Saturday, August 28, 2010

Does This Not Make It Clear Enough?

West Campus High School proved again why it's one of the most sought-after schools in the Sacramento area after posting top scores on the California High School Exit Exam.

Just over a mile away, Hiram Johnson High School proved why it remains a top priority for Sacramento City Unified School District officials after posting among the worst results in the state.

Same district.

Similar neighborhood.

Different admissions policy.

West Campus is an open enrollment campus, where students must meet grade-point average requirements in order to apply. Among schools with more than 200 10th-graders taking the 2009-2010 exit exam, West Campus had the lowest percentage in California of sophomores failing, tying Orange County High School for the Arts, a charter that also has admissions requirements.

Culture matters. Whether it's the culture at home or the culture of the community or a symbiosis of the two, the importance placed on education in that culture matters. And being a native English speaker helps, too--there's a much higher percentage of English learners at Johnson than at West Campus, but only enough to contribute to the difference, not to explain it.


Mike Thiac said...

One of the biggest abortions we have in this nation’s education system is English as a Second Language. Not teaching these immigrant kids will only keep them out of American culture and frustrate their efforts to succeed.

Of course this is a leftist mainstay in “education”

mmazenko said...

No, Mike. It's just the low standards for retaining a seat in a school. Nowhere else in the world can students consistently fail or perform substandard and keep progressing in school. The minimum grade and attendance requirements are the keys to successful schools.

Great post, D.

maxutils said...

When I was doing my student teaching, I observed at Johnson, and taught at Johnson West. The difference in student is immediately obvious, and until we can convince students that being smart is cool, all our efforts will be for naught. It's sad, but there IS a demographic out there for whom learning anything is seen as a sell out.

Mike Thiac said...

Mike M, agreed, low standards is one of the major problems we have in this country with education. We need to start flunking students if they fail, requiring them to repeat if they haven't met standards, etc.

Darren, please note on Stardate 11008.29 MikeAT and Mike Mazenko agreed on something. :<)

I'm pointing out something that handicaps kids in learning, especially minority kids (specifically Hispanics) is their lack of language skills in English, this county's “official” language is all but name. Tell me, if little Johnny can’t understand what your telling him can you teach him...or more to the point, can he learn. No. He has to know the language, what you are telling him. And the best time to start that is when he’s in kindergarten or pre K. Immerse them in English. Speak Spanish or whatever your native tongue is at home, with family, etc. But in school learn em English.

A more modern problem is people refusing to assimilate. Families coming from Europe in the late 1800s/early 1900s would learn English to function in American society. People coming from south of the borer are refusing and wanting to live in a separate culture. That will do nothing but keep them separate, frustrated and out of this country's mainstream.

mmazenko said...

Mike, I think this is twice in a month we've agreed. Something is amiss in the universe. Does this mean there is hope for the country? :-)

I will say this about ELA - I taught abroad for a while and know a little about the philosophy. In AP Language I don't have many of these issues, but I do trust the research on ELA vs English immersion. And for immigrants, more than 90% acquire fluency within a generation and do assimilate. It may not seem that way in the press or in some communities. But that's because the majority who assimilate don't make the news.

Mike Thiac said...

Mike, I think this is twice in a month we've agreed. Something is amiss in the universe. Does this mean there is hope for the country? :-)

More like I seeing the earth opening up, fire and brimstone and four horses headed towards me :<)

From what I’ve read when you have a family that is resistant to assimilation it takes two to three generations to learn the language and they are functional in speaking, but that that good in reading and writing. Either way it hinders the people’s progress.