From the Principal’s email to staff:
“…Non-Core classes must engage students in the reading of texts as it relates to their subjects and ensure Powerful Practice implementation. Students must be engaged in reading text, charts, graphs, word problems, etc. everyday.”
Classes were expected to “Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly.” A great deal of effort went into this program, designed to make sure that students understood how to cite textual evidence. This one effort has the potential to increase test scores noticeably, since at the grade levels in question that citing of textual evidence can have a strong impact on state test scores.
Eduhonesty: With our single-minded focus, we will have taught a valuable skill, one essential for writing good college papers. But I revisit the idea of opportunity costs. How much music and art was sacrificed to writing papers? How much gym time? Every choice we make in education precludes making some other choice.
I still don’t know how I feel about this one. The breadth of our educational offerings seems to keep contracting, offering less and less of anything that has not proven beneficial to math and English scores. On the other hand, if students end up more prepared for college, that’s a clear win for those likely to go to college.
I fear our laser-like focus on college is driving some kids out of school, though — a question that hardly ever seems to be discussed. When the electives vanish and what’s left is math, English and classes that are all tailoring their content to math and English, some students may decide life at the Speedy Mart will beat another year of high school.
Our good intentions may not stop this dropping-out. In some cases, I suspect we precipitate the departure from formal schooling.