News flash: Dallas 5th graders not ready for college? How about middle school?

October 23, 2009

It’s not so much of a “Duh!” moment as you might think.

Studies by the Dallas Independent School District indicate that about half of all Dallas fifth grades students are not on the development arc they need to be on to be ready for college upon graduation seven years later.  Half of fifth graders are not even ready for middle school.

As Dallas schools focus on getting all students ready for college, they face a daunting challenge uncovered by a new district tracking system: Almost half of fifth-graders are not even ready for middle school.

Roughly 52 percent of the fifth-graders were considered “on track for middle school” at the end of their elementary years in 2008-09, according to a Dallas Morning News analysis of data recently released by the school district.

That seriously impinges on my ability to teach them what they need to know when I get them.

Here’s the newspaper article from the Dallas Morning News.  Here’s school-by-school data.

I predict DISD will take hits for “failing” instead of getting plaudits for finding a root source of a much bigger problem that manifests later.  Stay tuned.

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl

Broad Prize winner: Aldine ISD, near Houston

September 17, 2009

Aldine ISD, in the Houston metroplex, won the Broad Prize for Urban Education.

Earlier Texas winners are Houston ISD and Brownsville ISD.

From the press release from the Broad Foundation:

WASHINGTON – The Aldine Independent School District (AISD) outside Houston won the 2009 Broad Prize for Urban Education, the largest education award in the country, and as a result will receive $1 million in college scholarships, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation announced today.  Aldine, where four out of five students qualify for free and reduced-priced school lunch, has shown some of the most consistent student achievement gains nationally in the last decade and has been recognized as one of the top five most improved urban American school systems in four of the last six years.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan joined philanthropist Eli Broad and members of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. to announce the winner. Aldine ISD was selected by a bipartisan jury of eight prominent American leaders from government, education, business and civic sectors, including three former U.S. secretaries of education.

The $2 million Broad (rhymes with “road”) Prize is an annual award that honors the five large urban school districts that demonstrate the strongest student achievement and improvement while narrowing achievement gaps between income and ethnic groups. The money goes directly to graduating high school seniors for college scholarships.

“Aldine shows us that it’s possible for a district facing tough circumstances to get excellent results,” said Secretary Arne Duncan, who opened up the envelope and announced the winner. “We need to highlight the success of Aldine and districts like it so that others can follow their examples and lift up all students.”

As the winner of The Broad Prize, the Aldine Independent School District will receive $1 million in college scholarships for graduating seniors next spring. The four finalists—Broward County Public Schools in southern Florida; Gwinnett County Public Schools outside Atlanta; the Long Beach Unified School District in California; and the Socorro Independent School District in Texas—will each receive $250,000 in college scholarships. Long Beach won the 2003 Broad Prize, and this marked the third year that the former winner returned as a finalist. Broward is a two-time finalist for the award, while this was Gwinnett’s and Socorro’s first year in the running.

How does that sit with us in Dallas?  Gossip at the Dallas Morning News blog, DallasISD:

I don’t know if you all have noticed but talk of DISD winning the Broad Prize for Urban Education by 2010 is nearly non-existent. Superintendent Michael Hinojosa used to always refer to the district’s goal to obtain the award, and he gave himself five years to do it shortly after his arrival in 2005. DISD has obviously made academic gains, but not much is uttered anymore about the “Road to Broad,” the district’s nickname for the roadmap to its reform effort.

Which is to say in other words, Dallas is concentrating on getting performance up, while cleaning up a few nasty administrative messes.  On the teacher level, the work towards excellence doesn’t change much whether Dallas administrators talk about the Broad Prize or not.

Congratulations to Aldine.  Teachers there worked their butts off.

Can anyone find any correlation between Aldine’s winning the award and anything Texas has done as a state?  Did performance pay help out in any way?  Have poor science standards and the assault on social studies standards helped, or hurt Aldine’s performance?

Who really wins the award?

Aldine parent Carlos Deleon, who has had three children educated in the district, attributed its success to “the community, the parent involvement and, of course, most important, the good teachers.”

“When I hear they’re awarded more scholarships,” Deleon said of the students, “wow, that’s great. These kids work so hard.”

Broad Prize winners from the past:  2002, Houston ISD; 2003, Long Beach Unified School District, California; 2004, Garden Grove Unified School District, California; 2005, Norfolk Public Schools; 2006, Boston Public Schools; 2007, New York City Department of Education; 2008, Brownsville ISD (Texas)


Two steps backward . . .

December 7, 2008

//  Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D.,

Licensed under a Creative Commons attribution-share alike license. Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D.,

Go read for yourself, solid commentary at Dangerously Irrelevant.

How well does your classroom incorporate technology that helps students learn better, or faster, and helps prepare them for the age into which they will graduate?

Tip of the old scrub brush to Edu-Nerd.

Cue Taylor Mali . . .

December 13, 2007

The last line of Taylor Mali’s slam poem about what a teacher makes — remember it?

Here it is, in real life: “Tuff Guy, Crazy Horse, Happy Teacher.” Go see it. It’s at Edu Blah Blah Blahg.

%d bloggers like this: