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I just have to add my own perspective and context to this discussion
about poverty and poor academic performance.  I work at a college
with 300 students, most of whom have experienced failure and
frustration  in their academic lives.  Many lack basic skills and can
 tell horrifying tales of how poorly their educational systems served
them in the past.  They have been misunderstood and treated with
 disrespect, anger and blame by teachers.  All the students at Landmark
College have been diagnosed with learning disabilities or attention
deficitit disorder.  But a year's tuition at Landmark costs over $30,000!
  These students are, with very few exceptions, from upper-middle-class
 backgrounds.  Their parents have struggled for years to try to support and
encourage their students.  They come from families where academic
success is valued very highly, perhaps too highly in some cases.  I
guess I'm not sure what this does to the discussion, but to me it's
clearly about much more than socio-economic deprivation and lack of
parental support and involvement.

Sara Glennon


John Flanigan wrote:

This has been an interesting, but frustrating, thread. But why do we avoid
discussing the primary reason that students do poorly in school--home
environments that are antagonistic to education?

Of course poverty has something to do with it. Of course having a
sufficiency of materials in school has something to do with it. Of course
having teachers who are not frustrated and hardened by years of
misbehaving students and unsupportive parents, has something to do with
it. But it can't be fixed by the schools alone. If the parents don't
become involved in a positive and supportive way--instead of pitting
themselves against the teachers, as I've seen much too often--their
children have little chance to receive an optimal learning environment.

Until we develop a means to encourage parents become more supportive and
to allow the classroom teacher to keep order, I fear that we will not make
much headway.

John M. Flanigan <[log in to unmask]>     The equation is the final arbiter.
Math Resource Instructor                            --Werner Heisenberg
Kapi'olani Community College            The scoreboard is the final arbiter.
Honolulu, Hawaii                                    --Bill Walton


On Tue, 20 Jan 1998, Peggy Keller wrote:

> Okay, Gary,
>
> I guess I have to retract SOME of what I said about facilities, materials,
> etc. being essential to good education.  However, I do stand behind what I
> said about dedicated teachers who don't look down on their students!  I
> cringe when I hear college teachers talking about "the kids" in their
> classes! and I cringe even more when they "dis" the students!
>
> Peggy Keller
>
>
>
> On Tue, 20 Jan 1998, TSD99 wrote:
>
> > Gary Probst replied privately:
> >
> > I agree 1000 percent with you.  What I find interesting is how teachers
> > and community college faculty label students who do not succeed as
> > coming from poor families.  At our community college two developmental
> > faculty members keep telling me their student do not succeed because
> > they are poor. I keep asking them, "What is it your students dress
> > better than they you do?"
> >
> > I attended a one room school house that had a pump for drinking water
> > and an outhouse.  Some students did not have shoes.  I do not know
> > anyone who did not learn to read and do math.  Just think what my school
> > lacked: running water, heat, toilets, specialists, library, science
> > projects, lunch room, principal, sex education, sports, music program,
> > computers, etc.   In one room school only the basics were taught.
> >
> > What I find amazing is my developmental math student do not know how
> > math facts such as "many inches are in a yard" or "8 times 5 is what
> > number."  However, these students all passed algebra in high school.
> >
> > Sue Lorraine Lavorata wrote:
> > >
> > > There are a few issues here, there is the issue of having higher
> > > standards in the public schools and that of making teachers and
> > > students both more accountable and have everyone take responsibility
> > > for the problem. 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. Let's stop all this feel-good self-esteem stuff and
> > > let's get down to brass tack teaching of the basics, grammar, math,
> > > science, problem solving skills etc and give students what they need
> > > to succeed in college, and employment. When I get the students in the
> > > college classes I teach, I get them unable to write a paper or
> > > construct a have decent sentence. I think the students and the
> > > teachers need to both be accountable as does the administration. We
> > > all must share the responsibility. Open admission does have its
> > > problems, standards the issue. 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. Sorry for my strong views, but
> > > this is what I feel would help this inherent problem. Prof L
> > >
> > > > Oh, so it's up to the STUDENTS to prepare themselves (on their own??) for
> > > > college! I guess that lets us educators off the hook, huh?
> > > >
> > > > Seriously, this bit of pseudospeak doesn't seem to address the issue of
> > > > "disastrous consequences" of an uneducated populace, does it!  Nor does it
> > > > address the issue of why so many students seem to end up "poorly prepared"
> > > > for college!
> > > >
> > > > We've been dealing with that here, too.  Our English 100 outcome
> > > > expectations are widely different from the Freshman Comp income
> > > > expectation, which leave 100 students who pass feeling competent only to
> > > > find out that they are not when they arrive in Freshman Comp!  AARRGGHH!
> > > >
> > > > I think what we need is a little less buck-passing and name-calling and a
> > > > little bit more let's-fix-the-damn-problem!  (for what it's worth, since I
> > > > am neither a politician nor an instructor, only a lowly tutor!)  Seems to
> > > > me what Mayor Giuliani is advocating is tossing the poor baby (students)
> > > > out with the proverbial bathwater!
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > Peggy Keller
> > > > English Instructional Technician
> > > > Assistance Centers for Education
> > > > Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute
> > > > 525 Buena Vista SE
> > > > Albuquerque, NM  87106
> > > >
> > > > <[log in to unmask]>
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > On Thu, 15 Jan 1998, Norman Stahl wrote:
> > > >
> > > > >  NEW YORK CITY'S Mayor, Rudolph W. Giuliani, on Wednesday
> > > > >    called on the City University of New York to end open
> > > > >    enrollment, saying that the admission of poorly prepared
> > > > >    students had resulted in alarmingly low graduation rates, a
> > > > >    trend with "disastrous consequences" for the city.
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > *********************************
> > > > > Norman A. Stahl, Chair
> > > > > Department of
> > > > > Curriculum & Instruction
> > > > > Northern Illinois University
> > > > > DeKalb, IL  60115
> > > > >
> > > > > Telephone:
> > > > > (815) 753-9032 {office}
> > > > > (815) 753-9040 (FAX)
> > > > >
> > > > > Email: [log in to unmask]
> > > > >
> > > >
> > > Sue Lorraine Lavorata
> > > E-MAIL:  [log in to unmask]
> >
>
Sara Glennon
Director
Center for Teaching and Learning
Landmark College
Putney, VT 05346
(802) 387-6746                  email: [log in to unmask]