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Topic: Re: The Overriding Influence of Poverty on Children's Educational Achievement - Redux
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GS Chandy

Posts: 8,307
From: Hyderabad, Mumbai/Bangalore, India
Registered: 9/29/05
Re: The Overriding Influence of Poverty on Children's Educational Achievement - Redux
Posted: Mar 11, 2013 1:03 AM
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Wayne Bishop posted Mar 10, 2013 6:50 AM (GSC's remarks follow):
>Please allow me to disagree and, once again, quoting my favorite principal, Nancy Ichinaga:

>> I am always reminded of Nancy Ichinaga at Bennett-Kew BA in Inglewood USD about 3 decades ago she first arrived there and looked at their standardized test scores (bottom 5th percentile in California). The excuse is always poverty and/or race and (at that time) almost 100% Black and low socioeconomic status. Her quote at a very early faculty meeting? "Looking at these scores and the fact that we have had these students from kindergarten forward, I can only see two possibilities - either these kids really are inferior or we're not doing our job. I am not comfortable with the former and, if you are, you will not be comfortable here."
>> Fortunately, her collective scores went up fast enough (eventually stunning) to ward off resistance to her efforts at reeducating those teachers who were willing to be reeducated and to get rid of the others.

> And she did not mean to find some new secret for that specific subpopulation. She meant to adhere to the same standards that were successful for me more than a half-century ago: consistent attendance and punctuality, solid traditional teaching ("No new math textbooks! We use an old (i.e., pre-"reform math" Silver-Burdett) with assignments that were be done promptly and competently, and monthly (in-house) short and short-answer assessments with a follow-up meeting with her to identify students with problems with whom special intervention was to start immediately and followed carefully with her. In spite of tenure, she did get rid of teachers who were unable or unwilling to change from the New New Math philosophy of math education.

>In fact, there are racist/classist/sexist implications (well-meaning though it be) associated with assuming (well-meaning though it be) that such subgroups require different approaches.


There seems to be some confusion in the above whether you are quoting your "favorite principal Nancy Ichinaga" or you are quoting yourself or you are quoting someone else referring to her experience as a case study.

Anyway, you seem to claim that she is *proving* your case against "New Math".

*Possibly* she is doing that.

My claim is a little different from "New Math". My case is a whole lot different from "John Saxon" whose approach seems to fill you with jubilation.

My case is simply that the vast majority of school-graduating students seem to loathe or fear math: anyway, they generally believe math is 'for the birds, turds or nerds'.

Recently we even had the remarkable spectacle of your President Barack Obama making some remarks about how bad he had been at math. (I don't know whether he had been accurately quoted).

We have much of the same attitudes in India

I believe this is an utter crying shame.

To me, it indicates that the 'traditional teaching' of math in schools is very far from 'satisfactory' (Nancy Ichinaga notwithstanding).

(I have glanced at excerpts from some of the Saxon works - and I find them far less than 'satisfactory': I observe that Nancy Idhinaga does not appear to be using the Saxon approach. She seems to have used some books of "Silver-Burdett", about which I know nothing. This may be, I fully accept, similar to or exactly the same as the "Saxon approach").

I believe 'math-teaching' does require a thorough overhaul. Is the "New Math" approach the right way out of the sorry state of math teaching? I believe not.

Is "Saxon" the right way out? I believe not.

Will the "Saxon approach" change the wide-spread impression in school students that 'math is for the birds, turds or nerds'? I believe not.

In regard to poverty: I do believe, quite strongly, that "poverty has an overriding influence on children's educational achievement" (in math and in other fields).

I believe you have made no case at all against the above assertion. Nor has the case of Nancy Ichinaga - at least according to the above-noted 'quotations'.

As to specifically the reasons/root causes for her "stunning successes", much more investigation is required. This is quite clear from your 'quotations' above. Whatever she accomplished may certainly be most useful as a 'case study' - when effectively presented.

I am sorry I had not previously come across the case of Nancy Ichinaga, and I do not know the reasons/causes for her success as a principal. Accepted: I should evidently learn more, much more.
I believe I would tend to agree with many things she insists on:

- -- consistent attendance:

- -- punctuality:

- -- assignments to be done promptly and competently;

- -- monthly (in-house) short and short-answer assessments;

- -- special intervention as needed and effective follow-up;

I certainly would not go along with her support of 'traditional teaching' (particularly if it's based on 'Saxon') - I do know that math teaching can be VERY significantly improved and enhanced (and not necessarily via 'New Math'.

(And yes, specific subjects to be taught by people who have needed competence in the subject under consideration; effective evaluation of teacher abilities; ineffective teachers to be dispensed with; etc).

All of the above to be integrated with an effective and systematic 'implementation' of what I call the 'learning+teaching dyad' - in both learners and teachers. In fact, practically all of the above is naturally handled in the approach I recommend - we don't really need to make a big song-and-dance about it.

What I stand for can be demonstrated (to YOUR full satisfaction, if you would do the needed modeling with YOUR own ideas) Such demonstration would probably not work with young students whose minds have already been turned against math by ineffective 'traditional' or 'New Math' teaching. To demonstrate what I stand for, I would use, for one thing, 'Interpretive Structural Modeling', which results in a very specific kind of 'flow chart' (very different indeed from the 'PERT Charts' that Robert Hansen keeps bringing up foolishly in a great many of his interactions with me on the subject).

I do repeat ALL my assertions made earlier - both about the "teaching of math" AND about "the influence of poverty on children's educational achievements".

("Still Shoveling!")

Message was edited by: GS Chandy

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