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On Facebook: What do you think the Durham Public Schools needs?

November 15, 2013 

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A recent post about school test scores got a lot of you talking. Here are excerpts.

Durham Public Schools officials had cautioned there would be a big drop due to the more rigorous Common Core standards, but after Durham posted the lowest proficiency of Triangle school districts (only one in three students doing grade level work, 10 percentage points below the state average) we asked. “What do you think the Durham Public Schools needs?”

John D. Denning: What we need is patience. Patience in the knowledge that we’ve raised standards. Patience to allow teachers, students and parents to adjust to the full array of what comes with higher expectations for performance. And patience to stay the course that improving outcomes for kids is a marathon, and not a sprint.

James Protzman: Highly paid professional teachers

Rodrigo Dorfman: What is truly criminal about this test is what these test scores will do to all those kids that have worked REALLY hard in the past years to be proficient and now will be crushed by a result that tells them they have failed. Think about it. 21st Century skills are creativity, collaboration, communication. Does this test evaluate those global life skills? No, it does not. This test was designed so that public schools would fail and more parents would take their kids out of the system. It's a sham and shame.

Michael Shavel: I agree with John. Patience. I took one of my third-grade son’s math topic tests for fun. It was not easy. Teaching theory at the same time as procedure, which is what they are doing, is a college-level learning skill. I'm confident the kids will bounce back and pick up on it and that the teachers will recover from the stress of this new method of teaching. Big learning curve for everyone involved. Is it for the better – hard to say. I've been reading the common core standards docs and have yet to find out what the actual problem was with the way it was being taught before.”

Chris Weaver: Common core is as bad as Obamacare and conjured by the same progressive mentality.

Karen Perron: We teachers are told now that the test will change again in two years. Sigh.

Zeta Fibonacci: I feel sorry for teachers who really teach a love of learning and questioning in general. Education is a lifelong endeavor, and great teachers light that spark. We have a system now which rewards obedience, strict zero-tolerance for authentic organic creativity, originality and questioning. It's sad really and quite troublesome with the focus on “the numbers” and outcomes instead of acknowledging the process. Schools teach What to think now, where they used to teach How to think. Huge difference. Sigh indeed...”

Martin Eagle: It is always tempting to take a simplistic view of a complex problem, or to buy into a paranoid conspiracy theory. However, this is a multi-factorial situation with elements of poor course design (not the CC!), changing educational standards and, above all, the breakdown in family/social support for teachers and education. Add to this the corporate/media driven dumbing down of the population, the physical/psychological/sociological effects of ongoing environmental pollution and you might come to understand that these test results are merely one small representation of the general collapse of human society. Blaming the CC is, to put it simply and literally, nonsense.

Schultz: 919-932-2003

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