Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Interventions During School Time

Education can be a stupid business sometimes.  Everyone tries the same failed ideas.

My school's accreditation agency, WASC, is pushing us to have "interventions during school hours".  In a reasonable, rational world, school hours would be for school, and time outside of school hours can be used for myriad other tasks, including seeking extra help from a teacher.  The powers that be, though, whose minds are so open that their brains have fallen out, have decided that expecting students to get extra help outside of school hours is asking too much.  Some kids can't come early or stay after school, they say.  It's not fair.  Poor and minority students are hurt by such expectations.

Their solution?  Offer extra help during school hours.  That's right, boys and girls, we'll have less instructional time so that struggling students can get extra help during the school day.

Does anyone think that cutting instructional time will help students?  No, of course not.  But that's irrelevant.  What's relevant is that poor and minority (read: struggling) students will have time available during the school day to get extra help.  I'll have less time in class to give them extra help, but now I'll have this intervention time.  With a full class of students.  Who aren't all at the same academic level, and who don't all need the same type of help.

In other words, it'll be just like regular class.

My solution?  Give struggling a "study hall"-type class wherein they can get some of their homework done.  With a teacher who might be able to answer their questions.  Every kid doesn't need this intervention period or study hall, only students who are failing several of their courses do.  Why change the entire school schedule when the solution could be targeted at the students who, in theory, would be helped by this particular in-school intervention of study hall?

Because that's not progre-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-sive enough.  It doesn't show poor and minority kids how much we care.  It doesn't make high performing (white and Asian) students pay a penalty for their academic success.  It doesn't "level the playing field".

Do I believe what I just wrote?  Yes, yes I do.

Update:  Maybe cutting instructional time for an intervention class will solve this problem:
An increased number of high school students are unprepared for college coursework as math scores drop to a 14-year low, according to an annual ACT study released Wednesday.

The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2018 found 40 percent of the more than 1.9 million 2018 high school graduates who took the test were meeting math benchmarks. This is down from 41 percent in 2017 and 46 percent in 2012, according to the report.

The ACT is a college entrance exam that tests in math, science and English with an optional writing section and is graded on a scale of 1 to 36. The benchmarks are the minimum scores that a student needs to obtain in each section to be considered college-ready.

The benchmark scores for both math and reading was 22, science a 23 and English at 18, Ed Colby, ACT senior director of media and public relations, said in an email to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The average math score fell to 20.5, according to the report. English also saw a drop from 65 percent of students meeting the minimum score in 2017 to 60 percent in 2018.


Mr. W said...

I love reading your struggles. It's like looking into a rear view mirror. We had the same suggestion and we added in a tutorial "period". 3 days a week we have a 45 block of time that allows students to go to any teacher they want to for help in that class.

Teachers can't use it for instructional time, just for helping out students. Do students wander campus? Yes. Do they go to the bathroom and get high? Yes. But it sure looks good in the WASC report.

Pseudotsuga said...

And I am certain it is all caused by the educational industry, the rise of MEd and PhEd people trying to find and create jobs, which often consists of busily trying to find new ways of doing things (because "progress," dontchaknow) and overthrowing the old patriarchal, racist, sexist ways of doing things (because "progressive," dontchaknow).