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Subject:

Re: New York State Regents'Exams/Herve Varenne

From:

Prof Lorraine Lavorata <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 12 Nov 1999 15:38:59 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (328 lines)

Well it just so happens that Herve Varenne is my professor at Columbia and he
is from my beloved France. I know what he feels and I reverence his teaching
and his ideas very much, but I do not agree with his view, having read his
book as required reading. I do not agree with the concept of fixing the
outside only. I am not saying that the outside does not need fixing but so
does the student and so does the culture of the inner-city not conducive to
learning. Of course Columbia University is very good at brainwashing its
students to the idea of aw that poor inner-city kid. Well there is also
research that illustrates that one must take responsibility for one's own
learning. Jack Mezirow in this theory of transformational learning does state
that opportunity is something we must act upon and by doing so we can
transform our learning and our selves and perhaps our circumstances. Just
another thought. By the way, I do admire Herve Varenne and I love his cute
French accent-:)
France
>
>Just a thought in response to the following...
>
>"If poor, inner-city NYC youths are not motivated enough to take
>the required courses in high school then it is their fault why they are at a
>lower level and cannot pass the regents. They need to start challenging
>their
>minds instead of their fellow citizens in street gangs. It is not society's
>fault but their own. The education is available and if these students would
>take advantage, we would not need to pile up the remedial classes in
>colleges
>where students should already have the skills. "
>
>The "self" is socially constructed, or as Mead stated, "the others and the
>self arise in the social act together" (1964, p. 169). Varenne and McDermott
>(1998) encourage, instead of focusing on what is wrong inside the student,
>we should focus on what is wrong outside in the world-that that is already
>there-given to the student. They go on to note that a student cannot fail or
>succeed at school without many others lending a hand. Education is a broad
>social process that involves much more than schooling.
>Ogbu (1991) speaks about involuntary minorities-students who seemingly do
>not try to succeed. Again, instead of asking what is wrong with the student,
>we are encouraged to investigate what is wrong with the world in which the
>student has to make meaning. In exploring the attitudes toward education of
>students labeled as failures, Ogbu found that such students and their
>parents came to the belief that the system of segregation in which they live
>would not allow them to attain the benefits of education even if they did
>exert themselves. They came to the conclusion that if the education path is
>blocked, then there is no need to follow it. Or, as Varenne and McDermott
>state the question: "If the race is rigged, why run? (1998, p. 152).
>
>(Varenne and McDermott. 1998. The Successful Failure: The School that
>America Builds)
>
>Again, I am not posting a solution.... just suggesting that we may need to
>investigate a different question:  Do at-risk students set themselves up for
>failure (as the above quote suggests? Or, are they set up for failure by
>institutional forces?
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Prof Lorraine Lavorata [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
>Sent: Friday, November 12, 1999 1:51 PM
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: Re: New York State Regents' Exams
>
>
>What you say is right. I will add some very controversial yet very true
>observations. If poor, inner-city NYC youths are not motivated enough to
>take
>the required courses in high school then it is their fault why they are at a
>lower level and cannot pass the regents. They need to start challenging
>their
>minds instead of their fellow citizens in street gangs. It is not society's
>fault but their own. The education is available and if these students would
>take advantage, we would not need to pile up the remedial classes in
>colleges
>where students should already have the skills. In France these students
>would
>not even get the baccalareat and pass the lycee let alone get into a
>university. There is no open enrollment in France and in America, we should
>start modeling after France. France
>
>
>===== Original Message From Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
><[log in to unmask]> =====
>>Re the Regents' difficulty level:  As you said, reactions really
>>depend on where one is coming from.  At my specialized high school,
>>we were always glad to take a Regents because it was easier than
>>our school's final exams.  For students in an inner-city high
>>school, they would be difficult.
>>
>>The format in my time was usually a multiple-choice cumulative
>>final, testing subject knowledge.  It was all factual and, as
>>one of the posts said, we got the previous exams to practice on
>>so we knew exactly what to expect.  I used to feel that there
>>was a precise way you had to take the questions--not read too
>>much or too little into them--and if you got a "feel" for that
>>you could do well.
>>
>>In New York City, I suspect that most students who don't pass
>>the Regents have not taken the courses, as opposed to taking the
>>exams and failing them.  E.g. an academic diploma requires 3
>>years of high school math and a general diploma requires 1 or 2.
>>General students take only the minimum required courses.  That is
>>why they jack up the remedial load at a place like CUNY--if they
>>haven't taken intermediate algebra, they simply have to take it
>>at CUNY for no credit.
>>
>>Because the Regents are subject tests, they have no meaningful
>>correspondence to the SAT (except in so far as bright students
