiculous) but rather on a wide ranging assessment of *all* benefits realized from the spending, including (say) health and social benefits.

That's not what Broader Bolder think:

"[T]here is solid evidence that policies aimed directly at education-related social and economic disadvantages can improve school performance and student achievement. "

I've yet to find it. You certainly have failed to cite anything. And once you actually read Evans et al. you'll see that Evans provide no such support either.

For many of these, a large-scale study would be pointless and ridiculous. Why do we need more study to determine whether poor vision makes it harder to learn how to read? What genuine doubt is there about this proposition?

There is little. Wherre the doubt lies is whether having a school-based provisioning of these services will increase academic achievement as claimed by Broader Bolder. The large scale replicated part comes from whether the results are generalizable over the full range of demographics. The Downesian double-standard reares its ugly head yet again. "I don't need any support for my crackpot schemes, you need to meet an impossible physics-like experiment for yours."

You may have a body of readers who support your position, but those readers should know that *real* researchers - people with some actual qualifications in the field, who have actually done some research themselves - disagree overwhelmingly with the sort of propositions being advanced in this blog.

Another Downesian appeal to authority -- a logical fallacy. I thought you taught this stuff.

And yet you've failed to cite a single study in support from these researchers. Odd that.

As compared to... you?

You stay classy, Stephen.

Anonymous said...

KD:

Downes is wildly off base to assume that the readers of your blog are ignorant followers of KD and not "real" researchers themselves.

Personally, I do not like KD much as a person. His posts indicate that he is immature and condescending--the classic "smartest kid in the class." If someone treats him in a condescending fashion like you do, he does not rise above it, but rather goes down to their level. This is a real problem, as he could do a great deal of good by persuading people if he was more careful not to "turn them off." And as a father and a professional, he should know better.

That said, folks are wrong when they tune out KD. He is brilliant AND substantially correct in the majority of his posts. He deserves a larger readership than most academic journals.

"Real" researchers, the ones I respect anyway, mostly agree with KD. (Of course, there are not many researchers I respect in colleges of education. The ones I respect come from more rigorous fields, such as behavioral psychology, and consider most education professors to be unfit for tenure.)

Anonymous said...

KD -- You clearly aspire to a higher level of discourse then most blogs. Most blogs are simply vehicles for folks to express their own biased opinions without adhering to any standards of logic or evidence.

I think it would be helpful if you set some clear ground rules (or simply reminded everyone of them.)

First, if someone refers to a study as supporting their argument they MUST CITE THE STUDY so we all can pick it apart.

Second, the study must show an effect that is educationally significant, which we can define as an effect size of .2 Standard deviations. (also called "psychologically significant" by psychologists.) Studies that show effect sizes that are merely statistically significant are NOT acceptable as evidence.

Third, posts and comments should not contain logical fallacies. It would be helpful to list these and explain them for your readership.

It particularly bothers me when someone makes a comment like Downes just did that appeals to authority. This is particularly dangerous in the field of education, since so many of the so called "authorities" are not worthy of our respect.

Matt Johnston said...

Ken,

While I applaud your efforts to get the Broader, Bolder crowd to provide support for their assertions of need, I wonder if they can do something even smaller, even more fundamental that simply appealing to the faith in teachers.

I would like to see research provided that supports the concept in general. Do teachers themselves (in anonymous surveys by a reputable third party survey group with a properly sampled and conducted survey developed by the polling firm) support the idea of expanding schools to become these Community Schools? Do they support the expansion of their already crowded responsibilities to include all of these other social engineering aspects? Will teachers support the need for them to refer children to health/medical/social services? Will teachers accept that they may need to see pay freezes or cuts to pay for these kinds of services? (remember there are only so many dollars to go around). If the goal is to provide these services to low income students and at low income schools, what about teachers in higher income schools with higher income students? What will be expected of them (remember the unions like uniformity for their teachers)?

In addition, has anyone conducted any survey of the supposed beneficiaries of these additional services--the poor? What are their feelings on the matter? Are we supposed to just trust Casey, Weingarten et al, that they know best for these so-called poor? (yet another take on "Teachers know best") Do these poor people want their kids and themselves to be treated by a school and school system that can't properly educate the kids? Will the poor use these additional services? Remember, all of these services that Casey & Company want to house at the local schools are already available (and no doubt known about) in the local communities?

