A commenter wrote:
You place the entire responsibility of education upon the schools.
A fine educator once called me a “No Excuses” teacher and that is a badge I wear with pride. I visit my students at home, I’m constantly on the phone to their parents, and I send home progress reports weekly. But teaching is my job. In the pursuit of academic achievement, I am the professional in my classroom and the families support me, not the other way around.
In my classroom, learning is not a service offered it is an expectation demanded. I am ruthless when it comes to assuring the success of my students. I fight for every minute of instruction; I stomp on nonacademic rituals; I flagrantly violate inappropriate district mandates; I beg, borrow and steal resources; I teach until it hurts; I do whatever it takes. Consequently, if my students do not attain the achievement of which I believe them capable, I blame no one but myself.
As to the potential of my students to match the achievements of their white or Asian peers, I have no question. There is not a shred of doubt in my mind. After working with students for one year, my class proficiency scores usually match the state average, an increase of around a hundred percent. I’ve had this group for two years and I anticipate that they will exceed the state average by twenty to thirty percent. That said, I'm far from the best teacher I know. What would the high school graduation and college enrollment rate of a high-challenge class look like if they had worked with me and my betters for thirteen years?
When we have staffed every high-challenge classroom with an effective teacher, when we have developed curricula that truly meet the needs of high-challenge students, when we have provided the resources to engage all high-challenge students every year, ---in short, when our own house is in order--- and our black and Latino students are still failing, then we can have discussions of family and culture, then we can praise-fests for Confucian values and helicopter parents, and then we can produce the quasi-race-science studies about the origins of the “achievement gap.” But, of course, by then we won’t need them.
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