Here are some interesting articles we received and discovered this past week…
Online credit-recovery classes have been implicated in many school scandals
Quote from Article:
The public high schools in Washington, dc, were once looked on with wonder. Overcoming deep-seated poverty (three in four pupils are classified as poor) and racial segregation, the district dramatically increased its graduation rate. In 2012 only 56% of high-school students graduated. By 2017 that rate had climbed to 73%. Arne Duncan, Barack Obama’s education secretary, touted the district’s results as an example of “what can happen when schools embrace innovative reforms.”
Then the truth emerged. It began with media reports on shenanigans at Ballou High School, an all-minority and entirely poor high school in the southeastern corner of the nation’s capital. Graduation rates had gone from 50% in 2012 to 64% in 2017. When auditors examined the district’s records, they found that 34% of all diplomas in 2017 year were improperly awarded. Many went to students who seldom showed up at school. Graduation rates at Ballou have since sunk back to Earth.
An ever-present element in these stories is the reliance on online credit-recovery classes. These are remedial courses delivered via computer that students can take if they fail a class, rather than attending summer school or being forced to repeat a grade. Jeremy Noonan, a former science teacher in Douglas County, Georgia, was assigned to supervise a credit-recovery course in 2016. Mr Noonan says a colleague told him that his responsibility was to manage the course so that students received an average grade of 80 or higher, which would enable them to graduate even if they failed the end-of-term exams.
The computer programme doing the teaching allowed students to retake exams they failed, with many of the same questions. “I realised right away it was all about manipulating the system,” he says. “Most teachers just gave the students the answers without bothering to explain the course content,” says Ayde Davis, a former public-school teacher in Del Rio, Texas, who reported violations to the state education agency. “Students could finish their courses at accelerated rates, the administration was happy, and credit-recovery teachers who co-operated were feted.”
Students completed exams at unreasonably fast speeds—one finished a physics exam in four minutes and earned an 80% score, according to records she saved. In the 2015-16 school year, 144 credits were given for recovery courses completed in less than ten hours, Ms Davis’s documents show. According to the makers of credit-recovery software, each course has between 60 and 75 hours of instruction.
It is not possible to know how many credit-recovery programmes are being used as diploma mills. But these courses are now widespread. The Fordham Institute, an education think-tank, estimates that 69% of all high schools in America use them. Some high schools have more than half of their students enrolled in credit-recovery programmes. They are especially popular in urban high schools attended by poor and minority students—in other words, precisely the places where graduation rates have risen fastest.
District Deeds Synopsis:
The stories in this article regarding “diploma mill” characteristics should sound familiar to District Deeds readers.
We described the same tactics being used by Elementary School Superintendent (ESS) Cindy Marten to improperly pump up San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) grad rates in two posts titled “The San Diego Unified Supt. Cindy Marten 2015/16 DIPLOMA MILL SCAM – Introduction” and “The San Diego Unified Supt. Cindy Marten 2015/16 DIPLOMA MILL SCAM – Marten Unethical Opportunism Exposed!!!”
The victims of this self-serving scam to cover up Marten’s incompetence are all of our students.
Proof of this grad rate scam is available on the SDUSD 2018 Smarter Balance (SBAC) test results.
The results show miserable performance by 11th graders in both English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics.
In 2018, only 62% of SDUSD 11th graders met California English Language Arts/Proficiency Standards.
Even worse, only 47% of SDUSD 11th graders met California Mathematics Standards.
The results are much worse for 11th grade African-American and Hispanic students:
- For African-American Students only 36% are proficient in English, only 26% proficient in Math
- For Hispanic Students only 31% are proficient in English, only 30% proficient in Math
But somehow by June, over 86% of these students will graduate…many with the help of unproctored credit recovery classes.
Proof of a totally unethical grad rate scam perpetrated on SDUSD Students and Families by totally unethical ESS Marten and her sycophant senior staff.
What a CONTINUING disgrace!
Quote from Article:
Late December brought not one but two excellent disquisitions on moral education, both the importance of rekindling an emphasis on it in American schools and some thoughtful advice as to how to go about it. Each does a nice job of explaining why such rekindling is needed at this time—though unless you’re completely off the grid you already know why: not so much because of troubles with private morality (teenage pregnancy rates are down, etc.) but because of manifest failures in the public and semi-public squares: with honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness, both on the part of elected officials and in the small venues where we observe an excess of selfishness, cheating, laziness, and willingness to be a burden on others.
