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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