>>who test well will do well on all types of tests).
>>
>>Another question was about the Regents College Test.  Years ago
>>there was a Regents Scholarship Test.  I don't recall the content
>>except that it was grueling (I think it took two full days).
>>They were used for awarding merit scholarships, the precise
>>amount of which was then aligned with your tuition.  That was
>>abolished a number of years ago and was replaced by the Tuition
>>Assistance Program which is based solely on financial need.  I
>>assume the reason was that with the advent of open admissions and
>>the imposition of tuition at CUNY (which used to be free), poor
>>and underprepared students became the primary population at CUNY
>>and perhaps at other colleges as well.
>>
>>Again, apologies to the upstate people for my painting such a
>>provincially New York City picture!  I've been accused of being
>>too provincial more than once before, but it's all I know--which
>>means, I guess, that the label fits.
>>
>>Annette Gourgey
>
>Je pense, donc, je suis, Rene Descarte
>Chacun ont deux pays et un de ils est France, Benjamin Franklin
>vive la France
>
>------_=_NextPart_001_01BF2D4B.25A9C686
>Content-Type: text/html;
>        charset="iso-8859-1"
>Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
>
><!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 3.2//EN">
><HTML>
><HEAD>
><META HTTP-EQUIV=3D"Content-Type" CONTENT=3D"text/html; =
>charset=3Diso-8859-1">
><META NAME=3D"Generator" CONTENT=3D"MS Exchange Server version =
>5.5.2448.0">
><TITLE>RE: New York State Regents' Exams</TITLE>
></HEAD>
><BODY>
>
><P><FONT SIZE=3D2>Just a thought in response to the following...</FONT>
></P>
>
><P><FONT SIZE=3D2>"If poor, inner-city NYC youths are not =
>motivated enough to take</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>the required courses in high school then it is their =
>fault why they are at a</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>lower level and cannot pass the regents. They need =
>to start challenging their</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>minds instead of their fellow citizens in street =
>gangs. It is not society's</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>fault but their own. The education is available and =
>if these students would</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>take advantage, we would not need to pile up the =
>remedial classes in colleges</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>where students should already have the skills. =
>"</FONT>
></P>
>
><P><FONT SIZE=3D2>The "self" is socially constructed, or as =
>Mead stated, "the others and the self arise in the social act =
>together" (1964, p. 169). Varenne and McDermott (1998) encourage, =
>instead of focusing on what is wrong inside the student, we should =
>focus on what is wrong outside in the world-that that is already =
>there-given to the student. They go on to note that a student cannot =
>fail or succeed at school without many others lending a hand. Education =
>is a broad social process that involves much more than schooling. =
></FONT></P>
>
><P><FONT SIZE=3D2>Ogbu (1991) speaks about involuntary =
>minorities-students who seemingly do not try to succeed. Again, instead =
>of asking what is wrong with the student, we are encouraged to =
>investigate what is wrong with the world in which the student has to =
>make meaning. In exploring the attitudes toward education of students =
>labeled as failures, Ogbu found that such students and their parents =
>came to the belief that the system of segregation in which they live =
>would not allow them to attain the benefits of education even if they =
>did exert themselves. They came to the conclusion that if the education =
>path is blocked, then there is no need to follow it. Or, as Varenne and =
>McDermott state the question: "If the race is rigged, why run? =
>(1998, p. 152). </FONT></P>
>
><P><FONT SIZE=3D2>(Varenne and McDermott. 1998. The Successful Failure: =
>The School that America Builds)</FONT>
></P>
>
><P><FONT SIZE=3D2>Again, I am not posting a solution.... just =
>suggesting that we may need to investigate a different question:  =
>Do at-risk students set themselves up for failure (as the above quote =
>suggests? Or, are they set up for failure by institutional =
>forces?  </FONT></P>
>
><P><FONT SIZE=3D2>-----Original Message-----</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>From: Prof Lorraine Lavorata [<A =
>HREF=3D"mailto:[log in to unmask]">mailto:[log in to unmask]</A>]</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>Sent: Friday, November 12, 1999 1:51 PM</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>To: [log in to unmask]</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>Subject: Re: New York State Regents' Exams</FONT>
></P>
><BR>
>
><P><FONT SIZE=3D2>What you say is right. I will add some very =
>controversial yet very true</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>observations. If poor, inner-city NYC youths are not =
>motivated enough to take</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>the required courses in high school then it is their =
>fault why they are at a</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>lower level and cannot pass the regents. They need =
>to start challenging their</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>minds instead of their fellow citizens in street =
>gangs. It is not society's</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>fault but their own. The education is available and =
>if these students would</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>take advantage, we would not need to pile up the =
>remedial classes in colleges</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>where students should already have the skills. In =