The moral and ethical renewal that American society needs, and that our schools have an obligation to do their best to infuse into their pupils, is the Aristotelian kind, nicely defined by Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson as human beings “exercising their reason and habituating certain virtues, such as courage, temperance, honor, equanimity, truthfulness, justice and friendship.” Gerson deplores—correctly in my view—today’s tendency among our public officials and many others to disregard Aristotle and instead embrace the version derived from Rousseau, which prizes authenticity and self-expression rather than virtue.
It’s high time we—and our schools—refocus on character building, and the two December articles suggest ways of doing that. I’ll get to them in a moment, but first want to flag what an important opportunity—and perhaps obligation—this is for schools of choice, both public and private.
Writing for the relatively low-profile History News Network, Eastern Michigan University emeritus history professor Walter Moss recalls the founders’ conviction that education in morality and virtue are indispensable elements of a proper curriculum, touches on key developments in the ensuing centuries, underscores the urgency in today’s America of developing citizens who take virtue seriously, and warns against the utilitarian impulse that leads many to focus only on preparing young people for remunerative careers. Then, citing psychologist Robert Sternberg’s article, “It’s Not What You Know, but How You Use It: Teaching for Wisdom,” he goes on to advocate an approach to K–12 education that “teach[es] students to see ‘things from others’ perspectives as well as one’s own,’ [and] to tolerate ‘other people’s points of view, whether or not one agrees with such views.’”
District Deeds Synopsis:
A great article that speaks directly of the need to teach our Students a moral and ethical approach to their fellow citizens,
An interesting quote in the article from Kant applies directly to the SDUSD leadership:
“Act in such a way that you treat humanity, which in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end but always at the same time as an end.” In other words, “never treat people as objects” and never treat “others as the means to impose our own ideals on the world.”
Unfortunately current ESS Marten and her crony Board of Education Trustees including “Tricky Dick” Barrera use use Students, Teachers, Principals and Staff as a “means to an end” in numerous distasteful, unethical ways every school year.
From SDUSD Stakeholders surveys they always ignore (i.e.: Election, Calendar and LCAP) to “community engagement” District Committees (DELAC, DAC, CAC, etc) they pander to and ignore, to a FULL SDUSD department, Community Relations, that reports directly to the SDUSD legal department and lies to parents and students to cover up its misdeeds (Tanja Daniels and Shamiko Harris case), immoral and unethical behavior has become the norm under the corrupt Marten/Barrera regime.
It is obvious to District Deeds that ESS Marten, Tricky Dick and the rest of SDUSD senior leadership is the first place to start morals and ethics training!
Quote from Article:
“I love myself!” the group of mostly black children shouted in unison. “I love my hair, I love my skin!” When it was time to settle down, their teacher raised her fist in a black power salute. The students did the same, and the room hushed. As children filed out of the cramped school auditorium on their way to class, they walked by posters of Colin Kaepernick and Harriet Tubman.
It was a typical morning at Ember Charter School in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, an Afrocentric school that sits in a squat building on a quiet block in a neighborhood long known as a center of black political power.
Afrocentric schools have been championed by black educators who had traumatic experiences with integration as far back as the 1960s and by young black families who say they recently experienced coded racism and marginalization in integrated schools. Both groups have been disappointed by decades of efforts to address inequities in America’s largest school system.
“Some of us are pro-integration, some of us are anti- and others are ambivalent,” said Lurie Daniel Favors, a member of Parenting While Black, a newly formed group of Brooklyn parents. “Even if integrated education worked perfectly — and our society spent the past 60-plus years trying — it’s still not giving black children the kind of education necessary to create the solutions our communities need.”
Children of any race may apply to an Afrocentric school, though they are overwhelmingly black. Some have sizable numbers of Hispanic students — Ember, which goes from kindergarten to eighth grade and is about a third Hispanic, incorporates Spanish into the students’ morning affirmation — but the schools typically have few or no white applicants.
District Deeds Synopsis:
What a refreshing idea!
Given that virtually all SDUSD schools are currently “caucasiancentric” organizationally and we also have a full-blown “caucasioncentric” Superintendent in ESS Marten that LOVES to hire primarily white people for her senior staff, there are many roadblocks to embracing this strategy in the SDUSD. (see: “SDUSD Superintendent Cindy “White Woman Mafia” Marten is Color Blind…Only Sees WHITE for Senior Management Positions While Betraying BOTH SDUSD Police and South of 8 Community!!!“)
We feel that this “Afrocentric school” strategy to fully engage and support communities of color is a good one to discuss and we would love to hear what our readers think.
Please comment on this post or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts.
Now for our Quote of the Week:
“We need to help students and parents cherish and preserve the ethnic and cultural diversity that nourishes and strengthens this community – and this nation. – Cesar Chavez
Have a great week!!!
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