Promoting Unready Students Does Them A Great Disservice - And Response

Sunday, January 14, 2018
Mr. Exum  I think you make some very good points. Participation trophies don't make you a college
pick. It is a great disservice to students to pass them on to the next poor teacher who now has twice the work to make the central office look good. This only teaches the students that you don't have a responsibility to better your own life.
 
Whitewashed rat droppings are still rat droppings.
this 'rebranding' is just a ruse to avert attention. If you really want to renew, cut the central office in half and put the money into teachers. Reopen the vocational schools and give those whose hands work better than their computer skills a chance to shine. Didn't Claude Ramsey say we needed ditch diggers too?
 
As long as the "business" of school takes precedence our students don't have a chance. Let's 'rebrand" HCDE to 2+2 IS STILL 2.
 
Rusty Chastain

Soddy Daisy

* * *

Before everyone gets too emotional regarding what was once called social promotions, please consider these points:

First, I don’t advocate so-called social promotions. For many years students in elementary school could be promoted if they failed one subject and one subject only. This was due largely to the fact that it was conceivable an elementary school could have sixteen year old students. Tennessee has a compulsory attendance law which requires students to attend until they are eighteen years old.

Of course that doesn’t address why students failed in the first place it only explains one reason why students were or were not retained. Research addressed the fact that students in high school who were nineteen years old or older rarely ever graduated. So add that to reasons for social promotion. It was a fact in the last century that sometimes when students matured they improved in high school and eventually graduated. But that was then, this is now.

Today the body of knowledge has grown significantly over what was required in the 1950s and 60s. More Carnegie units are now needed to graduate. Students must be 5 years old months earlier to begin attending kindergarten than was the law back then. In fact kindergarten wasn’t  even a requirement.

The city of Chattanooga had a wonderful school in the 50s and 60s, Kirkman Technical High School, that addressed many of the educational issues we face today. I know this because my father taught there. Hamilton County began two excellent vocational schools as well later in the 70s and 80s under the superior direction of Dr Andy Holt. The city also had an outstanding night school under the guidance of Mabry Armstrong that provided a true alternative approach for students who matured later and discovered the need and value of an education.

But along in the 80s  a new paradigm emerged in the educational process. It was to discard the antiquated vocational path for American students and the adoption of a single path college prep approach. By the late 1990s the newly combined city and county school system here gleefully adopted that approach shrinking the vocational program and promoting the college prep path for all. The night school had faded away long before being replaced by the GED.

Gradually more and more of the curriculum was being moved further down the grades. Kindergarten today is more like what first grade was in the 1970s. And what is required in elementary school is similar to the old junior high curriculum.

In my opinion, and I was an educator for forty years and an elementary principal for eleven, too much unnecessary “stuff” has been moved into the elementary curriculum diminishing the attention we once gave to reading and math. The once solid base that elementary schools provided has become shaky with so many other requirements. Textbook publishers, who are coincidentally producers of many of the standardized tests, have too much control over curriculum.

And because we are so much of a transit society, schools may get students who have been in multiple schools before reaching the fourth grade. I began experiencing this as a principal before I retired. It’s very difficult to bring students up to your school’s expectations when students have not had the same preparation that your teachers or your system provides before you get them.

Some schools are succeeding in bridging the gaps with diverse populations but the teachers are working very hard and very smart to do this. Apison School is one of these diverse schools that is accomplishing much. It can be done but it isn’t easy and not everyone is going to want to do what is necessary to accomplish the task.

But just decrying social promotion is not the answer.

Ralph Miller


The Dollar Value Of The Trump Administration - And Response

Roy Exum: Swimming With Jim Morgan

Senator Alexander: A Reasonable Proposal To End The Government Shutdown


I wanted to add to Roy Exum's "reveal" article helping us all understand just what the cost of running the government is. I went just a bit further this morning asking this question, what is ... (click for more)

I’ve never talked much about this – it is too close to bragging – but in my teenaged years I was a good swimmer. I loved being in the water and maybe the greatest compliment back in the day was ... (click for more)

A government shutdown is always the wrong idea. It is the wrong idea under President Trump, just as it was the wrong idea under President Obama. Members of Congress should first remember that ... (click for more)


Opinion

The Dollar Value Of The Trump Administration - And Response

I wanted to add to Roy Exum's "reveal" article helping us all understand just what the cost of running the government is. I went just a bit further this morning asking this question, what is the president's staff and about what does it cost the taxpayers each year? Now assume you are very satisfied with Trump no matter what the cost, then this article will only bolster that support. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Swimming With Jim Morgan

I’ve never talked much about this – it is too close to bragging – but in my teenaged years I was a good swimmer. I loved being in the water and maybe the greatest compliment back in the day was when new UT swimming coach Ray Bussard offered me a ‘full ride’ with the Vols. Are you kidding me … by then I was into tobacco, alcohol, convertibles, and girls in angora sweaters - there ... (click for more)

Breaking News

DA's Office Will Not Prosecute Charges Against Man Who Was Beaten By City Officer

The District Attorney's Office said it will not prosecute charges against a man who was beaten by a city police officer after a traffic stop. The DA is dismissing charges against 37-year-old Fredrico Wolfe. Wolfe was charged in an incident last March 10 with DUI, violating the implied consent law, tampering with evidence, speeding, drug possession and resisting arrest. ... (click for more)

Hamilton County Schools To Close Thursday Due To Expected Ice On Roads

Hamilton County Schools will be closed Thursday due to forecast rain to last through the evening and freezing conditions to follow after 2 a.m. in the higher elevations in the county. Freezing conditions are expected to last until the afternoon in the higher elevations impacting travel in the area. Athletic events will be rescheduled and practices canceled Thursday evening. ... (click for more)

Sports

Massey Brings "A New Excitement" To Silverdale Baseball

Over the last few days, Chattanooga has been dealing with a brutally cold weather system that struck like a frigid shockwave from the northwest. Throw in yet several more rounds of rain nearing the cusp of sleet or snow and high school basketball teams heading down the backstretch of the 2018-19 regular season and it made Tuesday an odd time for baseball talk. Yet, Jon Massey, ... (click for more)

#1 Tennessee Escapes With Overtime Win At Vandy

In their first action since being elevated to No. 1 in the nation, the Tennessee Vols barely escaped with a win at Vanderbilt. Tennessee started with a 15-2 lead, but trailed by six late in the game on Wednesday at Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville. The Vols rallied to tie at 76-76 and Grant Williams, who scored 43 points and hit all his 23 free throws, had a chance to win it. ... (click for more)