This would seem to be a relatively cheap and easy way to at least get to the starting gate. My hunch is that the teacher probably aren't going to be rushing to become social service moguls as they have enough to do as it is. I can't really see that decentralization is going to benefit the poor too much, other than making it easier for con artists and crooks to cheat the system.

No, I think that these kinds of answers are not going to please the Broader, Bolder proponents.

Anonymous said...

It appears that Downes has far too much time on his hands. If he is so knowledgeable about the minutiae of elementary education and how to improve it, I hope he is donating lots of his free time to help the schools, teachers and parents in New Brunswick, where he lives. It has the lowest student achievement in Canada. You'd think that a "physician, heal thyself" reminder would be unnecessary.

I do find it amusing that someone who is not an American and has not apparently lived or worked or studied in the USA for any extended period of time, knows more than educational researchers, school activists, informed American citizens, or just about anyone else, about what US schools need.

The Almighty obviously needs Stephen Downes' immediate assistance, in an advisory capacity.

KDeRosa said...

Compare and Contrast:

1. Stephen Downes' non-existent standard for research for interventions that he likes as set forth in the above comments.

2. Stephen Downes' super standard for interventions he doesn't like in a comment two years ago. Make sure you read the whole thing.

I swear you can't make this stuff up.

Keep this little comical flip flop in mind whenever you read anything by the esteemed Mr. Downes.

Powers said...

Reading the Downes/DeRosa debate is better than watching Law & Order!

Almost as fun as attending School Board meetings.

Seriously, Ken... You have two major talents. You are at your best when you are cutting and sarcastic. You are also at your best when you are dispassionate and analytical - and the two next to each other is extremely jarring.

Parentalcation said...

Off topic...

but... while I seriously doubt adding health and/or community services to schools would improve educational outcome, I don't think that means it's a bad idea.

I would support the idea of co-locating health and community services with a school, and then establishing some sort of cooperation between the two seperate entities.

As a parent of five kids, I can appreciate the benefits of having my kids dental or medical check performed while at school. (New Zealand does this, or at least use to while I lived there.)

The whole who pays for it is a completely separate question, but if you like me except the premise that all kids should have free health care, and it's government funded, then collocation seems like a no duh proposition.

It is disingenuous for supporters of the bolder, broader proposal to use school achievement to justify an otherwise entire reasonable proposition.

Dr. Kwame M. Brown said...

So...with all the posturing and arguing, and defending positions, and everyone making sure that everyone knows everyone is smart...

What is the solution?

Do these kids need help?

If help is available and treatment is available, as someone who works for a county government, I sincerely doubt if "most" know about it. If you've ever lived in a low income neighborhood (which I have), you know that there is not always a sense of services that are available. Furthermore, kids are often unlikely to be able to take advantage of services, because they can't get there. This is evidenced by the fact that only a quarter of students here were getting treatment.

I think for that reason, pairing schools with preventive programs is at face value a good idea.

I admittedly don't know enough about the Broader, Bolder program to know if I support it on it's merits. But you guys do, so I will pose these questions:

What is being done to ensure fidelity of these programs?

What is being done to "market" the programs to kids and parents?

Are the providers getting out into the community and ensuring knowledge of value and availability of the services?

As someone who has been both trained as a rigorous scientist (Georgetown University Neuroscience Ph.D.) and worked in the community (Fairfax County Park Authority designing children's fitness programs):

I can tell you that until we come down out of the ivory towers and start answering the above "grass roots" types of questions, we will not solve these problems. Unless those types of questions are answered on a human level, we can know if these types of programs CAN work.

I am not interested in how smart or rigorous we all are. I am interested in how we can all work together and apply all this intelligence to helping children.

Interested? visit my blog at http://drkwamebrown.wordpress.com/

Not self serving, I just really really want to hear as many people's thoughts as I can, since I work on the problems facing our youth every day all day.

Please post and please continue discussions like this with the focus on our children and what we can DO, not protecting our own egos.