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TORCH's success shows what works. But can it continue?
As a miserly, skinflint, cheap taxpayer I can tell you the most expensive thing grabbing at my wallet is a failed life (crime, courts, prisons). It is a shame parents can't be supportive, but it is a greater shame and expense to ignore failure.
I liked how the article reported all the numbers in percents (not!). If there were 100 Latinos in Northfield, and the numbers for success went from 72% to 76%, the reality of that is that 4 more kids in the senior class did well. I don't find that an amazing statistic, and further, it could be just one of those "good classes" that come through periodically. What is even more statistically important is that 24 kids did poorly. Show me that 4% growth from any school since NCLB has been adopted and I will eat crow. Otherwise, we have two years to go before every school child in America meets the criteria for NCLB. Quit laughing.
Further, if this is your definition of success, then let's take a look at all the other communities around the state and compare them. This is NOT a school relate problem. This is a culture and societal problem that you are not going to fix with political gimmicks and more money. People demand excellence in the class rooms? That is interpreted as "teachers"... Ask Michelle Rhee. I interpret it as "students" being ready, prepared, and willing to learn with no tolerance for those that do not share that sentiment. So, what do we do with those that are in school because the have to be? Simple, it's your problem.
Great work Northfield students and teachers! But the public should not be misled. Northfield is a town with little diversity compared with their metro neighbors, or towns like Willmar or Worthington. Northfield also has two world class colleges in a small town. Apply those demographics, community resources and dedicated staff to urban schools and those achievement gaps are solved also.
Comment229 /// While I agree the article is vague on actual numbers, you seem to focus on the wrong set of statistics as you cited national numbers. The relevant data is the following: "The graduation rate for Latino students climbed from 36% in 2004 to 100% this year..." More crow?
ephraker - The numbers then still matter. What if last year the class had 10 latinos and only 3 of them graduated, but this year they only had 3 latinos in the class and 100% graduated...that isn't a difference, but with the percents it looks huge. As norslandc pointed out, Northfield isn't a diverse area, and they have resources not available in other places. No matter what, the only way to improve education is to have parents involved and there will always be students, no matter what, that have no interest in learning and will drag down the system. It's something that is wrong with the US model. You can drag a horse to water but you can't make them drink. You can force a student into a classroom, but you can't force them to learn. No, I don't want kids running around with no education, but it might be better if they weren't forced and could decide later in life the mistake they made and go back.
Ask Michelle Rhee? She oversaw the greatest cheating scandal in modern American history.
Her results were completely bunk. She looked past record wrong-to-right erasures on tests in her district. She managed to make her teachers better at cheating on behalf of their students and got a movie and book deal before she was discovered.
Star Trib, you're drinking the koolaid of Superintendent Richardson. Look at the MMR results on the Dept of Ed website for Nortfield---and you'll see that OTHER than graduation rates, the gap is NOT closing. Northfield is great on political spin, not so for actual education. I'm a resident and a parent.
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