>France these students would</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>not even get the baccalareat and pass the lycee let =
>alone get into a</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>university. There is no open enrollment in France =
>and in America, we should</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>start modeling after France. France</FONT>
></P>
><BR>
>
><P><FONT SIZE=3D2>=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D Original Message From Open Forum for =
>Learning Assistance Professionals</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2><[log in to unmask]> =
>=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>Re the Regents' difficulty level:  As you =
>said, reactions really</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>depend on where one is coming from.  At my =
>specialized high school,</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>we were always glad to take a Regents because it =
>was easier than</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>our school's final exams.  For students in =
>an inner-city high</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>school, they would be difficult.</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>></FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>The format in my time was usually a =
>multiple-choice cumulative</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>final, testing subject knowledge.  It was =
>all factual and, as</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>one of the posts said, we got the previous exams =
>to practice on</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>so we knew exactly what to expect.  I used =
>to feel that there</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>was a precise way you had to take the =
>questions--not read too</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>much or too little into them--and if you got a =
>"feel" for that</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>you could do well.</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>></FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>In New York City, I suspect that most students =
>who don't pass</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>the Regents have not taken the courses, as =
>opposed to taking the</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>exams and failing them.  E.g. an academic =
>diploma requires 3</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>years of high school math and a general diploma =
>requires 1 or 2.</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>General students take only the minimum required =
>courses.  That is</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>why they jack up the remedial load at a place =
>like CUNY--if they</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>haven't taken intermediate algebra, they simply =
>have to take it</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>at CUNY for no credit.</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>></FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>Because the Regents are subject tests, they have =
>no meaningful</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>correspondence to the SAT (except in so far as =
>bright students</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>who test well will do well on all types of =
>tests).</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>></FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>Another question was about the Regents College =
>Test.  Years ago</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>there was a Regents Scholarship Test.  I =
>don't recall the content</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>except that it was grueling (I think it took two =
>full days).</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>They were used for awarding merit scholarships, =
>the precise</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>amount of which was then aligned with your =
>tuition.  That was</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>abolished a number of years ago and was replaced =
>by the Tuition</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>Assistance Program which is based solely on =
>financial need.  I</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>assume the reason was that with the advent of =
>open admissions and</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>the imposition of tuition at CUNY (which used to =
>be free), poor</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>and underprepared students became the primary =
>population at CUNY</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>and perhaps at other colleges as well.</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>></FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>Again, apologies to the upstate people for my =
>painting such a</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>provincially New York City picture!  I've =
>been accused of being</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>too provincial more than once before, but it's =
>all I know--which</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>means, I guess, that the label fits.</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>></FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>>Annette Gourgey</FONT>
></P>
>
><P><FONT SIZE=3D2>Je pense, donc, je suis, Rene Descarte</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>Chacun ont deux pays et un de ils est France, =
>Benjamin Franklin</FONT>
><BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>vive la France</FONT>
></P>
>
></BODY>
></HTML>
>------_=_NextPart_001_01BF2D4B.25A9C686--

Je pense, donc, je suis, Rene Descarte
Chacun ont deux pays et un de ils est France, Benjamin Franklin
vive la France

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