USA: A Model School Flops
Theory meets reality – reality wins. Here is a classic example of the touchy-feely, happy-clappy progressive “how does Johnny feel?” education that’s gone wrong. A school for minorities, given every helping hand under the sun….has failed. But,before you lament that it’s because minorities don’t get all the step-ups white kids do, read the article. You will see that another minority school in the area is doing brilliantly. The difference? The successful one focuses on academics and the failure focuses on social and emotional support over academics. Liberals NEVER learn from their mistakes. Their M.O. is to create victims where there are none, step in, make a mess, spend too much money, claim victory, then move on to the next class of ostensible victims.
It sounded like a great idea: Stanford education professors would create a model school to show how to educate low-income Hispanic and black students.
Or, as it’s turned out, how not to.
In March, Stanford New Schools (aka East Palo Alto Academy (EPA)) — a charter high school started in 2001 and elementary grades added in 2006 – made California’s list of schools in the lowest-achieving five percent in the state.
This month, the Ravenswood school board denied a new five-year charter. The elementary school — now with K-4 and eighth grade — will close in June. Another year or two wouldn’t be enough to improve poor student performance and weak behavior management, Superintendent Maria De La Vega told the board.
The high school will get two years to find a new sponsor: the local high school district has said “no,” but there are other options.
How did it happen? Stanford New Schools, run by the university’s school of education, seems to stress social and emotional support over academics.
Stanford New Schools hires well-trained teachers who use state-of-the-art progressive teaching methods; Stanford’s student teachers provide extra help. With an extra $3,000 per student raised privately, students enjoy small classes, mentoring, counseling and tutoring, technology access, field trips, summer enrichment, health van visits, community college classes on campus, and community service opportunities. The goal is to send graduates to college as critical thinkers, lifelong learners, and “global citizens.”
The school provides students a web of support, reports the New York Times:
High school students have one teacher/adviser who checks that homework is done, and when it is not, the teacher calls home. Teachers know students’ families and help with issues as varied as buying a bagel before an exam to helping an evicted family find a home. Teachers stay late and work weekends, and tend to burn out quickly — causing a high rate of turnover.
Will Stanford education professors learn from their mistakes? I fear they’ll write off the elementary, claiming the program didn’t get enough time, and continue to claim the high school as a success. That would be a waste of a “teachable moment.”
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