Sue, Neal, et al,

Sounds to me like we are in basic agreement that something needs to be
done about the sorry state of education in some areas.  I agree with Neal
that poverty is definitely a factor in poor educational performance, and I
agree with Prof. Lavorata that "self esteem will come with success from
high standards and rewards..."  The problem is that these high standards
and rewards often do not exist in schools where there is a less affluent
tax base.  Here in New Mexico, there seems to be a "some folks (the haves)
are college material, and some folks (the have-nots) are the peons,
servants, vocational/trades material."  This is unfair, sexist, racist
tripe!  Looking back on my upper middle class education in elementary,
middle, and high school, I can say that we got more "accelerated" classes
than folks in less affluent neighborhoods.  We got the "best" teachers,
the "best" facilities and equipment, and the "best" resources.  It was a
shock moving from Albuquerque to Los Lunas, and discovering that some of
the kids there had to share textbooks.  In one case the teacher tore the
textbooks in two in order to insure that all students had a piece of the
book!  This meant that the teacher had to teach two different classes--
one on the first half of the book, and one on the second half!  I thought
this was pretty resourceful of the teacher, but the instructor should have
had enough materials for the entire class!

I'm rambling, but my point is that if we taught in inner-city schools as
we do in yuppie schools, the students WOULD develop self-esteem, college
preparatory skills, and "the basics."  This has been shown to be true over
and over again when truly dedicated teachers work with inner city
populations.  Attention, respect, and confidence in students' abilities
increases motivation, retention, attendance, self-esteem and success.

If we have to place the blame, let's place it squarely on the folks who
feel that "people should be kept in their place."  Far as I'm concerned,
this is the politicians who "talk" educational improvements and
importance, but consistently vote against education appropriations.  Vote
the suckers out of office and KEEP voting them out until somebody listens!
Our students are our future!  Let's see that they get the tools they need!

Peggy Keller
English Instructional Technician
Assistance Centers for Education
Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute
525 Buena Vista SE
Albuquerque, NM  87106

On Mon, 19 Jan 1998, Sue Lorraine Lavorata wrote:

> Self esteem will come with success from high standards and rewards
> wahen our students perform well. It is the chicke and egg syndrome,
> raise the standards and get back to basics, success will come, and so
> will reward and self esteem. I am not saying that poverty is no
> factor but let's not blame it, each person must take responsibility
> for their own actions including ills of education and poverty. thanks
> so much. Prof L
> > At 04:52 PM 1/19/98 EDT, Sue L wrote:
> > >Let's stop the leftist attitude of blaming poverty,
> > >society or other "stuff" for the education problems and let's lay the
> > >proble where it is, in the educational system, with teachers, parents
> > >and students.
> >
> > Although I believe as you do, Sue, that all of us, educators, families, and
> > individual learners, are part of the problem, that to think that poverty is
> > not a factor or an issue is to ignore some pretty important dynamics in how
> > learning becomes available, to whom, based on what assumptions.
> >
> > >Let's stop all this feel-good self-esteem stuff
> > Why? Again, I agree that self-esteem without standards is pretty useless.
> > But so are standards without self-esteem.
> >
> > > I really feel that Guiliani has a
> > >point, maybe he is just a little too extreme, but some modification
> > >of open admission should be an order.
> > hard to know what that means . . . again, I agree that probably any system
> > can stand improvement . . . in this case, what would you suggest?
> >
> > >Sorry for my strong views, but
> > >this is what I feel would help this inherent problem.
> > Hope this place will always be an environment open to "strong" views  . . .
> >  Hooray, Sue, for risking flaming to get some ideas out there . . . I guess
> > it's my own "leftist" tendencies (as in those principles which led to the
> > American Revolution, balanced by my appreciation for entrepreneurial good
> > sense) that lead me to hope that we would continue to include here a wide
> > range of clearly formulated,  well-supported, and provocative exchanges . .
> > .  to me, labelling as "leftist" or "rightist" (or any other "-ist") . . .
> > . or beginning sentences with "Let's stop . . ." (attempting to neutralize
> > an opposing point of view without good supporting facts and warrants) . . .
> > while it might be provocative . . . can distract from the open exchange of
> > thought.  I believe this to be as true here as it is in our classrooms.
> >
> > This question Mayor Guiliani's comments have opened, as to who has "access"
> > to education (including the institutionalized ways in which colleges have
> > traditionally, unconsciously, made it harder for some than for others) --
> > is a VERY important discussion . . . To my mind, it is the one on which the
> > very future of our world hinges . . .
> >
> > Write on!
> >                                 Neal Steiger
> >                       NH Community Technical College
> >                         379 New Prescott Hill Road
> >                             Laconia NH  03246
> >                 phone:  603-524-3207   fax: 603-524-8084
> >           "Even a planarian worm can learn."  --Eunice Cornish
> >
> Sue Lorraine Lavorata
> E-MAIL:  [log in to unmask]