The Ugly Truth .. Education and the Digital Chasm


You often wonder , if you are a professional, if the reporters who work in Washington know the ugly truth about education and the digital divide. You wait for someone to say things. But they don’t. Education in the Nation’s Capital is a horrible chasm. There are charter schools, some good , some bad. There are private and parochial schools. But the ugly truth about DC Schools has come out finally. Perhaps it took the death of NCLB to make people think?

IMG_0078

 

I am a teacher. I worked overseas in DODDS Schools. I thought, well I will go help Washington DC .. a decade or more ago. That did not work for me.The job was bigger than me in the school that I worked in. I went back , across the river to Arlington , Va. schools.There were many reasons.

Who runs DC Schools? The Congress has oversight.. and Rhee has come and gone and left people of her like mind here to carry on her legacy. Does the Mayor know education? Is big data fooling her and others?

In the Washington Post .

In D.C. schools, the racial gap is a chasm, not a crack

Opinion writer January 1

“The final page has been turned on D.C. Public Schools’ 2015 calendar. But 2016 begins with the same uncompromising problem: the school system’s huge racial achievement gap.” He writes.

“Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson called the results of last year’s standardized tests “sobering.” ”

How about painful? How about awful? How about inadequate? How about heartbreaking to parents?

How about .. sigh.. not serving the kids who need education the most.

Colbert goes on to say “The tests, known as the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers exams, or PARCC,showed that just 25 percent of D.C. students in the third through eighth grades met or exceeded expectations on new standardized tests in English.

Only 24 percent met a new math benchmark.”

And that was the good news.

Were it not for white test-takers in this majority-minority school system, the results would have been even worse.

 Overall English and math proficiency rates reached 25 percent and 24 percent, respectively, only because white students, who make up 12 percent of the school system, scored proficiency rates of 79 percent in English and 70 percent in math.

And that was the good news.

Were it not for white test-takers in this majority-minority school system, the results would have been even worse.

No matter which initiative I was prepared to help schools and teachers with I was told testing, is the most important thing and that there was NO time for inserting anything new.

12187861_10153749838123708_4314874807707878926_n

Overall English and math proficiency rates reached 25 percent and 24 percent, respectively, only because white students, who make up 12 percent of the school system, scored proficiency rates of 79 percent in English and 70 percent in math.

 

IMG_8960

 

 

Should we talk about STEM?  Science, Technology, Engineering and Math?

No, because the reading skills of most of the students are a main difficulty. Testing tethered technology except in a few schools.

Even the director of the projects for geography at National Geographic said to me, ” Our teachers have to worry about the tests, we don’t have time for ESRI Connects..

In 2014, There were some unsettling data points: Proficiency rates among students learning English as a second language declined in both subjects and in both traditional and charter schools. Latino students’ reading proficiency rates also dropped in both sectors, while the traditional school system saw reading proficiency fall among its economically disadvantaged students.

The Facts from Wikipedia

District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) consists of 111[1][2] of the 238 public elementary and secondary schools and learning centers located in Washington, D.C. These schools have a grade span of prekindergarten to twelfth grade and, as of 2000, a kindergarten entrance age of 5 years old.[3] School is compulsory for DCPS students between the ages of 5 and 18.[4] DCPS schools typically start the last Monday in August. The school day is generally approximately six hours.[citation needed]

The ethnic breakdown of students enrolled in 2012 was 72% Black, 14% Hispanic (of any race), 10% non-Hispanic White, and 4% of other races. The District itself has a population that is 42% non-Hispanic White, 51% Black and 10% Hispanic (of any race).[5] Gentrification and demographic changes in many DC neighborhoods has increased the White and Hispanic populations in the city, while reducing the Black population. In 2008, DCPS was 84.4% Black, 9.4% Hispanic (of any race), 4.6% non-Hispanic White, and 1.6% of other races.[6]

Facilities reform legislation in DC has led to many school openings and closings.

Can you see where this is going?

Think of all the museums, the learning institutes, the teaching initiatives like. Connect Ed  … do you really think those programs were enacted?

https://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/education/k-12/connected

11816105_867532499967099_6710867566967151451_o

Every kid in a park? Did the schools respond to this program? I did go on a program with teachers from the National Geographic Alliance. We toured DC parks.

What do you think?Washington is full of parks and places to learn.Many of the students have never been to a lot of these places. There are wonderful teacher workshops.

When I was observing education in Russia,  I learned that there are after school initiatives that are a part of the school program.

CODING ?

Did the students code? I hope there were classes that did.

IMG_8956

A few groups of people who did coding and who do more every Saturday, but they are not allowed to work in the schools. Again, the basic skills levels and testing  may create a problem. One thing I was able to do was to work all day, and several Saturdays with groups that worked with Dr. Jesse Bemley. Dr.Bemley works with the support of Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) is the central technology organization of the District of Columbia Government. OCTO develops, implements, and maintains the District’s technology infrastructure; develops and implements major enterprise applications; establishes and oversees technology policies and standards for the District; provides technology services and support for District agencies, and develops technology solutions to improve services to businesses, residents and visitors in all areas of District government.

Dr. Bemley reaches out to the students. and provides supercomputer connectivity in a basement.

Bemley is  helping with those students to close the equity gap.

There should be more opportunities using technology to enhance the curriculum for students.

Culatta identified five opportunities to close the equity gap with technology. They include:

Opportunity #1: Equitable access to high-quality digital learning materials

The Learning Registry, which Culatta called “the human genome project” for open educational resources, is an online information network designed to organize and vet academic content for educators. It can be tapped into through various websites, such asfree.ed.gov, the Illinois shared learning resources site, or MyDigitalChalkboard from California.

Opportunity #2: Equitable access to expertise

“Too many of our students are disadvantaged purely based on the ZIP code they live in,” he said, referring to a community that had a math teacher opening for five years because it couldn’t attract anyone to the town for that job. Ed tech can fill the gap, he said.

Meanwhile, in Sunnyside, Ariz., a high school bioengineering class was able to capture the genomes of all indigenous plant life in their region, by using technology to work with a local university.

Opportunity #3: Personalized learning

“One of the least equitable things we do is to treat all students the same,” he said. Adjusting the pace and path of learning can be transformationall, he said.

Some schools are personalizing a student’s learning to the extent that his or her schedule changes each day based on what was achieved the day before, he said.

Opportunity #4 – Support planning for higher education

“There are very few tools to help [students] make that transition,” said Culatta, who touted the January Datapalooza sponsored by the White House and the Education Department, in which open data was provided to developers who created and showcased products to help with post-secondary education planning.

Opportunity #5 – Supporting accessibility

To illustrate this opportunity, Culatta showed a video of a student who is being treated for lymphoma, and attends school remotely via a robot. Students at David Posnack Jewish Day School in Davie, Fla., raised money to buy a robot for Kyle, and produced a video explaining the experience.

http://”//www.youtube.com/embed/Dd-LMvkpjsM”

Tech Equity: A Civil Rights Issue

Culatta pointed out that equity in technology was part of a recent “Dear Colleague” letterfrom the Office for Civil Rights. This was the first guidance on the issue of resource equity released during the Obama administration, and it included references to equal access to laptops, tablets, the Internet, and instructional materials.

“We consider the number of devices, the type, and their age,” Culatta said.

He called technology an accelerator that can change the world.

 

 

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

One thought on “The Ugly Truth .. Education and the Digital Chasm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: