Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Longer LIFT year faces tough questions

Will some or all students in the nine Project LIFT schools have a 200-day year-round calendar next year?

Watts
Denise Watts,  who is in charge of the public-private quest to boost achievement at West Charlotte High and its feeder schools,  had hoped to answer that question this week.  It's taking a bit more time for her to craft a recommendation,  and the year-round project illustrates the challenges of juggling dramatic change,  community buy-in and fiscal responsibility.

If you missed it,  Watts proposed spending up to $4.7 million a year to add 20 days to the school year in hopes that the extra time,  coupled with smart teaching strategies and academic enrichment during breaks,  would yield academic benefits.  The state legislature granted special permission,  but specified that no state money could be spent for the extra days.

Project LIFT,  for Leadership and Investment for Transformation,  has $55 million in private donations pledged over the next five years.  But after I wrote a recent story on year-round options,  co-chair Anna Nelson called to make sure I understood the donors' board has not signed off on covering the cost either. Committing almost $25 million over the next five years would seriously crimp the money available for other aspects of the plan, from teacher recruiting bonuses to family engagement and student technology.

"We don't know where the money would come from,"  Nelson said.  "It's just a constant conversation."

One possibility would be limiting the extended-year calendar to a few schools,  which would cut costs.  Another would be working out a plan with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to find public money for part of the cost,  Nelson said.

Meanwhile,  Watts has said she'll only move forward with the year-round plan if she gets "overwhelming support"  from families and faculty.  She held several public forums in October,  then tapped CMS' agreement with K12 Insight to survey employees and families.  The survey was offered online,  but many parents used paper,  which takes more time to tally.  "Everyone on my team is entering as fast as we can go,"  Watts said Tuesday.

Her goal is to hold a community meeting to report on what she's found  -- what level of support was voiced,  what solutions she may have found to community concerns -- before taking a proposal to the school board Dec. 11.  If a revised calendar is going to take effect in 2013-14,  the board needs to approve it then so it will be in place for the January magnet lottery.

The process is worth watching,  even for those with no stake in the West Charlotte schools.  Watts is doing exactly the kind of thing Superintendent Heath Morrison is talking about across Mecklenburg County:  Taking bold steps to improve low-performing schools,  working to overcome barriers and reaching out to employees and families,  including those who don't have ready access to digital communication.

61 comments:

Anonymous said...

Project Lift - you can't fix stupid

Anonymous said...

CPCC teaches year-round, and they do it with part-time teachers. Since the part-time teachers don't have any benefits, I suggest a Project Flu Shot for all the part-time teachers over there. Seriously CPCC, can you at least provide a free flu shot for your teachers?

Anonymous said...

ALL schools would benefit from being year-round.

Anonymous said...

Watts wouldn't know the difference between a hole in the ground and .... well you fill in the picture.

This woman is clueless and only interested in continuing her personal agenda of keeping a bigpay check. Since her best buddy Petey left and is no where to be found, she has hit a brick wall. How about we get rid of her and use her money for year round schools.

Sean said...

@Anonymous 6:46

Your eloquent critique of Denise Watts suggests that you have an opinion on the LIFT project and her job as Director. However, you completely lose credibility when you

1. insult her intelligence
2. suggest her motives are selfish without support
3. insult her character

You're clearly upset and want something to change. Why not provide constructive advice? You suggested firing her which wouldn't end the LIFT partnership. The money is privately donated.

You lose all credibility with this type of post. Your goal is clearly to slander Denise Watts and the LIFT project. I think your intended goal is to provide criticism, which is 100% appropriate. But you can't be taken seriously. You present your argument like an emotional teenager on a facebook wall.

What's wrong? Did you have a bad morning? You couldn't be THAT upset about year round school proposals. Something else must be bothering you, and a message board where people try to have constructive conversations isn't the place to vent. Please consider how you present your ideas and yourself next time you post.

Anonymous said...

I agree, it may be too late for you but we can work on educating our children.

Anonymous said...

Money will not fix CMS

Anonymous said...

When it comes to fixing schools it boils down to the teachers in the classroom. We've all had an amazing teacher(or heard of one) that achieved seemingly impossible results regardless of per pupil spending, demographics, parents, principals and the other popular scapegoats to the path of success. Students spend 6+ hours a day with their teachers so the fix has to be there, no?

I believe money could 'fix' CMS by paying the best teachers what they are worth. You've heard the story before: Mr/Mrs. _______ was an amazing teacher but he/she left to ______(become a Principal, private industry, etc). Imagine if the best teachers were compensated at a rate consistent with other 'high paying jobs.' In CMS it takes you 23 years with a Bachelor to make $50k. That's insulting.

Pay the best teachers what they are worth and you'll keep those great teachers in the classroom.

Now how do you identify the 'great teachers?' There's the rub.

Anonymous said...

I like your attitude, now look at CMS as it is today after 40 years of social engineering. Money will not fix it. People can like you say but not money.

Bill Stevens said...

I have always thought that extra schools days was the solution to this challenge. The biggest rub to this however is how to properly compensate the teachers. Additionally, should a publci school be able to pay more for a certain discipline rather than how it is now where years of service and a few other factors determine the pay scale. Essentially, a first year 3rd grade teacher and a first year math teacher make the same thing. If a school system is desparate for math teachers, why coul dit not pay more for them. And there is part of the rub, the 3rd grade teacher is no less important in the scheme of things also.

One other item, let's not confuse year round school, as presently defined by public education with this extended year talked about in Project LIFT. The first one is still 180 contact days and the second one is presently approved for 200 contact days.

Lastly, NOOOOOO Mecklenburg and NC tax money should go to this extended day proposal. This was pitched by LIFT to begin with and they have to work it out with their sponsors how it will work.

Anonymous said...

CPCC pays according to need. For example, it will probably be difficult to find a part-time nursing instructor, so they give them full-time jobs. English and History teachers are a dime a dozen, so they are mostly part-time.

Wiley Coyote said...

I just posted this under your last blog story and it's even more apropos to this one.

I also posted the fact that spending $4.7 million per year to extend the school calendar in a nother story a few weeks ago would eat up Watt's budget by $23 million.

Project LIFT is the poster child for what is WRONG with education spending.
~~~~~~

More money spent on education does NOT guarantee success.

Per student expenditures have doubled since 1970, yet reading scores remain relatively flat.

High school graduation rates provide another historical barometer of American educational performance. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average freshman graduation rate for American public schools has remained relatively flat over time. In 1990-1991, the average graduation rate was 73.7 percent. By 2004-2005, the rate had increased modestly to 74.7. However, the most recent estimate for the 2005-2006 school year shows that the national freshman graduation rate has dipped to 73.4 percent.

http://www.heritage.org/static/reportimages/796DF8C7C231CFFE366308277E88CF57.gif


Wiley Coyote said...

"We don't know where the money will come from"...

Here's an idea.

Implement a special tax on the wealthiest 2% of Mecklenburg County's rich people to fund it, afterall, they aren't paying their "fair share". Obama said so.

Wiley Coyote said...

Bill,

America did not become the greatest nation on Earth having year 'round schools.

The number of days of learning; 180 versus 220 isn't the answer and it never will be.

The public education "product" sucks and has for decades.

We need a new show called Extreme Makeover: Public Education Edition - Getting Back to Basics.

Bill Stevens said...

Wiley, no doubt about an extreme makeover. However, everyone wants to focus attention and effort on those that have no motivation, no role models (other than MTV), and thinks society can raise a child instead of parents.

I have seen a number of great examples of new ways to do public education but they still will not reach these kids because they are not thirsty. Until many social programs and many do-gooders go away and this demographic has to figure it out themselves how to get support, nothing will change.

My main point of why more days might help these kids is that it gets them out of their toxic home and community environments.

Ann Doss Helms said...

Sean, your response to 6:46 a.m. is so on-target that I'm going to leave them both up. To the overall point: I try to keep this forum open to all points of view, even those that can be a bit harsh. But as Sean notes, posts that just say "I really don't like this person" really speak more to the poster's attitude and don't add to the discussion. I'm going to be stricter about taking those down. Fact-based critiques of a program or person are a whole different matter.

Bill Stevens said...

While I never had a problem with motivation to do well in school, my dad put me to work summers in a textile mill so I would understand the value of a good education. Many of my school mates pulled tobacco.

Anonymous said...

Ask most elementary schools what they did with the extra 45 minutes of instructional time and you will be surprised. Most have used it for extra recess time, playing with their tech gadgets or the students are being dismissed from class 15 minutes BEFORE the final bell? Is'nt the last 15 minutes of instructional time as important as the first 15 minutes? I'm continually dumbfounded by CMS.

Anonymous said...

9:48, yes that extra time requirement was thrown at them at the last minute. Many struggled with what to do because most kids were unattentive by that time of the day and most of the staff was exhausted by then also. CMS had tried this same idea 2 years or so ago at Billingsley ES and it was a miserable failure. Their teacher turnover skyrocketed.

Ann Doss Helms said...

It is an interesting phenomenon: when you talk about more class time (longer days or year) in general, people seem to think it's great. But specific plans raise a lot of resistance. I do think part of that is you've either got to pay for it (LIFT proposal) or demand extra work with no extra pay (CMS approach on elementary school days), and the drawbacks to both are obvious.

Anonymous said...

I knew that the extra 45 minutes was not being used for educational purposes, but it was sold to the public by the BOE that it was. Maybe we wouldn't need to add more school days if the current 7 hour school day was more effectively, efficiently and wisely used. I'm thinking principals had to manage angry staff members so the extra 45 mins could be used at their discretion, and to pack kids up early.

Anonymous said...

Don't let the BOE fool you, the extra elementary school time was for bus scheduling purposes only, Not to educatate our kids. For that matter, all of the school start and end times are due to bus scheduling, not for what is right for our kids - the students.

Wiley Coyote said...

Ahhh...Bill, Bill, Bill...

Seriously?

My main point of why more days might help these kids is that it gets them out of their toxic home and community environments.

You just fell into the trap - in my opinion -

It is not up to CMS or any other LEA to spend money time or focus on what goes on in the homes of these kids.

Taxpayers fund a myriad of welfare programs and agencies to do it and that's why Project LIFT will never be replicated. We simply cannot afford it.

Cradle to job, which is what progressives/socialists want will kill this country and we've already started down that path.

Anonymous said...

Most of the comments in today's string are on point. The extra 45 minutes is probably being used effectively in some schools and not so much in others. We're back to the who's steering the ship.
As to the length of the calendar year, I have been working on an assignment that required looking at the 13-14 calendar. It is 185 days with 5 less teacher workdays. Interesting!

Anonymous said...

6:11
Actually, socio-economic status is the best predictor of student success followed by who is standing in front of your kid in the classroom. Parents who support and value education influence a child's academic outcome more than a teacher does. Parents are #1, teachers come in second place. Of course, there are always exceptions.
AIicia

Anonymous said...

Oops. Response to 8:11 not 6:11

Shamash said...

Yep.

Sometimes things really are that simple.

Poor parents are most likely parents who don't value an education, or at least didn't value their own education.

And that's probably why they're poor.

If people can't see the connection by now, I don't think there is much else "we" can do to help them.

They need to wake up and get a grip on what is being offered to them for free (namely, a shot at an education) that they are ignoring.

As it is, they probably waste most of the school day anyhow.

I'm not sure a longer school year will help those who we think need it the most.

Especially if they still aren't paying attention.

Shamash said...

Anon 1:24

Actually, race is often a better predictor than economic status.

If you check the scores on which the "performance gap" are based, you will see that poor white kids (based on FRL participation) still do better than blacks who are too wealthy for the FRL program.

When you compare "lower" socioeconomic status you are selecting a disproportionate number of blacks and Hispanics to begin with and comparing them to a larger proportion of whites and Asians.

Examine race within those economic levels, and you will see that race is still a better indicator of success or failure.

This can be gleaned from any of several NAEP reports on the "gap" which breaks down the data by race and income.

Of course, the NAEP doesn't go out of its way to point this out (since that is counter to their usual agenda), but the numbers can be compared despite their lack of effort to point this fact out.

Anonymous said...

Project LIFT cannot extend their own schools year by itself. The free daycare that it is would have to be offered to all students in the district. How about the white community join together like Kojo did and march on the BOE ? This pipedream Watts has you dreaming into is crazy talk.

Anonymous said...

Shamash,
Poor rural Title 1 schools typically outperform poor urban Title 1 schools. Most rural schools are predominately white. It would be interesting to me to know if poor black rural schools typically outperform poor black urban schools.

Anonymous said...

Shamash,
I know there is a performance gap between races on the national Praxis teacher's exam which may explain why so few teachers are African-American. I think the number of AA teachers (nationally) is around 7% with a 40% gap between whites and blacks on the exam. I wish people like Mr. Glenn Singleton would focus more of their energies on addressing this issue because I think having strong AA teachers at predominately AA schools is important. Obviously, having strong AA teachers at predominately white schools is beneficial too. White woman rule our national teaching force. Perhaps this needs to change?

Shamash said...

Anon 2:35.

I haven't seen any data on those two groups.

Most of what I've seen is just the large national reports on the various gaps and there isn't as many focus on rural vs. urban comparisons.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Singleton,
I taught at an all black university as an adjunct assistant professor before teaching at a predominately black high school in MD. During the summer, I worked directly with black kids in gangs. I also attended a diverse magnet high school and attended diverse universities. In college, I also had the opportunity to study abroad and experience some of the word. I don't need one more cultural understand course or diversity training seminar. I'm done being "sensitized" and tired of hearing that the reason black kids are failing is, in large part, due to my privileged White race. I never felt I lowered my expectations or standards for students of color and I don't buy into the idea that I can't connect with kids because I have no understanding of what it's like to be black. Of course I'll never fully understanding what it's like to be black. I can't. Even though I often fall short, I strive to live a life that's moral, and ethical, and just. However, I refuse to teach from a place that isn't authentic because then I can't possibly live up to being the best teacher I can be. I bring all that I am into a classroom which includes my own heritage, values, experiences and upbringing. Being anything less than who I am in the classroom doesn't serve anyone well.

Anonymous said...

Can Ms. Watts not get a real job or hobby? She left CMS once just to come back with this temporary LIFT idea. Why does CO and Ann not report the history of a 2 time loser?

Anonymous said...

The problem with Project Lift is that those in charge did not tthink strategically as to what goals the really wanted to accomplish and how are they going to get there. Anne, you should inquire about the Executive Director for Project Lift that Denise Watts brought in from Kannapolis (friend) and whose job is now vacant because she has quit.....I thought there was supposed to be transparency. Again, until CMS recruits people who are best for the job and not their friends,we will not move forward.

Anonymous said...

Yeah , Ann report on that and her history (watts) of quiting CMS. Follow her links to Kojo and NAACP along with Mary Mcray and EES. That LIFT Project is just a VILE group of racists starting at the top. This was actually portrayed at Tes Morning Breakfast 2 years ago in the infancy of the project. Report what it really is and dont sugar coat it.

Ann Doss Helms said...

I've probably chronicled Watts' career changes more closely than anyone's in CMS. I reported when Peter Gorman moved her from Mint Hill to Spaugh as a Strategic Staffing principal. I was literally writing up a big piece on her work there when Gorman pulled her out to promote her to central offices, so that was part of the story. I wrote about it when the Project LIFT philanthropists hired her as their executive director, and then when CMS brought her back a few months later as part of the LIFT partnership.

You can interpret those changes as you like -- some would say it's a sign of how good she is that she's moved up so fast, and some would say she hasn't had enough time to prove herself in any of those posts. But it's just silly to say it's been covered up or hidden.

Anonymous said...

I'm very supportive of Project LIFT. If it produces measurable improvements and a cost benefit analysis supports it, great. We have an answer to the achievement gap, perhaps, and can replicate it. If it does not measure up, we can put additional theories in the trash cash, hopefully not to be pulled out again. What I take comfort in is the belief that corporate donors will demand proof and dismiss smoke and mirrors. We will see.


Anonymous said...

To add to my post, above: if Watts fails to produce and it is papered over, we will know we have a Harry Jones-like scenario on our hands, and that Kojo really does control Charlotte through his threats, etc. We will also know without doubt that we are on a sinking ship, and that it is truly time to jump. If nothing else, we will benefit from finally having an answer.

Anonymous said...

Do you really believe that PROJECT LIFT ,if it doesnt work, will be the end to the Black Hole of flushed money by the education system and BOE?

Very Very Foolish

Anonymous said...

$50 Million

This will NEVER produce negative data. Someone will make sure of this.

Bill Stevens said...

Ann, I followed what had been written on Ms Watts. And while you summarised it, what I missed or did not read was what were her success stories, how did her students break the cycle of poverty, and how did those working for her feel treated by her? I've gone back and looked at EOG data from her 2 schools and no big jumps in scores are apparent.

I'm just saying, some people do have a point. I'm okay with LIFT hiring her. What I was against was CMS hiring her back and letting her milk more NC employee benefits which she had clearly left before.

Ann Doss Helms said...

Bill, several of the people I interviewed at the time said great things about her. But the best you can say about Spaugh was she made a promising start. Less than two years after Gorman used it to host a press conference with the Broad judges he closed it, and the numbers were pretty bleak. I think it's fair to say Watts doesn't have an urban school turnaround under her belt. But I don't get the anonymous comments implying there's something sinister or covert about her job changes.

Anonymous said...

The extra 45 minutes are a waste of time. It is unfair to teachers to take their planning time and give them a longer day to plan for. The time was added as an attempt to raise the test scores of the bottom third. It was falsely presented as a way to save busing money.

Anonymous said...

I worked with Denise at Spaugh and can tell you that her presence(with her team) made a tremendous impact on the school. Gorman pulled her after a year and a few months to promote her, so you never had a chance to see what would happen if she had stayed for three or four years.

I use the football coach analogy. If you hire someone mid season, you typically don't expect a huge change that year. You do expect improvement the next year(09/10 at Spaugh) which did occur. The school didn't go from missing the playoffs to Championship game, but it certainly improved.

About all this racially related stats. It seems that 'changing the culture of education' for many of the lower income students is a theme. I was raised in a family and community where everyone attended college so it was not an option for me to do otherwise. If I grew up not knowing a college educated person or wasn't taught about the value of education or was surrounded by people who didn't value it, would I have gone? I don't know.

But to say that socioeconomic is THE reason kids succeed or fail is to deny the awesome power of a teacher to change a child's life and ignore the success stories even here in CMS. If you believe a zip code and skin color is the predictor of success, then why even have the conversation? You're essentially saying these kids have no chance.

Sean said...

I forgot to link this report by CMS

http://www.cms.k12.nc.us/cmsdepartments/accountability/Documents/2009-10%20Preliminary%20Results.pdf

Spaugh EOG Test Scores After Re Test

SCI 08/09: 37%
MATH 08/09: 28%
READ: 08/09: 26%

*Watts took over in March of 2009, two months before EOGS

SCI 09/10: 54%
MATH 09/10: 36%
READ 09/10: 37%

Total Change in One Year

SCI: +17%
MATH: +6%
READ: +11%

Had she stayed at Spaugh(and it not ultimately been shut down), would this trend have continued? Would you expect an average change in +11% per year? Who knows. We can all speculate.

I know that this particular post is tangential to the entire conversation of extended school days, but I have been reading this blog since its creation and am a little frustrated with the lack of quantitative support for these posts.

Everyone has an opinion on Watts, LIFT, extended school days, and everything else educationally related. But until you can support what you're saying, it's hard to have a legitimate conversation.

Anonymous said...

A previous poster stated:
“What I take comfort in is the belief that corporate donors will demand proof and dismiss smoke and mirrors. We will see.”
Unfortunately, I don’t have much faith in the Corporate community; however, my hope is that the corporate donors will demand proof. My hope is that they are not a part of the further demise of the quality of education provided for certain members of the community. Thus far, as a Project Lift insider, the academically strong students are being crushed ! We will see how long this will continue.


Wiley Coyote said...

4:03...

I can support my comments on the dismal state of public education very simply:

1970 - 2012.

Anonymous said...

1:23 AM
"But to say that socioeconomic is THE reason kids succeed or fail is to deny the awesome power of a teacher to change a child's life and ignore the success stories even here in CMS. If you believe a zip code and skin color is the predictor of success, then why even have the conversation? You're essentially saying these kids have no chance."

Beautifully stated.

I admire your passion to believe that all kids can achieve and not giving up. All is not hopeless. However, I think socioeconomic status is frequently used as a "learned helplessness" excuse in education. If it weren't, than why do college education programs continually point out the correlation between socioeconomic status and student achievement? Why, as a teacher, am I still being subjected to cultural understanding courses and diversity training seminars 40 years after mandated court ordered busing? Why are we pumping millions more into "urban" schools vs. suburban schools if socioeconomic status doesn't matter? Teachers matter. However, the research is clear that parents matter more. If socioeconomic status ISN'T the reason kids are failing, then what IS?

