September 9, 2009

New edu-blog Mid-Riffs agrees

I agree with promising new edu-blog, Mid-Riffs', take on Obama's speech.

But all of that leaves out the demand-side: the students’ willingness (or not) to learn. We can deliver the perfect curriculum via perfect teachers led by perfect principals in perfect schools operating under perfect accountability standards and choice, but if the students have the attitude that “I refuse to learn, because it’s not cool, or it’s acting white,” they won’t learn very much. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

Exactly. Certainly, there are some kids at the margin who need a good motivational speech to get them to try a little more earnestly.

But, such a motivational speech only makes sense if the required learning is within the student's reach once the effort is made. Otherwise, the students are merely wasting their time.

Let's take a look at reading performance at the President's hand-selected Wakefield High. 75% of black students and 77% of Hispanic students are not achieving at a level being achieved by 75% of white students (a level that in my estimation falls somewhere between basic and proficient on the NAEP).

Does anyone really believe that 75% of black students, 77% of Hispanic students, and 25% of white students just need a presidential kick in the ass to make the grade?

I'd venture that few would without a major overhaul of the curriculum and pedagogy with the help of a time machine to transport them back to K for their do-over.

Then you can give all the motivational speeches you want.

And, be sure to not to miss John Carney's alternate speech which gets a lot closer to the actual truth of the situation. (HT Mid-Riffs)

1 comment:

matt m said...

I think a lot of it has to do with a students upbringing and how they view education, blacks and hispinanics are disadvantaged generally because of where they grow up and the poor school systems they attend. White students generally grow up in better communities and better school systems.