Anonymous said...

Teachers have the power to change lives by being given the power to actually teach!

Anonymous said...

Socioeconomic status is the best PREDICTOR of student success, not a guarantee. I'm simply pointing out the research which does not mean I don't believe in the awesome power that teachers can have and their ability to transform lives. I wouldn't teach if I didn't believe teachers can make a difference.



Anonymous said...

To suggest that teachers are more important than parents is ludicrous and, frankly, quite arrogant. This doesn't mean that kids with parents in jail can't succeed. It just makes it more difficult for them to do so.

Anonymous said...

PREDICTORS are not the same as outcomes unless you're CMS which predicted 90% plus graduation rates last year.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:35.

The reason for failure is more "socio" than "economic".

Basically, it's culture.

(Or, perhaps, geneticsm

but we can't go there...)

Even though the same basic patterns of who succeeds and who fails are repeated across the globe along the same racial/cultural demographics.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:58

Maybe they predicted that high graduation rate because they knew those test results wouldn't be ready in time.

Shamash said...

To Anon 9:51am:

If socioeconomics is the BEST predictor, then how do you explain the fact that poor whites outscore non-poor blacks in NAEP assessments?

From:

"Achievement Gaps How Black and White Students in Public Schools Perform in Mathematics and Reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress"

See Figures 7 and 8 on page 11 (among others)...

In those figures, the 4th AND 8th grade white kids eligible for FRL scored higher than black kids who were too wealthy to qualify for either a Free or Reduced Lunch.

In fact, the Free Lunch white kids outperformed the ineligible (a.k.a. WEALTHIER) black kids for both the 4th and 8th grades.

Proving to me that RACE is as good of a predictor of success and failure as socioeconomic status (at least as far as qualifying for a Free or Reduced Lunch is concerned).

I think this is not emphasized because it tends to contradict the implied "solution" of "more money" to solve the performance gap problem.

It is clear to me that there is much more at work than mere economics, and that money will NOT solve the "gap" problem.

Simply because the blacks kids who are NOT poor STILL UNDERPERFORM.

But no one wants to hear that...




Shamash said...

To Anon 9:35 am.

Just because an explanation (such as socio-economics) has the full faith and backing of the education establishment doesn't mean it's TRUE.

After all, this is mostly "public" education we're talking about and that means it's warped by the politically corrected views of the time.

Wading through a lot of educrap requires the skill of a trained magician as well as that of a scientist.

While the scientist may be fooled when the magician directs everyone to see that there's nothing up his sleeve, the magician knows to watch what the other hand is doing during the distraction.

And that's where most of us fail.

This isn't science.

It's a magic show.

Shamash said...

To Sean said... at 4:03.

What I'd expect after such a large change in one year (+11%) is a regression to the mean the following year.

But, hey, that's just me...

Also, leaving after such a large increase would be a pretty smart move given the difficulty of repeating it again (and the odds of a "regression to the mean") which would look like failure.

Jane Webster said...

We continue to come back to Project LIFT a ‘partnership’ that I have been opposed to from day one. Never should have happened. After the partnership was approved I decided to sit back and give it the benefit of the doubt; done with that!

Project LIFT has admirable goals; however, to meet them they continue to use the tired ‘same ol’ same ol’” – throw more money at the problem. They are paying all the staff more, how will CMS continue this after the 5 years; the money is not there. Now they want to add days to the calendar (wouldn’t we all like that!) which costs A LOT of money which apparently they really don’t have, so let’s ask CMS and the public for it. Really?! If that kind of money is available it should be going to the entire district.

There is a fundamental problem with Project LIFT – they are not doing ANYTHING to help struggling students and parents pull themselves up. There needs to be some ‘tough love’. Parents need to be involved without monetary or any other kind of incentive. Our children are our incentive; seeing them succeed is our incentive. Our communities are our incentive. Our country is our incentive. Get into the school and do something, anything… answer a phone, make a copy, sit with a class during lunch and give a teacher a break, watch a class during recess, give a teacher planning time…. Get in the school and do SOMETHING! Check the book bag when it gets home. I am always amazed to hear teachers say how many parents don’t even open or look in the book bags! Listen to your child read 30 minutes a day; this really that hard? You don’t have to pay attention, just listen. Turn the ‘cable’ off for 1 hour a day. Tell your children EVERY DAY, more than once, how important and education is – show them!

Holding hands is nice; but, in the end it teaches nothing but weakness. Handouts don’t offer responsibility, a sense of accomplishment, pride, ... Don’t underestimate anyone! If we hold people to a lower standard they will rise to meet that and no more. Set that bar high, teach tools to get there, offer help (not a hand out) and everyone will rise to meet it!

We are blessed to live in this country and we should act like it!

Anonymous said...

Amen

Anonymous said...

What is getting old is the expectation that the responsible adults care for the children of the irresponsible adults.

No matter what we do, society will sort itself into winners and losers.

There will always be a "performance gap".

You can't turn dachshunds into greyhounds.

I see no reason to keep wasting our limited resources on the losers.

We don't do that in any other field of endeavor.

It's not like people haven't been told the value of an education, they just don't care.

It's time to cut them loose to be all they want to be.